Speed Up WordPress Website Without Plugins

by | Jul 22, 2022 | How To, Wordpress | 6 comments

Let’s speed up and optimize your wordpress website right now.  Remember, before making changes we should always backup the website.

What are core web vitals?

Core web vitals is a quality assurance measurement developed by Google for delivering great user experiences to search.

Does page speed affect SEO? Yes. The importance of website speed has increasingly been a factor in SEO. Google wants you to be aware of the impact a slow website can have on your visitors. Core web vitals is a way to encourage website owners to provide modern development performance practices for your users.

Specifically, web developers are looking to optimize websites for Google core web vitals.

Google Core Web Vitals

  • LCP – Largest Contentful Paint is loading performance.
  • FID – First Input Delay is user interactivity.
  • CLS – Cumulative Layout Shift is visual stability.

Web Vital Patterns

The following website features are usually the cause for bad website performance. Web.Dev web vital patterns has provided us with alternative code we can utilize to improve those features. Use the code in the examples to help improve your website speed test.

  • Carousels & Sliders
  • Fonts
  • Images
  • Infinite Scroll
  • Banners and Notices
  • Animations & Scroll Effects
  • Placeholders
  • Video

Remember, our websites are for our visitors.  The web design and development main focus should cater to readers in lieu of a businesses personal preferences.

More often than not, we see clients who want to ‘think out of the box’ and provide a visual environment that isn’t always the best choice for website performance and user experience.

Sometimes clients will choose cheap web hosting not knowing the scammy practices associated with it and the low performance danger they are committing to.

How to test website speed

Running a website speed test will display a lot of insights into what is causing most of your issues. Take note of your current speed so that you can test your speed again after applying the following improvements listed in this article.

Use of these trusted website speed test tools will give you insights into what causes the most speed performance issues on your website including images, database queries, running scripts, stylesheets and fonts.

Update WordPress, themes, and plugins

Update wordpress before moving forward. Make sure that everything you are currently using in your wordpress website is up to date. Plugins, WordPress and themes. Depending how behind you are, it’s possible an update can bring you up to speed.

This is the first course of action we need to take before moving onto anything else with improving speed.

How to switch website hosting companies

Did you know changing your web hosting provider is more often than not, the #1 way to increase your website speed dramatically? It’s true. There are many wordpress hosting providers out there but I have found the best wordpress hosting is Rocket.net.

Best wordpress hosting at rocket. Net
Best wordpress hosting at rocket. Net

They focus on wordpress hosting, security and performance. Edge Cloudflare Enterprise CDN is included free on every account! That’s a $6,000/mo feature, for free!!

You get the power of premium image optimization and high end security at affordable web hosting prices. You can DELETE your image optimization plugins and security plugins.

WordPress hosting providers i’ve personally used and recommend.

Common cheap web hosting providers I think are garbage for WordPress websites.

  • Godaddy
  • Bluehost
  • Hostgator
  • Dreamhost
  • Network Solutions
  • NameCheap
  • 1&1

How to update PHP in WordPress

Update PHP WordPress: Utilizing the latest PHP version will not only help speed up your website, but you will have increased website security.  Did you know with Rocket.net wordpress hosting, we don’t have to use security plugins? It’s because every website at Rocket.net gets Cloudflare Enterprise Security for free. That’s a $6,000/mo feature, for free.

Update php in your server settings at your web hosting provider. This location is subjective to your providers dashboard. Thankfully, I host with Rocket.net and they recognize that changing php versions is a regular task so it’s not hard to find. They have the most beautiful and clean dashboard I’ve ever seen.

How to update php in wordpress at rocket. Net
How to update php in wordpress at rocket. Net

I had to switch from cloudways hosting because I could not utilize the latest PHP version and I could not control my php versions per website. At Rocket.net I have isolated website installs that allow me the flexibility of changing php versions per website and utilizing the latest stable version of php.

How to clean up wordpress database

Does cleaning up your wordpress database make your site faster? of course it does! Even when you delete your themes and plugins, the data in the database remains. You could have removed an old form plugin you used years ago, but all those entries are still there.

This is database bloat and it counts toward your servers disk usage. Rouge tables and data can make your wordpress admin and backend unnecessarily slow. Especially on cheap hosting environments.

How to clean database in mysql: This is a manual clean up method for advanced developers only. Playing around in the database is an easy way to destroy the website so use with caution and don’t forget to backup your website.

Login to your web host and locate phpMyadmin. At Rocket.net its just under the advanced tab. Once inside, click on your database and you’ll see a list of tables similar to this image, with the exception it’s a list of plugins and tables associated with your particular setup.

At Rocket.net wordpress hosting I no longer need security plugins, so I can delete all instances of the WordFence security plugin.

There are 2 columns labeled ROWS and SIZE. This will give you an idea of what is heavy, but you have to be very experienced to know what plugins are what. Just click the drop table button on each table or you can select a group of tables and scroll to the bottom and choose to drop all tables at once.

How to clean database in mysql
How to clean database in mysql

Personally, I can look thru and figure out what the plugins were based off the table names and prefer to sort my tables by name so I can make sure I take out only those plugins I know I will no longer be needing. Sorting by other factors might make you miss some tables when you are ready to delete.

You should also consider exporting old form entries and woocommerce purchases to free up space if you no longer have a need for this data.

How to clean database in mysql with WordPress Database Plugin

You can use a wordpress database plugin to sort thru your unused tables too. Again, this should only be done by professionals who know what they are doing.

How to clean media library in wordpress

Media Files make up a large portion of your website’s database if you have lots of photos saved up from the years. Delete photos you no longer use.

Use caution however because you never know where these images are being used in your website and sometimes deleting a photo can send a drop in your SEO. I’ve seen clients get a ton of traffic and impressions on photos and suddenly see a drop because it was deleted. Was it an invaluable or valuable drop? An expert SEO can help you find out.

Optimize and clean your media library with this wordpress plugin.

Modify Backend WordPress Files

Check your wp-config.com and .htaccess. This is for advanced users who are comfortable with modifying the .htaccess file, php.ini file and wp-config.

Sometimes we have rouge code sitting in files that aren’t needed anymore or are incompatible with our current environment. Sometimes, you might find that a hacker injected code in your files and that could be a reason for slow website performance.

Websites get changed, migrated and updated all the time so it’s not unusual to find left behind old code being used.

Limit the number of post revisions

By default, WordPress stores every change you make in your pages and posts. Saving too many of these old files can weigh down your website causing it to be slow. Locate your wp-config.php file in the root directory of the WordPress installation. Add this line of code to your file.

/**Limit Post Revisions**/
define( ‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, 3);

Alternatively, you can set wordpress to not store revisions at all. You would then call your code out like this:
define( ‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, false);

Enable gzip compression without a plugin

Locate your PHP.INI file. This will vary depending on your host. Check your hosting control panel for a section labeled something similar to “CGI PHP Scripts”. Or just check with your specific host. When you located your php.ini file, you want to enable Gzipping.

Search for this line

zlib.output_compression = Off

Change the word “Off” to “On”.

Now search for this line

zlib.output_compression_level = 6

The level “#” you currently have will more than likely be different. Set it to the number 6 as shown above. Save your file and make sure your website is still working correctly. You should be able to see an increase of speed of your website.

Change wordpress theme and plugins

This article was written to focus on how we can increase our website speed without the use of plugins.

Optimize mobile conversion rate: The last thing you’ll want to consider if your website is still not at an acceptable speed is redesigning your website specifically for mobile first design & optimization.  Most users are accessing the internet, shopping, banking and reading articles via their mobile phones. Make sure mobile first design is a priority so that your site performs well in website speed tests. Usually the desktop performance will follow within a responsive structure.

More relevant articles

Check page speed insights

What is a good page load speed? Google has the answer for that.

“2 seconds is the threshold for ecommerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half-second.” – Maya Ohye

Retest your site on Google PageSpeed Insights or your preferred website speed test provider.  How do they compare? I’d love to know if this article helped you 🙂

You can spend hours trying to speed up your website doing all sorts of things like CDN and CSS Sprites. And when you have time to do all that, do it! But until you can find that time, just enabling the following features I just showed you will speed up your WordPress website incredibly in less than 10 minutes of work! With no plugins at all!

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