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(If you just want the guide, click here.)
A common misconception is that the WordPress platform is only good for sole traders, small businesses or bloggers. However it may surprise you to know that WordPress powers 27% of all websites including the likes of:
A particular challenge when running a section of your site (a blog, say) in WordPress is slow page load speeds. When the main site is operated separately from the blog, it is easy to optimise one and not account properly for siloes that will have different requirements. To make immediate improvements to your WordPress site or blog in under an hour, all that’s needed is the installation of a caching plugin and the correct configuration. Based on the tests you'll see below, you can see seconds shaved off the time a user has to wait before reading, engaging with and sharing your content.
There are three key reasons:
W3 Edge sum up the plugin nicely on their website, saying: “W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.”
You can download the plugin quite simply from your site's WordPress Dashboard:
In short, yes! I was as sceptical as you when I first stumbled upon caching plugins, but it really does work magic. The site I tested and implemented this on had an average page load time of 9.9 seconds. An hour later, once I’d installed the plugin and configured the settings, which I take you through at the end of this post, the pages were loading at 3 seconds – an astonishing change in such a short space of time. That’s an improvement of over six and a half seconds!
Now are you convinced? Good! Without further ado, I’m now going to talk you through how to fix slow page loading time using a plugin called W3 Total Cache.
Leave as is. The developer of W3 Total Cache suggests that the preset configurations for minification, database and object caching do not need optimisation.
Leave as is.
Leave as is.
A freshly installed version of the plugin might automatically activate the ‘Fragment Cache’ and ‘New Relic’ extensions. Fragment Caching is a paid upgrade within W3 cache and isn’t covered in this article so can be deactivated. New Relic is an app performance and mobile monitoring extension with niche functionality; this can also be deactivated if you wish. If like millions of Wordpress users you use the Yoast SEO plugin, you can enable the Yoast SEO extension within this tab.
And that’s it!
Those are the exact settings which helped catapult my test site from around 10 second load times to 3 seconds. I’m continuing to experiment with the plugin to try and draw more performance gains, and will update this article accordingly when I find them.
I would love to hear from anyone who has decided to try W3 Total Cache and the effect it had on your site speed. Please use the comments section of this post for anything you'd like to share. If you would like Fresh Egg to fix the page load speed on your WordPress site, you can contact us directly for a no-obligation chat..