How I Reduced WordPress Page Load Time from 4.5 Seconds to 800ms

GTMetrix Report for JayLehtinen.com

It’s no secret that faster websites get more visitors, generate more revenue, and rank better in Search Engines. Therefore, it is extremely important to keep your website running fast in order to maximize your online potential. In this article I am going to reveal The Exact Step I took and reduced WordPress page load time from 4.5 seconds to a whopping 800ms. You’ll be surprised how easy it is!

Why Does Page Load Time Matter?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so take a look at this infographic below (I lost the source, sorry!):

How to Measure Page Loading Time

There are many great tools for measuring page speed. When I need to do a quick lookup, I usually use this one. GTMetrix will analyze your page for speed and give it a performance grade based on several factors. However, these are just recommendations. What you should focus on is the Page Load Time.

Before I took The Exact Step, this is how the results looked like:

Uhh.. It took 4.3 seconds for GTMetrix UK Server to load the home page. That’s just awful! Even two seconds is bad enough for a simple website.

Solution for Improving Page Load Speed: WordPress Page Caching

By default, WordPress generates each page as they are loaded. Depending on your server configuration, website content, and number of plugins used, load times can become slow really quick. Each time a page is generated, WordPress makes calls for each plugin and looks for the page related content in the database. Page caching eliminates (or greatly reduces) this. Instead of generating pages on-the-fly every single time, page content is loaded from a cached copy of the generated page.

I was previously using W3 Total Cache for page caching, which is a great caching plugin, but it eventually broke my site due to incompabilities with some plugins. Tweaking W3 Total Cache to the perfect settings can sometimes take hours so this time I decided to go for WP Rocket. I use it on most of the sites I create so why not add it on my blog as well, I thought.

Here’s the kicker: WP Rocket works on many kinds of WordPress sites straight out-of-the-box and it literally takes less than 10 minutes to set up!

After installing WP Rocket and spending a few minutes adjusting the settings, here is the result from GTMetrix:

All in all, this sped up my site by a whopping 5.4x! As you can see, the test is giving me a bad grade on browser caching, but since it doesn’t affect page speed all that much, I am leaving it at that. For now.

Conclusion

All I can say is that if you are not using a caching plugin like WP Super Cache (free) or WP Rocket on your WordPress site, you should go and install one ASAP. In the long run, you and your visitors will both benefit from it.

Page Caching is only one way to improve your website’s loading time, although a very significant one. Other things to consider are your web host and server configuration in general. If you are a starter running a small website or a simple blog, I would recommend you to give Bluehost a try. For hosting large sites, multiple sites or WooCommerce, I recommend WiredTree or Knownhost.

And remember: No matter what’s your choice, be sure to away from GoDaddy Web Hosting.

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