Why Is My WordPress Site so Slow: 7 Reasons and Solutions

Written by: Milan Savov
Mar / 15 / 2021

One of the essential functional features of your website is its page load time. A WordPress site loading slow means the website doesn’t perform great, you’ll lose leads, traffic, and Google will push you down the search results. All this means you will end up losing money. If you have noticed page load time problems and asking yourself why is my WordPress site so slow, you must act now. 

Finding why your website is loading slowly and applying adequate fixes will save and improve your rankings.

How Do You Notice Whether the Site Is Slow?

If you are losing visitors or the number has been decreased in the recent period, check the page loading time at once. You can do this by entering the URL of your website on Google’s Page Speed Insights and see the analysis. Basically, the optimal website loading time Google considers it to be under 2s. When it comes to eCommerce sites, Google says:

“Two seconds is the threshold for eCommerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half-second.”

This led to many research studies that showed similar results: One in four visitors will leave your website if it takes more than 4s for it to load. It has been calculated that the average human attention span is now 7s, 3s less than the previous 12s calculated as an average in the years up to 2000. 

It means that you have to impress your website visitors quickly and make them stay on your website. Another amazing fact is that a 1 second delay in page load time can lead to 7% conversion loss, 11% fewer page views, and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, according to a study by the Aberdeen Group.

Reasons for a Slow WordPress Site

There are lots of reasons why your WordPress website is slow. Page speed is also a tech SEO problem that SEO experts put in the top 5 problems that must be resolved in order to start planning an SEO strategy; first of all, you need to look for the problem in your web hosting, WordPress configuration, the size of the page and the external scripts. However, it is not as simple as it sounds regarding reasons why is WordPress so slow. Each of the reasons must be looked at closely and analyzed deeply. For that purpose, here is a closer look at the most common reasons for a slow WordPress site.

1. The Hosting Is Bad

One of the most important segments in page loading time optimization is having good web hosting. It must be strong and fast because the whole functionality depends on it. That is why you need to consider the options for the best hosting for WordPress and choose the one that most suits your needs. If you decide to go for the cheapest option- the shared hosting, keep in mind that it is the cheapest for a reason: if some of the other websites sharing the same server get a lot of traffic, it can impact the entire server performance. The result will be slowing down the performance of the other websites.

It is recommended to go for a managed hosting when it comes to WordPress because, in this way, you will receive optimized server configurations that will power your WordPress site. You can get automatic backups, updates, and other advanced security configurations for website protection with a managed hosting.   

In addition, the solution to your question – Why my WordPress website is so slow also hides in replacing your existing hosting with another one. Some of the best hosting for WordPress include:

2. Plugin Issues 

Sometimes, not updating the current plugins might cause speed problems. And, no, these aren’t problems that are to be neglected. Not updating the plugins can seriously impact the website loading speed. Also, be careful what kind of WordPress plugins you are installing. There are slow ones that, regardless of being the latest updated version, still affect the site negatively in terms of speed. So, when choosing a plugin, pay attention to the reviews, the user experience, and the rated performance. 

Another issue with the plugins is having too many installed. Even though having plugins is excellent, too many can add extra load time or even double the load time. But, how would you know if the number of plugins slows your website? Test it out. Try deactivating each plugin one by one, and then test your page speed again. If the site becomes faster, you will know each plugin makes the problem. Having 20-30 WordPress plugins is considered quite common and natural for an average business by WPBeginner; however, others discuss that the optimal number is 5-10 plugins. 

Regardless of the number of plugins you decide to have, it is more important to ensure the plugins are of excellent quality, don’t slow down the website, and are constantly updated to the latest version. 

3. Having a Heavy Theme and No Updates

What does a heavy theme mean? You already know that the theme is a collection of files that define the graphical interface of a site. However, there are heavy themes that make your website not user-friendly. These themes are loaded with feature bloat, meaning they are built with a huge number of options and layouts that won’t be used by the user and will make the WordPress website loading slow.

To fix this problem, you need to rethink your website structure – do you really need all the stuff you have. Then, make a plan of what stays and what goes – try minimizing the features and elements per page so that you can speed up the site.

Furthermore, oftentimes the theme, but also the plugins, template WordPress, and the PHP version on the server are not updated. Updates may seem like a unimportant aspect, but quite the contrary, this can also make your WordPress site very slow.

So, how to make a WordPress website faster? The solution, of course, is to update all of them:

  • Plugins: All plugins must be up-to-date since every new update is improving the plugin itself and fixing a bug, which will ensure that the site won’t be vulnerable.
  • Template: The update of the template is also essential since it will fix all found errors. Some updates may be strictly for enhancement of the functionality effect and the speed of the website.
  • WordPress & PHP Version: The same rule applies here since an update is also crucial regarding the latest PHP version. It will make a massive improvement of the performance if your WordPress site is slow. Also, by using the latest WordPress version, you will be sure there are no vulnerabilities and that each new version is more protected than the previous one.

Still, before you make any update, you must make a backup. For instance, the most painless solution for theme updating is to switch the files that have changes, so all custom made things you have will remain safe.

4. Caching

Another problem that seriously impacts the website page load time is caching. Caching is a great concept that offers the browser to save your website’s data when the user first visits the website. Once they return to the website, all content will immediately load without waiting for the server to fetch the data anew. 

This leads us to the problem – not having installed a caching plugin on your website. It is amazing how installing such a plugin can speed up WordPress site 2-5 times. You can get the plugin from the WordPress plugin directory or server hosting companies like Bluehost, SIteground, etc. 

Furthermore, another way how to increase WordPress website loading speed is to install a caching plugin if the host/server doesn’t have one. Some of the best plugins we recommend are:

5. Oversized and Unoptimized Images

Visuals like images are great for providing an excellent user experience. However, they must be the right size and optimized before you put them on the site. Too large and unoptimized images will slow down the page load time to a great extent. Images with sizes of 5000px by 3000px, for example, are too big. On the other hand, most desktop screens are 1920 px wide, while mobile screens are no wider than 700px. Publishing images larger than this is not necessary. 

Here are the optimal images sizes for your WordPress site:

  • Blog post image size 1200 x 630 pixels
  • Header image size 1048 x 250 pixels
  • Featured image size – landscape 1200 x 900 pixels
  • Featured image size – portrait 900 x 1200 pixels
  • WordPress background image size 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Logo image size 200 x 100 pixels
  • Thumbnail image size 150 x 150 pixels

Since oversized and unoptimized images make your WordPress site slow, you have to use these practices to create the proper size for your images.

First, replace all images via CSS with the same images but with the proper dimensions. After all images are replaced and you implement those with the right size, you must compress all your images. There are two best ways to do so:

1. With the help of a WordPress plugin such as:

2. With the TinyPNG tool:

You can compress the images manually with TinyPNG by downloading all images, attach them, compress them, and then upload the compressed images on their previous location.

Don’t underestimate this reason since image-related issues can make the WordPress website very slow to load.

6. Unused CSS and JavaScript Code

One more essential reason your WordPress website takes long time to load is because of unused CSS and JavaScript code.

In essence, unused CSS and JavaScript code is any code included by your WordPress plugins or theme that is unnecessary. By removing this type of code, you will improve your WordPress slow load and enhance its performance and user experience. You should test your site with Google PageSpeed Insights – the tool we mentioned in the first paragraph – to see the JavaScript and CSS files that have unused code.

You can remove the unused code using these two solutions:

  • Manually – Remove the unused JavaScript and CSS code manually after you discover the files that have such code. However, don’t forget to make a backup of the files you’ll change before doing so.

7. Ads and Pop-Up

Having too many ads and pop-ups can make your WordPress loading slow, even though they are a great income source. While all of them load in the header, sidebars, body, or at the bottom of the page, your website will be perceived as slow. As it is quite clear that Google does not like slow websites, you must ensure that your site won’t experience organic traffic drop and get buried down the SERP results. To make sure this doesn’t happen, opt for no more than 2 or 3 ads on the page.  

Some Final Words

If you are having speed problems and wondering how to fix a slow WordPress site, start from the most obvious problem and eliminate it one by one. Sometimes it might be the lousy server host, and sometimes it might be having too many plugins. Also, before we wrap up, it’s valuable to mention that conducting an entire WordPress SEO audit can help significantly to analyze how good your web presence relates to top practices.

Your WordPress slow loading is an issue that can be easily handled, so finding the root of the problem is mandatory. A fast WordPress site is not only the bare minimum of having a quality website but also a great stepping stone to getting more traffic and visitors on it. Instead of focusing so much on why is WordPress slow, you should concentrate more on how to implement the solutions mentioned in this article to make it fast!

FAQ

How do I fix a slow WordPress site?

The solution for the WordPress slow loading fix is about finding what is causing the slow page load. You can do that by checking all reasons for a WordPress page loading slow as listed above in the text and eliminate it one by one.

Why is my WordPress Site loading so slow?

There might be several problems why your WordPress site is loading so slow. It might be a slow server host, having too many or outdated plugins, unoptimised images, lack of caching facilities etc. The problem can be of pure tech nature or simply because your site doesn’t keep up with the latest updated versions.

How to speed up WordPress site?

You can speed up your WordPress site if you keep it updated and optimized. Some of the best practices are using a content delivery network, not uploading audio/video files directly to WordPress, using a theme that is speed-optimised and using faster plugins.

Are WordPress sites slow?

WordPress sites aren’t slow. However, it must be built properly and optimised for Google and the users.