Why should you speed up WordPress?

When checking out new websites, nothing makes me spring for the “back” button like a slow webpage. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here — site performance greatly impacts the user experience and largely shapes how visitors judge the quality of an online business.

There’s little room for error with page speed and patience. According to Google, your website should load in two seconds or less. Any longer and visitors start to lose interest. Page performance is also a ranking factor used by search engines including Google. The faster your site, the more likely you’ll land a coveted spot at the top of the SERP.

Now, WordPress doesn’t exactly specialize in speed right out of the box. This is due largely in part to how WordPress works: When someone visitors a page on your site, WordPress dynamically constructs the page by pulling data from various sources — like your WordPress database and theme files — then combining them into an HTML file that is sent to the visitor’s browser. Building pages “on the fly” like this isn’t always ideal for performance.

Plus, WordPress themes and plugins all consume valuable server resources, even if you’re not actively using them on your site. Too many things running on your web server at once will deplete its resources, slow down your pages, and thwart off conversions.

As we’ll soon see, many approaches to speed up WordPress are pretty non-technical, while others involve installing a plugin or even changing some of the code yourself (as long as you know what you’re doing). You may even begin to see improvements after taking just a few of these steps.