alex sysoef

How To Decrease Your Blog Page Load Speed

page load speed measureBlog Page Load Speed is one of my personal obsessions :-) And not only because Google have decided to use it as one of the ranking factors but also because I KNOW that it impacts how your blog manages to retain the readers.

Obviously it helps if content on your blog also presents some information useful to your readers but hey, that is non-technical aspect I will not be talking about right now! What I’m concerned with is how to Decrease Your Blog Page Load Speed using technology and still retain functionality!

Improving Page Load Speed

While there are many ways to get the job done, and I have described a few options in my previous posts:

Today I want to talk about One Nifty plugin that will have dramatic impact on your blog.

Autoptimize WordPress Plugin

It does one thing and it does it very well:

It concatenates all scripts and styles, minifies and compresses them, adds expires headers, caches them, and moves styles to the page head, and scripts to the footer. It also minifies the HTML code itself, making your page really lightweight.

I like the fact that it works exceptionally well with WP-Super-Cache plugin making optimization of your entire blog a lot simpler process, while still retaining your functionality and if necessary dynamic nature of it!

There are a few other good options I have considered but at the end chosen not to use that perform similar functions, in some cases a lot more extensively!

Other Plugins To Improve Page Load Speed

I have tested some of the plugins listed and only read about others, so please use your best judgment if you choose to implement any of them, as my personal preference right now is on combination of “WP Super Cache + Autoptimize” plugins:

W3 Total Cache

This plugin is actually a complete caching system for your blog and should be used by itself as it provides pretty much every optimization to improve your blog speed that you need.  I have to admit that I have attempted to use it but then gave up.

W3 Total Cache was not designed to run on server combination we have chosen to use on our sites: nginx+php-fpm.

Granted I could spend more time and based on initial tests – this plugin have outperformed WP-Super-Cache by at least twice with very little configuration but I was simply too short on time and settled for what I know works, as good enough! We are still in process of learning all the complex re-write rules we need for nginx and this plugin requires quite a few of them to run properly, which is a non-issue if you use standard Apache webserver!

WP Minify

Created by one of my favorite plugin coders Thaya Kareeson WP Minify allows you to integrate minify engine into your blog. And no, don’t worry – minify installation is extremely simple and can be done on shared hosting :-) So there is nothing to stop you from using it!

How Does it Work?

WP Minify grabs JS/CSS files in your generated WordPress page and passes that list to the Minify engine. The Minify engine then returns a consolidated, minified, and compressed script or style for WP Minify to reference in the WordPress header.

Both of the alternative plugins I have provided require just a bit more involvement with your blog and additional steps but I think they return HUGE benefits if you take the time to do it. Just please read the instructions they come with and you will be rewarded!

but for those of you looking for simplicity of click and activate – combination I use right now on this blog: WP Super Cache + Autoptimize cuts down Page Load Speed in half!

About The Blog Author

Alex Sysoef is an IT Consultant, Internet Marketer and ProBlogger who shares his passion and knowledge of WordPress, SEO, Social Media and traffic strategies on his blog WordPress Howto Spotter. Connect on Twitter or Facebook

49 Responses to “How To Decrease Your Blog Page Load Speed”

  1. skykid says:

    I have been using W3 Total Cache for quite a while and am really satisfied with the results it gives alongside the having virtually no compromise with any of the functionality of my blog. The only thing I tried to configure unsuccessfully with it was the usage of content delivery network , so I left that option off.

    • TheSpotter says:

      Well, CDN is good but you have to remember about additional Fee’s that come with it. Leaving it off should be fine unless you are willing to pay for CDN extra, not 100% convinced it will be worth the performance for majority of the people.

      • skykid says:

        I was convinced that the additional fees for CDN would amount to 1-2 $ per month.Tried Amazon S3 – my images disappeared – it was a disaster . Even without that I am satisfied with the performance of W3 Total Cache as its just one plugin that does the job. Of course my design is quite image heavy which has its effect on load speed – yet after running some surveys with the readers of the site I found that that they would prefer than than a stripped down version . In addition even if I fully understand the importance of load speed I believe that working on improving the quality of the content makes up for the extra 2-3 seconds

        • TheSpotter says:

          I’m not sure how much CDN would cost if used only for a blog. I use it extensively for my businesses, video streaming on http://www.expertwordpress.com and http://lockyourblog.com and it obviously goes way beyond that number. What I mean is – even if its only $1-$2 – this expense might be not justified enough be the gains it provides.

        • Amazon S3 actually isn’t a CDN, it’s just a file delivery server. S3 with Cloudfront is a CDN. I’m using MaxCDN right now and it seems to be working out pretty well and so far I’m still working on the first Terabyte.

  2. khaled says:

    Thank you for the topic featured
    Personally and to increase the page to load for my use Lazy Load Plugin for jQuery
    It delays loading of images in (long) pages. Images below the fold (far down in the page) wont be loaded before user scrolls down.
    I liked your topic,
    And for the weight of page..Has a relationship with the code JS/CSS
    and The web site gtmetrix confirms it
    Thank you very much

  3. Lars Hilse says:

    I personally use WP-Super-Cache; it really gave my hosting a break.

  4. Kathy says:

    Page loading speeds has become a much more popular topic since Google announced that it was going to be an included factor in their ranking algorithm.

    All I can say is Thank God for Plugins. Without the really smart people who make them, people like me would never be able to implement the things necessary to keep up with changes like this particular one.

    By the way Alex, you recently commented on my blog. I noticed your comment was flagged automatically by Akismet. You should check it out and get off that blacklist. You are probably losing a bunch of comments due to that.

    • TheSpotter says:

      Thanks Kathy!

      Appreciate the feedback, just contacted Akismet to get off that list. Interesting would be to learn how I manage to make that list….

      • Kathy says:

        You might want to shoot an email to Akismet and ask if they will reveal who first tagged a comment of yours as spam. That way you will know enough to avoid that blog in the future. If they tell you that they do not divulge that information, then you should explain that it would increase the value of their service to make sure that both blog owners and commentators are kept more honest.

        I don’t know what your standard comment practices are, so it is hard to tell. Some people will Akismet any time you put a keyword in the name field. Others will click spam if you try to link out to any other web pages within the comment itself. Some people hit spam when they disagree with your comment opinion (jerks). Some just make a poor judgement call based on your domain name. It is not a perfect or flawless system.

        • TheSpotter says:

          Yeah, I’m still waiting for them to reply on de-listing me from blacklist. Blogosphere is an opinionated place and I guess some people express their opinion with a click of a mouth, unfortunately. I comment as normal, always. Problem is – I don’t always agree with author – that could have easily led to the result you reported.

          Thanks Kathy! Appreciate the help!

  5. “Google have decided to use it as one of the ranking factors” – true, but don’t forget its one of over 200 factors, so don’t obsess too much about it!

    “I KNOW that it impacts how your blog manages to retain the readers.” – also very true, I have recently sped my sites and blogs up and it makes a considerable difference.

    I love page speed, and think that it is a really great free tool :)

    • TheSpotter says:

      Christopher,

      Correct, it is just one of the many factors and while I don’t think it is a determining factor I have read sometime ago somewhere on their blog that page load speed they are shooting for is 1.4 sec. for any page as a baseline. In Google webmaster tools I have also seen indication that it could be correct, just based on how they word the page load performance of your site or blog.

      If its around that 1.4sec. or below they state that “Your Site is faster then **% of the sites” if your number is higher – they use word “slower then **% of websites”. I could be reading too much into it but check it out yourself!

      • vince says:

        Yes, Alex, I just saw this in Alexa. Hmmmm… so does it mean that those Famous blogs have a bigger chances of stepping down a little bit in ranking? I just observed that most older blogs are really slower in uploading, especially if it is in shared hosting.

        • TheSpotter says:

          Vince,

          I don’t think it will impact them that drastically, authority from links and site size is still have a lot more weight, I think.

  6. vince says:

    W3 Total Cache rocks. And I think this plugin already have the feature Minify. So if you have installed W3 Total cache, I think there is no need to install WP minify.

    • skykid says:

      A bit of a warring about W3 Total Cach Minify functions. Following an advice of the Google speedup Firefox plugin I minifies some of the CSS styles. When I did that the blog looked really funky ( it was easily reversible ) , but I wish there were more detailed instructions of how to use the minify feature.

      • TheSpotter says:

        Unfortunately many plugin developers provide just enough documentation, I believe plugin comes with some defaults and decent explanation on how to use them but perhaps Googling the exact problem wall help you find answer you need.

  7. Vanessa says:

    I didn’t know that load speed affects your ranking now. And this is the second blog that I read about W3 Total Cache. I think I’m definitely going to give that plugin a try now and see how it works. Thanks for the read.

  8. Mandy June says:

    I’m curious as if Google cares how fast a page loads on a mobile device like an iPhone? Well, I think that sites should also make themselves compatible with mobile devices so that anyone who wants to read their site on a phone doesn’t have to wait 5 minutes for it to load.

  9. Paul Novak says:

    I’m unfortunately stuck with a slow host, and wont be able to switch for at least another month yet. I’ve gone through most of the usual tips and tricks to speed things up, but no luck.

  10. Dana says:

    Yes, one of 200 factors that Google consider, but it also effects your visitors. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just clicked off a blog because it has simply taken too long to load These suggestions are worth considering.

    • TheSpotter says:

      Dana, correct – I think reader experience is what actually counts the most here. Google did an interesting experiment on this and they provided some details on how just minuscule increase in page load speed led to lost interactions.

  11. Jason Acidre says:

    W3 Total Cache seems to be the best plugin out there when it comes to site speed, well, I’m also using that on my personal blog (since I depended mostly on its user reviews). I also think that widget cache plugin can help improve load speed.

    I guess Google’s new algorithm is limiting sites from using too much ads, since they are employing load speed as a factor for rankings, but that’s just my opinion :)

    • TheSpotter says:

      Jason,

      I don’ think it limits ads, people who overload their blogs with ads more then likely not even familiar with the topic of this conversation :-)

  12. Aaron says:

    WP Super Cache + Autoptimize really makes the page load very fast and I would say this could improve the search engine ranking by %15.

  13. John Alden says:

    I’ve been using w3 total cache for a while now. And tbh, it does perform what it claims! I’ve actually seen a vast improvement on my page load speed :) But after all, using Gzip/Deflate and minifying your files must be a routine thing. Those are a must for a blog!

  14. Chloe says:

    I’ve found W3 total cache to be excellent over several projects. The thing is doesn’t solve which is frustrating is the internal load speed of the admin menus – when you have 4 million plugins going then that can be a real pain. I have not found any solution to my woes though!

    Some other comments mentioned autoptimizer – there is quite a bit around suggesting that it could break some javascript (but haven’t tried it myself).

  15. Andy Beard says:

    Whilst redirects on Ngix aren’t impossible to get right (I did it a while back on a test server, for a long time last year I was running nginx + php-fpm as a reverse proxy server to Apache.
    That means that the pages get created (and the URLs rewritten) by Apache, and Nginx just serves them.

    It is a little tricky ensuring server logs are correctly updating.

    That being said I am now being lazy – I have a big server that runs at something like 2% capacity most of the time without caching – I am also tweaking lots of plugins so often switch things on and off.

    To add to the list there is aa new APC cache plugin that works with Batcache that is a good option,

    • TheSpotter says:

      Thanks Andy,

      Am playing around with it even as I type it :-) I’m actually looking for a more scalable solution here :-) BTW, starting with 3.0 WordPress MU cannon be installed on port other then :80 for Multi-Site mode so that setup you suggested simply will not work for MU handling.

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