In this article, you’ll learn the basic steps you need to take to optimize the performance of your website. In this particular case, optimization will involve cleaning the site.
We are approached daily by many customers who complain about the slow performance of their site. In almost all cases, the site’s operational issues are not related to the server but to the site itself. In these cases, we always offer customers to optimize their website. People who do this best are web developers. However, nowadays many website owners create their website by themselves, without any help from companies or individual developers. In such cases, there is no one they can turn to for help.
Given the situation, the hamster decided to take action. In this article, you’ll learn the basic steps of cleaning your website, which will in turn lead to a faster and smoother operation. Basically, cleaning a WordPress website includes evaluating the status of an existing website and removing old, unused information. However, in some cases, we can’t clean everything ourselves, this is when it’s a good idea to ask for help and use special plug-ins to do the work for us.
But let us start at the beginning – what are those ways to clean up your site?
Remove unused plugins and themes
WordPress plugins are both bliss and a curse simultaneously, as there is an overwhelming number of them. Plugins help you perform various actions, such as automatic redirection to HTTPS, improve SEO, display photos beautifully in galleries, generate backups, speed up the site’s performance, and more. They are straightforward to install and activate. On average, a business website can use about 20-30 plugins. To reach the full potential of WordPress, about 50 plugins can run in a single WordPress site. If they are compatible and the site is running on a server with a lot of resources, there should be no problems.
However, when hosting a website on a shared server and using plugins, it is essential to remember that they are written in PHP. This means that each plugin executes a PHP script when in action. Hosting plan resources such as CPU, RAM, and others are used to execute that script. Suppose a site with many plugins runs on a hosting plan that does not have extensive resources (such as S10). In that case, multiple plugins running simultaneously can use up all the resources allocated to the user, causing the website to run slowly or even the server to fail to process action and return errors 508 and 503 to the client. And now, think about more than one site running on such a plan.
So while plugins are easy to install and use, you need to be very responsible when choosing them. There may be many examples, however, let’s look at some specific cases:
If you use a gallery on multiple pages on your site, use the same plugin for all the galleries. When choosing the gallery plugin you want to use, you will probably try different ones. Delete other galleries after picking the one you like.
If you use a caching plugin to improve your site’s performance, use one solution. Using two (or more) caching plugins simultaneously doesn’t mean your site will run twice as fast. Instead, it might lead to a conflict, overuse of resources, and increase the volume of your site, thus reducing its performance.
If you host a website with Hostens, evaluate if you need a backup plugin. Our servers generate backups every day except Sunday. Therefore, we can offer to restore your website from our backup. However, it is always worth having your own backup, which you can generate using the Installatron tool.
Of course, each website is unique, and only the website owner knows best which plugins are necessary and which ones are not.
To stop using the plugin, it is best to delete it:
If you only deactivate the plugin, It remains a security vulnerability on the site.
Simply deactivating the plugin will not only take up space on the server by increasing your overall website size but can also serve as a security gap over outdated files.
The same recommendations apply to unused themes. Until you decide which theme you like best, you will surely install more than one for testing purposes. Be sure to remove unused themes from your site. Such action will optimize its size, save space on your hosting plan, and, most importantly, keep your site secure.
Perform regular updates
Regular system upgrade is a fundamental process. Not only your personal computer, phone, or favourite games, but also WordPress asks you to install the updates. And not just the content management system itself, but the plugins and themes used.
Why is this important? Because developers constantly review their software. This eliminates unnoticed or reported security vulnerabilities, increases performance, and optimization. Updates make your systems run faster and more efficiently.
As mentioned in the previous section, it is recommended that you remove unused plugins and themes from your site to ensure that bad guys do not exploit security gaps in unused software – for example, outdated codes. However, updating active plugins and themes on time is equally important. Their code or files may leave vulnerabilities that can be compromised.
It can be done almost effortlessly. First of all, you will be notified of the possible updates by WordPress itself in the administration section of your website.
Did you know that you can update your website even without logging in to WordPress Admin? You can update both WordPress and plugins as well as themes directly from the cPanel control panel via Installatron:
Manage your media files
We will probably find clothes in our closets that we have not worn for a long time. And yet those clothes are still hanging there, taking up space and collecting dust. Of course, we could give a second life for those clothes by giving them away to our relatives or charities. But that’s a whole different topic.
It is equally common for us to find unused images, sometimes audio or video files, in our WordPress media galleries. We recommend removing this kind of information from your site. It is not likely to speed up its performance, but such a site will take up less space on the server. In addition, it will be much easier to generate backups of such a site, and the risk of failed backups will be reduced. Besides, it is a lot easier to move a smaller site to another server when needed.
If the files are not very large, you can delete them through the Media Library in the WordPress Admin section.
Another way to clean your site from unused files is to use specialized plugins. One of them is Media Cleaner – Clean & Optimize Space. The principle is to scan the site first and then delete unused files. Just be careful: it is recommended that you first delete the files in the Trash. After the action, check the site for missing images. If all is good, you can delete the files completely. And if the site does not look as before, you can restore the deleted files from the Trash. You’ll need to adjust your site settings for the Trash feature to work, so be sure to read plugins’ documentation.
It is worth remembering that it is not recommended to have a lot of plugins on the site. If you have used the plugin once and achieved the desired result, feel free to delete it.
Another critical recommendation related to files that impact how fast a website works is that you optimize your media files. It is necessary to process the files before uploading them to the websites. High-resolution images on a website don’t mean a better look. High resolution makes sense in print, as for computers, everything revolves around performance and optimization. Loading a large image takes a long time, which worsens site visitors’ experience. The optimal image size for a website is no more than 200 KB. Use pictures between 1500 px and 2560 px wide to fill the background of the screen.
You can use online tools such as tinypng.com or imagesmaller.com to reduce your images. When uploading images to WordPress, these tools optimize them a bit. You can use specialized plugins such as EWWW Image Optimizer or TinyPNG – JPEG, PNG & WebP image compression for better results.
Review site content, links and optimize database
Like reviewing media files, removing old and out-of-date content from your site is necessary. Check the site for outdated and inactive articles, news, comments, and more.
Plugins can be used to remove SPAM-type comments. One of these is Spam Comments Cleaner.
- Remove broken links from the site. These links do not display any content because it has already been removed from your site. If the site is small, it is not difficult to do so. You can use specialized solutions such as the Broken Link Checker plugin for larger content sites. You can remove the plugin after using it to optimize the site’s size and also prevent security threats.
Get rid of old post revisions. Old revisions do not add significant value to your site. Although WordPress does not have an easy way to remove this information, you can once again use the plugin. One of the solutions is called Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions. It will also help optimize your site by removing other accumulated invisible and unnecessary info. If revision information collects intensively on your site, you can use the Revision Control plugin as prevention. Revisions can also be turned off by adjusting the wp-config.php file.
If you use WordPress functionality such as Tags, be sure to remove the ones you don’t use (Posts> Tags).
When it comes to content, such as pages and articles, you will not be able to get additional help here, and you will need to review the content yourself.
Manage plugin assets
When you add a plugin or theme to a WordPress site, they use various assets to perform their functions. The problem is that sometimes assets are used where they are not needed. One example could be a gallery. Imagine it works on a single page on your site, and assets of such a plugin are used on other pages, even when you don’t need them.
One of the easiest ways to manage this process is to use a plugin called Asset CleanUp: Page Speed Booster. It will scan your site and turn off assets where they are not needed.
This plugin is really cool and you can surely use it on your website to optimize it.
There is not much to say here. To have a fast-running website on a shared hosting server it has to be neat. Feel free to make use of the tips given in this article to clean up your site and see how its performance improves.