When first starting out as a young entrepreneur we often try to bootstrap at the beginning of our new venture. We try to do things ourselves as much as we can and use all the free tools that are available and be very selective on what we spend our hard earned money on. Many times this bootstrapping that I’m talking about will also have a serious effect on your WordPress page speed
Often to get our business started we choose the option of building our own website using WordPress and select the least expensive hosting service for our new dream business. There is a wide range of hosting services that we can choose, anywhere from Bluehost, Hostgator or Siteground all the way to the high end super fast hosting services of WPEngine.
Since we our business is still so new, we usually go with a lower cost hosting provider and upgrade to faster service when the influx of visitor traffic warrants it.
But when trying to pinch pennies, sometimes features come at a cost. A slow website will turn off or even turn away a potential visitor if the site loads slowly. I know I do that often if I come across a website that takes forever to load, even on WiFi, I’ll just close out the tab in my browser and move on.
[bctt tweet=”A faster loading site helps with SEO ranking and help increase your conversion rate too.”]
You can always try to speed up WordPress by optimizing your images for low bandwidth connections and that can sometimes help. There are also WordPress performance plug-ins like W3 SuperCache and Smush.it to help optimize the experience too. But I have often seen, the more plugins you add, it can also negatively affect the performance of you website too.
You should be selective in the number of plug-ins you have installed and active on your WordPress website. I would recommend no more than 20 WordPress plug-ins if you really had to push it.
Speed up WordPress on your site: Kicking it in high gear the smart way
Below I’m going to share and show you a great tip that I learned a little while ago that will help speed up WordPress. This tip will increase the speed of your WordPress site by almost 200% even using a cheaper hosting provider!
This tip makes use of a free service offering of a CDN (Content Delivery Network) by Cloudflare.
A content delivery network (CDN) is a system of distributed servers (network) that deliver web pages and other Web content to a user based on the geographic locations of the user, the origin of the web page and a content delivery server.
Cloudflare is going to act as a proxy and serve up your static website pages on super fast servers that are closest to your visitor. Your actual pages will still be on your hosting service, but a cached copy of those pages will reside with Cloudflare and it will be extremely fast!
First head on over to Cloudflare to create your account here.
Once you get the basic account information out of the way, follow the instructions for the initial setup for your DNS and host.
Note: Allow up to 72 hours for the name server information to propagate. You will receive a confirmation email from CloudFlare when the name servers update is complete. Your site will not experience any downtime during this period.
CloudFlare gives some very simple instructions on what information needs to be added to your domain name host and how it will integrate with their CDN service.
Get ready for lift off!
Now to speed up WordPress on our cheap hosting we are going to use CloudFlare to host the pages freaky fast. Just a few more steps and we’ll be there.
Log back into CloudFlare and head on over to the dashboard and click on the “Page Rules” tab at the top.
We are going to need 3 rules to make this work and coincidentally this is the max rules allowed on their free plan.
The 1st one is that you’ll want to add is a rule to bypass the wp-login.php page so you can log in to your admin console.
The second rule is to let CloudFlare know to bypass the wp-admin folder.
The last rule is to let CloudFlare know to cache everything else for 2 hours. You can set this higher if your pages rarely are updated.
Make sure you note the order of the rules like I have in my screenshot below. The order does make a difference. You can re-order the rules too by dragging them using the 3 horizontal move bars on the left of each rule.
That’s it! If you check back in a short bit via the dashboard and head to the overview page, you’ll see when your set up is finally active and if you head to analytics, you should start seeing some traffic that has been cached.
Load up your site and check it out. You should be able to immediately notice a performance increase the second time you load your site, since the first time it has to load into the cache.
Since your pages are now being cached, keep in mind any comments you receive on your blog posts will also be cached as well and won’t be displayed until the expiration of the cache arrives, which in my setup would be every two hours.
The workaround I would suggest, would be to add a plugin called Disqus to offload the comments from your WordPress site and present the comments in “real-time”
Another small plugin I would recommend is called CloudFlare Cache Purge which will purge the cache from CloudFlare when you make a post or page change in WordPress. It just makes it more seamless.
I wouldn’t suggest using this tweak on an e-Commerce site because of the dynamic nature of some of the pages served.
Here are my results after a recent WordPress speed test from GTMetrix test on my website after the tweaks:
Your results may vary, but I’m quite sure your performance on a slower hosting provider will no longer be an issue. When you make it big as an entrepreneur and start profiting from your site, perhaps the higher end hosts could be a consideration. But for now, as a young bootstrapping entrepreneur this is the next best thing.
If you are looking to get high-end performance at a lower cost, give this a try and post your results in the comments below.