So Your WordPress Site Speed Sucks?

Website Slow Like Turtle

Trying to nail down the exact cause behind a slow WordPress site is usually a colossal pain in the ass. If you’ve ever tried, you know exactly what I mean.

Step one for most people is to try every shotgun solution mentioned in the first top 10 article they find on the topic. Once that proves to be only a marginal help they typically move on to more advanced diagnostics.

Of course, if you’re not already a technical guru then making sense of the often bizarre recommendations in something more advanced like a Google PageSpeed or P3 Performance Profiler report usually isn’t that much more help.

I think my personal favorite bizarre suggestions from these tools are when Google PageSpeed tells you that part of your speed problem is that you’re using Google Analytics or when P3 Performance Profiler tells you that it IS what is slowing your site down.

There’s nothing quite so spectacularly unhelpful as a tool getting in the middle of a problem that pre-existed it and then blaming itself for the problem. Sometimes I swear that these tools live by the motto that “if you can’t be part of the solution, then there is great money to be made prolonging the problem”.

Having done more than my fair share of site optimizations over the years, I’ve found that the problem almost always breaks down into one of four categories:

  1. Digital hoarding
  2. Trying to fit square pegs into round holes
  3. A configuration that forces your site to work hard instead of working smart
  4. Weak or delinquent service providers

In practice, it’s usually some blend of all of those. For better or worse, there’s no holy grail fix for this sort of thing. It took everyone of those to get into the problem. It’s going to take work on each one to get out of it.

So let’s walk through dealing with each one:

  1. Hoarding: You’re a hoarder damn it!  You need help.
  2. Square Pegs/Round Holes: There’s a reason that hole is round, fella (Coming Soon)
  3. Working Hard Instead of Smart: We’ve got to pump…. you up! (Coming Soon)
  4. Crap Hosting: The Little Engine That Couldn’t (Coming Soon)