At this point, I should let you know that since everyone’s website is different, it’s near impossible to troubleshoot every tiny little performance issue in order to compile a complete list of resource leeches – believe me, I tried! It’s much easier – and lazier… – to put together a few quick, hard and fast rules for increasing your site’s page speed. The only problem is, that means many valuable tips are left out.
What’s why in this post, I’m going to show you how to troubleshoot your site’s loading time to pinpoint 14 commonly forgotten page speed and performance issues, as well as give you 27 solutions to fix them.
If you’re a seasoned web developer, you may see some familiar tips, but there are many below that are superb reminders. So without further ado, let’s get started!
Troubleshooting Your Slooow WordPress Website
When you’re trying to get an overview of your site’s speed and performance, one of the best things you can do is to start troubleshooting. In this case, that means collecting data from different parts of your site where performance issues could be originating.
Once you have collected the data, you can analyze it to see where your site is having issues so you can begin resolving them.
It’s a great idea to start with figuring out your average page speed. Once you have a good idea of the average load time for your site, you can look over your resources and site’s usage statistics to get a more in-depth picture of how your site is performing.
Here’s a list of the best points of interest to collect your data for troubleshooting speed problems:
Ping your site from different locations around the world – You can use services such as Pingdom
to check load times from different locations.
Find your PageSpeed Insights score – Use the Google PageSpeed Insights
tool to get a score for how fast your site is as well as insights on where improvements could be made.
You could collect all this individual information manually or you can do it automatically with services such as our own WP Checkup
. You can get a quick and free scan of your site with WP Checkup
to get a score of your site’s performance as well as comprehensive details on how you can improve your site’s page speed, performance, security and more.
Once you have collected information from all these areas, take note of your resources and how much you have used them compared to how much you have available to you. Also, make an extra note of any issues the Google PageSpeed Insights score gave you.
Then, keep reading for some of the most commonly forgotten page speed and performance issues and their solutions. That way, you can start improving your site and even right this second if you want.
For example, if you noticed you’re using up a lot of your storage space and you have a ton of images or plugins installed, make a note of it because there are solutions for this below.
Feel free to click one of the links below to skip down to that section:
Forgotten Problem #2: Too Many (Uncompressed) Images
If you find you have a ton of images on your site and they’re using a lot of your storage space, there are a few ways you can help scale down their weight and improve the speed of your site at the same time.
Solution #2: Optimize and compress your images. You can do this automatically with the WP Smush Pro plugin
Forgotten Problem #3: Too Little Resources and DNS or Hosting Issues
If you have reached 40% of any one of your resources, it’s a good time to start thinking of an action plan to keep up with your site’s growth in the future. This is especially true if you have used up these resources in a short amount of time and expect to keep going at the same pace.
If you’re using more than 40% (and especially over 60%) of any of your resources, it’s recommended that you try to take action as soon as you can to try and reduce this number.
Solution #5: Quickly reaching your hosting caps? Try the other tips here to reduce the resources you’re using.
Solution #6: If these tips don’t work, it may be time to upgrade your hosting plan.
Solution #7: You can also use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to alleviate a lot of the stress on your hosting and server if you’re finding you’re getting too much traffic than your site can handle. You can check out CDN’s such as CloudFlare
and Amazon S3
or other similar services.
Also, check out these other posts for more details:
Out with the old and in with the new, well, in this case, protocol. Unless you’re from a dystopian future where computers and the internet no longer exist and you’re reading this off of a printout, you’re probably seeing http at the beginning of your browser’s address bar (or more accurately https since an SSL certificate is installed).
This indicates the HTTP protocol and there’s been an update to HTTP/2 that makes your site load faster when you implement it.
While you’re at it, also consider installing a free SSL certificate
from a trusted and open source Certificate Authority called Let’s Encrypt
. It’s going to help make your site more secure and takes a few minutes to install completely.
Forgotten Problem #5: Poorly Coded or Too Many Plugins, Themes or Scripts
It’s one of the more common problems on this list, but it’s still often ignored (even by me sometimes) since it’s easier on the brain to believe that the plugins, themes and scripts that you’re using are all coded perfectly and that we can use as many as we want.
The reality is, no matter how well-coded any of these are, there’s still bound to be bugs. It’s like trying to write an essay without any mistakes whatsoever. It’s technically possible, but the likelihood of that happening is practically zero.
Plus, many plugins, themes and scripts out there aren’t coded as well as you would hope. They could be bloated and weigh down your site which leads to slower page load times. Also, if your hosting plan doesn’t have enough resources to cover your needs, your site’s performance is going to suffer.
Solution #9: Review and test any plugins, themes or scripts you intend to use and be sure they perform well before using them on a live site. Fix them or contact the developer if necessary, or find an alternative.
Solution #10: Remove all plugins, themes and scripts you’re not going to use, such as Hello Dolly.
Solution #11: Try reducing the overall amount of plugins you use by finding solutions that are multi-purpose.
Super speed and performance with WP Hummingbird
Lightweight and fast, Hummingbird caches, minifies, combines, defers and compresses, making optimizations in line with Google PageSpeed, and turning your website into a lean, mean, speed machine.
Forgotten Problem #6: Scripts that Aren’t Minimized and No Caching
WordPress sites inherently have dynamic content included in them and chances are, you have added much more with plugins and themes. Since your site isn’t static, with only a color background and some text, it’s important to do what you can to optimize your content so it loads faster.
Using a lot of plugins that each make third-party API calls can weigh down your site and make your site sluggish. Plugins that make calls to third-party API’s include Twitter and other social media plugins, managed backup plugins and many others.
Solution #15: While these plugins aren’t all bad, if you have some installed that you know you don’t really need, it’s a good idea to uninstall them or find a better alternative.
Forgotten Problem #9: Messy Database and Un-Optimized Site
Speaking of caching, there are a lot of other ways to optimize your site and database. Every spam comment, post revision, lingering plugin data and more can put a strain on your resources and site speed.
Probably one of the most annoying messages to see in Google’s PageSpeed Insights score is that your site needs to have some render-blocking issues cleared. Does it go into detail on what this means? No. Can fixing it drastically jack up your page speed? Yes.
Forgotten Problem #11: Hot Linking and Resource Leeches
I would love to think that things like hotlinking have died with the 90s, but unfortunately, it’s far from the truth. People out there are still linking images (and videos) directly on their site, but from external sources.
If it happens to you, it means that someone is stealing your resources. Every time a visitor loads their site with your images, they’re using your bandwidth to view it.
Image hot linking isn’t the only source for draining your resources. There are other resource leeches that hit closer to home, such as trackbacks, pingbacks, comments and site registrations.
On their own, they’re not bad at all, but many users, namely spammers, use them incorrectly or abuse them so they suck up your resources like a sponge.
Solution #22: If you don’t need them, disable features that are commonly used for spam such as trackbacks, pingbacks, comments and site registrations. You can also use a plugin to better manage them. For more details, check out The Ultimate Guide to WordPress Spam
Forgotten Problem #12: Hackers and Spammers
Now that we’re on the subject of spam, there are a lot of ways that spam can be dangerous for your site including facilitating DDoS, XSS and brute force attacks, to only name a few.
Forgotten Problem #14: Too Many Posts, Pages and Redirects
When your site or blog has been around for quite some time, it’s likely to end up with a ton of out-of-date posts and pages. What’s worse than a visitor landing on one of these unhelpful pages is that it reduces your page speed because it clutters up your database.
The more clutter in your database, the slower your site loads.
Solution #26: You could delete them or if you don’t want to risk your search engine ranking, you can use 301 redirects to forward old posts and pages to new ones.
If you have redirects set up, but with three or more links instead of only one, it means your page is being redirected again and again, and again. This could not only lead to the Too Many Redirects Error
, but best case scenario, your page doesn’t even load slowly, it barely loads at all.
Solution #27: Clean up old 301 redirects so there’s only one per post or page.