I’ve been helping a friend of mine in the redesign of his web presence, well, less on the design end and more with development. Today he came to me with a grave issue, his site was slower than molasses. In the vast world of the Internet, nothing is worse than a slow loading website.
So to resolve this issue, I set off to my trusty Google search. The majority of talk on the web about slow WordPress mentioned version 2.6 and/or faulty plugins. Since both our sites are above 2.6, I deactivated all plugins, but nothing happened. Now, I was just puzzled.
Then I remembered that I had added some code to my site’s htaccess file to optimize loading using GZIP compression. Following the instructions on BetterExplained, I brought the load time down from 19.74 seconds to 2.9 seconds. This little trick should work for speeding up your site’s load time in all modern browsers.
Other resources for checking and increasing site speed:
Pingdom.com’s speed test
Yahoo’s Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site
Yahoo’s YSlow add-on for Firebug in Firefox
Vladimir Prelovac’s WordPress Optimization Bible
Important Consideration: When ever troubleshooting any issues with a site’s speed check out the host’s official status, for example DreamHost’s status page or HostGator’s Twitter. Make sure to keep your own service’s status handy, it can be invaluable!