Whether running a blog or managing a small e-commerce business, ensuring your WordPress site runs smoothly and attracts a sizable number of visitors (while remaining secure) can be tricky.
This is especially true if you’re solely responsible for the website; web development is a vast and complex topic, and if you’re going it alone, you’ll have many plates to spin.
In this article, we’ll explore different strategies and tips for optimizing your WordPress-based website — from selecting the perfect web host to optimizing your site’s performance and fortifying its defenses against malicious attacks.
5 Options for WordPress Hosting
Let’s begin by providing a brief overview of the different types of WordPress hosting options there are.
1. Shared hosting
This is the most basic and affordable type of hosting, where multiple websites share the same server resources.
Shared hosting is suitable for small websites with low traffic, but it may not be able to handle high traffic or high-resource usage.
2. VPS hosting
Virtual private server (VPS) hosting is a step up from shared hosting, where multiple websites are still hosted on the same server, but each website has its own virtualized environment, which allows for more control over the server resources.
As a company, you can consider getting Linux VPS to have more control over your servers.
VPS hosting is better suited for medium-sized websites with moderate traffic.
3. Dedicated hosting
This type of hosting involves a single website being hosted on a dedicated server. While it might be the pricier choice, it provides unparalleled control and ample resources. You can also explore the realm of cheap dedicated hosting for more options.
Dedicated hosting is suitable for large websites with high traffic.
4. Cloud hosting
Cloud hosting uses a network of servers to host a website. This allows for more flexibility and scalability, as resources can be easily added or removed.
Cloud hosting can handle large amounts of traffic and is most suited to websites that are growing rapidly or frequently experience traffic spikes.
5. Virtual Machine hosting
When exploring WordPress hosting optimization, understanding the benefits of virtual machine hosting is crucial for achieving enhanced website performance and scalability.
Top Factors for Choosing the Right Host
One of the first (and most important) steps when building a new website is to select a suitable host.
Don’t worry if you’ve already chosen a host and published your site on the web, though: even if your website is already online, changing your provider is a relatively simple process.
Check out some best web hosting alternatives and their comparisons.
When selecting a host for your WordPress website, keep the following factors in mind:
A reputable web host will be transparent about the performance of their servers and provide concrete data to support their claims.
Many hosts may claim to offer the fastest WordPress hosting, for example, but ensure they have supporting evidence to back up their promises.
Generally, it's best to ignore any host that doesn't guarantee at least 99.99% uptime. Uptime is the time the host’s server(s) are operational.
The lower the uptime, the more time your website will spend offline. 99.99% uptime might seem reasonably good, but this equates to almost an hour of downtime per year, whereas 99.999% uptime cuts to just 5 minutes.
Security is another key priority when selecting a suitable host for your website. Look out for features such as:
- SSL certificates: These digital certificates encrypt sensitive information transmitted over the internet, such as credit card numbers and login credentials. They help to establish trust and security for online transactions.
- Regular backups: If you’re opting for a managed service, it’s a good idea to pick out a host that allows regular automatic backups of your website and all of its data
- Integrated firewalls: Firewalls help to protect your website and its users from unauthorized access and potential cyber-attacks. Firewalls are particularly important for eCommerce websites.
- DDoS protection: DDoS stands for Distributed Denial-of-Service; a type of cyber attack where multiple compromised systems flood a target website with traffic, causing it to become unavailable to legitimate users. DDoS protection helps to prevent such attacks by detecting and blocking malicious traffic.
- Malware scanning: Malware scanning helps to detect and remove any malicious software that may have been installed on the website or network.
If you’ve yet to encounter the term, scalability is another way to describe your website’s ability to adapt on the fly.
Let’s say, for example, that your eCommerce site suddenly experiences a huge surge in traffic during a flash sale. Using a scalable web hosting solution, you can upgrade your hosting plan to accommodate increased resource requirements.
If ensuring a good user experience for your visitors is a key concern (and if it isn’t, then believe us — it should be!), pick a host that allows you to scale server resources.
Steps To Configure WordPress Server Settings
Choosing a suitable web host is only part of the battle when optimizing your WordPress site.
If you’re using an unmanaged hosting service, there are several extra steps you’ll need to take to configure your server once your site is online. Here are some of the most important ones:1. Use web server software such as Apache or Nginx
These web servers are optimized for handling a WordPress site's high traffic and dynamic content.2. Use a caching plugin or a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Caching can significantly improve the speed of your website by reducing the number of requests to the server. A CDN can also improve website speed by delivering content from a server that is geographically closer to the user.3. Use a PHP accelerator such as OpCache
PHP accelerators improve the performance of PHP scripts by caching the compiled bytecode of the scripts in memory, reducing the need to re-compile them on each request.4. Use a database management system such as MySQL
MySQL is a powerful and flexible database management system that is well-suited for the needs of a WordPress site.5. Keep software updated
Keep your software up-to-date, including WordPress plugins and the server operating system; this ensures that security vulnerabilities are patched, and performance improvements are made.6. Use strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication
Strong passwords (combining length and complexity) and two-factor authentication (using two authentication methods, such as a password and a code sent to a separate device) can help prevent unauthorized access to your server and website.7. Use security plugins
Many security plugins available for WordPress can help to harden the security of your website, such as Wordfence, Sucuri, WP Scan, Jetpack, iThemes Security, All In One WP Security, and Firewall.
4 Tips for Boosting Your Page Speed
Page speed should be one of your top priorities when striving to create a smooth user experience for your site's visitors. Want your content to load at lightning-fast speeds? There are a number of measures you can take.
Your website's speed is influenced by various factors, from the number of images and videos on each page to the themes and plugins installed.
Before making any changes to your website, it’s best to check its overall performance using a speed tester. Once you’ve gauged how fast your pages are, you can decide how much of an overhaul your site needs.
Hopefully, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results, but if that isn’t the case, here are some top tips for improving your page speed:
1. Compress and optimize your images
Large, unoptimized images can significantly slow down your website. Compressing and optimizing images through a service such as TinyJPG can greatly improve the speed of your website.
2. Reduce redirects
Redirects can slow down your website by adding an extra step for the browser to follow. By minimizing the number of redirects, you can reduce the time it takes for a page to load and improve the overall speed of your website.
3. Cache your pages
Caching can improve the speed of your website by reducing the number of requests to the server. When a page is cached, the browser stores a copy on the user's device so that it can be displayed without having to request it from the server again.
4. Remove unnecessary elements
Don’t let old plugins, themes, and media files clog your site. Removing these elements can help improve your website's speed by reducing the number of requests to the server and the amount of data that needs to be loaded.
Whatever your experience level, we’re confident this guide will provide some value — whether you’re a WordPress newbie or a grizzled veteran of the platform.
Here is more information if you’re curious about how to use POWR on WordPress.
What other tips or useful details should someone know if they are trying to optimize their WordPress site? Let us know in the comments!