Fast WordPress – PageSpeed ​​Insights 97/100 – How To Optimize WordPress – Free Plugins and Theme

The question of the century: fast WordPress – is it possible? The answer is, of course, it can. In this guide, I will show you how to speed up WordPress and get a PageSpeed Insights score of 97/100 or even higher.

WordPress Speed Optimization

I’ll start with a test of my own website to be clear about what I’m talking about. If you wish, instead of reading, you can watch the short video that I put together.

But if you prefer reading, you are more than welcome!

As you see in the images below, my WordPress website’s speed score for mobile is 97 and for desktop 100. I think that for WordPress this is a very good score! And that’s considering that I, the same as most people, have a website on shared hosting.

WordPress PageSpeed Insights for Mobile

Wordpress Pagespeed Insights Mobile Score 97
Fast WordPress – WordPress Speed Optimization

WordPress PageSpeed Insights for Desktop

Wordpress Pagespeed Insights Desktop Score 100
Fast WordPress – Best WordPress Speed Optimization

What Affects the Speed of WordPress

I think there are three main factors that affect the speed of WordPress. These are the hosting you have, the WordPress theme you use, and the plugins you have installed.

Hosting

The first factor that affects your website’s speed is hosting. I’m pretty sure that all of us started with shared hosting and it’s totally fine for small websites. And, as I mentioned before, my website is on shared hosting as well.

Fast Wordpress Hosting
Fast WordPress – Best WordPress Speed Optimization

But, as your website grows, you will probably need to switch to VPS hosting. And, when your traffic becomes really big, you might need a dedicated server. Of course, this all depends on the size and traffic of your website. And, of course, on your budget!

WordPress Theme – Speed vs Aesthetics

The second factor that affects the speed of your WordPress website is the theme you use. When choosing a WordPress theme, you need to be careful not to sacrifice speed for aesthetics.

There are many beautiful WordPress themes out there. But, unfortunately, not all of them are fast. In my opinion, a fast WordPress theme is even more important than a beautiful one. Because, at the end of the day, no one wants to visit a slow website. And what’s maybe more important, Google also prefers fast websites. So, if you want your website to rank high on Google, you need to make sure it’s fast.

When it comes to WordPress themes, my personal favorite is GeneratePress. It’s a lightweight WordPress theme that is also very fast and customizable. And it’s free!

Fast Wordpress Theme Generatepress
Fast WordPress – Best WordPress Speed Optimization

For this website, I’m using the Generate Press WordPress theme, which itself is very light and very fast. But of course, the theme has to be chosen according to specifics, and Generate Press theme may not fit everyone’s needs. If you have a Woocommerce store, you probably won’t find this theme suitable and you will have to look for a theme that is specifically designed for the store.

When looking for a suitable WordPress theme I would recommend focusing on speed right away. Of course, all developers say that their theme is blazing fast, but nobody can stop you from picking up their demo website and testing its speed. And if the developer can’t deliver good speed performance for their website, then you’ll probably struggle to achieve it too.

If you want to find professionally developed fast WordPress themes, I’d suggest using ThemeForest.

Plugins

The third factor that affects your WordPress website’s speed is plugins.

There is a belief that the fewer the plugins, the faster the website. Of course, there is truth in there, but even with a lot of plugins, the website can be fast.

On this website, I have 18 active plugins installed. I have had other fast WordPress websites with just under 30 plugins installed. So it all depends on the plugins you use, and more importantly, on the plugins, you use to improve your website’s speed.

Plugins to Improve WP Speed

Plugins that improve the WordPress website’s speed I would split into three more categories. The cache plugins, the user experience plugins, and plugins that directly improve the Google speed test results.

Cache plugins

Cache plugins do exactly what their name suggests, they cache your website’s content. So when a visitor comes to your website, instead of loading all the content from scratch, the cached content is loaded. This makes your website load much faster because the server doesn’t have to generate the content for each and every visitor.

There are about three top cache plugins, but for this website, I use the free WP-Optimize plugin.

Fast Wordpress Cache Plugin Wp-Optimize
Fast WordPress – Best WordPress Speed Optimization

User Experience Plugins

User experience plugins have nothing to do with the PageSpeed Insights test results. For example, the PageSpeed test may show a bad score, but for the end-user, the pages may open very quickly.

And the best (in my opinion) user experience plugins are Flying Scripts, Flying Images, Flying Pages, Flying Analytics, and Flying Fonts by Gijo Varghese.

Wordpress Optimization User Experience Plugins
Fast WordPress – Best WordPress Speed Optimization

Flying Scripts

Flying Scripts postpone JavaScript execution until there is no user activity. You can use keywords to include JavaScripts that will be delayed. There is also a timeout that executes JavaScript when no user interaction is detected.

Flying Images

  • The complete solution for image optimization!
  • Free Unlimited CDN (no hidden charges or upsell).
  • On-the-fly Image Compression (you can choose the desired quality needed).
  • On-the-fly WebP conversion!
  • Responsive/Adaptive Images – delivers resized images based on device. Supports external images too!
  • Native/JavaScript lazy loading.
  • Tiny JavaScript – Only 0.7KB, gzipped and minified.
  • Rewrites entire HTML – Never miss an image from lazy loading, even the ones injected by gallery plugins.

Flying Pages

Flying Pages injects a little piece of JavaScript code (1KB gzipped) and waits for the browser to get idle. Then it recognizes pages in the viewport and preloads them on mouse hover. Flying Pages is clever enough to ensure that preloading does not crash or slow down your server.

Flying Analytics

Host Google Analytics locally. Optionally, disable Analytics when the admin is logged in.

Flying Fonts

Removes Google fonts and uses system fonts.

Those five plugins make your website feel very fast to the end-user.

PageSpeed Insights Test Results Improvement Plugin

And last but not least is the Asset CleanUp plugin, which improves speed in Google’s eyes. But of course, it doesn’t just improve the score, it actually makes the website faster. This plugin has both paid and free versions, and on my website, I use the free version.

Asset Cleanup Wordpress Optimization
Fast WordPress – Best WordPress Speed Optimization

Asset CleanUp Plugin – How It Works

There are often times when you are using a theme and a number of plugins that are enabled and run on the same page. However, you don’t need to use all of them, and to improve the speed of your website and make the HTML source code cleaner, it’s better to prevent those styles and scripts from loading.

For instance, you might use a plugin that generates contact forms and loads its assets (CSS and JS files) on every page of your website instead of doing it only on the contact page (if that’s the only place where you need it).

“Asset CleanUp” scans your page and detects all the assets that are loaded. All you have to do when editing a post is select the CSS/JS that is unnecessary to load, reducing the bloat.

Final Thoughts

Improving your website’s speed can be a daunting task, but it’s worth it. Not only will your website load faster, but you’ll also rank higher on Google, making it easier for people to find you.

There are many other ways to improve your website’s speed, but the ones I’ve mentioned in this post are the ones I use on my own website.

I hope you found this post helpful and gives you a good starting point for improving your website’s speed.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. And don’t forget to visit our blog for more helpful online marketing tips and tricks!

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