Speed ​​up WordPress – 6 teaks (without plugins) 2022

You want to speed up your WordPress blog? There are WordPress plugins that try nothing more than to continuously improve the WordPress content management system speed. Sometimes these are large complete packages like Swift Performance or WP Rocket, then again extensions for individual aspects like Autoptimize or Imagify. But a plugin is not always necessary to speed up WordPress.

In this article I will show you how you can use very simple tips and tricks to ensure better performance within WordPress. In fact, it is often just a matter of small settings or lines of code that anyone can activate or add.

Don’t worry, you don’t need any expertise and you don’t have to be a WordPress professional to implement my tips. A little basic knowledge is enough to speed up WordPress.

1. With browser caching Speed ​​up WordPress

There are a total of four header entries that are controlled via .htaccess and affect the browser cache. These are: Cache-Control and Expires as well as Last-Modified and ETag. The first two determine the lifetime of the cache, while the latter have to do with checking in the browser and checking whether the respective cache is still valid at all.

My recommendation is to control the browser cache with Cache-Control and ETag. The former allows more configuration options and the latter is more reliable in its functionality. Basically, Cache-Control determines how long a file stays in the cache while changing the ETag as updates occur so browsers can recognize that the cache is no longer valid and should be refreshed.

The ETag is assigned automatically by the server if you have not explicitly switched this function off. You set up cache control via the .htaccess file in the main directory. The following command regulates the standards and can be changed at will. The value indicates how many seconds (in the example 86400, i.e. one day) the cache remains.

Header Set Cache-Control "max-age=86400"

The command above now stores everything in the browser cache for one day. But that only makes sense to a limited extent, because, for example, images often don’t change at all once they’ve been uploaded. So some exceptions should be thrown. This is done with another code that you can add below the top line.

<filesMatch ".(jpg|jpeg|png|gif|webp)$">
Header Set Cache-Control "max-age=2592000"
</filesMatch>

These two lines cache images for a month and everything else for a day. Of course, you can now add more lines and rules, for example to keep CSS and JS files in the cache longer, since these usually never change. These can often remain valid for a year without any problems. Try it. The browser cache is hugely important if you want to speed up WordPress as it can drastically reduce requests to the server.

2. Optimize images before uploading

Image optimization with SquooshImage optimization with Squoosh

There are a lot of plugins for WordPress that automatically optimize images. But they often cost money and have to be installed additionally, which affects performance. In addition, images can also be optimized manually, no plugin is required for this. So it is better to use an online service.

I can recommend TinyPNG and Sqoosh. Both are excellent online tools that you can use to compress your images before uploading them. This drastically reduces file size with minimal loss of quality and significantly improves loading time.

TinyPNG in particular is an effective way to ensure extensive WordPress speed optimization for JPG and PNG files. TinyPNG is therefore great for beginners. Although more is possible with Sqoosh, you then have to set a lot of things manually and you should know what you are doing. In everyday life, I therefore often use TinyPNG.

3. HTML Minify via snippet

Minify JavaScript and CSS with minifier.org for WordPress speed optimizationMinify JavaScript and CSS with minifier.org

With the HTML Minify, the WordPress speed when loading pages can be massively increased, since the file size decreases and the browser can transfer and interpret the code faster. Usually this is done with plugins. However, this can also be done manually using a code that you integrate into the functions.php of your theme.

You can find the code with the colleagues from FastWP, as it is a bit more extensive than usual for a snippet. With this command, the source code of your website is minimized accordingly, which ensures better performance when loading the page. Make sure you use a cache plugin if you want to use Minify.

You can also minimize and save your CSS file with an online tool. The same applies to any JS files that are delivered with your theme. Try to minimize everything that is somehow possible. The smaller the files, the more you can speed up WordPress. A few kilobytes often make the difference. Don’t underestimate that.

4. Clean up CSS and Javascript

Speaking of CSS and Javascript: It’s just as important that you regularly check your files and then optimize them again. Entries that are orphaned and no longer needed are often not correctly removed from the files. This always happens when you don’t use certain elements at all, but their design was determined via CSS.

No tool can do this for you. Although there are some browser add-ons that check exactly that, you always have to check manually what is really needed and what is not. Nevertheless, this step can ensure a significant reduction, so that CSS and Javascript files shrink accordingly and can be loaded faster.

5. Turn off WordPress features

WordPress comes with a number of functions that many do not even need. Unfortunately, these are activated by default and add various entries, links, files or the like, which then have to be loaded accordingly. You can switch off these features to get a little more speed. This can be done with the following code.

Disable emoji integration, oEmbeds, WordPress REST API and some other features. Those who are not familiar or are not sure whether they are using the functions in their theme should keep their hands off it. Anyone with a little expertise will understand what is involved.

remove_action( ‘wp_head’, ‘rsd_link’ ) ;

remove_action(‘wp_head’, ‘print_emoji_detection_script’, 7);
remove_action(‘wp_print_styles’, ‘print_emoji_styles’);
remove_action( ‘admin_print_scripts’, ‘print_emoji_detection_script’ );
remove_action( ‘admin_print_styles’, ‘print_emoji_styles’ );

remove_action(‘wp_head’, ‘wp_shortlink_wp_head’, 10, 0);

add_action( ‘init’, ‘stop_heartbeat’, 1 );
function stop_heartbeat() {
wp_deregister_script(‘heartbeat’);
}

function j0e_dequeue_dashicon() { 
if (current_user_can( ‘update_core’ )) { 
return;
}
wp_deregister_style(‘dashicons’);
}
add_action( ‘wp_enqueue_scripts’, ‘j0e_dequeue_dashicon’ );

function disable_embed(){
wp_dequeue_script( ‘wp-embed’ );
}
add_action( ‘wp_footer’, ‘disable_embed’ );

add_filter('rest_enabled', '_return_false');
add_filter('rest_jsonp_enabled', '_return_false');

6. Reduction

You get the greatest benefit in terms of WordPress acceleration when you reduce and remove what is no longer needed. Especially beginners tend to install one plugin after the other, constantly adding new themes and integrating a whole bunch of unnecessary snippets.

My last tip therefore clearly refers to the reduction. Remove what you don’t really need. Check each extension for its meaning. Does it really benefit you or your users? If not, then refrain from such gimmicks. Reduction always leads to less code, fewer plugins, fewer requests and thus better loading times. Very easily.

But because WordPress makes it so convenient, features and functions are often no longer questioned, but added as a matter of course. The difference between a WordPress beginner and a WordPress professional is therefore usually that the professional is not blinded by such things. The first thing he always wonders about is whether a new feature will really make the blog better. If not, not having it is often worth more than the feature. Keep that in mind if you decide to install a plugin again in the future.

Speeding up WordPress starts in your own head

It sounds strange, but the last point is one of the most important of all. True optimization begins in the mind. Especially with WordPress, users tend to use the simplicity to immediately add a suitable plugin or snippet for everything. Get out of the habit of such behavior immediately. Even if you uninstall plugins, they leave their traces in the database.

Optimization therefore begins in your head by asking yourself what really brings added value. Don’t underestimate the many little things. An image that is originally 100 kilobytes in size can often be reduced by at least 50 percent with appropriate optimization. While 100 kilobytes isn’t a lot per se, you should remember that you’re not just loading an image and a CSS file on your blog. Every kilobyte saved is worth the optimization.

This article is part of my effort to give my readers a better understanding of WordPress speed optimization. Among other things, there was already the article free performance plugins, in which I recommended some plugins. Here are a few tips that can make a big difference with little effort.

If I could help you, please leave a comment. Perhaps you have a tip for the readers that you would like to share with us.

You can find even more tips in the article Make WordPress faster.