Why Is my WordPress Site Slow?

The primary reasons a site is slow:

1.  The site is bloated

2.  The images are too large

3.  The database is too large

4.  Caching is not optimized

5.  The hosting is slowing you down

6.  The hosting is not optimized correctly

Check out your own website, see how your wordpress site ranks for speed, is your site fast enough?

Step 1.  Is my site actually slow?

So, How do we test this?   Let’s do a speed test together.  Pull up a new browser window, and visit the site gtmetrix.com.   Your page should look something like the picture below.

Simply type your website name into gtmetrix and click 'Analyze' to do a true speed test of your site.

Simply enter in your websites name, it does not matter if you type in www or not.  The goal, is to replicate what a common visitor would type out.  For this example, I will do a speed test on ucrewnation.com.  Click the Analyze button.

Note the performance scores on the left hand side, and the page details on the upper right.  The scores do not represent the sites speed, but actually represent how the site is optimized.  Simply getting an A might not necessarily mean your site is very fast.  The page details show how big the page is in Megabytes, and how long it took to fully load.  We will focus on Total Page Size and Number of Requests, as this is generally what leads to ‘bloat’.

Gtmetrix has a 'Waterfall' where you can see all scripts and css pages, and how long it took to pull up each one up


1.  The site is bloated – Running too many unnecessary scripts and styles from various plugins on your pages will cause your site to slow down tremendously.  This could be because of too many plugins, and robust, poorly optimized pages.  You may find situations where even plugins that are deactivated, are still running scripts on your pages.  To see what I am talking about, look at the ‘Waterfall’ section under Gtmetrix.  

This shows each individual asset pulling up on the page, during initial page load.  When you are looking through the waterfall, you are looking for a couple things.  First, is anything taking a long time to load that may be contributing to my slow page speed?  Take a look at the image below, this image is delaying the initial page loading time by 1 second.  This is only one asset out of the 125 that are trying to pull up on this page.

We have an image here, that we can see is delaying the initial page loading time by 1 second, this needs to be compressed

The second thing we are searching for in the waterfall, are there any scripts running that are unnecessary?   Many times, on a WordPress site, there are scripts that are holding up your initial page load time, that aren’t even being used!  An example of this would be the below image, it is loading an Emoji library, even though there is ZERO emojis on that page.  In fact, there are no emoji’s on the entire site.  

This WordPress page is delayed, waiting for an emoji library to load, even though that library was never used on this page.

Luckily, there is a solution.  And it is relatively easy.   We will talk about optimizing images in the next section, but to combat the emoji library, as well as other bloat on the site, simply download the ‘Asset Cleanup’ plugin.  We use Asset Cleanup to actually STOP scripts from running on on a page, after we realized that they are unnecessary!   

Asset Cleanup is a free plugin available in the WordPress plugin store.  In the next section, we will show you how to use this plugin to remove the clutter, and speed up your website.  Click the button below to find out more about Asset Cleanup.