The main issue I have seen is that we use loads of plugins to optimize the website and try to decrease its loading time. In fact, it is not the correct way of doing it.
Your website is physically stored on a server, and no matter, how good you optimize the code. You still have to take care of several things.
You have to look at the following (in order)
1. DNS Resolution. (Domain Name Server). Just like hosting, you need a good DNS resolver as your website URL is not the actual address of your website, it is the IP address of your website which is mapped with your domain name and DNS connects the user to your website IP, all in the background. Consider using Cloudflare or shift your domain to Google Domains.
2. Then comes the physical location of your website server to the visitor. If your visitors are restricted to one country then CDN won’t make much difference.
3. In conjunction with 2, you have to see the hosting provider. Many prefer shared hosting, but it is recommended to use either managed hosting (like Flywheel, Kinsta, WP Engine) or use VPS like Cloudways, VultrHF, Digital Ocean, Google Cloud, and AWS. There are several other big names as well. So it all depends upon your personal preference.
4. Then comes the type of server your website is hosted. You may have heard of Litespeed, NGINX, Apache. All have pros and cons. So you must know why you prefer a certain server type over others. Usually, NGINX is faster compared to others as it has excellent caching features and processes multiple requests at the same time compared to decade-old Apache. Litespeed is also fast compared to Apache.
Most of us even don’t care about this and no matter how we try. A wrong server setup even on a fast hosting will not reap any benefits.
5. Then comes the PHP version. Choose 7.4/7.3 PHP version for your WordPress website as older versions process your requests slower. PHP along with the database is the backbone of your website. Therefore, you must configure it correctly. Like enabling the right cache options.
See, we have even not touched WordPress and there is a lot of stuff you need to do before jumping straight to WordPress.
6. Then comes WordPress. You must use the latest version of it.
7. Then comes the theme. A well-designed theme will generate less code and fewer requests, therefore, increasing the website speed. Finally, Divi has addressed this issue in their new update.
8. Then comes optimizing the website, using cache plugins like WpRocket, Litespeed Cache, Flying Press, Nitropack. You must know the options which a cache offers and what are the benefits of such options. A highly dynamic website that updates frequently will require a different caching compared to a simple blog which is updated once or twice a week.
9. Features like deferring the JS, remove unused CSS, minifying the code, optimizing the images, generating critical css for above the fold. You have to test it and a combination of them may work perfectly for your website. Just checking all the options may impact or completely mess up your website.
I am a speed freak, and self-taught learner, spent time, money, and energy understanding all this stuff. Apart from Divi, I have used Oxygen and LiveCanvas.
LiveCanvas is the lightest page builder and you can actually touch the code, unlike any other builder. It produces literally zero bloats and is even faster than WordPress Gutenberg editor. However, it is still not mature.
I shifted from Divi to Oxygen because of Divi performance issues. But I have not tested the new Divi. Maybe I will try Divi for my new project.
I wasted hundreds of dollars trying different hosting like Bluehost, SiteGround, and Hostinger. I have tried, Google Cloud, Digital Ocean, VultrHF, and Cloudways and ended up with VultrHF as the best bang for the buck.
So you have to look at the whole stack, not just the WordPress.
Rather I meant I was an “Elegant themes fanboy” back in the day, literally before Elementor even existed! 😀
How to Use W3C Validator to Improve SEO
Another in our ongoing SEO series of articles. 13 Best Truly Free SEO Tools
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