Why is WordPress slow? It’s a complicated question, and there are a lot of potential answers. It could be your web host. It could be a rogue plugin. You might be using too many unoptimized images.
Right now, it’s too early to tell — but once you finish this post, you’ll have a much better idea of why your WordPress site is slow and what you need to do to fix the problem.
In this article, we’ll talk about the factors that can make WordPress slow. Then we’ll help you find out whether your web host is offering you the level of performance you need, in four steps. Let’s get to work!
The big factors that can make WordPress slow
Beyond your web host, there are plenty of aspects that can impact your website’s loading times – both for you and your users:
- Displaying unoptimized images
- Using a slow WordPress theme
- Using unoptimized plugins
- Not implementing general performance best practices, like compression and caching
- Having too many scripts running in the background
- Using an old version of PHP
As such, without proper optimization on your end, your website won’t be as fast as it can be. However, even if you meticulously optimize every aspect of your website, your hosting provider can still act as a bottleneck to slow things down. Next, we’ll discuss how to find out if this is the case for your site.
How to figure out if you need to speed up your WordPress website (in 4 steps)
Given there are so many factors that can impact your website’s performance, you need to rule them out to determine if your hosting provider is at fault. Let’s go through the process step by step.
Step #1: Run some baseline page loading time tests
Before you carry out any other task, you first need to determine how fast your website loads. As a rule of thumb, you want your site to load in under two seconds – anything below one-second makes for a great user experience. If you’re within the one- and two-second window, you’re in good shape, although there’s room for improvement here.
There are a lot of solutions for testing your site’s loading times – Pingdom Tools is a front-runner. Your home page is going to have a decent amount of content compared to other site pages, so it’s a good option for testing. To use Pingdom, simply enter a URL into the relevant field, then choose a test server that’s the nearest match to your hosting provider’s data centers:
Once you click Start Test and let Pingdom run, you’ll get a set of results that look like the following: