Why is My Blog Slow?

turtle-slow

There doesn’t seem to be day that goes by that we don’t get the question: Why is My Blog Slow? There are, of course, a variety of reasons why a blog might be experiencing performance problems.

Here are the most common issues:

Shared Hosting

Oftentimes, shared hosting (GoDaddy, 1&1, Network Solutions, etc.) can cause performance issues with many blogs. Unfortunately because of the nature of shared hosting, your speed is dependent on whoever else is hosted on the same box as you. While some hosts can provide a decent environment for most blog, you may experience slowness as your traffic increases and your blog gets popular.

Recommendations:

WordPress Plugins

What’s going on with your blog’s plugins? Review your plugins on a regular basis to keep your site snappy.

Recommendations:

  • Keep WordPress and all your plugins maintained on their latest versions whenever possible
  • Check to see if too many plugins installed and/or activated – try pruning them down when you can
  • Remove or replace any plugins that are unused, too old, incompatible with the installed version, and/or no longer maintained by the author
  • Note that plugins such as “Related Posts” or ones that dynamically showcase content will slow sites down

WordPress Themes

Free themes and premium themes alike can cause slowness. They may be poorly coded, have spam or malware embedded in them, or just not optimized for the latest version of WordPress.

Recommendations:

  • Make sure your theme is on the newest version
  • Remove any themes that have been installed, but not used
  • Keep the default Twenty11 theme for future troubleshooting
  • Switch to another, newer theme

External Services

Blogs that that rely on external services (such as post sharing functionality, statistics, Facebook/Twitter/Google+/Pinterest, ads, and more) often suffer speed consequences. We understand that these are often critical to the site, yet the calls to other servers and services can slow down page loads.

Recommendations:

  • Again, ensure that your external services are being “called by” the latest plugin or API
  • Don’t go overboard with conflicting plugins (common offenders are multiple sharing and statistics found on the same blog) – choose one that offers the functionality you need, not several

Images

Your post images may be overly big – you can’t expect to upload a 4GB photo and expect your site to run quickly.

Recommendations:

  • Install a plugin such as Resize at Upload to keep the file size compact
  • Use a tool like Smushit to automatically reduce physical file size
  • Update your theme to display images with a maximum width (or set them all to the same size and placement in each post)

Tools and Techniques to Use to Speed Up Site

  • Use YSlow to analyze the performance of your blog
  • Optimize your database
  • Implement caching: We recommend WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache plugin
  • Consider implementing a Content Delivery Network (CDN) component, which will offload your images and speed up performance. We recommend (and use) MaxCDN.
  • Contact us and we’ll be happy to help!

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