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WordPress® Performance Guide

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There are many ways to improve performance of your WordPress® site. They include Plugins and adjustments to your design. This guide will walk you through the best ways to improve your WordPress® response time. We ask that if you are unsure of any part of this guide that you always make a complete back-up of your website so that you can revert back to previous configuration at any time. http://www.networksolutions.com/support/backup-and-restore/.

What Influences Site Performance?

Themes and Design:

When choosing a Theme it is best to choose one that has very few images. While some Themes have a better visual appeal due to numerous images that they consist of they will add extra time to load the images. This can increase the amount of time for your website to load. We recommend choosing a simple but appealing looking Theme to ensure that it loads quickly with little delay. Once you have implemented this you can run the FireBug™ YSlow site test to ensure that your Theme is properly designed.

Network Solutions® one click installation of WordPress® comes pre-loaded with several recommended Themes. They are built for both visual appeal and speed.

Caching:

Caching is a common practice and it allows the server to save a static version of the page for faster loading. Generally, Plugins or applications will give you an option to set this to save for a certain period of time or until a post or page is updated. We recommend 15 minutes as it allows all users in a 15 minute timeframe to access the static version of the page with very little chance of an update being missed due to the caching of the page.

Compression:

Compressing files is the best way to improve performance. There are Plugins or applications that will allow you to setup GZIP caching on your website which will compress the background files that make your site run. This is then sent to the visitor and uncompressed on the fly by their browser.

Image Settings:

In many cases we post pictures on our blogs that have a very high degree of detail. This means that they also take up a lot of space and take extra time to download. Loading applications or Plugins that will automatically upon posting size that image down to allow faster download speeds is the best way to improve performance.

 

Now Let’s Put this into Action:

Programs that will assist with tuning your Site:

The programs that we recommend to assist you with Tuning are:

Mozilla® FireFox available at: http://www.getfirefox.com
YSlow FireBug™ Plugin for FireFox available at: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5369/

Information regarding how to use the YSlow plugin can be located at: http://developer.yahoo.com/yslow/

Recommended Plugins –

·         W3 Total Cache – This sets the compression, caching and other background elements of your site so that it loads quickly and efficiently.

·         Smush.it – This will compress images and convert to web versions without a loss in quality or detail.

Steps to follow:

Install Word Press:

Using the 1 click installation from Network Solutions® is the easiest way to get your blog off and running. You can find instructions on how to do so by visiting the URL below:

http://www.networksolutions.com/support/how-to-view-the-open-source-library/

Choose a Theme:

You can choose a new Theme from the basic WordPress® by accessing your administration panel. You must enter your blog URL with /wp-admin/ after it. You will then be prompted to login. Once you have access to this section use the following steps to choose your Theme:

·         Click Appearance

·         Click Themes

You can now choose from already installed available themes. Most are designed by Network Solutions® to quickly load with very minimal delays. If you would like to browse other Themes in the WordPress® Community simply click the Add New button at the top of the screen next to Manage Themes. Follow the steps on screen to install a new theme.

Note: It is best to pick a simple layout with fewer images to enhance the loading time of your blog.

Installing Plugins:

From the administration panel follow the steps below:

·         Click Plugins

·         Click Add New

·         Search for the Plugin that you would like to install.

Follow the onscreen instructions to install the Plugin.

Activate a Plugin:

Most Plugins once installed need to be activated from the administration panel. Follow the steps below to activate a Plugin.

·         Click Plugin

·         Click Installed

·         Click activate next to the Plugin that you would like to turn on.

If you have an advance Plugin that requires additional settings you can simply click the Settings link under the Plugin name.

Caching and Compression:

We recommend using the W3 Total Cache plug-in for WordPress® as it is a 1-stop shop for taking care of the background settings needed to speed up your website.

Once you activate this Plugin your administration panel will now have a Performance option. You can simply click Performance and then Disable on the Preview Mode option at the top of the screen.

The Plugin has all of the general options that you should have turned on. If you require further performance tuning you should do so after visiting the W3 Total Cache site at the following URL:

http://www.w3-edge.com/wordpress-plugins/w3-total-cache/   

Image Compression:

Image compression is essential for any website as it will take your large scale photos and turn them into a web version that will allow your site to load faster. An application we recommend is Smush.it as it will do this compression on the fly when you upload. You simply need to install it and activate.

For more information visit the Smush.it page at: http://dialect.ca/code/wp-smushit/. 

Remember, your site will require constant tuning and adjustments to ensure that it is running smoothly. It is always best to review WordPress® forums and community sites for developments and news related to your application.

 

 

 

 

 

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