WordPress is a powerful content management system that is being used by millions of people around the world. Unfortunately websites based on this platform are often slow and unresponsive.
Sub-standard web hosting is considered as the main reason behind this problem but in many cases the real culprit is the WordPress theme.
In this article you will learn how to optimize your theme for maximum performance.
Try to remove or optimize images
Your server uses a considerable amount of bandwidth to load images. If your images are not optimized and formatted correctly for online use, they may end up consuming several megabytes of bandwidth while loading.
You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insight utility to check which theme graphics are causing issues. This free tool will not only give you information on the sizes of various images and other media content on your website, it will also point out all the other things causing your site to load slowly.
Once the problematic pictures have been detected, make changes to them so they load faster for your visitors. Photoshop can be used to optimize images for online use. Alternatively there are many online tools available for this purpose.
Remove unnecessary database calls
Loading content dynamically from the database is a resource-intensive and time-consuming procedure. If each page of your website contains dozens of database calls then obviously it will load slowly. One way to fix this issue is to manually edit the theme files and remove all the redundant calls. For instance you can insert your website’s name and tagline in header.php so that instead of getting this information from the database on each page load, browsers can display this info immediately.
If you are not comfortable with editing PHP and HTML then there’s another simple solution: caching. Once again Google PageSpeed Insight tool can be quite helpful. While using the tool, you will see various notifications and alerts about the status of your website cache. The concept of caching is very simple. Caching is a method used to store copies of your webpage on the server or the user’s computer. This eliminates the need to access the WordPress database on each page load, thus increasing your website’s responsiveness. Caching also reduces the bandwidth usage of a website.
Try not to think too hard on the topic of server caching and browser caching, as it can get very confusing. They both share a common goal, which is to improve a website’s load speed. But there is one thing that you need to remember: browser caching that takes place on the user’s computer is far more effective than server caching. By including some JS files in the header section of your WordPress theme, you can activate this setting. Try downloading some caching plugins in order to have additional control over advanced settings . You can easily find such in the back-end control panel of your WordPress site.
Summing things up
Although a slow website has many serious disadvantages, there’s no need to dump a particular theme because it loads slowly. Use the above tweaks to discover problem areas and optimize your WordPress theme for the best possible performance. Try taking some additional measures like disabling features that you do not plan to use in order to obtain more speed. This can be done by using the appearance editor of your theme to customize, disable or remove various functions from the theme files.
Remember to make a back up copy of your WordPress site and theme files before making any changes.
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