Tips and tricks for speeding up your Divi WordPress site!

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Is your site slow? Not for long!

Slow loading websites are frustrating for everyone! The average load speed of a website is expected to be under 5 seconds nowadays. 5 seconds! That is pretty darn fast. There are many factors that influence a website’s load speed, so today we will focus on the factors we CAN influence!

Hannah Raeside

Office Manager, Pod Creative

What is measurable load speed?

Measurable load speed is the speed at which a website loads that we are able to quantify and measure using specified programs online. Because there are so many factors that we are unable to control, such as device speed, internet speed, connection issues, and more, we focus on the measurable load speed time. By using programs such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, and Pingdom we can gain insight into the effectiveness of the strategy and find areas to improve.

GZIP compression coding

Enabling Gzip compression on your Divi Site can give you a big boost in speed. If you are familiar with creating compressed (or zipped) files on your computer, you already have a basic understanding of how Gzip compression works. Utilizing Gzip compression can reduce your page size by up to 70%! The Gzip compression code tells the server to compress all the files it can into smaller versions so that it can be served to the client much faster. 

To enter the below code in your website:

  1. You will need to access the File Manager in the website’s Cpanel.
  2. Under “Settings” make sure to show hidden files.
  3. Edit your .htaccess file and insert the code at the bottom of the file!

<IfModule mod_deflate.c>
# Compress HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Text, XML and fonts
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/vnd.ms-fontobject
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-truetype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/svg+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/x-icon
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml

# Remove browser bugs (only needed for really old browsers)
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip
BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
Header append Vary User-Agent
</IfModule>

The Plugins

There are many different plugins you can use to help speed up your site. Each plugin has its own set of pros and cons. Some plugins are robust and provide many different strategies to speed up your site such as Gzip compression, increasing page loading, and compressing CSS coding, but often require extensive set-up and paid for services. One plugin we tested, W3 Total Cache, is a highly rated plugin that will speed up your site.

Rocketship speeding up WordPress

However, we found the set-up to be arduous and confusing with over 17(!!) pages of settings to go through. If you aren’t sure what you’re doing you can pay for set-up, but to us, that seems to defeat the purpose of a free plugin. And shockingly, complicated set-ups seemed to be commonplace when we were on the hunt for the “perfect” plugin. So while W3 Total Cache is a good plugin it wasn’t quite what we were looking for.  

We recommend being cautious with your plugin use, using too many plugins can actually slow down your website, even if they are meant to do the opposite! Below are the plugins we recommend to assist your website’s measurable load speed.

Reminder!

There are MANY factors that are simply out of our control that affect the speed of your website. These factors can range from device speed to internet connection to the weather!

Yoast SEO

Surprised? So were we! With the release of Yoast SEO 14.0 (plus subsequent patches), Yoast SEO has revolutionized the concept of turning your pages and posts into indexables. From an SEO perspective, any type of page in WordPress is simply an indexable object.  To simplify the concept of indexables lets jump into an example. Imagine that each page and post on your site is a chapter in a textbook. Instead of flipping through the entire textbook to find the specific chapter you’re looking for, you flip to the index at the back of the book, where the chapter title and page number are neatly laid out for you. That’s what Yoast SEO does! We can now get all of our data in a single query, which makes any request much faster.

Smush

Nice and loud for the people in the back, LARGE PHOTOS SLOW DOWN YOUR SITE! Smush will compress all your images without a visible drop in quality and optimize your page speed using its unique compression algorithm. Smush meticulously scans every image you upload – or have already added to your site – compresses all the unnecessary data and scales it for you before adding it to your media library. 

WP Fastest Cache

After testing multiple different plugins we settled on WP Fastest Cache as our go-to plugin. There are many fantastic features, including minifying HTML and CSS, enabling Gzip compression, leveraging browser caching, combining CSS and JS, and more. One of the best parts is the set-up, it’s straightforward for anyone, from beginners all the way to advanced users, to set up. If you’re looking for an all-in-one plugin to help out your measurable load speed, we recommend WP Fastest Cache!

tinyjpg.com

Before you upload ANY photo to your site make sure to optimize it through tinyjpg.com. This free-to-use website is a game-changer for any web developer! TinyJPG reduces the file size of your JPEG images. Every uploaded image is analyzed to apply the best possible JPEG encoding. The result is a quality image without wasting storage or bandwidth! Utilizing tinyjpg.com and Smush together ensures your photos are as optimized and high quality as possible. 

wrapping
up

Choosing the right tools to speed up your site can be difficult as it requires a fair amount of trial and error. Luckily, if you have a Divi site, we’ve done the testing for you! Our recommendations for speeding up your site are just that, recommendations. So feel free to use all or none of our suggestions.

One aspect of website load speed we did not cover in this article is the importance of utilizing a high-quality hosting provider. A reminder that we at Pod Creative offer dedicated, managed Canadian hosting at $30 per month

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