How you can Start Optimizing WordPress Page Load Times by 3

In this tutorial we will look at optimizing WordPress page load times and a few simple steps you can take to reduce them by a factor of 3! (Proof below).

However when most people talk about website speed they are talking about what the end user experiences when visiting your website. This is well and good because this speed affects everything from your Google rankings to whether people will actually buy anything from you. Slow websites kill conversions.

But there is another area of website speed which directly affects you the webmaster / website owner. It's not often talked about and in fact you may have become so used to it that you simply have accepted this is the way it must be.

What am I talking about? WordPress dashboard speed.

You are going to spend a lot of time in here if you use WordPress for your website

Now for a little back story for where the inspiration for this tutorial comes from.

One of my other websites has been operating since 2015 and in that time being the app tester and relentless optimizer I am, several plugins have come and gone and several changes made to the website. All the while my experience of managing the website has been getting worse.

Every time I add an affiliate link using Thirsty Affiliates I had to wait 10 seconds before I could enter my affiliate link details and then wait another 10 seconds after pressing save.

Every new post, a page you name it the same slow editing experience. The worst thing about all this is that it just gradually creeps up on you. A millisecond here and there adds up over time to those 10 second delays.

Maybe you have had the same experience and because everyone else is talking about front end speed all the time this topic gets pushed to the way side.

But it's we need to talk about and fix ASAP if not purely for our mental health each time we login to WordPress to do our work for the day.

What can we do?

Thankfully, in the back of my mind I remembered there was something that worked and it had to do with the database structure of WordPress and optimizing it.

So I fired up the live chat of the people I trust the most with WordPress performance and got their opinion. Here is the chat transcript with WPX Hosting.

Martin. Hi Paul, how can I help you?     
Paul. Hi there I have noticed my website back-end experience has become very slow in terms of basic tasks like adding posts and adding affiliate links through Thirsty Affiliates – every click is taking a long time and wondering what can be done for cleaning up the admin experience for all my sites     
Martin. For which website is this issue?
Martin. The database for is more that 1 GB, which is very possible to be the perpetrator for the issue that you are describing.    
Paul. Ok     
Martin. You can re-size your database by deleting spam comments, old plugin and post data, post revisions, etc.    
Paul. Is there a tool for this?    
Martin. You can try WP Rocket, WP-Optimize, WP-Sweep, there are endless plugins for this but this is the 3 most used.

So that leads us nicely onto the two apps we will look at together in this tutorial. The first WP-Optimize is free and a must install if you decide not to purchase the 2nd app – WP Rocket.

However when you see my results with WP Rocket I know you are going to be tempted to pay the small $49 fee to get it on your website too.

Step 1 – WP-Optimize

This tool is super easy to use – search for it in the WordPress plugin directory and click install and activate. To see what I mean on how simple this is see below.

It is a good idea to have a backup before you do this

I mean you don't get any more simple than 1.2.3.

But following those 3 simple steps had staggering results because remember how WPX told me that my database size for the website was over 1 GB?

Well, after running this little tool it dropped to 303 MB – less than one third of the size it was before. You bet that will make a difference on your server.

Another Benefit

Having a smaller database is also great for reducing the amount of disk space you are using on your server if you are getting close to your limits.

But numbers and data aside the main thing you will appreciate is how much speedier your WordPress admin is after doing this.

It's still not as fast as a relatively new website like this one you are reading which at the moment only has a database size of 48 MB. There is a big difference to the 303 MB of vs Bootstrapps but that website is older with more posts and data so it makes sense.

But compared to its previous 1 Gigabyte size, editing that website now is much better. I recommend at the very least you do this step 1 especially if your website is older than one year.

Step 2 – WP-Rocket

I'm just going to flat out say this right here, I'm completely blown away by WP Rocket and to get straight to the point look at these two images.

Website without WP-Rocket

378 requests, 10.4 MB size and 6.65s page load time

With WP-Rocket

optimizing wordpress speed
Three times faster, three times less requests and over 8 times smaller file size!

I mean come on! Three times faster with 262 fewer requests placed on the server…

I was not expecting that, I knew WP Rocket was good but I didn't know it was that good and would you believe me if I told you the first speed test already had a caching plugin installed and one you are probably using on your website right now!

I first bought WP-Rocket about two years ago but after a while I had to uninstall it because it was not playing well with my page builder at the time.

Now I use Elementor Pro and WP-Rocket is playing nicely with it and I am so impressed and I know you will be too.

And if you do buy WP-Rocket you can uninstall WP-Optimize as it has the same database optimization features which you can run as part of it's settings.

Whenever you can get rid of plugins, you need to because it has a big impact on your performance for both you editing the website and your visitors reading your content.

So there you have it two plugins that make a world of difference. If you are on a budget WP-Optimize is a great start alongside WP Super Cache.

Optimizing WordPress – The best choice

For $49 you will get the best experience by just having to install WP Rocket to get a blazing fast website. Their default settings resulted in that 2nd test result you saw but with a little tweaking I could get the requests down to under 60! Such a massive reduction on file requests on the server is 100% worth the $49 investment. (In fact, I will upgrade my license for all my websites) after doing this test.

Get started with WP Rocket here.

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