Improving WordPress Website Performance

We're going to lightly cover some WordPress performance related-tasks in this article. There are a couple of really basic steps you can perform in order to get WordPress performing at top speed.

Google takes performance into account for ranking, and users don't wait around for slow sites — so let's make sure we're squeezing as much performance out of your site as feasible.

Danger ahead: Nuanced testing against dev versions

In an optimal world, you would perform these steps below by duplicating your website to a dev subdomain & testing against the non-live version. Given that none of the changes take more than 10 seconds to reverse, testing them live is more time-efficient/cost-effective for smaller websites. For larger sites that require more nuanced testing, perform these against a dev. subdomain to mitigate downtime or temporary feature loss.

Upgrading to PHP 7.x

To start, let's make sure you're using the most recent version of PHP that your site will support. The more recent versions of PHP reduce memory usage significantly, and implement performance improvements that can get a site loading in less than a second with ease.

We suggest performing this task when you've got about 10-15 minutes available to test all of the features of your site(s) after doing so, and better to do so outside of your business hours.

Logging into cPanel

To get started, you'll need to login to your hosting control panel like such:

  1. Navigate to our client area
  2. Login, & navigate to services > my services in the navigation menu.
  3. From there, select the green active link on the far right of your account.
  4. Next, select login to cPanel on the left.
  5. Next, find the MultiPHP Manager.

Changing to PHP 7.2

Once there, you'll see a list of your sites on the account, coupled with which PHP version they're utilizing.

The goal is to get you on PHP 7.2, or at the very least, some variant of 7.x To do so, select the checkbox next to the relevant domain name & in the PHP Version dropdown, select PHP 7.2. Then, hit apply.

Testing your website

Afterwards, you'll need to navigate to your website in a browser and test all of the site's features. Contact forms, various pages, etc.

If you see any errors, you're going to want to navigate back into the cPanel MultiPHP Manager & reduce the version down a bit: Increment down if possible, back to 7.0, test, & if any further errors arise, back to 5.6 if you absolutely must. 5.6 is end-of-life in December of 2018, so if you do run into errors it might be a good time to reach out to a developer to get any errors corrected.

We've got developers standing by to assist, so don't hesitate to contact fused

Installing WordPress Caching

The next step after upgrading your PHP version is to implement WordPress caching. We recommend using wp-super-cache, as it's the most simple to put into place & the performance gains are stupendous.

Login to your WordPress admin section

  1. To start, login to your WordPress administrative section.
  2. Once there, we're going to navigate to the Plugins section.
  3. Take a quick glance around & make certain you don't already have a caching plugin installed. Common ones are w3-total-cache & wp-super-cache.

Installing wp-super-cache

If you don't have one installed already, let's get started! In the upper-most part of the screen, select Add New. In the search field, enter wp-super-cache.

You'll see WP Super Cache from Automattic listed. Select Install Now next to it, and within a few seconds the install link will change to Activate.

Select it.

Adjusting wp-super-cache settings

Back on the main WordPress menu, select Settings > WP Super Cache. Then, change Caching Off to Caching On, and hit Update Status. That's it! You're all set, and, within a few minutes wp-super-cache will preload its cache & your site will scream, speed-wise.

Seeing otherwise? Contact Fused

p.s., if you haven't already, do enable SSL on WordPress as well!