Get Super Fast Page Load Times for your WordPress Website with Caching and Optimisation.
We show how to use the FREE Swift Performance WordPress Plugin to get amazing web page load time results on your WordPress site.
The Swift Performance Lite WordPress plugin is the FREE version, however as a caching & optimisation plugin, it offers a lot of functionality.
Our main Website WPspace.co.uk along with most of our sites use:- Elementor Pro and OceanWP, where Swift Performance does an amazing job on.
Before you start – Getting better Page Speed Test Results
I’d suggest 50% of your website performance could be down to the hosting provider you use. It could be futile to spend days optimising your site if the hosts package or their infrastructure is just not up to it. Find a reputable provider and run the GTMextrix test on sites you know are hosted with them. Fast Page Speed Test results not only ensure visitors get the best experience, but help with google’s ranking system and SEO.
I use A2 Hosting who offer a European Datacentre web hosting, this guarantees that as my target audience is in the UK, I get decent performance, also important for GDPR.
Among other things, they offer SSD (Solid State Disc drives). Read my short review of A2 Hosting here.
However there are several very good hosts out there, so do some research and chose a package that works for you.
As with all things, please ensure you have a backup before you start, and ideally run your tests on a non production staging site.
TIP: for review of Top 10 Free Plugins for 2019 look here
The installation process is the same as most other plugins, you can download from within the WordPress repository.
Select Add New Plugins from the plugins page and simply search for Swift Performance Lite.
When you activate the Swift Performance WordPress plugin for the first time it launches a set up wizard. In this instance ignore the wizard and follow instructions detailed below…
One of the huge advantages to WordPress, is that all most anyone can use it to get a website set up in a few minutes, however plugins can all take time to optimise and setup.
Hopefully this guide saves you hours and gets you quick results as it has done for me.
The aim is to show you how I used this approach on my site WPspace.co.uk to get amazing results.
Don’t believe me, visit GTmetrix and enter my link/url there to see how I get great results for the Page Speed Tests.
GTmetrix Score for WPspace.co.uk
When I installed this plugin on WPspace.co.uk it took a full 1.2 seconds off the homepage’s fully loaded time. It also reduced the url requests from over 60 to <25, and the scores were better than I have seen on many experts’ websites.
No harm in looking at your competitions sites and measuring the load times etc.
Google uses load times and optimisation as part of their ever changing SEO algorithm, but even if it didn’t, research show visitors nowadays expect websites to load in less than 2 seconds. Use GTMetrix before you start and run a Page Speed Test to give you a starting point.
You can export the results to a PDF for comparison after you finished the setup of this plugin.
Let’s look at how we set Swift Performance Lite up.
Once you have installed and activated the Plugin, look on the WordPress Dashboard, under the sub menu TOOLS, you’ll see the option Swift Performance Lite, select that.
Select the SETTINGS tab under Swift Performance and you should see :-
To the right of the same page, make sure ADVANCED VIEW is selected
Under the GENERAL tab, select the General Category.
make sure Disable Cookies, is selected
Make sure you Save the settings after each page, look to the top right of each section for the below:-
Under the GENERAL – chose the TWEAKS section, select the options indicated below to further enhance optimise and get better Page Speed Test results:-
Under the OPTIMISATION TAB, select GENERAL
Select these options:-
under the OPTIMISATION TAB still, select the Script option
Now set the option Merge Scripts to on.
Continuing the Page Speed Test setup, under OPTIMISATION still, select Styles
Select these options
Select the CACHING Tab and General.
and these options:-
Under CACHING still, select Warmup menu
Select these options:-
Make sure you SAVE the settings
and your done.
Run GTMetrix again and compare results. You should see a significant improvement.
Use the results to fine tune your website and pages. The YSLOW and Waterfall report tabs will allow you to see what processes and content need further optimising.
You can export your settings to use them on other sites as a base config.
Other useful plugins to use are SMUSH, which will help with compressing images.
I have tried many of the leading caching and optimisation plugins, this one I have found to offer the best FREE options.
TIP: For Information on Securing your WordPress Website see here
Hope this was of interest, and feel free to test the other options within the plugin, but again be wary, caching can result in strange artifacts, so please remember to backup your site. Disabling the plugin is a good way to know if it’s the cause of the issue. Re-activating it with maintain your settings, so no need to enter them all again..