Written by Editorial Team on January 22, 2020

6 Steps To Massively Improve WordPress Loading Speed

How To Improve WordPress Loading Speed
Step by step guide to improve WordPress loading speed

We are not shy to say that the editorial team of WP Maven are speed geeks. We hate slow loading WordPress site and we'll do anything to improve WordPress loading speed (one of them is to move to a web hosting solution that we can truly trust). We even happily spend a significant amount every month to host on Kinsta Hosting.

After years of using WordPress, WordPress CMS is a complicated CMS when it comes to improving WordPress site speed because no two websites perform the same.

Why? We are working with different WordPress plugins, themes and web hosting solutions.

If you are looking for a one-size-fits-all type of guide to speed up your WordPress site, you will be fairly disappointed (with Google). This post is all about the exact steps we took to make our website loads faster and which, you can follow too.

Take a look a the table below to learn more about what you are getting in this post.

TopicsKey Takeaways
Web HostingWordPress specialized servers load faster than a typical shared hosting
ThemeLightweight theme reduces the overall size of the website and offers clean coding
PluginsUse only essential plugins and remove the ones you are not using/require
Content Delivery Network (CDN)CDN allows you to speed up delivery of static files to your web visitors (making the website loads faster)
Lazy Load ImagesImages will only load once the enter the viewport of the website visitors.
Cache PluginsUse the right cache plugin and setting them up correctly to enjoy the maximum speed boost

1. Reliable Web Hosting Promises Speed

Choose The Right Web Hosting For Faster Loading Speed
Web hosting plays a vital role in WordPress loading speed

Web hosting is the most important core/thing when it comes to improving the loading speed of your WordPress site. It serves as the backbone for your website to load.

Here's a simple example for easier understanding.

Web Hosting TypeAverage Loading SpeedPricing
Shared HostingSlow to ModerateCheap, under $10 a month
Managed WordPress HostingModerate to HighAffordable, between $10 to $100 on average

When it comes to web hosting, what you pay is what you will get. If you are just starting a WordPress blog, go with shared hosting is probably the best way forward because it is affordable and doesn't cost you a large upfront investment.

If you have decent traffic (approximately 1,000 visitors a day), it is best to migrate to be a better hosting solution. Managed WordPress hosting is best because you get superior server performance and better website security/protection.

WP Maven uses Kinsta hosting and we can not be happier. Read our review on Kinsta.

Now, what is the average website speed you should be getting right now with shared hosting?

Assuming that you installed a decent WordPress theme and some plugins, you should be hitting around 2 seconds. Installing WordPress cache plugin and Cloudflare will further improve the loading speed to around 1.5 seconds on average. These stats are just guidelines and not official as there are many variables to consider.

Summary: Choosing the right web hosting solution is the most important step (ever). You may have the best cache setup but if your hosting server isn't able to cope up with the traffic, your effort will be wasted. If you need help with finding the right hosting solution, read this article: How to know if this is the RIGHT hosting company for me?

2. Clean Coded And Lightweight WordPress Theme

Clean And Well Coded WordPress Themes Load Faster
A well-coded WordPress theme will improve the website loading speed

WordPress themes serve as clothes to make your site looks great to the eyes. Most WordPress users are so focused on finding the most beautiful WordPress theme that they had forgotten to consider the theme loading speed.

Let's face it. WordPress is home to thousands of free themes but some of them are so disastrously coded that it will impact your overall loading speed. Just like web hosting, choosing the right WordPress theme is critical for your success (in improving your WordPress speed).

So, which is the lightest WordPress theme that you can use today? Here are the top 4 options we highly recommend you to use.

Side note: The above WordPress themes are not only lightweight, but they are also well coded too!

3. Use Only Essential Plugins

Remove Unwanted WordPress Plugins To Speed Up WordPress Site
Speed up WordPress site by removing unwanted WordPress plugins

The impact of installing a plugin goes a long way. These plugins provide functionality that makes our web development much easier. For WordPress beginners, plugins are God-send.

But do you know that installing too many plugins will slow down your WordPress site?

Here are some of the best practises when it comes to using WordPress plugins:

WordPress Plugins Best Practises
1. Install only the plugins that you require.
2. Deactivate and delete plugins you no longer need.
3. Keep the number of plugins installed to the minimum.
4. Find alternative plugins for those plugins that require many resources.

4. Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Improve WordPress Site Speed By Using A CDN
CDN services help to improve WordPress loading time for visitors

Do you want to improve WordPress loading speed? Using a CDN service such as Cloudflare will make your website faster and significantly.

If you are using managed WordPress hosting like us, you might be able to enjoy premium CDN services (at no additional cost to you). We are hosted on Kinsta and we have KinstaCDN activated on this site.

Using A CDN Will Improve WordPress Loading Speed
Using a CDN service will speed up the loading speed of your WordPress site

Not sure if your web hosting company provides CDN services?

Talk to them today and we know quite a few shared hosting solutions that integrate with Cloudflare Railgun services.

5. Lazy Load Images

Lazy Load Images Improves WordPress Loading Speed
Improve WordPress site speed by enabling lazy load images

One of the better ways to improve WordPress loading speed is by lazy load images. But what is lazy loading images mean to us?

Lazy loading images means loading images on websites asynchronously — that is, after the above-the-fold content is fully loaded, or even conditionally, only when they appear in the browser's viewport. This means that if users don't scroll all the way down, images placed at the bottom of the page won't even be loaded.


Images take time to load from the server database to your visitor's device. Instead of loading all the images on the page, lazy loading images will only load images that are within the visitor's viewport.

When this is set up correctly, this will improve your WordPress loading speed.

What are the best plugins to lazy load images on WordPress?

*P.S. Do you know that well-optimized images will also make WordPress loads faster? Here are the top 6 image optimizer plugins for WordPress.

6. Cache Plugins

Best Cache Plugin And Setup For Faster WordPress Loading
Take time to customize your cache plugin for best resilts

Last but not least, you can 'easily' speed up any WordPress site with cache plugins. Do you notice that I said cache plugins instead of a (plural) plugin?

The basic cache education we'd received in the past is not to have two cache plugins do the same job. Not only that these will create WordPress conflict, but this process might also slow down your site.

However, there is an exception. When you know exactly what you are doing (having two or more cache plugins installed), could make your website loads faster.

To make our point, allow us to share with you the steps we took to make our WordPress site loads from 915ms to 568ms. That's 38% improvement in speed.

The screenshot below is the speed test done on WP Maven (link). The setup was rather 'stock':

WordPress speed before optimization

To be fair, we even tested on Google PageSpeed Insights before performing any speed optimization. This is how it looks like.

The desktop speed scored rather well with 90 over 100 but the mobile speed score was only 68 over 100. With Google Mobile-First Indexing, we wanted to make our WordPress site faster and better.

We did our research and used a few awesome resources from the Internet like this one to build a strategy about improving WordPress loading speed.

We recommend you to perform a full website backup before doing any speed optimization on WordPress. In the case where you accidentally break anything, you can easily restore from the backup. We hit the 1-click backup on Kinsta and we started doing optimization works in this order.

Step 1: Install Autoptimize and Async JavaScript. As we are all aware, WordPress site will take a longer time when there are more codes in the header. Therefore, this step involves inlining and defer any codes on the header.

Step 2: Setup Autoptimize. Below is how we setup Autoptimize for faster WordPress loading speed.

Step 3: Setting up Async JavaScript. The screenshot below shows our exact Async JavaScript plugin setup.

Async JavaScript plugin comes with Quick Setting. We selected Apply Defer (jQuery excluded) to enable 'defer' mode to all modules and elements. We decided to select Exclude jQuery to avoid any crashes or conflicts.

Click on Save Settings and you are all done. Don't forget to clear all cache and wait for the cache to rebuild.

Now, let's run Pingdom Tools and Google PageSpeed Insights with our new setup.

WordPress site speed after speed optimization

As you can see above, the new setup had shaved off 347ms from the initial speed test results. This new setup also contributed to the increase of the performance grade by 5 points to 86, a reduction of 4 KB in page size and reduction of 3 requests.

Not bad at all, right?

Here's what it looks like on Google PageSpeed Insights.

According to Google PageSpeed Insights, the new WordPress optimization for desktop is now 98 out of 100 (that's an increase of 8 points) and 86 out of 100 for mobile (that's an increase of 18 points).

Now, let's take a moment breath in and analyze the data.

Instead of going the traditional way of working with just one cache plugin, we installed 3 cache plugin, used KinstaDNS and KinstaCDN—which resulted in an amazing (and shocking) speed boost!

You should have seen the faces of our web development team. They were jumping around because they had accomplish a huge goal that started out as an experiencement.

Editorial Team @ WP Maven

Summary: How To Make WordPress Site Loads Faster?

Before we end, we hope that you had a great time reading this WordPress tutorial on WordPress loading speed. We know we certainly did!

Are you a WordPress speed geek too? Leave a comment and share with us your experience in improving WordPress loading speed.

Article written by Editorial Team

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