WordPress Speed: How fast is your blog?

Summary: Speeding up WordPress begins with analysis and data collection. Check how fast your WordPress blog is now and I'll show you how you can make it load faster

This is a post in my WordPress speed -series. You'll learn what tools to use to analyze how fast your WordPress blog is now (Save the data and loading times, so you can tell me if these tips made your blog faster). As an example, I'll show you some data from one of my blogs.

Tools to test your WordPress speed

Here are the tools you can use to check how fast your site is now, and also get some tips on how to make your WordPress blog faster. At this point however, all you need is the current data (= how fast is your WordPress blog).

Free website performance analysis tools:

Firefox plugins (optional, for the advanced):

Example test: My RC hobby blog

I tested some simple ways to speed up WordPress with my experimental RC Aeroplanes -blog.

  • WordPress 2.9.2
  • Theme: Affiliate Theme (not my favorite theme, and definitely not optimized for speed, making it great for speed test :) Check out my resource page for more info on this and other WordPress Premium Themes.)
  • Active plugins that loaded css- and/or js-files:
    • Sexy Bookmarks
    • WP-PostRatings
    • Contact Form 7

Speed test #1

I removed all optimized settings and speed-increasing plugins from the blog, thus simulating a fresh WordPress installation (with plenty of plugins slowing it down however):

Plugins:

  • Page Speed Score: 79/100
  • YSlow Grade D: Overall performance score 60

Web Page Analyzer:

  • Total HTTP Requests: 25
  • Total Size: 454589 bytes
  • Download time (T1 1.44Mbps): 7.41 seconds

WebPageTest.org:

  • First view: 5.218s
  • Repeat view: 3.548s

non optimized wordpress blog WordPress Speed: How fast is your blog?

Speed test #2

And here's what happens when we speed up WordPress a bit (same blog as above, now with good, basic WordPress htaccess rules in place and W3 Total Cache in place). I also removed Facebook sidebar widget, which caused a lot of HTTP requests and images to load.

Plugins:

  • Page Speed Score: 87/100 (+8)
  • Grade B: Overall performance score 86 (+26, D to B)

Web Page Analyzer:

  • Total HTTP Requests: 17
  • Total Size: 340133 bytes (~25% less data)
  • Download time (T1 1.44Mbps): 5.20 seconds (~30% faster)

WebPageTest.org:

  • First view: 2.303s (~56% faster)
  • Repeat view: 1.985s (~44% faster)

optimized wordpress blog WordPress Speed: How fast is your blog?

All the non-compressed images were external, thus the F. Otherwise, the analysis looks pretty good with such a small tweaks. I got 30-55% speed increase, even that I didn't go and remove unnecessary plugins (some plugins are very bad for site speed).

I didn't minify HTML with W3 Total Cache, and I don't use CDN. All this on shared hosting, no extra acceleration for VPS or PHP opcode cache or any of that advanced stuff. Sadly, the loading time went up a bit again, when I added the Facebook fan widget back in. Those things need some optimization :)

How fast is your WordPress blog?

I'd love to know how fast, or slow, your WordPress blog loads (non-WP blogs are welcome too, but remember to mention it in the comment)

  • Go to Pingdom and run a speed test for your blog.
  • Write down how fast your site loaded according to Pingdrom.
    • (Pingdom can give random results occasionally, you might want to run it twice)
  • Go to WebPageTest.org and run a speed analysis for your blog.
  • Run the WebPageTest.org with these settings:
    • Dulles, VA - 1.5Mbps ADSL IE8, 5 times (to get an average result)
  • Write down the times for the first view and the repeat view (after all runs are finished). If you want, save the whole report and the load-breakdown images for later analysis.

Save the results, and come back here and leave a comment:

  • Tell me how fast your blog was on Pingdrom.
  • Tell me the loading time for first view and repeat view at WebPageTest.org.
  • Tell me if you'd like your blog to load faster

After you've left a comment, so we know your baseline times, start the WordPress optimization process by adding the WordPress .htaccess rules in place and optimize images for your blog. WordPress bloggers should also go and install the WP Smush.it -plugin right away.

p.s. If you're comfortable with advanced analysis and using the Firefox plugins, throw the YSlow grade, YSlow performance score and the Page Speed score into your comment as well.

p.p.s. If you've followed me and my blog, you know I've hinted that I'm creating my first product. This is where it begins.

Update: Join the WordPress Speed Challenge to do this yourself - speed up your WordPress blog and make it load a lot faster!

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Topic: WordPress Optimization
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