A high-performing WordPress site is crucial for the success of your online business. A lot of business owners tend to gravitate towards WordPress for its vast plugin repository. With 60,478+ free plugins and a similar number of premium and custom ones, there’s pretty much a WordPress plugin for every need and budget. That’s why it has become extremely tempting to rely on plugins for every modification or optimization for your site or WooCommerce store.
However, depending solely on plugins can sometimes introduce unnecessary complexities and hinder the overall performance of your WordPress site. Relying heavily on plugins can lead to bloated code and unnecessary dependencies, which will slow down your website immensely and may cause its functionality to glitch.
The good news is that you can optimize your WordPress site without plugins and achieve impressive results! They are powerful tools, but plugins aren’t always required to enable optimization and specific features on WordPress.
In this article, we will explore a range of practical techniques and best practices that will help you streamline your WordPress site’s performance, all without the need for any plugins. So, if you’re ready to unlock the full potential of your WordPress site and boost its performance without depending on plugins, let’s dive right in and discover the art of optimizing WordPress from within!
Why consider optimizing your WordPress site without plugins?
Despite plugins being the go-to solution for expanding the functionality of WordPress websites and adding new exciting features for most, there are compelling reasons to consider optimizing your WordPress site without relying on plugins at all. By minimizing plugin dependency, you can unlock several benefits and avoid potential WordPress performance bottlenecks.
The benefits of minimizing plugin dependency
Minimizing your plugin usage for your WordPress website offers the following advantages that can positively impact your online business:
- Improved performance
Excessive use of plugins can introduce unnecessary code, leading to increased page load times and slower site performance. By optimizing your site without plugins, you can streamline your code and reduce unnecessary overhead, resulting in a faster, more responsive website.
- Enhanced security
Each plugin you install presents a potential security risk, as not all developers adhere to the same security standards. By minimizing plugin usage, you can reduce the attack surface and potential vulnerabilities, thereby bolstering the security of your WordPress site.
- Increased stability
Plugins occasionally conflict with each other, resulting in unpredictable behavior or even site crashes. By minimizing the number of plugins you rely on, you reduce the likelihood of conflicts, ensuring a more stable and reliable website for your visitors.
Avoiding WordPress performance bottlenecks caused by plugins
While plugins can add favorable functionality to your website, an excessive number of them can cause performance bottlenecks. Here’s why it’s important to avoid such bottlenecks:
- Code bloat
- Dependency on external resources
Plugins often rely on external resources such as third-party APIs or services. If these resources experience downtime or slowdowns, it can directly impact your site’s performance and user experience.
- Plugin compatibility
As WordPress and plugins receive updates, compatibility issues may arise. Incompatibilities can lead to errors, conflicts, or even site crashes. By minimizing the usage of plugins within your WordPress website, you will reduce the risk of compatibility issues and ensure smoother updates and maintenance.
By considering these factors and optimizing your WordPress site without relying solely on plugins, you can enjoy improved performance, enhanced security, and increased stability, offering a seamless browsing experience for your visitors.
How to speed up, optimize, and secure your WordPress without plugins
When it comes to optimizing your WordPress site, you don’t always need to rely on plugins. By implementing a few key techniques and making strategic adjustments, you can significantly improve your site’s loading times and security without the additional overhead of plugins. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to optimize your WordPress site without plugins:
Large image files can slow down your site. Before uploading your images to your website, make sure to resize them to the required dimensions of your WordPress theme. Use image editing tools like Photoshop or online services like TinyPNG or Squoosh for this step.
Also, you should compress your images using image editing tools like TinyPNG and ImageOptim. Additionally, consider using the appropriate file formats, such as JPEG for photographs and PNG for graphics with transparency.
Leverage caching mechanisms
Enable browser caching on your site to store static files locally on your website visitors’ devices. This way, returning visitors can load your site faster since their browser doesn’t need to download all your web pages again. You can add caching directives to your site’s .htaccess file. Here is an example of how to do that using the mod_expires module in Apache, which allows you to set expiration dates for different types of files, enabling browser caching and reducing the need for repeated requests:
- Open your .htaccess file in a text editor.
- Add the following code to your .htaccess file:
- Set the expiration date for different file types. You can use the ExpiresByType directive to specify the expiration date for specific MIME types. Here’s an example:
ExpiresByType text/html "access plus 1 week"
ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 year"
Optionally, you can set a default expiration date for files that don’t have a specific MIME type. You can use the ExpiresDefault directive to do this. For example:
ExpiresDefault "access plus 2 weeks"
This line sets a default expiration time of two weeks for all files.
Save the .htaccess file.
Remember to implement the above caching mechanisms in a staging environment and test your website thoroughly before pushing your changes to your live WordPress website. Also, note that the effectiveness of caching depends on various factors such as browser settings and user behavior, so it’s important to consider the specific requirements and characteristics of your site when setting the caching directives.
You can use one of the various online tools and offline applications to help with minification, like YUI Compressor.
Optimize database queries
WordPress relies heavily on its database to store and retrieve data. To guarantee that your WordPress database works efficiently with your website, clean up unused data, optimize your database tables, and ensure efficient query execution. To do so, follow the following steps:
- Before making any changes, it’s important to create a backup of your WordPress database. This will ensure that you have a copy of your data in case anything goes wrong during the optimization process.
- Now, identify and remove any unused data. WordPress can accumulate unused data over time, such as post revisions, spam comments, trashed posts, and expired transients. You can remove these manually or by running SQL queries directly on your database from your phpMyAdmin SQL tab.
Here is an example SQL query to remove your post revisions from your WordPress database:
DELETE FROM wp_posts WHERE post_type = 'revision';
To remove spam comments:
DELETE FROM wp_comments WHERE comment_approved = 'spam';
To remove trashed posts:
DELETE FROM wp_posts WHERE post_status = 'trash';
To remove expired transients:
DELETE FROM wp_options WHERE option_name LIKE '_transient_timeout%';
DELETE FROM wp_options WHERE option_name LIKE '_transient%';
Please note that executing SQL queries directly on your database should be done with caution. Ensure you have a backup and a basic understanding of SQL before proceeding.
If you’re not a seasoned developer, it’s best to hire a Codeable WordPress professional who knows what they are doing.
- Optimize all your database tables by using the OPTIMIZE TABLE command. Run the following query:
OPTIMIZE TABLE wp_posts, wp_comments, wp_options;
You can replace wp_posts, wp_comments, and wp_options with the names of your WordPress database tables that you want to optimize.
- Regularly repair your database to keep it running smoothly. You can do this by running the following SQL query, which will repair any corrupted tables for better performance:
REPAIR TABLE wp_posts, wp_comments, wp_options;
- Enable persistent caching by adding the following line to your WordPress wp-config.php file:
This will enable persistent caching using the default WordPress caching mechanism. Note that you may need to install and configure a caching plugin for advanced caching options.
Remove unnecessary themes and plugins
Regularly review and remove any unnecessary themes and plugins from your WordPress installation. Unused themes and plugins can still consume resources and slow down your website.
Utilize Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)
CDNs distribute your site’s static content across multiple servers worldwide. By leveraging a CDN, your visitors can retrieve your content from the server closest to their geographic location, reducing latency and improving your overall page load times.
Update your WordPress version
Updating your WordPress version to the latest release is crucial for maintaining a fast, secure, and optimized website. The update brings performance improvements, bug fixes, and security patches that enhance the overall functionality and stability of your site. It ensures compatibility with the latest plugins and themes, introduces new features, and provides ongoing support from the WordPress community.
Check the quality of your hosting provider
To maintain a fast, secure, and optimized website, it is crucial to evaluate the quality of your hosting provider carefully. Look for a provider that guarantees reliable uptime, offers fast loading times, and provides scalability options to accommodate your website’s growth. Ensure they support SSL/TLS certificates for secure communication, employ robust security measures like firewalls and regular malware scanning, and offer responsive customer support.
Additionally, consider providers that offer optimization tools such as Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to improve global accessibility and caching mechanisms for faster page loading.
We recommend Kinsta because it’s a managed WordPress hosting provider that provides a range of features and services to optimize your website performance, security, and scalability. Also, it utilizes the Google Cloud Platform infrastructure to power its hosting environment. This will allow your site to benefit from Google’s high-performance servers and global network infrastructure.
Alternatively, you can go for WP Engine, which we also recommend because it’s one of the leading hosting providers for WordPress sites. It focuses on delivering high-performance, secure, and reliable hosting environments for WordPress sites.
Enable GZIP compression
GZIP compression reduces the size of your site’s files before they are transferred over the network. This compression technique significantly reduces the file size, resulting in faster downloads for visitors. Here’s a step-by-step guide to enabling GZIP compression:
- Verify if GZIP compression is already enabled on your WordPress site by using online tools like GTmetrix or PageSpeed Insights.
- Go to your .htaccess file from your hosting control panel’s file manager and add the following code:
# Enable compression
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-httpd-php
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-httpd-fastphp
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/svg+xml
# Exclude certain browsers from compression
SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI \.(?:gif|jpe?g|png)$ no-gzip dont-vary
Header append Vary User-Agent env=!dont-vary
Don’t forget to back up all your WordPress files before you make any changes. Additionally, make your changes in a testing environment before pushing them to your live site.
- Save the changes and test GZIP compression using the same online tools mentioned earlier to make sure that you enabled it on your WordPress website.
By implementing these techniques, you can significantly reduce the number of external resources and HTTP requests made by your WordPress site, improving its performance and loading speed. Your WordPress site will be optimized, fast, and secure without relying on additional plugins. Remember to monitor your site’s performance regularly to ensure consistent speed improvements and provide visitors with a seamless browsing experience.
Optimizing your WordPress site without plugins with the help of Codeable
As we’ve seen in this article, there’s no need to install lots of new plugins to optimize your WordPress website!
The point here is that even if it’s easy and there’s no backfire in installing a new piece of software anytime you want, plugins can quickly pile up and make your website clunky in the future for many reasons. That’s why it’s best to install just the plugins that are crucial to your website and your business goals and to implement the above strategies to optimize your website.
If it’s too much work for you, don’t fret. Avoid installing plugins and bloating your WordPress with extra code. Instead, hire one of our expert WordPress developers and they will handle everything for you. Our Codeble experts are immaculately vetted for their extensive expertise and will surely improve your website’s performance in no time and without using unnecessary plugins.
Submit your task to our Codeable WordPress developers today!