WordPress Performance Tweaks for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs and startup CEOs need an edge. Any advantage you have over the competition can make a huge difference to your business. And WordPress performance tweaks can be the edge you need to succeed.

 

What Is WordPress?

WordPress is a popular free and open-source content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. With this powerful tool, you can create a unique connection with your customers via an online site that can be interactive or static, and always fresh and new.

 

Why Is It so Popular?

From lightweight frameworks to elegant powerhouses, WordPress has something for everyone. The extensive selection of free and paid themes is just one of the reasons it is so popular. Other reasons include:

Ease of use for administrators, editors and system administrators. WordPress uses a standard PHP and MySQL database configuration, along with dozens of graphical actions and plugins for just about every possible administrative need. A reasonably skilled user can build a site with SEO, social sharing, maps, e-commerce, new post types and custom site structures in just a few hours.

Great Price and License. It is free and open-sourced for all projects, including commercial uses.

Flexibility. Everyone makes mistakes. This application is very forgiving–you can easily fix or undo any errors made. Whether you are a “power user” or someone who is not particularly tech savvy, you will find WordPress to be a real game changer for your business.

Plugin stability and autonomy. This great plugin system allows for thousands of mature plugins. Most of these plugins don’t need other plugins that require constant updates. This alone can save you hours of monitoring and maintenance time. Today’s businesses don’t have time to waste on downtime or costly maintenance.

Multi-site option. This recently introduced option created quite the buzz among entrepreneurs. You can now host multiple WordPress sites on the same installation. This means you are allowed a site for each member of your team (sales agents, reps, etc.) without the need for additional websites or hosting packages.

 

What Components Affect WordPress Performance?

Components that affect WordPress performance include:

The Theme. The theme is the look and feel of the site, and it determines the structure and layout of your pages. Themes can be updated to meet your requirements.

Plugins are great. They help to extend the power of WordPress through third-parties apps. Plugins are essential to the success of your site. Not all plugins are compatible with all themes, so choose your theme carefully.

WordPress Core. The core is the heart or engine of WordPress. It contains the complicated stuff (code) administrators need to manage the system.

Server Software. This is the “behind-the-scenes” software that hosts your site. It can be managed by your own IT contractors or a hosting company of your choice. How you choose to host your WordPress site can have a huge effect on performance.

Database. WordPress supports the MySQL database for data storage. Like all databases, the speed at which it runs can be optimized for particular workloads, when needed.

External Security and Performance Services. WordPress is an example of a Content Management System, which means it is capable of supporting multiple users in a collaborative environment.

 

Improvements to Components

Tweak each component to perform better. Here’s how:

Theme

Theme files should be “minified,” which means that they should be as small as possible. This allows files to be sent from your website to the end user much faster.

Choose a theme that uses as few images as possible. Downsize or optimize available images for faster load times.

Your theme should have as few files as possible. The fewer needed connections, the better your website will perform.

Plugins

Don’t use more WordPress plugins than you absolutely need. Plugins are like wildcards–they are developed by third parties of varying skills and QA processes. If you are having performance issues with your site, definitely consider removing (not just disabling) your plugins.

Use a Performance Optimization plugin such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache. These offer a large variety of performance-tuning features for optimal speed and performance.

WordPress Core

Do not leave your WordPress site in DEBUG mode. This is important, yet often forgotten.

Cache servers such as Redis and Memcache. This speeds up the loading time of your site by keeping bits and pieces of previous loads close at hand.

Keep your site updated. This will improve performance as well as make your website a tougher target for hackers.

Database

Make sure your database is sized correctly. Improper sizing is often the leading cause of slow loads, especially on larger sites.

Enable object or database caching to minimize extra trips to the database. Fewer trips means faster loads.

Try to add a few indexes. This will speed up your most common MySQL queries because much of the requested info will be cached.

Server Software

Use high-performance server software such as Nginx and turn on Webserver caching to keep files in memory. Also, size your application server properly and make sure your PHP processor caches compiled PHP code.

External Security and Cache

Varnish is a good choice. It can sit in front your WordPress PHP Application servers and be configured to respond to 90% or more of your traffic.

Use a content delivery network (CDN) and a Web Application Firewall service, such as Incapsula or CloudFlare. These applications can also help with performance caching to help with the performance of your website.

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