Common Reasons for a Slow Website

There doesn’t seem to be day that goes by that the blogging and WordPress experts at Content Robot don’t get the question: why is my site slow?

There are, of course, a variety of reasons why a website might be experiencing performance issues.  Here are the most common reasons contributed by Content Robot.

Cheap Hosting

Oftentimes, shared hosting (GoDaddy, 1&1, Network Solutions, etc.) can cause performance issues with many websites. 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 web hosts can provide a decent environment, you may experience slowness as your traffic increases and your sites gets more popular.

Recommendations:

Too Many 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Remove or replace any plugins that are unused, too old, incompatible with the installed version, and/or no longer maintained by the author.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: plugins such as “Related Posts” or ones that dynamically showcase content will slow sites down

Bad Theme Code

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

Huge Images

Your 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

Tools to Speed Things Up

Try use YSlow to analyze the performance of your site, but take it with a grain of sand.

You might also try optimizing your database.  There are plugins that’ll do this for you.

Implement caching: We recommend WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache plugins

Consider implementing a Content Delivery Network (CDN) component, which will offload your images and speed up performance. We recommend (and use) MaxCDN.

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Common Reasons for a Slow Website
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We all hear a lot about “best practices” but it’s thoughtful analysis of research data that’s driving marketing. There’s tons of it our there, but most is buried in boilerplate or hidden behind long forms. Cometrics is here to change that.
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