10 Tips to Clean, Optimize and Speed up your WordPress Site

If you find your WordPress Site is struggling speed-wise or you’ve been given your marching orders from your web hosts (due to high CPU usage) then read on and hopefully these few tips will help sort out and speed up your WordPress Blog.

Before doing any of the following it’ll be a good idea to back up your database. You can do this via phpMyAdmin (if you know what your’re doing) or there’s a handy little plugin called WP-DBManager which will do it for you and lots lots more. Whilst we’re on that note, please remember to back up your database every now and again, just in case!

1. Remove any plugins that you simply don’t use

Visit your WordPress Admin site and click on Plugins > Inactive to find out which will be safe to remove. You should also take a look at your Active plugins as there might be some in there to delete as well (be careful though as they may be used somewhere on your site.

2. Update WordPress to the latest version

You should see a warning at the top of WordPress Admin page if you need to upgrade to the latest version. It’s a wise idea for security reasons to keep up to date. Here’s a handy guide to upgrading WordPress.

3. Upgrade any out of date plugins

If there’re are newer versions of plugins available then you will see a little number next to “Plugins” in your WordPress Admin page.

4. Find orphan options in your database

Luckily there’s a plugin for this, as hunting through a MySQL database – if you don’t know what you’re doing – can be a daunting task. So install Clean Options and select “Find Orphaned Options”. You’ll more than likely be presented with a huge list. Now, take your time and look at these carefully. If there’s any that are obvious then select them and delete. There’s also a useful search option where you can search for that option in Google – there you might be able to find out what it is and whether it’s safe to delete. Just because it’s an orphan file it doesn’t mean that it’s not being used by one of your plugins. So, really, just take your time with this.

5. Optimize your database

Download WP-Optimize and  remove all post revisions, clean marked spam comments, clean unapproved comments and optimize database tables. A great tool that can save a lot of space in your database. I got one site down from 16mb to 10mb.

6. Cache your pages and posts

Every time somebody views a post on your blog there are numerous scripts that have to be run each and every time. This can be very processor intensive and your web hosts won’t like you for it. So download WP Super Cache and use it. It will then only have to run a load of scripts once – then everybody else will see the cached version of the page. Don’t worry if you update it or somebody adds a new comment – it’s clever enough to then generate a new page.

7. Cache your WordPress Widgets

Widgets work in a different way and so you’ll need another plugin for this called WP Widget Cache. ┬áNow, I was a bit confused as to where the options were for this plugin but they are actually on the Widgets Admin page, above your widget.

8. Reduce the amount of Tags you use

Now, I think and I’m in the process of testing this but, I think that tags are a major problem with CPU usage and so I think you really need to reduce the amount you use. Don’t 20 or 30 tags for every article you publish – stick to a handful.

9. There isn’t really a ninth or tenth tip but 10 Top Tips sounds better than 8!

10. Keep your WordPress site up to date

Upgade plugins when required, backup your database, backup your files every now and again, clean and optimize your database. If you do these things then everything should run smoothly.

I hope you’ve found this useful if so, then remember to retweet it or share it below. Also, be sure to check out another useful WordPress post: How to Secure your WordPress Blog

  • WP Optimize is no longer required. The WordPress core includes that functionality since version 2.9.

    ~ @kovshenin

  • Does it? I used WP-Optimize this afternoon to clear out old post revisions and optimize db tables. It seemed to do the job then?