The load times of web pages are now a factor in how Google ranks them. Also, as Google say “
Fast and optimized pages lead to higher visitor engagement, retention, and conversions.
Whilst rebuilding this site, I have been working to optimise its performance. In Google’s Page Speed test it currently returns a score of 100/100. (Google Page Speed)
An unoptimised WordPress powered site will probably return a score of about 70/100, some are a lot poorer than that.
More to the point, this site’s home page loads in less than a second – as against maybe 5 seconds for an unoptimised page.
The are a wide range of factors which impact on load times ranging from the configuration of the web server through to page design.
This site has been tuned in a number of ways as follows:
Server Hardware and Network, Operating System and Software: The site is hosted on a Linux VPS rented from Racksrv. Our experience of Racksrv is that they put a great deal of effort into ensure that the host server and network runs as it should and we have been very pleased with their service and reliability since we have been using them. The server runs Linux Centos operating system with Cpanel. Cpanel adds considerably to the load on the server and will be detrimental to the server’s overall performance, however, we find it invaluable in managing clients’ accounts. We use a management service who tune and security harden servers for us. Lastly, we don’t overload our servers by putting very large numbers of accounts on them and we watch carefully to ensure that server load is kept at a moderate level.
WordPress: WordPress is a demanding and complex application, we make some adjustments to its configuration to help it perfrom a little better. Aside from tuning the htaccess file and wp-config file with some extratweakss, we chose various adjustments to the settings – for example, only displaying post summaries, choosing an optimal permalink configuration and so on.
Framework and Theme: The theme can also have a big effect on performance, we use the Genesis framework for almost all our sites, this one has the latest Genesis theme Wintersong which is built in HTML5.
WordPress Plugins: We tested several performance enhancing plugins and have ended up using W3 Total Cache and Async JS and CSS. Total Cache stores static versions of pages on the server cutting out most of the PHP and MySql work. Async means that the page loads quicker for users as it doesn’t have to wait for all the scripts to load before the content is served.