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How to Reduce Server Response Time in WordPress

One of the big concerns for almost all the WordPress users is how to make the website run faster. In fact, the reduction of the server response time can achieve a large improvement. And in the following, we have listed some useful tips on how to reduce server response time in WordPress.

To explain in a simple way, the SRT is the amount of time between a web browser sending a specific request to the web server and the server machine responding to the request. The most common request is to open and to load a webpage. There is no way for website to load in a fast way with the long server response time. Generally, if your visitors request for opening a page but need to wait for a long time to get the server request, it can be really frustrating. This can surely lead to the loss of traffic and a bad impression on your brand. So, how to deal with this bad situation? The following tips can give you the inspiration.

Check Your WordPress Server Response Speed

Before carrying out any step, you firstly should check the server response speed achieved by your website. There are a lot of useful tools you can use to start the checking, such as Uptime Robot, Pingdom and Google PageSpeed.

Here, we highly recommend the last one for it is the product of Google. To use it, you simply need to enter the PageSpeed Insights tool page, provide the domain name of your site and click the Analyze button.

PageSpeed Insights

According to some SEO experts and search engine giants, the server response time that is no more than 350 is considered as the good one.

Choose the Fast Hosting Provider

It is possible that you have taken all the actions recommended, but still find that your server response time is long. If so, the problem might be your web host. In this case, you should make sure that your current hosting provider ensures the fast performance. Even, you can consider the managed WordPress hosting companies like WPEngine or choose one of the best traditional WordPress hosting like Inmotion Hosting, and Bisend.

If you care the hosting budgets, you can have a look at the following three cost-effective WordPress hosting providers. All of them can promise the fast hosting after our testing and monitoring.

Upgrade Your Plan

The greater number of visitors, the more server resources your website consumes. The response time will be longer when you reach the limit of your web server. There is no denying that shared hosting is a great start. But it also comes with more strict limitations on server resources. So you should take the next step towards VPS hosting or dedicated hosting to accommodate your website. With the resource upgrade, your website is capable of dealing with heavy traffic.

Work with CDN

CDN is perfect for those whose run a global business. Since files are stored by CDN on a global basis, your website will experience faster page load speed. The closest web server will be responsible for the requests from visitors. With the use of CDN, your website will obviously be loaded faster than before. That’s the reason why many webmasters are looking for a web host with CDN service from the beginning. Sometimes, they are not required to pay extra money for that.

Configure Web Server Software

The right configuration of your web server software will also do you a favor. No matter which one you are using, Apache, Nginx, or Litespeed, each one has their pros and cons. What matters is to make web server software work best. This could be possible with the right configuration. To be honest, the task could be too difficult for most webmasters. To save your time and energy, you are advised to get professional assistance from a developer.

Make Use of the Caching Plugin

The installation of the caching plugin is the best way to shorten the server response time of your WordPress site. These tools can save the HTML files that are generated dynamically and automatically. And then, the plugins will serve the caching files and data no matter when there are some requests made for them. Even, for the better improvement, the caching plugin may compress the CSS and JavaScript file for the optimization.

Now, the issue is how to select a proper caching plugin among hundreds of options. In the following, we have listed some tips you can take into account.

  • The plugin should be simple, easy-to-understand and user-friendly.
  • Only the webpage caching is not enough. The plugin should also be powerful enough to cache the database.
  • The ability to compress all the static files is also important. This feature can save the web spaces a lot.

In fact, the widely used plugins are WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache. Both of them can meet the above requirements. You can select between them directly.

Caching Plugin

Delete All the Revisions, Unnecessary Plugins and Transient Memory

WordPress will save all the drafts of your revisions automatically. These extra files will consume and take up a large amount of database. While database optimization is crucial for the server response time reduction, you’d better clean up the transient memory and revisions.

In addition, too many plugins also can lead to the slow response time of your website. This is because any plugin you activate will add the extra weight to your site. Even, if your plugins are poorly coded, these tools can slow down your website greatly. For instance, they will increase the consumption of your database, make the requests to your server persistently and calls to some external services.

In this case, you need to figure out all the plugins you will not use or rarely use from the Plugins area of your admin. And then, you should deactivate and delete them.

Upgrade to the Latest PHP Version

When installing the WordPress script, the PHP version might be the latest version at that time. However, if PHP upgrades, you should do the upgrade accordingly. For instance, PHP 7 can work at least 2 times faster than PHP 5.6. This is because the PHP developers optimize this programming language to handle double requests for each second.

Check the Current Version

If you are comfortable of opening the root directory of your site, you can go through the following steps.

    • Open the code editor like NotePad ++ to add the following line.

phpinfo Code

  • Save this file as the .php file.
  • Upload this new file to the root directory of your server.
  • Open the file on a new browser to check the PHP version.

If you do not want to go through these steps, you can use the WordPress phpinfo plugin. After the installation, you only need to click the settings page of this plugin to check the PHP version.

WordPress phpinfo Plugin

Upgrade to the Latest Version

Here, you can use the cPanel control panel. After the logging in, you can find the MultiPHP Manager icon and click it. From the PHP version drop-down list, you simply need to choose the latest version and hit the Apply button.

Upgrade PHP Version

Reduce the External Scripts

Just like the items of the previous tip, the external scripts also can slow down your server response speed. The share buttons of Facebook and Twitter are the popular external scripts. For the better online performance, you’d better remove them from the homepage. Note that we do not mean to suggest you deleting all of them. This is a big compromise you should consider, choosing between the external features and speed.

Here, we have listed some other common external scripts.

  • YouTube video scripts
  • Google Plus and Disqus comment box
  • Social sharing buttons
  • Live chat box
  • Opt-in forms and pop-up forms
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Fonts

Take the Common Practices for the Performance Improvement

In addition to the previous tips, you also should take the following actions that are widely adopted for the further optimization of the website running.

  • Speed up your homepage and the hot posts to load quickly. This is because more than 90% online traffic of your site comes from these pages.
  • Optimize your images by reducing the weight and size of them.
  • Enable the GZIP compression for all the files on your website.
  • Clean and optimize your database.
  • Make use of the content delivery network.
  • Enable the lazing loading for images and downloadable files.
  • Install the AMP for the better website speed on mobile phones.

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