Improving Site Performance: An overview
The site performance workshop goes into detail explaining why site performance is important for WordPress and explains tips on how to improve the performance of a WordPress site. The workshop also covers several techniques that allow users to improve the performance of their WordPress sites.
- Recognize the factors that affect WordPress site performance.
- List the ways you can improve WordPress site performance.
- Why is low performance bad for your site?
- What techniques can be used to increase your site’s performance?
- What method of improving speed stores previous requests that can be reused?
- How can compression be used to improve page speed?
Hello, everybody, my name is Hari Shanker. I’m a deputy with the WordPress community team. Today, I’m here to present a workshop on the topic improving site performance. Today, we will be looking at the following topics as part of the session, we’re going to learn what site performances, we’re going to learn how to measure what type performances. Next, we will take a look at how those factors that impede site performance are those factors that prevent your site from performing well. Finally, the as the fourth step, we take a look at some steps that we can do to improve site performance dition. This includes caching, the signals offloading, this includes optimizing site performance. And finally, this includes compressing. And finally, I provided summary of what we learned so that you can take back home these things, and you can practice it on the site that you’re building. All right, so let’s dig deeper by exploring what exactly site performance is. So To cut a long story short, what the site performance is the measure of how fast the pages of a site load, as simple as that, how fast does the page of your site load? So if the page of pages of your site load fast, that means that your site is performing? Well. If your site takes a long while to roll, that means that your site is performing bad? Now, that brings us to the question, why does site performance matter? Now, obviously, everybody likes a site that loads fast. So whatever you’re doing with WordPress, on the internet, you’re building your site, not for not just for yourself, but it’s for somebody else. In fact, it’s for tracking visitors and customers. So when your site performs well, it is an incentive for your visitors to come and visit your site again and again. So yes, better performance improves your visitor and customer experience. And next in the most important thing, we’re just getting more and more important as Google keeps improving earnings are modifying their search algorithms. Almost all search engines, especially Google, they rank sites based on the performance. So if a site performs better, it is ranked top on the search results. So you want to make sure that your site performs the best possible way so that it shows up on top in the search results. And so this factor is getting more and more weightage as Google keeps updating their search algorithms. And this applies to other search engines as well. So make so that is one great plus point of having your site perform better. And finally, an adequate site response rate helps to decrease the bounce rate, what is the bounce rate, bounce rate means the number of people who visit your site and just go away, they don’t spend a lot of time in your site. So these these are those folks that visit your site and you lose them because they don’t interact with your site. So you do not want to use us to bounce off. So let me use I’m visiting a website, I realized that that’s very slow. And I feel frustrated about it. So I did not do what I came to the site to do, and I just go away. So that is not what you want to happen. You want your users to come to your site, you want users to interact with the site, you want to give your users the best experience possible. Now, that is why site performance matters. Let’s look at some quick statistics. Around 40%. People say that they abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. And as you can see, a one second delay in a bass response can result in 7% reduction in conversions. Just imagine, delay of 1% takes 7% reduction. So what would a delay of 10 seconds be? Or what will what would the delay of 20 seconds be? And last but not least 47% of the consumers expected with patient glory in less than two seconds or less? So what if your site takes 10 seconds to load? What if so what if what if somebody is visiting your site on a mobile device, and it’s taking them more than 10 seconds to load that’s also pretty important to most of the people that use websites use mobile devices these days, when somebody visits a website on a mobile device, and they realize that the site is not loading as fast as they want to, it’s not doing in two seconds, or it’s probably taking five or six seconds, that is going to be frustrating for them. You don’t want that to happen. So these are the reasons why website performance is very critical in these days. And that is a reason why we strongly recommend that you do whatever you can to make sure that your site performance is best. We’ve learned about the importance of site performance. But how do you measure site performance? How do you check if your site is loading fast? Of course, you can always try loading a website on a computer or on a guest computer or on a phone to check it. But you might get a very brief if your site is slow or fast, yes, because that is the same experience that your customers get. But that is still an empirical way to response to that is still an empirical way to measure the response time of your site. You might want to dig deeper in and you might want to find some actual statistics on how exactly your site is performing.
So for that there are several tools. I can recommend a few of them here actually. So one of them is web page test. It’s a tool for testing real life sight performance from different browsers with different locations and different connection speeds. The other one is Google PageSpeed Insights, it’s a way to measure your precise performance and give you get clear and specific feedback on how to make improvement. So these improvements, interestingly, are good are often related to WordPress. So Google provides you specific insights related to WordPress, which will help you improve your site. And finally, your browser. So if you’re using a modern browser, like Google Chrome or Firefox, you may have your browser will have some performance measurements tools. So these are the tools that are available that that can help you measure the speed of your site. Now, these tools are not the be all and end all there are several other tools out there. If you do a casual Google search, you might actually find another several other tools. But even though I’m recommending recommending these two, these tools are not the be all and end all there are several tools or tools that he knew is wanting to share that fact as well. So these tools can help you measure the performance of your site, and it can help you find out what’s actually wrong and get it and you might also get some tips on how to improve the performance. Next, we take a look at what impedes site performance. There are several factors that do this, the most important among them is hosting. So when you start looking at the hosting factor that could potentially impact the speed of your site. We also are looking at the type of hosting. So what is the type of hosting that your site is hosted on? Is it on a shared hosting? Is it on a VPS? Or a dedicated server? Is it on a managed WordPress hosting? Or are you using a cloud host. So we’ve seen that most people prefer shared hosting because it’s very cheap. What does the shared hosting mean? It means that your website is hosted on a server, which is shared by several other folks. So several websites are hosted on a shared server. So if you’re using a shared host, there’s a and if the traffic of your site goes up, there’s a there’s very good chance that the performance of your site could go down. So if you’re using shared hosting, you might want to use some techniques that we’ll be discussing later in the session, which includes caching, and offloading, which are great ways for you to improve the speed of your site within the limitations that you have. And one of the main limitations with shared hosting is that your your site is hosted on a single server. So that’s a very less, that’s probably just one server, which is having a high traffic site in case the traffic in your site goes up. So that could cause a decreased or reduced performance in your site, that could be a reason that could be the reason behind the reduced performance on your site. The other thing that you might want to keep in mind is is the hardware performance. So obviously, as I was like, it’s just like a computer. So it depends on the performance of your site depends on the hardware of the server. So if your server is using SSDs, if it if it if it has a high processor configuration, your site’s performance might go up. But this may not really be applicable. In the case of a shared hosting this, several sites are using sharing the same infrastructure. But if you are using a dedicated server, this might be a good way to measure or improve the situation of the speed of the office. And finally, geographical distance. So where is your server located in Where are you located, let’s say if you’re based out of Thailand, and if you are, if your site is hosted in, in North America, and most of your visitors are from Thailand might actually make sense for you to get a host in your in your vicinity, maybe in Thailand, or maybe in Singapore, anywhere near you. Because when somebody from Thailand visits a website, the request goes directly to the US. And that’s going to take a lot of routing time. So you might want to fix that. And finally server load, there’s a load limit that our server can can handle. So if the load goes up, that’s that main cost is the main cost your site to slow down. So this is also a factor which might cause your site to slow down. Next up is software version and performance. So this could be a major reason why the your site is slow. So if your site is not configured properly, there is every chance that it may not be functioning well. So what could cause this. So let’s say you have a site, which has a resource, heavy theme, what is the resource, everything. It’s a theme, which has a lot of files, a lot of functions, and you have several plugins in your site. So let’s say you have like, you have maybe 5060 plugins or maybe 100 plugins. And so that means that your site site is extremely resource heavy, that is a recipe for disaster could slow down your site. Next is the use of graphics or images. Sometimes this naturally Will you may have to use lots of large images. So if you use a lot of large images and images, and if you use a lot of large content that might actually slow down your site as well.
your sitemap your site may have several features, you can actually switch split things, let’s say, which means that one part of your site lives on on a particular server and the other part of the site lives on another server. So that’s, that’s something else that you can, you can try out an example of switching services, you can separate your STP and MySQL, that’s a great way to or you can, you can probably use multiple servers or multiple VPS to serve a single site. So there are there’s software that allows you to do it. So that’s a great way to speed up your site. Let’s say you’re running a large website, and you want to make sure that the performance of your site is still good. So if that’s the case, these tips are going to be especially valid for you. The first one we can recommend is to use a managed WordPress hosting solution. What does it manage WordPress hosting solution? So it’s a solution where the web host essentially takes care of all the dirty work all the system administration things so the web host manages your WordPress it decision for you, you do not have to worry about system administration tasks, what a system administration tasks. So, you do not need to worry about the performance of a site. So the host provides you guarantee it, it takes care of all the hard things, it helps you with the cash it helps you with. It provides you several features it It improves the performance of it ensures that it gives you guaranteed uptime. So, essentially, it makes sure that your site stays up. So basically, when you are on a dedicated server, you’re on your own system administrator, you need to take care of your site’s uptime. But in the case of a managed WordPress hosting solution, you’d not have to worry about it.
So typically managed hosting WordPress hosting could be slightly more expensive than regular hosting services. But if you can afford it, and if you want to go ahead with it, you want to make sure that your site is always up, I would strongly recommend using a managed WordPress hosting solution. Next, do not run a DNS service on on over to subject so this is not very typical. Not everybody wants a DNS service on a WordPress website. But if you are providing domain name solutions, if you are providing solutions do not do that on WordPress website that could that could cause issues. Next, use techniques like server caching to prove your website’s what is server caching. We will talk about caching later. In this session. It’s it’s a topic in itself. But to summarize, caching is a way to way to ensure that your site stores the data that isn’t essentially preloads the data that’s stored on your site. So many management posts already do it. But if you can, if you have not on a management software post, there are techniques, there’s services like varnish that allow you to do it. So to set up set up server caching on your site, that’s a great way to improve your site performance. And another thing that you can do is if you are if you’re running your own dedicated server, you can use services to tune up the performance, you can update your software versions or you can you can change your server software. So this many people use a patchy people, several folks recommend using nginx, which is a different service. So you can use Apache lightspeed or you can essentially modify your site configuration using services like memcached. So there’s several things things you can do in the backend. So that is outside the purview of this workshop. So we’re just covering the basics. Yep. But again, bringing the software of your server is a great way to improve the UI of your site. And yes, you can use PHP accelerators like APC and opcache. So these essentially allow you to improve the performance of your PHP code. And that essentially, directly has a positive impact on the speed of your site. And last but not least, there’s always MySQL optimization. So what is MySQL, MySQL is a database tool that is used to manage the WordPress website, website static websites database. So when your MySQL code is optimized, it means that your site sites queries, execute faster and make sure that your site is fast, we briefly touched caching. Now let’s take a look at what caching is. So caching essentially, is a temporary storage of web pages and images to reduce server load. How does this happen to this happens in several ways, so the website itself can fill out a lot of the information so that once you when you visit the website for the first time, it loads all the information. And then when you when you visit again, again, the server will not do it. So the caching can be done on a browser level on a server and on a server level. So that’s it, there’s few ways to do caching in WordPress. So the most common and obvious way is using WordPress caching plugins. So what these plugins do is these plugins, they, they store WordPress posts and pages as static files and serve them. So when you visit a website, a lot of time is taken to fetch data from the from the server from the from the from the database and and to fetch that data to you. So this is prevented by so this is prevented by these caching plugins, what they do is they store all the WordPress blog posts and plugins, they query the database, they store all the information and they serve it to you. So it’s like visiting a static page. So the database query and a lot of the things that happen in the backend that is speeded up to that that is the real advantage of these caching plugins. So I’ve given some examples which are WP Super Cache, and that will be WP total cache. But those are not just the only caching plugins, there are several ones among them, you can you can test out one of the ones that you want. The next type of caching is server side caching. So this is typically done by the server, like the host. This is slightly complicated. The process of how server caching works is slightly beyond the scope of our our workshop today. But to go very high level overview, the server essentially preloads a lot of information. So preloads, a lot of the information that is provided by the site and gives you direct and service that you directly. So there’s a lot of complex things happening behind the scenes for in case of server side hashing. So there are technologies like varnish this bad cache memcached, which we spoke off earlier. So these are all several software add ons that can allow your server to do caching on the server side and serve data fast. There’s also a technique called using a technique of using multiple caching servers. This is called a reverse proxy. So a site has could have multiple caching servers, which means that several caching servers, the preload all the information in the site, so when there’s a request when somebody wants to visit a particular page in the site, these hours they serve the information instead of getting the information directly from your web host. Right. So this speeds up to this This removes a lot of the intermediate, a lot of the queries that happened in the back end and saves the data directly to you. So which means that your site is fast. And last but not least, this is also caching. So this is done by most modern browsers, they have some sort of server caching. But WordPress plugins, they can make use of this. So they can actually make use of the server caching to make sure that a lot of the images, CSS and JS files are stored in your use of your computer.
I am an Open Source Program Manager at Automattic. I work full-time on WordPress, and I am a Community Program Manager (formerly known as “Super Deputy”) on the Make/WordPress Community Team. My current focus is on making the contributor experience for the WordPress open source software the best it can be. I’m currently leading the Contributor Working Group of WordPress where we are working on building contributor mentorship programs for WordPress! I also help manage, support, and run the Five for the Future program.
WordPress is one of the biggest passions in my life, and I strongly believe that open source tech and the open web have the potential to make the world a better place.
I have had a rather diverse career with significant experience in the domains of Retail Banking, Print & Web Journalism, Web Development, Entrepreneurship, Event Management, Professional Blogging, and Education.
Outside of work, I enjoy writing (blogging) as a hobby, and I’m a compulsive bibliophile. I’m also a happily married pet parent to three cats.