Posted on 12/02/2016 07:53

Wordpress - Faster? Secure? Updated?

Hello good KPI people,

Some of you had some questions about speeding up your Wordpress sites, so I thought I would put together a page that covered a way that I used to speed up my site. There are many ways to speed your site, this is the path I followed but I am sure there are other ways.

How fast is yoursite?

Firstly you should benchmark your site. Your first level of benchmark is your own experience using your site, the other levelisto use a diagnosis application, I prefer the two below:

GT Metrix is quite comprehensive and is my prefered choice.

Many factors can affect the speed of your site, you may want to run the diagnosisa few times to get an average.

Now that you have your page loading speedscore, you will have an idea how your website compares to other sites and you goal is to get an A/A rating or at least under 5 second load time.

My site homepage has aA (95) /A (91) rating and a 3 second load time, you can view a report of my site homepage speed here

Below are some steps with walk throughs, you can follow all or some of these steps, it is up to you:

  1. Change host– your host, where your website physically lives can affect the speed of your site. I chose Siteground, they are a dedicated WordPress and Joomla host that have great tools for managing your site, I believe they are one of the bests hosts on the market.
    You can follow these links to get hosting with Siteground, for optimisedspeed I would choose “GrowBig” package:
    Web Hosting

    Web Hosting
    Once you have you started your account with Sitegound, they can even transfer your site for you (for a small fee) and their GrowBig package has a very fast help request response time.Please note that changing your website host could affect your email host as well if your email is linked to your domain name, seek advice before changing.
  2. Compress your images – Most self createdwebsites have images which are too big, even professional sitescan have oversized images. Large image fileswill slow down your site significantly. I recommend a plugin calledSmush It, this can be installed by searching for it in your WordPress installation or by clicking here Once installed, activate and run the plugin, it may take some time to compress all your imagesbut well worth it.
  3. Content Delivery Network (CDN)– Siteground has a free subscription to the Cloudflare CDN. A CDN allows you to protect your site from hackers and also allows you to deliver your content to your customers faster.
    For cloudflare to work on siteground, your domain should have the WWW prefix, like www.hit-equipment.com.au not just hit-equipment.com.au. Once this is done, do the following.
    In your Siteground User Area select “Information and Settings”, and then select”CloudFlare CDN: Access” > “Activate” >”Manage” > “Settings” . In settings select the following:

    1. CloudFlare Caching Level -Aggressive
    2. Development Mode – Off
    3. CloudFlare Security Settings -Medium
    4. Always Online- on
    5. Email Obfuscation Parameters- On
    6. Auto Minify (Web Optimization) Javascript On
      CSS -On
      HTML -On
      Railgun – On
  4. Supercache– this is a phenomenal plugin developed by sitground to speed up WordPress sites and is only available on “GrowBig” packages. To get this working, log into siteground user area and select > My Accounts > Go to cPanel > Site Improvement Tools > Supercache
    Then Level 1 > Manage domain cache > ON
    Level 2 >Manage application cache > ON
    Level 3 > Mem Cache > OnThen on your wordpress site you need to install their custom plugin (there should be a download link in the supercache area) and activate it. Their instructions are listed as follows “1) Download and add our special plugin to your application and 2) Switch the caching service ON from this panel. Enabling the Dynamic cache for any of the installations will automatically enable the static caching for your account!”For more information on supercache follow this link
  5. Scripts to Footer– You can move your scripts, which get generated by WP and Plugins, to the bottom of your page. This will allow the content to load first and the scripts to run at the end. This is a WordPress plugin that is easy to install and activate. Not all sites will respond to this plugin but most should Plugin found here
  6. Disable unused plugins– Turn off any plugins you do not use. I found Jetpack slowed down my site as well, if you do not use the features in Jetpack, disable it.

After you have made these changes, run GT Metrix again, you should see a significant difference. If it did not improve your site, something went wrong, log a ticket with Sitegound and ask them to help. 🙂

I hope this has helped you all and look forward to seeing you at the next training day.

 

HIT Update and Backup Service

This is not something I usually do, but thought I would offer this to KPI Members if you are interested.

WordPress sites have to be constantly updated to avoid security vulnerabilities and exploits that pop up on the internet from time to time. You may not realise, but almost every single website is being constantly probedby hackers looking for holes in security. When one is found, hackers spread the information quickly and attacks on sites occur looking for holes. Updates are usually released fairly quickly to rememdy this but if you do not install the update, your site is like an open door.

For interested KPI members, I can offer the following:

  • Daily Plugin and WordPress update checking and implementation
  • iThemes Security Pro installation, guarding against hack attempts by strengthening your WP site with 30+ check points and modifications
  • Weekly backups to our cloud server, local server, your own cloud server (dropbox etc..) or all 3
  • 4 weeks of backups stored on our cloud server

Monthly cost would be $47.90 ex GST

If this is of interest, contact me by email from our contacts page

 

About Erik Pizzorni

I have 18years of website development, starting myfirst IT company in 1998 after working in the industry since 1996 constructing websites. From 1998 to 2003 I was the director of a company thatworked with State and Federal government departments as well as large insurance and car corporations. From 2003 my main focus has beenrunning my commercial catering equipment business, however I part time consult and project manage production for Why Agencywith my ownproduction team that also services my businesstechnological and online needs.