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In this article, with just a few simple steps completed in less than 5 minutes, I optimize a WordPress site so that it loads three times faster!

Here is how the Dashboard of my test website looks after I installed 14 plugins and a nice theme named Phunk from developer Studiogenium:

The clutter all these plugins add to the WordPress dashboard is something we have to accept with WordPress. Personally, I try to stay as lean as possible with regard to WordPress plugins.

Click to expand the list of plugins
  • Akismet Anti-Spam
  • Contact Form 7
  • Elementor
  • Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
  • Hello Dolly
  • Jetpack by WordPress.com
  • Kirki Toolkit
  • MetaSlider
  • NextGEN Gallery
  • Ninja Forms
  • TablePress
  • The Events Calendar
  • WooCommerce
  • Yoast SEO

And here are the devastating results I got at Gmetrix:

After applying the tips below, all in five minutes! (as you can see in the included video), the results were much, much better:

Here is how you can make your site 3 times faster in under 5 minutes

1. Use SSL

This may sound strange, but it comes with the added benefit that it enforces the use of HTTP2 on your website. HTTP2 has significant performance improvements over HTTP. This is easy on ICDSoft’s servers, as you just need to click Enable in the Let’s Encrypt Certificate Manager area of your Control Panel. You can use an online tool such as http2.pro to see if your server supports HTTP2.

2. Use PHP 7

Make sure that your website is using PHP 7. PHP 7 is so much faster than PHP 5.6, that if you are still using the old version of PHP, switch immediately. All new WordPress installs on ICDSoft’s servers come with PHP 7 by default, but it is very easy to switch – just select the version you wish to use in the PHP Settings areа in your Control Panel . Check the video below to see how to enable PHP 7 on ICDSoft’s servers.

On the right you can find an image from our comprehensive test of three caching plugins, showing the dramatic improvements PHP 7 has over PHP 5.6.

3. Update your plugins!

Update your plugins. Yes, I know this sounds old. How many times I have tried to debug various performance problems on WordPress site and after hours and hours of digging into debugging tools, I finally click the Update button, and suddenly all the problems are gone. Afterwards, checking the “What’s new” section of the update reveals that the developers fixed some performance issue. Duh…

Is it possible for a hosting company to offer Unlimited Resources?

And all that for $1.45/mo, $1.99/mo or something even lower?

No. Usually, this is part of the bait and switch scheme employed by hosting providers. Luring customers in with unrealistic offers. The true cost usually is revealed at renewal, when the renewal price may be 2 or 3 times higher!

That’s why we don’t offer Unlimited Hosting. And Unrealistic prices. And our Renewal prices are LOWER than Sign-Ups.

Partner with an Honest Company – ICDSoft.com

4. Enable Compression

Enable gzip. Some hosts don’t offer that option, as it places additional load on their servers. Of course, this is no issue on our servers, as they use the latest generation of Intel Xeon processors and the performance hit is negligible. 

#Enable GZIP Compression
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css text/csv text/html text/plain text/richtext text/sgml text/tab-separated-values application/javascript application/x-javascript httpd/unix-directory
AddOutputFilter DEFLATE html htm shtml php php4 pl rb py cgi css js txt
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4.0[678] no-gzip
BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
#Enable GZIP Compression

5. Use a Caching Plugin

WP Super Cache

Install a caching plugin – we use WP Super Cache in this tutorial, but you can get great results with other plugins like Swift Lite, or Yasakani cache (if you have the time, you can check our extensive review here.)

For the purpose of this quick article, I am just going to enable Expert mode caching and leave it like that:

SSDs Do Matter

Make sure that your site is running on an SSD server! Some providers will sell you this option as an add-on. We don’t. All our hosting accounts are hosted on fully SSD-enabled servers. And we don’t use the cheap SSDs you can get at Walmart. All SSDs we use are enterprise-level drives which cost roughly 4 times the price of consumer SSDs, but we think that the server reliability and the safety of the data of our clients is worth it. Check our offers at: https://www.icdsoft.com/en/hosting/wordpress

Here are two Bonus Tips:

Leverage Browser Caching

Webhosts love this. It reduces the load on their servers, and it really speeds up the experience for the site visitors. Enabling it is quite easy, you just go ahead and copy and paste the following code in your .htaccess file:

####EXPIRE CACHING - LEVERAGE BROWSER CACHING
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresDefault "access plus 1 month 1 days"
ExpiresByType text/html "access plus 1 month 1 days"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 month 1 days"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 month 1 days"
ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 month 1 days"
ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 1 month 1 days"
ExpiresByType text/javascript "access plus 1 month 1 week"
ExpiresByType application/x-javascript "access plus 1 month 1 days"
ExpiresByType text/xml "access plus 1 seconds"
####END EXPIRE CACHING

Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks

Pingbacks and Trackbacks were a good idea once, but as with many other nice things, they were eventually riddled with spam. These two features in theory would allow you to get backlinks for mentioning other blogs, but due to spam, using them has become more of a nuisance. Disabling them is a good idea, as it also gives a performance boost. To disable them, go to Settings -> Discussion, and uncheck the “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles”. You also need to manually edit the post settings for existing posts . Check the images below to see how to do that.

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How Long Did It Take To Make All These Changes?

Exactly 4 minutes and 11 seconds. Check yourself:

The importance of hardware and Good Management

Let’s make something clear. Even if you are a WordPress master, you won’t be able to make a website fast if the server you are using is slow or overloaded. At ICDSoft, we use the latest-gen Xeon Processors, loads of RAM and enterprise class SSDs. And we also offer 100-day money back guarantee and perform free site migrations, so you just need to sign up and let our support team move the website for you.

The Hosting Industry is Riddled With Fake Reviews and Tests.

That’s why we offer 100-day Money-Back Guarantee and Free Site Migrations.

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