A GUEST POST FROM OUR FRIENDS AT PAGEPIPE!
(PagePipe is outspoken about speed and performance of WordPress websites. You can feel their passion in this guest post from their founder, Steve Teare.)
This post represents the opinions of the speed experts at PagePipe. HostHuski did not help write or inform the writing of this post.
PagePipe offers WordPress speed testing and performance optimization services. We do repair work and rebuild websites to improve speed. The goal is to have pages load in under 2 seconds. But what is better than repair and rework is using a strategy for speed. Build speed right from the planning stages. We call this site origin optimization. It doesn’t involve the typical speed band-aids of CDNs – or unusual caching techniques.
From the school of hard knocks, we dispel web myths about speed. We give you a leg up on keeping your site fast on HostHuski servers.
HostHuski has fast LiteSpeed servers. They use best practices for speed. If your site is running slow, it’s likely something you’ve built into your site unknowingly. These changes affect how your site talks back-and-forth with the server database.
Read our review of HostHuski services:
So what are some of the worst speed blunders and web myths:
The worst problems we encounter are usually created by fat security plugins. These are plugins like iThemes Security and WordFence. A good clue is how fat a plugin is. That is its download zip file size. The bigger the plugin the more code bloat. There’s more sloppy interaction with your server database files. We have seen these plugins delay load times up to 30 seconds. No one is going to watch a spinner for that long. Users rarely wait even 10 seconds. And a remote mobile wireless connection in a Starbucks parking lot will be much worse.
When we see these popular plugins, we smile. We know the fix is going to be easy. We substitute free discrete plugins instead of a big, popular, multipurpose security plugin.
But the simplest security fix is a twelve-character password. Once hacker robots crack your password, no security plugin saves you. And for goodness sake, change your user name from the default “admin.”
On sites we’ve seen get hacked, the server password was only 5 characters and consisted of English words. Robots can hack that in 45 seconds. And WordPress passwords were also dismal. It’s like saying, “We got robbed – with our shut door locked.” Where was the key? Was it sticking out of the door lock? Gee. I wonder how they got in?
CONTENT DISTRIBUTION NETWORKS (CDN)
CDN is a geographic network of proxy servers and data centers. The worst is free Cloudflare. It often produces 503 and 504 errors (server not found) and causes other delays. The solution is simple: remove it.
Don’t install any SEO plugins. Ever.
Certain add-ons or features are “standard” like comments, social media sharing plugins, chat boxes, carousels, sliders, pop-ups, and Gravatar images.
But we challenge you to ruthlessly assess every “asset” you allow on your website…
Are they really necessary?
Do they provide a tangible meaningful value?
Are they earning you money or just “preening?”
Don’t be a sheep – Think about it. Don’t let “standard” features and add-ons weigh down your mobile site speed.
If you think you must have Google Analytics, do it the fastest way.
OTHER GOOGLE PRODUCTS
While sometimes you may feel some Google products are necessary for your site to be its best self, remember that less is always more. If you care about mobile site speed, do your best to limit reliance on Google products:
- Google Fonts (We know. They are pretty. But just let them go.)
- Google Maps
- Google ReCaptcha
- Google webP
- Google Snippets
- Google AMP
- Google PageSpeed Insight (lies and irrelevant)
Don’t place a subscription signup form on every page of your site.
Instead, create a landing page on your website and then, add the signup form there — ISOLATE it. Then, put a link on your primary navigation menu and in your footer that links to that page.
Now, you can build your email list of true fans and still respect your mobile site speed.
These are some of the bigger offenders for speed. But there’s more. You can read about speeding up your website with free plugins and free themes at https://PagePipe.com.
About the Author
Steve Teare is a performance engineer at PagePipe. He tests and evaluates free WordPress plugins and themes for improved page speed.