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WordPress Site Loading Slow: How to Fix

Is your WordPress website loading slow? You could be losing half your visitors unless you fix this issue now. Imagine such a massive loss of traffic because you haven’t applied simple fixes that will speed up your website!

Website visitors want fast loading websites. They don’t have much patience and will leave your website if it takes more than a few seconds to load. This could result in lost user engagement and reduced traffic to your website, which could negatively impact your website’s ranking position. To avoid this, it’s important to fix your slow loading WordPress issues.

If you’re wondering why your WordPress site is slow, the answer is simple. Like any website, WordPress can be slow if not optimized and maintained properly.

Later in this article, I will explain how to identify and fix the issues that cause slow loading WordPress websites.

WordPress Site Loading Slow: Table of Contents

Slow Website Troubleshooting

visitors when your website is slow
visitors when your website is slow

There are some common issues that can lead to a WordPress site loading slow, some are common to all websites and some are specific to WordPress.

Let’s take a look at each issue and later in the article I’ll explain how to fix them.

Server Issues

servers

Could your WordPress site loading slowly be caused by your web hosting provider? It’s possible.

Your hosting plan provides you with all the resources need to host a website. These resources could be slowing down your website, specifically:

  • A slow web server (due to hardware limitations or limited network bandwidth)
  • A shared hosting plan (many other websites are hosted on the same physical server)
  • A slow database
  • Insufficient memory
  • Quotas on CPU execution, database queries, network traffic

Some hosting providers cut corners by putting large numbers of websites on the same physical server. This makes the plan cheap but your website will load slowly (because the server is handling 100’s of other requests at the same time).

As the traffic to your website increases, your web server will require more resources. If necessary, consider upgrading to a higher-spec hosting plan.

Choose a high quality hosting provider for your website. SiteGround is recommended.

SiteGround Hosting

Images Loading Slowly

upload

Images are a major cause of slowness for websites. The more images, and specifically, the more high quality images you use the slower the web page will be to load.

Of course, images are good to use, they make your website visually appealing and can be useful for readers.

To learn how to speed up your website images, read this article:

Speed Up Your Website With Faster Loading Images

WordPress Site Loading Slow: How to Improve WordPress Performance

boost performance

Choosing a Fast, Lightweight Theme

A WordPress site loading slow could be caused by a large, bloated and inefficient theme. It’s crucial to choose a fast and lightweight theme for your WordPress website.

Many popular themes offer numerous features like “60+ features – our theme does everything!” However, this can cause a bloated theme that will slow down your website’s performance. In reality, you may only use a few of these features, and paying for all of them can cause poor website performance.

Every feature supported by a theme adds bloat to your website. Typically:

  • extra code that needs to execute
  • more database requests
  • images
  • CSS files
  • Javascript files
  • third-party website requests
  • API calls

Don’t use a theme with lots of built in features. Less is better. Prefer minimal, lightweight themes.

I use GeneratePress theme for this website, it has free and premium versions available. If you are looking for a good WordPress theme to use then I can recommend it.

GeneratePress Theme

Lazy Load Images

This technique only loads images when they scroll into view in the browser. The web page will load faster, and more traffic can be handled by your web server.

I use the free SiteGround Optimizer plugin, which has a lazy load option. Simply turn on the lazy load option, and all your images will be lazily loaded. If your account is hosted on SiteGround, it also supports image compression and the WEBP format.

Get SiteGround Optimizer Plugin

WordPress Site Loading Slow Could be Caused By Your Database

database, sql

WordPress websites rely on a database to store all content, including articles, revisions, comments, and image information.

If you neglect database maintenance, your website will slowly degrade over time, causing it to slow down.

1. Deleting Unnecessary Data

Certain plugins can store a lot of information in the database. Especially security plugins that log all visits and requests to your website.

It’s a good idea to check the settings for these plugins to regularly clean and remove old data frequently. You will need to check the settings for each plugin you have installed.

This is another reason why you should minimize the number of plugins you use, as each one is likely to store and retrieve data from the database, contributing to slow website performance.

2. Removing Old Post Revisions

WordPress stores each draft of your content in the database, which can slow down your website considerably, especially if you spend a lot of time revising and editing.

Handling database maintenance with a plugin is recommended. The SiteGround Optimizer plugin can perform this task for you.

Scheduled automatic database maintenance - SiteGround Optimizer plugin
Scheduled automatic database maintenance – SiteGround Optimizer plugin

Identifying and Removing Unnecessary Plugins

Look at all your plugins, do you use them all? One quick way is to disable a plugin and check your website still works – does it look any different? If not you probably don’t need that plugin.

Essential plugins types for a WordPress website:

  • Performance / optimizer plugin
  • Security plugin
  • SEO plugin

Other plugins require careful consideration.

Finding Lightweight Plugins

Some plugins can be expensive in terms of server resources such as:

  • CPU (the server processor)
  • network bandwidth
  • disk space
  • database access (requests or writing to the database)

Plugins that make API calls to third-party websites can be expensive, such as plugins that access share counts for your social media sharing buttons.

Some plugins, like related posts plugins, may extensively use your database and CPU to generate related posts. This can slow down each article on your website.

Minimise use of plugins that make API calls or load files from third-party websites

Server Caching

Your hosting provider determines the server caching options that are available. Below are the caching options offered by SiteGround, which I’m familiar with. You can easily access these caching options by installing the SiteGround Optimizer plugin

SiteGround Optimizer Caching Options

SiteGround has crafted these caching solutions to boost the speed of WordPress websites.

File-based caching

Every visit to your site is faster with file-based caching. Website pages are stored in the browser memory, reducing loading times.

Dynamic Caching

SITEGROUND EXCLUSIVE

Store your content in the server’s memory for a faster access with full-page caching solution.

Memcached

SITEGROUND EXCLUSIVE

Powerful object caching for your site. Frequently executed queries are stored and reused for better performance.

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

WordPress Site Loading Slow? A CDN can help with that.

Visitors from anywhere in the world can access your website. Ideally, you should provide them with content that is as close to their location as possible. That’s the function of a Content Delivery Network.

I’ve written about the CDN benefits for websites before and they’re especially recommended if you have, or want, international visitors.

Choose a Fast Hosting Service

The hosting service provider owns the physical machine that runs your website. You pay for the service that allows you to install your blogging software on one of those machines.

You have two main options when deciding what kind of hosting you want.

Shared vs. Dedicated Hosting

Shared Hosting

Multiple websites are hosted on a single server.

Each website shares server resources:

  • CPU
  • memory
  • disk space
  • network bandwidth

Dedicated Hosting

The website has the server to itself.

The website owner has complete control over all the server’s resources.

Choosing the Right Hosting Service

Shared hosting is a cost-effective option for smaller websites that do not require a lot of resources, while dedicated hosting is more expensive but provides more control and better performance for larger websites with high resource demands.

Opt for the shared hosting plan if you’re not sure. Your website and traffic will be small at the beginning. You can upgrade to dedicated hosting later once your website has expanded.

Dedicated hosting is not recommended unless you have tried the other options first (fast theme, optimized images, limited plugins) and still have the issue of a WordPress site loading slowly.

WordPress Site Loading Slow: Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading! Here are the main takeaways for a WordPress site loading slow:

WordPress site loading slow is something you need to fix quickly to avoid losing traffic and visitors. If you are looking for a WordPress hosting service I can recommend SiteGround, it’s the hosting provider I use for this website.

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