The first step in solving any problem is identifying it. However, when working with a WordPress website, with tens of scripts that you didn’t write, or include, running simultaneously atop your website’s content, finding the root of your performance problems is easier said than done. And that is where the new WP Speed of Light plugin comes in!
WP Speed of Light is a brand new WordPress plugin that serves as an assistant that helps you analyze the speed of your website’s pages in order to optimize them. Before you jump in, there’s just a short setup procedure!
First of all, head to WP Speed of Light’s configuration page and retrieve the API key. This key will allow you to access all sorts of features in the plugin.
Once you fill out the form, you should receive an email to complete the API key retrieval process. Simply follow the instructions, and you should end up with an API key.
Input this API key in the configuration page for WP Speed of Light, and the plugin is good to go! Before you leave the page, you may wish to toy around the various options for the plugin to customize it to your preferences.
First of all, you can disable optimization for administrators just like you by ticking the first checkbox. This will disable caching and other optimization steps, which may be useful when debugging new changes in your website.
If you figure that you will be removing cache periodically, the second checkbox makes it easier to do so by adding a button - visible just to you - on all pages. To further customize the plugin, you may also designate page URLs that should never be cached, which is handy if they change too often to make caching feasible, or even desirable.
Once you’re done, simply save changes! From the WP Speed of Light configuration page, you may also manually clean the cache if you’ve made some changes to the website that you want to be rolled out immediately to all of your WordPress users.
The starting point for WP Speed of Light is the dashboard, which is a run-down of the most important metrics about your WordPress website’s performance. This page includes information about your website’s optimization - both in the webpages themselves, and the underlying database - and advice to make the website run more efficiently. Let’s delve deeper!
Speed is central to a website’s user experience, and WordPress is no exception. Head to the speed analysis tab to run various tests about your website. The process is incredibly easy - just complete the URL to the page you want to analyze, and press the loading time test button!
Among others, the table below shows you details about the time it took to load the page on the first and second attempts - variations are down to caching, and the second try should see lower loading times.
Similarly, the database queries tab allows you to perform an analysis on your website, but this time focusing on database queries originating from the theme or plugins installed on your WordPress website. As before, complete the URL and launch the analysis!
Crucial to a website’s performance is its optimization. WP Speed of Light comes with a suite of options that allow you to speed up your WordPress website, available in the speed optimization tab.
In the first tab, you can toy with different options regarding caching, compression and expiration headers. Different configurations for all these options determine how often the website should be refreshed for your WordPress website’s users.
The penultimate tab - database cleanup - allows you to remove data that you deem useless from your database. All you have to do is select the content that you don’t want to retain, and clean now!
You’ve worked so hard on your WordPress website, ensured all necessary plugins are installed, edited your theme to perfection... And the website runs slow. WP Speed of Light can be the answer to your woes. After all, sometimes going the extra mile is all you need to vastly improve your users’ experience.