Complete WordPress Optimization Guide

Complete WordPress Optimization Guide

More than 19% of the web runs on WordPress, which is approximately equal to 12 million active WordPress websites. Optimizing your WordPress website is one of the most Important SEO factor. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of

  1. Optimizing your Images.
  2. Installing & Configuring W3 Total Cache Plugin.

Before we walk you through the process of optimizing, first let us check how good is our website performing. In order to do that follow the steps mentioned below..

Check Your Performance on GT Metrix Website.

GTMetrix HomePage

Enter Your Website URL.

Enter Website

Check Results.

Before Optimization Results

Here in the above result though the Performance Scores are good, the Page Load Time is a big drawback. So, we need to work on improving it. Such before and after optimization results will help us to understand how good we have improved the overall performance of our WordPress website.

Optimizing Your Images

Optimizing images is nothing but reducing the file size without compromising the quality of it, by doing this your website loads faster and search engines love websites with less Page Load Time. This task can be performed by either one of the two plugins mentioned below.

  1. WP Smush

Previously this plugin was handled by Yahoo and they have discontinued it, Now WPMUDEV has picked it up and is completely functional.

NOTE: Download Plugin Here

  1. EWWW Image Optimizer

Since WP Smush was discontinued for a certain period of time, we moved all our websites to EWWW Image Optimizer and it’s as good as WP Smush. Check the videos below on how to Install and configure EWWW IO.

EWWW IO – Getting Started

EWWW IO – Advance Settings

EWWW IO – Converting Images


EWWW IO – Cloud API Walkthrough

Using EWWW Image Optimizer

NOTE: Download the Plugin Here

Installing & Configuring W3 Total Cache Plugin

When I first heard about this plugin I was really impressed by the overall performance and speed boost it creates, but the hardest part was configuring the plugin. The configuration depends on various factors which vary from website to website, but I would like to suggest you with some of the most common and safe settings that can help you boost your overall website performance.

NOTE: Download the Plugin Here

After Installing & Activating the Plugin, you will notice a new section in your WordPress Admin sidebar called Performance, Click on it.

W3 Total Cache Settings

General Settings

a) Page Cache

Enable page caching to decrease the response time of the site and also make sure the Page Cache Method is Disk: Enhanced on a Share Server.

General Page Cache Settings

b) Minify

Enabling Minify will reduce load time by decreasing the size and number of CSS and JS files. Automatically remove unnecessary data from CSS, JS, feed, page and post HTML.

General Page Minify Settings

c) Database Cache

Enable database caching to reduce post, page and feed creation time.

General Page Database Cache Settings

d) Object Cache

Enable object caching to further reduce execution time for common operations.

General Page Object Cache Settings

e) Miscellaneous

Enter Page Speed API key, To acquire an API key, visit the APIs Console. Go to the Project Home tab, activate the Page Speed Online API, and accept the Terms of Service. Then go to the API Access tab. The API key is in the Simple API Access section.

If this is your first time to API console then let me walk you through the process.

Click on Enable Google APIs for use in your Apps

Google API Console

Then you will be prompted to Enter your Project Name and Accept the Terms & Conditions.

Google API Console New Project

After you Agree to TOS, you will be automatically redirected to a screen like this.


Under Other Popular APIs, Click on Page Speed Insights API and Enable it. After that on the Lefthand sidebar under APIs & auth —> Credentials —> Click on Add Credential —> API Key

CredentialsIt will prompt you with a Pop Up, Select Browser Key Option and click on Create.

Credentials Popup

Your API Key will be displayed. Copy and paste the key in Miscellaneous Section.

General Page Miscellaneous Settings

Save all your Settings.

Page Cache

a) General Settings

Enable following options

  1. Cache feeds: site, categories, tags, comments
  2. Cache SSL (https) requests
  3. Cache requests only for site address

Page Cache General Settings

b) Cache Preload Settings

Enable this option and add your Sitemap URL.

Page Cache Preload Settings

c) Purge Policy: Page Cache

Select Front Page option and leave the rest of the settings to default.

Page Cache Purge Policy Settings

d) Advanced Settings

Just Enable the Compatibility Mode and leave rest to default and Save all settings.

Page Cache Advanced Settings


a) HTML & XML Settings

Enable the HTML Minify settings as shown in the Image below.

Minify HTML Settings

b) JS Minify Settings

Change Operations in area to Combine only option, Enabling this option might cause issues to the website, So disable it in such cases.

JS Minify Settings

c) CSS Settings

Enable Line break removal option and change the Import handling to Process.

CSS Minify Settings

Save all your settings and the leave the rest of the settings to default. Now once again go to GTmetrix and check our website overall performance. You can now clearly see that the Page Load Time has drastically Improved.

After Optimization

Even after all the above optimization settings, GTmetrix suggested few things that can help to improve my website Performance and Load time. So, I have Enabled Set Expires Header option under Browser Cache section to further improve my Overall Performance and this was the outcome.


So, the above settings which I mentioned were the most common settings to most of the websites out there, but some websites even after following the above configuration you might not see huge difference in overall performance. So for such websites you need to play with the settings in order to check what’s influencing the Page Speed and YSlow under GTmetrix.

Other Important factors that influence the Performance of your website are

  1. Choosing a Good Hosting service. We recommend TMDHosting (Read Complete review here)
  2. Selecting a Search Engine Optimized & Responsive Theme. We recommend Themeforest or MyThemeShop
  3. Using Content Delivery Network (CDN). We recommend MAX CDN or Cloudflare.
  4. Adding Lazy load to your Images.
  5. Turn Off Ping backs and Trackbacks.

Hope this guide has helped you to optimize your WordPress Website and Improve Overall Performance of it. If you have any concerns or suggestions please feel free to share them via comments section below. If this article has helped you or if it can help someone in your circle feel free to share with them.


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