We have over 100 steps in our process so it’s impractical to give you finite detail on everything we do.
Generally the first step in our process is to identify the key problems that are slowing your site down, fix them and then work on general best practices. We’ll explain what these problems are and give you an explanation of why they’re problematic as well as provide before and after speed reports.
More broadly, here are the things we do:
WordPress Best Practices Review & Optimization
Most sites we work on have configuration errors or problems simply because the sites have been worked on by several people over time. We review your entire site and hosting configuration and ensure it’s configured in a best practices fashion.
Browser & Page Caching Configuration & Tuning
Caching is one of biggest improvements you can make to your WordPress site speed. Caching setup is a lot more complex than simply installing a caching plugin and turning everything on.
Each site is different and as such caching needs to be customized specifically to each site. On top of that, often caching settings are counter intuitive and on some hosts turning on things like Database Caching will actually slow your site down.
You’ll also find that many of the improvements that speed test tools on the web recommend such as removing query strings from static elements can actually create problems.
Database Optimization & Cleanup
If your site has been around for a while there may be garbage in the database that is slowing it down. For example, expired transients on Woocommerce sites can be a huge problem.
As part of our service we cleanup and optimize your database to ensure it’s running as fast as possible.
Especially for larger sites or sites where a lot of users are logged into at once, the WordPress Heartbeat can create problems. We reconfigure your heartbeat settings to ensure that this doesn’t become a problem for your site.
HTAccess File Optimization
HTAccess is one of your web server’s key configuration files and it often contains code that is slowing you down or causing problems in some way. We review your HTAccess configuration and ensure that it’s configured in a best practices format.
404 & Bad Request Review & Repair
It’s not unusual to find spelling errors in code or some other issue that is causing images or break or bad requests to your server. We review all elements that you site loads to ensure they’re not timing out or resulting in a 404 error.
Plugin Review & Pruning
Duplicated and outdated plugins are a huge problem when it comes to WordPress speed. Often this is something as simple as having multiple SEO plugins installed which is bad for both speed AND your Google rankings.
We review all your plugin to make sure they’re actually all required or being used, that none are providing duplicate functionality or causing conflicts somewhere in your site.
Server Compression Tuning
Many website servers don’t have compression turned on by default. We make sure your server compression settings are tuned for maximum performance.
Before and After Reports
We all the work we do we take before and after speed snapshots so we can show you exactly what improvements to site speed have been achieved.
Post Speed Fix Site Backup Provided
Once we’re finished we give you a full backup of your site via Dropbox. What we’ve found after working with 1000s of customers is that most don’t actually have a backup of there site at all!
Many of the changes we make are to the site configuration itself so it’s important you have an updated backup copy of your site stored somewhere.
We use Blogvault to backup our customer websites and take daily backups of your site while we’re working on it.
Image Optimization & Compression
Images are usually the largest component or your website and by using lossless compression we can often significantly reduce the size of your image files without any difference to the quality.
We losslessly compress all images on your site and will also resize images where appropriate.
Content Delivery Network Setup (optional, powered by Cloudflare)
Cloudflare.com is a fantastic service and we recommend it to all customers (the free service is all you need).
Cloudflare speeds up your DNS hosting (very commonly overlooked when it comes to speed), provides a content delivery network and several other acceleration features that no other provider or plugin offers.
HTTPS - on our Business service
The entire web is moving to HTTPS and it’s a good thing too. HTTPS ensures all data transmitted between your website and your visitors is encrypted.
When your site runs in HTTPS web browsers will use the newer HTTP2 protocol which requires less connections to the server and overall improves the render and load speed of your site.
With our WP Speed Fix Business service we migrate your site to HTTPS using either the free Letsencrypt.org service (if your host supports it) or we’ll provide a Comodo SSL cert for you.
As well as speed up your site, Google have stated that encrypted sites running in HTTPS will get a slight rankings boost.
PHP7 upgrade (if compatible)
PHP7 is the latest version of PHP and is 2-3x faster than PHP5.X which is the version of PHP your website is probably running (there’s no PHP6). This translates to approximately 0.5 seconds faster load time which is great for getting under that 1 second total load.
Not all web hosts offer PHP7 yet and not all website themes and plugins support.
As part of our WP Speed Fix Business service we run a PHP7 compatibility check and will upgrade your hosting environment to PHP7 if your site and site support it.