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Boosting The Loading Speed Of Your WordPress Blog
Many people have a blog that is not optimized for loading speed.
One of the problems of a WordPress blog is – the more plugins you install the worse the loading speed will get.
If you are familiar with Firebug you could check the start page of the CookielessDomain blog.
This blog is optimized using the W3 Total Cache WordPress Plugin.
I must admit that this blog does not use any fully-loaded theme, it’s using the Carrington Text theme from the Carrington Framework.
A Kwicks slider, a scroll-to-top script, the header and the footer were added to the theme and some CSS modifications were done.
Okay, anyway… what I did after installing some plugins was thinking about how to achieve a high
Google Page Speed score.ATTENTION: BACKUP YOUR FILES/DATABASE BEFORE CHANGING ANYTHING
Using The W3 Total Cache Plugin To Boost The Loading Speed
So, here is basically what I had to do.
It could look like this (I will take another blog as example because the CookielessDomain Blog is already optimized):
ATTENTION!!! If the script uses
document.writeto insert part of the page’s content, do not move it from the head.
Settings In The Browser Cache Section Of The W3 Total Cache Plugin
When the W3TC plugin is installed and in it’s default state there are some settings that need to be checked.
Since the Browser Cache settings are a lot you can just take a look at the picture to see the CookielessDomain blog settings.
Summary of the Browser Cache Settings (in case the picture is too big):
Set expires header, Set cache control header and Set entity tag (eTag) activated in all 4 sections.
Enable HTTP (gzip) compression activated in General and Media & Other Files sections.
That’s it. Save changes and deploy it.
W3 Total Cache And .htaccess Files
To get things working as you need it you have to get some .htaccess files and other “Tools” installed/configured.
Head over to the Install section of the W3TC plugin.
In this section everything is described well, so you should normally get no problems. In case you have any problems you can check with Google or post your problem at the WordPress forum.
Activating Minify And The Content Delivery Network Options
Now go to your W3 Total Cache General options and activate Minify and Content Delivery Network. Choose Self-hosted / File Transfer Protocol Upload for your CDN settings.
Save changes and move on to the next step.
First we should combine all CSS files to one file and get it minified.
I will show you the W3 Total Cache page from the CookielessDomain blog where you can see the CSS files that get combined and minified. Go to the Minify option of the W3 Total Cache plugin.
You can see that I have added all 5 CSS files that my blog is loading to the W3 Total Cache Minify CSS option.
Press Save changes and follow the instructions of W3 Total Cache. It’s really easy.
Okay, now we will get a combined and minified CSS file.
Take a look at the next graphic.
Preparing The Content Delivery Network
Here you can see the settings I am using for the CDN option of W3 Total Cache.
Well, before you can use the CDN option you need to insert your FTP username and password, and if a path if you need.
In my case, since I am using a subdomain of cookielessdomain.de that goes into /cldm/ of the cookielessdomain.de account and I am connecting to the FTP with the main user, I need to set the path to /cldm/.
When you inserted your FTP username, FTP password and all other settings are correct you should press Test FTP server.
If everything went OK (Test passed) you can press Save changes.
Maybe you have to play with Passive Mode and/or SSL settings, if they are supported by your host/server.
Now, look again at the picture above. You see those 2 red arrows.
After the connection from your blog to the FTP server is working you need to click on importing attachments into the Media library (1 in the picture above) and then exporting media library to CDN (2 in the picture above).
Now a popup will open and you just need to press Start. The media library files will now get exported to your CDN.
Exporting The Combined And Minified And Other Files
In my settings I have checked the following in the General CDN Options:
- Host wp-includes/ files
- Host theme files
- Host minified CSS and JS files
- Host custom files
The custom files are defined in the Advanced settings, take a look at the picture.
You can see that I have added the folder wp-content/plugins/* to get the whole plugins directory exported to the FTP Server. I did that mainly because of the SexyBookmarks plugin.
Now it’s time to export the files.
In the picture below I have marked the buttons you need to click to get all needed files exported to your FTP Server.
Click on the button Upload includes files (1) and a popup will open. Click on Start to get the wp-include files exported.
Next is Upload theme files (2), then Upload minify files(3) and the last one is Upload custom files (4).
After exporting you should click deploy and then empty all caches.
The settings in the sections Database Cache, Object Cache and User Agent Groups were not changed by me.
Testing The Loading Speed Of Your Blog
Okay, time to test everything.
For me the process went smooth and well. The loading speed increased a lot and it was worth the time I had to spend to get it working like it is now. FAST.
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