Improving Pagespeed on WordPress without a CDN
After using WordPress for over 8 years now I have used a myriad of plugins to try to leverage page speed. The problem with WordPress is using plugins that do not hog the system core files. The core itself is relatively fast but themes and plugins can certainly slow you down.
As you can see below this is my page speed without a CDN and minimal plugins.
A CDN (content delivery network) can improve your website no doubt. There are however ways to improve your website speed depending on what plugins you use. CDN’s are used for blogs with more that regular posts with image heavy embedded within the content and distributed around servers or a cloud network that give a faster load and response timing to local users. Tried and tested MaxCDN which in my opinion was ok…. and did not have these results above to be fair.
There are thousands of plugins to use from the WordPress network, and I have probably tried them all at some stage.
W3 Total Cache
Highly recommended to be used with a CDN. This stores all of your files with ease and has good load times. The problem I had was initially setting this up. There is long documentation and can take awhile getting used to this plugin and in my case, I was forever tweaking the plugin. I can not discount that this is not good, but it’s one of those, if you just are lazy at times like myself sorting these plugins out, I wouldn’t use again unless I purchased a CDN plan.
Overall W3 Total Cache is good if you have the patience and a CDN.
WP Fastest Cache
Easy to use! no fuss at to the point. This plugin is currently what I use on this website. Takes less than a minute to configure and you are done. Leave it and forget it. There is a premium for all features of $39.99 however, it is something I have not considered yet as everything is running smooth at the moment.
There is also the option to add a CDN to WP Fastest Cache but like I said before its something I personally do not use.
The good advantage as with W3 Total Cache is the ability to minify CSS and JS which will greatly reduce response times.
Here is a preview of my current settings:
This plugin is used for optimising images that can significantly slow down your website. Enabling compression on images can improve your website speed and this is done without any visible image loss. WP Smush is easy to use and quickly can compress your images. Pagespeed using this tool has greatly reduced response time.
Other improvements can be done via .htaccess. Such as image expires as below:
ExpiresDefault "access plus 2 hours"
# Expire images header
ExpiresByType image/gif A2592000
ExpiresByType image/png A2592000
ExpiresByType image/jpg A2592000
ExpiresByType image/jpeg A2592000
ExpiresByType image/ico A2592000
ExpiresByType text/css A2592000
A2592000 means 1 month in the future (60*60*24*30=2592000)
I have noticed others use expiry tags such as 1 year or 1 month on jpg images. For some odd reason, this is not compatible with the latest WordPress edition 4.7.3 So the code for .htaccess works fine on my VPN and no issues with any plugins.
So these are the plugins I currently use apart from W3 Total Cache with no CDN.
If you do have issues with WordPress plugins use P3 Profiler to identify issues. This can show you where or which plugins may be slowing you down.
Other WordPress Considerations:
I would suggest a fast server to at least give your website a chance. I have seen websites on such hosting as Hostgator or shared networks that can really slow you down. It is worth having your own VPN (Virtual Private Network) or even better with a Dedicated Server so you have full control over your DNS, sites and stability. There are specific WordPress hosting providers linked to CDN’s so it is up to your preference to what you use.