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Top 7 Tweaks For A Faster WordPress Blog

For months now, I’ve been tweaking my blog excessively all in a bid to find the right theme and setting that would make my blog a reader’s delight in terms of content and speed.

After reading Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site and installing Firefox Add-on YSlow, I discovered my blog was just absolutely slow coming in at a Grade F evaluation by this add-on and that got me on a quest to drastically decrease my blog’s loading time.

For about a week I researched the greatest tweaks to a faster wordpress blog and finally managed to get my blog up to a Grade B/C.

DISCLAIMER This tutorial is provided as it is. I shall not be held responsible in any way should you encounter any problem whatsoever along the way. Use this at your own discretion. It worked EXCELLENTLY well for me and should do the same for you hopefully!

So here are my are my Top 7 Tweaks To A Faster WordPress Blog

  1. Deactivate or better still Delete All Unused Plug-ins: Word around the net has it that these plug-ins though no activated impact on server load. I really don’t know how true that is.
  2. Try and use less plug-ins by looking for alternatives that could be hardcoded into strategic locations of your theme’s template. Check out SOB’s Top 5 WordPress Plug-in Alternatives: Reduce Server Load & Site Loading Time.
  3. Optimize your theme’s template by getting rid of unnecessary PHP tags because some of them just lead to unnecessary queries on your server.  The following tags which can be found in your theme’s header.php, sidebar.php or footer.php can be hardcoded into the template thereby reducing server load. image Here’s a simple way of doing this. Open your blog’s home page in Firefox. When it’s done loading, right-click on it and select view page source. This immediately pops up a page that shows you the html of your blog’s home page. Simply open your theme editor and start replacing the php tags above with the urls that have taken their place in the page source view. For more information check out Problog Design’s posts 13 Tags To Delete From Your WordPress Theme & 10 Ways To Speed Up Your WordPress Blog and also Yoast’s Speed Up WordPress.
  4. Optimize your database by getting rid of accumulated junk in your database. Yoast’s Optimize DB plug-in and Ruhani Rabin’s WP-Optimize get the job done in no time.
  5. Use a cache plug-in. What this plug-in does is to cache your blog pages as html pages in order to increase the response speed and minimize the server load. Once a request is made for a page on your site, the cache engine is called by WordPress. It checks if the html for this request is in cache and is still valid. If so the html page is returned and everything from database connection to queries and loading of plug-ins are halted. So far so good there are 3 Cache plug-ins that look quite promising. They are WP-Super Cache, Hyper Cache and 1 Blog Cacher. Evaluate them @ your risk and make a choice.
  6. Optimize your style sheet @ Clean CSS. It sure did get rid of the junk in my style.css and even reduced the size.
  7. Finally Add future Expires and Cache-Control headers to your blog. When someone lands on your site for the first time, a lot of http requests are carried out in a bid to get all the files needed for optimal viewing of your site. Now if these files are stored in the cache of your visitor’s browser, further page views on your site will be a whole lot faster as things like images, JavaScript etc will not be downloaded a second time. Adding this code to your wordpress installation directory’s  .htaccess file fixes this problem.

    <ifModule mod_expires.c>
    ExpiresActive On
    ExpiresDefault “access plus 1 seconds”
    ExpiresByType text/html “access plus 1 seconds”
    ExpiresByType image/gif “access plus 2592000 seconds”
    ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access plus 2592000 seconds”
    ExpiresByType image/png “access plus 2592000 seconds”
    ExpiresByType text/css “access plus 604800 seconds”
    ExpiresByType text/javascript “access plus 216000 seconds”
    ExpiresByType application/x-javascript “access plus 216000 seconds”
    </ifModule>

    <ifModule mod_headers.c>
    <filesMatch “\\.(ico|pdf|flv|jpg|jpeg|png|gif|swf)$”>
    Header set Cache-Control “max-age=2592000, public”
    </filesMatch>
    <filesMatch “\\.(css)$”>
    Header set Cache-Control “max-age=604800, public”
    </filesMatch>
    <filesMatch “\\.(js)$”>
    Header set Cache-Control “max-age=216000, private”
    </filesMatch>
    <filesMatch “\\.(xml|txt)$”>
    Header set Cache-Control “max-age=216000, public, must-revalidate”
    </filesMatch>
    <filesMatch “\\.(html|htm|php)$”>
    Header set Cache-Control “max-age=1, private, must-revalidate”
    </filesMatch>
    </ifModule>

    <ifModule mod_headers.c>
    Header unset ETag
    </ifModule>
    FileETag None

    <ifModule mod_headers.c>
    Header unset Last-Modified
    </ifModule>

    You can get more info @ SamAxes Blog

That’s pretty much how I got my blog up to a Grade B/C. Also check out Earners Blog’s Diggproof Your WordPress.

I hope my Top 7 Tweaks To A Faster WordPress Blog works wonders for your blog as well.

Have you had better results using other methods? Do feel free to share with us and also share this post with your friends Via Twitter, Digg and other bookmarking sites.

Comments

  1. Jade@Outdoor Camping Gears says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for these tips. I have a large number of WordPress sites running on a dedicated server – about 200 and it is really starting to get a bit slow now. The server is always in swap (the equivalent of virtual memory on Windows), which is not good.

    These tips should be pretty useful in helping me combat this problem. In particular I am interested in the super cache.

    • Udegbunam Chukwudi says:

      @Jade: Thanks for the comment. 200 wordpress sites is quite a daunting task. How do you manage and what are the sites for? I recommend HyperCache as Supercache didn’t really agree with my shared hosting server. Who knows maybe Supercache works well for dedicated servers. Do let me know if you manage to get your sites sunning fast with these tips.

      P.S: I added the name of your site for you in the name field. Cheers.

  2. I could not understand a thing about the CDN in it nor I could be able to use CDN (For expert user, not enough help, i dont know whats domain rename tool, its complex, i tried but…) but I am using W3TC now.

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