Improving PageSpeed on your WordPress website can be a difficult task, but it is doable.
In this post, I’ll walk you through each step of achieving your Core Web Vitals goal.
All of these steps were completely free of charge and were carried out entirely by myself. As a result, you can do it as well.
The first thing you need to know is what tools you can use to test your site.
Google Lighthouse is the most obvious example. Lighthouse can be found in Chrome Devtools.
To access Lighthouse, open the Google Chrome developer console by pressing Option + ⌘+ J (on macOS) or Shift + CTRL + J (on Windows/Linux).
Make sure that you are in incognito mode.
Additional tools that you can use with lighthouse are:
PageSpeed: A Major Effort Commitment
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for increasing site speed, particularly on WordPress.
WordPress comes with a lot of baggage, and WordPress themes are no exception. Some may argue that you are better off coding your own site, and they may be correct.
But, in this case, I wanted to optimize my WordPress site. Not from the ground up. To achieve your goal, you must put in a lot of effort and, let’s face it, make some sacrifices.
- Purchase a lightweight theme, more features = more challenges.
- Keep the number of plugins to a minimum
- Reduce and compress your images
Steps to Improving PageSpeed on WordPress
- Have a decent host provider (host: GreenGeeks)
- Purchase the fastest WordPress Theme possible (theme: Dabba)
- Compress all images and use the
Webpversion when possible (plugin: Imagify)
- Use the Caching plugin recommended by my host provider. (plugin: LiteSpeed Cache)
- Clean-up unused assets (plugin: Asset Cleanup)
- Set-up Cloudflare CDN (plugin: Cloudflare)
- Set-up Cloudflare Worker (plugin: Cloudflare Page Cache)
This is one of the easiest things to fix.
- Upload smaller images
- Optimise the images with Imagify
Next, install the Imagify plugin.
This plugin will do the following:
- convert images to web format
- Images that are too large for your settings should be resized.
- make thumbnails for small devices
Install a Browser Caching Plugin
I encountered a few difficulties during this step. I began with the most recommended plugin, W3TotalCache (Bluehost recommends it), but I never had much success.
When I had the most success, I looked for the answer on the website of my host provider.
Clean Up Unused Assets
This is one of the most important steps. What you don’t need to be on your website is being removed.
WordPress, dependencies, and plugins can all add a lot of unnecessary code to your pages.
Asset Cleanup lets you select what you want to keep and remove.
Set up Cloudfare CDN
You will not be able to achieve your goal unless you use Cloudflare CDN. Cloudflare, fortunately, offers a free option for small site owners.
The Cloudflare CDN serves content from a server that is closer to the user. Users in Australia read my blog from a server in Sydney, despite the fact that my host servers are in Canada.
To Cache Everything, you’ll need to create a page rule.
Set up Cloudfare Worker
The final but not least step was to set up a caching worker on Cloudflare.
This step contributed to excellent page speed results, but it has some drawbacks.
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The free version has a flaw as well. When the site receives 100K requests, it is blocked. You can get 10 million requests for $5 per month.
Images courtesy: JC Chouinard