The Ultimate Guide to Analyzing and Boosting WordPress Performance

WordPress is incredibly easy to use for all kinds of webmasters – regardless of their technical expertise.

While WordPress is one of the most convenient content management systems to use, analyzing its background processes and boosting its performance can be a daunting task. In fact, most WordPress users are not technically inclined, making it even more difficult for them to analyze their site’s performance.

By conducting an in-depth performance analysis, you can get a deeper insight into the background processes and reasons for the performance drops which enable you to fix them and make your website perform at its peak. With this in mind, in this post, we’ll present a complete guide to help you analyze and boost your WordPress site’s performance.

Let’s get started!

Why Does Site Performance Matter?

Studies show that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less and 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Evidently, if you’re not taking the performance of your site seriously, chances are lots of customers are leaving your site frustrated.

In the following sections, we’ll explore how you can analyze your website and take necessary steps to ensure it performs optimally.

Test Your Page Speed

When it comes to performance analysis, one of the first things you need to do is to monitor your site’s speed by using a tool like Pingdom or GTMetrix. In addition to manually monitoring the page speed, you can also set up an alert on Pingdom that informs you when your site is down. This will help you take quick action before it’s too late.

If you find that your website faces a lot of downtime, you’ll need to determine why that it. Some of the possible reasons are:

  • Hosting issue: If you’re hosting on a cheap, shared host, you might want to consider switching to a managed hosting provider. If you want a detailed rundown on best options, you can check out this detailed post.
  • Theme issue: If you’re using an outdated theme, chances are you may find errors and deprecated functions in it which could have an impact on WordPress performance.
  • Plugin issue: Poorly configured plugins are one of the main reasons for performance drop. You’ll either need to fix those plugin errors or replace those faulty plugins with different ones.
  • Malicious attacks: Sending thousands of requests to your server at a time could bring your site down. Check if downtimes are caused by malicious attacks by hackers.
  • Under-optimized for page speed: If your site is taking a long time to load then it’s under-optimized due to the use of heavy plugins or themes. Once you’ve analyzed performance and fixed issues, it’s time to optimize your website for page speed.
The Pingdom Speed Test can check your website speed around the world.
The Pingdom Speed Test can check your website speed around the world.

Now that we have a better understanding of why your website may be facing downtime, let’s take a closer look at WordPress performance analysis.

Scan Your WordPress Website

Scanning your website is an essential part of analyzing your WordPress site’s performance. Moreover, it will also keep you secure from potentially malicious attacks.

You could use a free online malware checker like to ensure that the plugin or theme is safe to install. If you need to check the authenticity of your installed theme, scan your website by installing a free plugin like Theme Authenticity Check or Exploit Scanner.

Analyze Plugin’s Impact on WordPress Performance

Poorly configured plugins are often the main causes of performance drops.

Using P3 plugin on your website is one of the best ways to figure out which of the installed and activated plugins on your website is negatively impacting its performance. It helps you get detailed insights like plugin load time, their impact on total load time and the number of database queries per visit.

Understand Background Process

While finding vulnerabilities in your themes and plugins give insight into the errors and deprecated functions that adversely affect WordPress performance, understanding the background process shows you the impact of each corrective action you can take and if it actually improves the performance of your site.

If you’re looking for a free plugin that could help you understand the background processes and errors of your site then you might want to consider installing the Debug Bar plugin. Once you’ve installed it on your site, it will show you a debug menu beside the admin bar, which shows detailed information about queries, caching, and other helpful debugging information.

While installing it, make sure to enable both WP_DEBUG and SAVEQUERIES from your wp-config.php. Once you’ve enabled them, it will also track PHP warnings, PHP notices, and MySQL queries.

Checking for Security Issues and Malicious Attacks

Besides speed monitoring, you’ll also need to monitor your Google Search Console account regularly to determine whether or not your website is at risk of any potentially malicious attacks.

Once you logged into Google Search Console account, navigate to the security issues section.

  • If your site is affected with malware, you may find a top-level heading of Malware.
  • If your site is hacked by spammers to serve spam, you may find a top-level heading of Hacked.

For more details about determining the nature of the attack, here’s a great guide.

In the case that you find any warning in the Google Search Console account, you’ll need to fix those issues by scanning your website following the methods outlined above and taking the correct steps to rectify the problem.

In addition to this, you can also follow these precautionary steps to make sure your website it secure:

  • Check your robots.txt and ensure that you’re not blocking search engine robots.
  • Double check your content and ensure that you’re not linking to any spammy sites.

Related post: Beginner-Friendly Tips for Getting Started with WordPress Security

Boosting WordPress Performance

Image Optimization

Optimizing images is an essential part of improving performance. This is because images often account for most of the downloaded bytes on a web page. In this section, we’ll cover some of the best (and easiest) ways to get things started with image optimization.

  • Compress images: Size of the images will influence the page speed. Try compressing images if they are unnecessarily large. Use tools like TinyJPEG or Opitmus.
  • Enable lazy load: If you’re using too many images on a web page, make sure they are loaded only when they are visible to your visitors.
  • Use the correct image format: GIF, JPEG, and PNG are most popular image formats. Since each format has its own characteristics and benefits, using the right one can help to improve page speed.
  • Make effective use of browser cache: Instruct browsers to keep CSS and images files longer than usual. The benefit is it will ultimately reduce the loading time even when your visitors return after a long period.
  • Replace images with CSS if possible: Instead of using images you can generate certain shapes with CSS.
Image: SonneOn
Image: SonneOn

Use a CDN Service

A CDN is a network of multiple servers distributed throughout various locations around the globe to increase page speed and user experience. CDN caches the static content and files of your site and delivers them to your site’s visitors based on their geographic locations through a server that is closest to them.

If you’re looking for a great CDN service, you may use services like MAX CDN or CloudFlare.

Use a Cache Plugin

A cache plugin improves performance by saving dynamically generated HTML files and serving them from the cache rather than processing comparatively heavier WordPress PHP scripts whenever someone tries to visit your website.

For enabling cache on your site, you may use free plugins like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache.Or if you are willing to spend some money, go with WP Rocket.

Wrapping It Up

Regularly conducting an in-depth performance analysis of your website can give insight into the back-end processes and help you make informed decisions to rectify the problem. We covered some of the best practices you should follow in order to analyze your site and boost its performance. Hopefully, you’re in a good position now to take things further yourself.

Featured image: H20one

Dev Sharma

About the Author Dev Sharma

Dev is the founder of WPKube, a blog which focuses on WordPress tutorials, reviews, and business advice. You can follow him on Twitter @wpkube.