The Need for Speed ( :
Everyone wants a speedy website. A fast website means happy customers, and happy customers mean repeat customers. Even Google pays attention to your site’s speed, and has even started penalizing slow sites in their search results! No one wants that.
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To test the speed of your website you can use tools such as Google Page Speed Test, Pingdom, and GTMetrix.
Perform a speed test before taking any actions to increase the page speed. Once you’ve taken some steps to increase the speed of your website, perform the test again to see the difference.
The sites above will also give you suggestions on how to improve your site’s speed. If you use WordPress to run your website, a plugin like W3 Total Cache can resolve speed issues.
W3 Total Cache is a web performance optimization WordPress plugin. It was developed by Frederick Townes and has been around for a long time. Total Cache also has a 4.5-star rating in the WordPress plugin repository.
While W3 Total Cache comes with many benefits, its biggest benefit is the decrease in load time of a WordPress website.
W3 Total Cache’s features include:
- SSL Support
- Improvements in search engine result page rankings, especially for mobile-friendly websites and sites that use SSL
- Content Management Delivery Support
Installing W3 Total Cache works just like any other WordPress plugin:
- Go to the admin (dashboard) area
- Under the New Plugin option, search for W3 Total Cache
- Click on install
- Click Activate
Setting the plugin up isn’t complicated but it does require some thought. There’re a lot of options, but I promise it’s not as intimidating as it may look.
The first task to take, under the General Settings tab for the plugin, is to make sure Page Cache is enabled so W3 Total Cache can do its job.
A cache is a collection of your website pages that are saved and then shown to visitors as they visit the page. Caching reduces download speeds and will allow W3 Total Cache to create the static pages needed to reduce the load time of your website.
For a beginner or website with low traffic, enabling page cache is probably all you need to do to speed up your website.
This will remove all the extra white space in your site’s code so there’re fewer lines to process in the browser.
Google defines minification as the “process of removing unnecessary or redundant data without affecting how the resource is processed by the browser – e.g. code comments and formatting, removing unused code, using shorter variable and function names, and so on.”
You turn this feature on in W3 Total Cache under the setting’s Minify menu option. Just click the enable checkboxes for HTML, JS, and CSS. Be sure to save your settings!
These 2 changes should be enough to boost your site speed, especially if you have mostly static content (like images) on your website.
However, if You Need More
According to CloudFlare, a CDN “refers to a geographically distributed group of servers which work together to provide fast delivery of Internet content.” There’re numerous CDNs available, so be sure to do some research before you choose one.
Here’s an article about how to choose a CDN that will help.
Depending on your plan, your hosting provider may offer this service as well.
Check Other Possible Speed Drainers
Other items to consider when troubleshooting a slow site is the size of images being used and the WordPress database itself. Both can be optimized. Also, check to make sure your site is secure and hasn’t been compromised.
Overall, W3 Total Cache is an excellent WordPress plugin to help enhance your website’s speed.
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