13 Crucial WordPress Maintenance Tasks to Perform Regularly

Ever wondered which WordPress maintenance tasks you should be performing regularly? After starting a blog, often users don’t perform maintenance checks unless something breaks. By running regular maintenance tasks, you can make sure that your WordPress site is always performing at its best. In this… Read More »

The post 13 Crucial WordPress Maintenance Tasks to Perform Regularly appeared first on WPBeginner.

Ever wondered which WordPress maintenance tasks you should be performing regularly? After starting a blog, often users don’t perform maintenance checks unless something breaks. By running regular maintenance tasks, you can make sure that your WordPress site is always performing at its best. In this article, we will share 13 crucial WordPress maintenance tasks to perform regularly, and how to do each one of them.

Crucial WordPress maintenance tasks to perform regularly

Why and When to Perform WordPress Maintenance Tasks

Your WordPress site is a powerful system made of several parts. This includes your WordPress hosting, WordPress software itself, plugins, and themes.

On top of that, you add your own content with text and images. Together, all of them make a website that is loved by your visitors and customers.

However, this system needs to be looked after to ensure optimal performance. There are few simple maintenance tasks that you can perform on a regular basis to ensure that your website is working at its best.

How often should you perform WordPress maintenance tasks?

If you run a busy website with a lot of traffic, then every three months. For smaller websites with low traffic and content, you need to do these maintenance tasks every six months.

Now that being said, let’s take a look at the essential WordPress maintenance tasks you need to perform and how to do them.

1. Change All Your WordPress Passwords

Change all your passwords regularly

Passwords are your first defense against unauthorized access to your website. You should always use strong unique passwords for all your online accounts including your WordPress website, FTP accounts, and database.

However, even if you are using strong passwords and they are compromised, then it is possible that you wouldn’t even notice it.

That’s why WordPress security experts recommend changing your WordPress passwords regularly. This includes passwords for your WordPress admin area, FTP or SSH accounts, and your WordPress database password.

For more details on this topic, see our beginners guide on how to manage passwords for WordPress users.

2. Create a Complete Backup of Your Website

Create manual backup

Backups are one of the most important WordPress tool in your arsenal. There are plenty of great WordPress backup plugins that can help you completely automate the WordPress backup process.

However, sometimes your backup solution may suddenly stop working without you even noticing.

Once in a while, you need to manually run your backup plugin to create a complete backup of your website. After running the backup, you need to verify that your backup files are properly stored at the remote location of your choice (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc).

3. Check and Update All WordPress Files

Check and update all WordPress files

WordPress comes with a built-in system to manage updates for WordPress core, plugins, and themes. You should always use the latest version of WordPress and keep all your plugins and themes updated.

However, there are some situations when you may miss an update. For example, when a premium plugin or theme’s license expired, and it failed to check for an update.

Go to the WordPress Updates page to manually check for updates. Review all your installed plugins and themes to make sure that they are running the latest version.

4. Check and Delete Spam Comments

Review spam comments

If you are using Akismet to combat comment spam in WordPress, then it automatically keeps spam away from your comment moderation queue.

However, sometimes Akismet may end up marking a legitimate comment as spam. Once in a while, you need to take a quick look at the spam comments to ensure that there are no real comments incorrectly marked as spam.

Once you are done, you can safely delete all spam comments from your website. If you have thousands of spam comments, then you should use this method to batch delete all spam comments in WordPress.

It wouldn’t necessarily improve performance, but it will ensure that you don’t miss out genuine comments.

5. Test All Your WordPress Forms

Test all your WordPress forms

WordPress form builder plugins like WPForms make it super easy to create beautiful forms on your website.

However due to misconfiguration on your WordPress hosting server or your email service provider, sometimes these forms may suddenly stop sending emails.

You need to check all forms on your website to make sure that they are working properly. If a form is not working, then see our guide on how to fix WordPress not sending email issue.

6. Optimize Your WordPress Database

Optimize your WordPress database

WordPress stores most data in your WordPress database. It contains all your content, comments, users, and settings.

However, overtime your database may gather a lot of unnecessary data. This increases your WordPress backup sizes which may affect uploading, downloading, and restoring backups.

Optimizing your WordPress database allows you to clean up clutter, defragment tables, and improves database performance.

For step by step instructions, see our guide on how to optimize your WordPress database with one click

7. Run Performance Tests

Run performance tests

Many users optimize their WordPress performance when they first start and then forget about it. Meanwhile you keep adding new content, install new plugins, or may even change your theme. All of them may affect performance of your WordPress site.

Faster websites are not just good for user experience, they also improve your website’s performance on search engines. This is why you need to regularly do a thorough performance review of your website.

When reviewing your site’s performance, don’t just limit it to improving your homepage. Also test your most popular content, and all your important pages.

For best results, follow our step by step guide to boost WordPress speed and performance.

8. Find and Fix 404 Errors

Fix 404 errors

When a user requests a page that doesn’t exist on your website, then WordPress will show them a 404 error page.

404 errors that occur because a user mistyped an address are normal and nothing to be worried about. However, 404 errors that occur because a page is no longer available can cause bad user experience.

If you are not already tracking 404 error pages, then see our guide on how to easily track 404 error pages in WordPress and redirect them.

9. Find and Fix Broken Links

Find and fix broken links in WordPress

As your website grows, you will realize that some external websites that you linked to in your older articles do not exist anymore. Some may have moved to new locations, while others may just disappear.

The broken links issue is not just limited to external links. You can accidentally add broken images, poorly formatted links, or misspell your own links. This causes bad user experience and affects your site’s bounce rate and page views.

You need to check your website for broken links as part of your WordPress maintenance routine. For instructions, see our guide on how to find and fix broken links in WordPress.

10. Perform a Thorough Content and SEO Audit

SEO Audit

Next thing you need to include in your regular maintenance tasks is a thorough in-depth review of your content. This is where the data from Google Search Console and Google Analytics comes in.

Google Analytics shows you where your visitors are coming from and what they are doing on your website. This data allows you to discover content on your website where users are coming but are not converting into customers or subscribers.

Google Search Console shows you Search Analytics which helps you find search keywords where your site appears in the results. You can sort it to show you keywords where your site can easily rank higher by updating those articles.

Search Analytics in Google Search Console

If you are using Yoast SEO, then you can set particular keywords as focus keyword, and it will analyze your content for that keyword.

Improving SEO score of an article in WordPress

Even with an excellent SEO score, you can still further improve content by adding new information, images, and linking to it from other pages on your website.

For more SEO tips, follow our ultimate step by step WordPress SEO guide for beginners.

11. Optimize Images on Your WordPress Site

Optimize images and media library

Images take longer to load hence they decrease your page load speed. Some of them you’ll discover during the performance checkup of your site.

However you will definitely miss those in your less popular articles. If you run a multi-author WordPress site, then some of your authors may not be as careful about image sizes as you are.

Adding image and media library review to your WordPress maintenance checklist, allows you to stay on top of the issue. You can perform this check to find out images that can be reduced in size or images that are just too large.

For more information, see our guide on how to save images optimized for the Web.

12. Review WordPress Security Logs

WordPress security review

Some WordPress users don’t realize that their site is under attack until it slows down or their search rankings drop.

We have already mentioned some security precautions like changing passwords, and creating manual backups as proactive measures. You also need to review your site’s access and error logs to see if you can find any unusual activity on your site.

We also recommend using Sucuri. It is a website security company that offers website firewall to protect your website against common threats.

For a complete security audit of your WordPress site, follow the instructions in our step by step ultimate WordPress security guide.

13. Troubleshooting Maintenance Tasks

Troubleshooting

Most WordPress maintenance tasks are quite harmless and wouldn’t affect your website’s normal functioning. However, some may slow down your site, like checking for broken links or running image optimizer plugin.

If you run a staging site, then you can perform your maintenance tasks on your staging site and then push them live.

However, most users don’t run a staging site. In that case, you’ll have to expect a temporary slow site and some unexpected errors.

One way to deal with this is by putting your WordPress site in maintenance mode. Alternatively, you can perform these tasks during your low traffic hours.

If you run across an issue, then see our guide on how to fix common WordPress errors. If the error you are seeing is not listed there, then follow the steps in our WordPress troubleshooting guide. It will help you locate the problem and find a solution.

That’s all, we hope this article helped you learn crucial WordPress maintenance tasks you need to perform regularly on your website. You may also want to see our list of the most wanted WordPress tips, tricks, and hacks.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post 13 Crucial WordPress Maintenance Tasks to Perform Regularly appeared first on WPBeginner.

18 Useful Tricks To Speed Up WordPress & Boost Performance

Do you want to speed up your WordPress site? Fast loading pages improve user experience, increase your pageviews, and help with your WordPress SEO. In this article, we will share the most useful WordPress speed optimization tips to boost WordPress performance and speed up your… Read More »

The post 18 Useful Tricks To Speed Up WordPress & Boost Performance appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to speed up your WordPress site? Fast loading pages improve user experience, increase your pageviews, and help with your WordPress SEO. In this article, we will share the most useful WordPress speed optimization tips to boost WordPress performance and speed up your website.

Speed up WordPress - Ultimate Guide

Unlike other “X best WordPress caching plugin” lists or generic “X tips to speeding up WordPress” tutorials, this article is a comprehensive guide to WordPress performance optimization.

We include everything from why speed is important, what slows down your WordPress site to actionable steps that you can take to improve your WordPress speed immediately.

To make it easy, we have created a table of contents to help you navigate through our ultimate guide to speeding up your WordPress site.

Table of Contents

Basics of WordPress Performance

Speeding Up WordPress in Easy Steps (No Coding)

WordPress Performance Optimization Best Practices

Fine-Tuning WordPress for Speed (Advanced)

Why Speed is Important for Your WordPress Site?

Studies show that from 2000 to 2016, the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 7 seconds.

What does this mean for you as a website owner?

You have very little time to show users your content and convince them to stay on your website.

A slow website means users will potentially leave your website before it even loads.

According to a StrangeLoop case study that involved Amazon, Google, and other larger sites, a 1 second delay in page load time can lead to 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.

How slow websites cost you money

On top of that, Google and other search engines have already started penalizing slower websites by pushing them down in the search results which means lower traffic for slow websites.

To sum it all up, if you want more traffic, subscribers, and revenue from your website, then you must make your WordPress website FAST!

How to Check Your WordPress Website Speed?

Often beginners think that their website is OK just because it doesn’t feel slow on their computer. That’s a HUGE mistake.

Since you frequently visit your own website, modern browsers like Chrome store your website in cache and automatically prefetch it as soon as you start typing an address. This makes your website load almost instantly.

However, a normal user who is visiting your website for the first time may not have the same experience.

In fact, users in different geographical locations will have a completely different experience.

This is why we recommend that you test your website speed using a tool like Pingdom.

It is a free online tool that allows you to test your website’s speed from different locations.

Pingdom site speed tool

After you run your website speed test, you might be wondering what’s a good website speed that I should aim for?

A good page load time is under 2 seconds.

However, the faster you can make it, the better it is. A few milliseconds of improvements here and there can add up to shaving off half or even a full second from your load time.

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What Slows Down Your WordPress Website?

Your speed test report will likely have multiple recommendations for improvement. However most of that is technical jargon which is hard for beginners to understand.

However understanding what slows down your website is key to improving performance and making smarter long-term decisions.

The primary causes for a slow WordPress website are:

  • Web Hosting – When your web hosting server is not properly configured it can hurt your website speed.
  • WordPress Configuration – If your WordPress site is not serving cached pages, then it will overload your server thus causing your website to be slow or crash entirely.
  • Page Size – Mainly images that aren’t optimized for web.
  • Bad Plugins – If you’re using a poorly coded plugin, then it can significantly slow down your website.
  • External scripts – External scripts such as ads, font loaders, etc can also have a huge impact on your website performance.

Now that you know what slows down your WordPress website, let’s take a look at how to speed up your WordPress website.

Importance of Good WordPress Hosting

Your WordPress hosting service plays an important role in website performance. A good shared hosting provider like BlueHost or Siteground take the extra measures to optimize your website for performance.

However, on shared hosting you share the server resources with many other customers. This means that if your neighboring site gets a lot of traffic, then it can impact the entire server performance which in turn will slow down your website.

On the other hand, using a managed WordPress hosting service give you the most optimized server configurations to run WordPress. Managed WordPress hosting companies also offer automatic backups, automatic WordPress updates, and more advanced security configurations to protect your website.

We recommend WPEngine as our preferred managed WordPress hosting provider. They’re also the most popular one in the industry. (See our special WPEngine coupon).

For enterprise WordPress hosting, we recommend using Pagely because they’re the best in business.

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Speeding Up WordPress in Easy Steps (No Coding)

We know that making changes to your website configuration can be a terrifying thought for beginners, especially if you’re not a tech-geek.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone. We have helped thousands of WordPress users improve their WordPress performance.

We will show you how you can speed up your WordPress site with just a few clicks (no coding required).

If you can point-and-click, you can do this!

Install a WordPress Caching Plugin

WordPress pages are “dynamic.” This means they’re built on the fly every time someone visits a post or page on your website. To build your pages, WordPress has to run a process to find the required information, put it all together, and then display it to your user.

This process involves a lot of steps, and it can really slow down your website when you have multiple people visiting your site at once.

That’s why we recommend every WordPress site use a caching plugin. Caching can make your WordPress site anywhere from 2x to 5x faster.

Here’s how it works: Instead of going through the whole page generation process every time, your caching plugin makes a copy of the page after the first load, and then serves that cached version to every subsequent user.

How caching works

As you can see in the graphics above, when a user visits your WordPress site, which is built using PHP, your server retrieves information from a MySQL database and your PHP files, and then it’s all put together into a HTML content which is served served to the user. It’s a long process, but you can skip a lot of it when you use caching instead.

There are a lot of caching plugins available for WordPress, but we recommend using the WP Super Cache plugin. Check out our step by step guide on how to install and setup WP Super Cache on your WordPress site. It’s not difficult to set up, and your visitors will notice the difference.

Note: If you’re using a managed WordPress hosting provider, then you don’t need a caching plugin because they take care of it for you.

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Optimize Images for Speed

Optimize images for the web

Images bring life to your content and help boost engagement. Researchers have found that using colored visuals makes people 80% more likely to read your content.

But if your images aren’t optimized, they could be hurting more than helping. In fact, non-optimized images are one of the most common speed issues we see on beginner websites.

Before you upload a photo directly from your phone or camera, we recommend that you use photo editing software to optimize your images for web.

In their original formats, these photos can have huge file sizes. But based on the image file format and the compression you choose in your editing software, you can decrease your image size by up to 5x.

At WPBeginner, we only use two image formats: JPEG and PNG.

Now you might be wondering: what’s the difference?

Well, PNG image format is uncompressed. When you compress an image it loses some information, so an uncompressed image will be higher quality with more detail. The downside is that it’s a larger file size, so it takes longer to load.

JPEG, on the other hand, is a compressed file format which slightly reduces image quality, but it’s significantly smaller in size.

So how do we decide which image format to choose?

  • If our photo or image has a lot of different colors, then we use JPEG.
  • If it’s a simpler image or we need a transparent image, then we use PNG.

The majority of our images are JPEGs.

Below is a comparison chart of the file sizes and different compression tool that we could have used for the StrangeLoop image used above.

Image Speed Chart

As you can see in the chart, the image format you use can make a HUGE difference on your website performance.

For details on exactly how to optimize your images using Photoshop and other popular editing tools, without sacrificing quality, see our step by step guide on how to save images optimized for web.

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WordPress Performance Optimization Best Practices

After installing a caching plugin and optimizing your images, you’ll notice your site will start loading a lot faster.

But if you really want to keep your website as fast as possible, you’ll need to use the best practices listed below.

These tips aren’t too technical, so you don’t need to know any code to implement them. But using them will prevent common problems that will slow down your website.

Keep Your WordPress Site Updated

Keep your WordPress site up to date

As a well maintained open source project, WordPress is updated frequently. Each update will not only offer new features, but also fix security issues and bugs. Your WordPress theme and plugins may have regular updates, too.

As a website owner, it’s your responsibility to keep your WordPress site, theme, and plugins updated to the latest versions. Not doing so may make your site slow and unreliable, and make you vulnerable to security threats.

For more details on the importance of updates, see our article on why you should always use the latest WordPress version.

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Use Excerpts on Homepage and Archives

Using excerpts

By default, WordPress displays the full content of each article on your homepage and archives. This means your homepage, categories, tags, and other archive pages will all load slower.

Another disadvantage of showing full articles on these pages is that users don’t feel the need to visit the actual article. This can reduces your pageviews, and the time your users spend on your site.

In order to speed up your loading times for archive pages, you can set your site to display excerpts instead of the full content.

You can navigate to Settings » Reading and select “For each article in a feed, show: Summary” instead of “Full Text.”

Display excerpts instead of full text to boost WordPress speed

For more details on the pros and cons of displaying summaries, see our article on full post vs summary (excerpt) in your WordPress archive pages.

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Split Comments into Pages

Paginated comments

Getting lots of comments on your blog posts? Congratulations! That’s a great indicator of an engaged audience.

But the downside is, loading all those comments can impact your site’s speed.

WordPress comes with a built-in solution for that. Simply go to Settings » Discussion and check the box next to the “Break comments into pages” option.

Break comments into pages in WordPress

For more detailed instructions, see our guide on how to paginate comments in WordPress.

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Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Remember how we mentioned above that users in different geographical locations may experience different loading times on your site?

That’s because the location of your web hosting servers can have an impact on your site speed. For example, let’s say your web hosting company has its servers in the United States. A visitor who’s also in the United States will generally see faster loading times than a visitor in India.

Using a CDN, or Content Delivery Network, can help to speed up loading times for all of your visitors.

A CDN is a network made up of servers all around the world. Each server will store “static” files used to make up your website. Static files are unchanging files such as images, CSS, and JavaScript, unlike your WordPress pages which are “dynamic” as explained above.

When you use a CDN, every time a user visits your website they are served those static files from whichever server is closest to them. Your own web hosting server will also be faster since the CDN is doing a lot of the work.

You can see how it works in this infographic.

What is a CDN

We use MaxCDN on all our projects, including here on WPBeginner. It works well with WordPress websites and complements your existing WordPress caching plugins for even faster loading times. See our guide on how to install and setup WordPress CDN solution MaxCDN to get started.

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Don’t Upload Videos Directly to WordPress

YouTube

You can directly upload videos to your WordPress site, and it will automatically display them in an HTML5 player…

But you should NEVER do that!

Hosting videos will cost you bandwidth. You could be charged overage fees by your web hosting company, or they may even shut down your site altogether, even if your plan includes “unlimited” bandwidth.

Hosting videos also increases your backup sizes tremendously, and makes it difficult for you to restore WordPress from backup.

Instead, you should use a video hosting service like YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, etc., and let them take care of the hard work. They have the bandwidth for it!

WordPress has a built-in video embed feature, so you can copy and paste your video’s URL directly into your post and it will embed automatically.

Find out more details on how it works in our guide on embedding videos in WordPress.

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Use a Theme Optimized For Speed

Choosing a theme optimized for speed

When selecting a WordPress theme for your website, it’s important to pay special attention to speed optimization. Some beautiful and impressive-looking themes are actually poorly coded and can slow your site way down.

It’s usually better to go with a simpler theme and use quality plugins to get the features you need, than to choose a theme that’s bloated with complex layouts, flashy animations, and other unnecessary features.

Premium WordPress theme shops like StudioPress, Themify, and Array Themes offer themes that are well coded and optimized for speed. You can also check out our article on selecting the perfect WordPress theme for advice on what to look for.

Before you activate your new theme, see our guide on how to properly switch your WordPress theme for a smooth transition.

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Use a Faster Slider Plugin

Faster slider

Sliders are another common web design element that can make your website slow.

Even if your images are all optimized as described above, a poorly coded slider plugin will mean all your work is wasted.

We compared the best WordPress slider plugins for performance and features, and Soliloquy was the fastest by far.

Here’s how it compares to other popular slider plugins.

Slider Plugin Page Load time Requests Page size
Soliloquy 1.34 secs 26 945 KB
Nivo Slider 2.12 secs 29 1 MB
Meteor 2.32 secs 27 1.2 MB
Revolution Slider 2.25 secs 29 1 MB
LayerSlider 2.12 secs 30 975 KB

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Use a Faster Gallery Plugin

If you have a photography website or a portfolio, then you’ll probably want to use an image gallery plugin to display your photos.

It’s really important that you use a WordPress gallery plugin that is optimized for speed.

We recommend using Envira Gallery, which is the best WordPress gallery plugin in the market. It allows you to create beautiful image galleries that are lightning fast to load.

We tested its speed compared to a couple of other popular gallery plugins, and found that Envira Galley is almost twice as fast:

Gallery Plugin Page Load time Requests Page size
Envira Gallery 1.08 secs 24 1MB
Foo Gallery 1.89 secs 23 357.1KB
NextGEN 1.88 secs 33 518KB

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Fine-Tuning WordPress for Speed (Advanced)

By using the WordPress optimization best practices and basic speed tips listed above, you should see a big improvement in your site’s loading times.

But every fraction of a second counts. If you want to get the very fastest speed possible, you’ll need to make a few more changes.

The following tips are a little more technical, with some requiring you to modify your site files or have a basic understanding of PHP. You’ll want to make sure to backup your site first just in case.

Split Long Posts into Pages

Split long posts into pages

Readers tend to love blog posts that are longer and more in-depth. Longer posts even tend to rank higher in search engines.

But if you’re publishing long form articles with lots of images, it could be hurting your loading times.

Instead, consider splitting up your longer posts into multiple pages.

WordPress comes with built-in functionality to do that. Simply add the <!––nextpage––> tag in your article where you want to split it into next page. Do that again if you want to split the article on to the next page as well.

For more detailed instructions, see our tutorial on post pagination – how to split WordPress posts into multiple pages.

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Reduce External HTTP Requests

Cross domain http requests

Many WordPress plugins and themes load all kinds of files from other websites. These files can include scripts, stylesheets, and images from external resources like Google, Facebook, analytics services, and so on.

It’s ok to use a few of these. Many of these files are optimized to load as quickly as possible, so it’s faster than hosting them on your own website.

But if your plugins are making a lot of these requests, then it could slow down your website significantly.

You can reduce all these external HTTP requests by disabling scripts and styles or merging them into one file. Here’s a tutorial on how to disable your plugins’ CSS files and JavaScript.

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Reduce Database Calls

WordPress database calls

Note: This step is a little more technical and will require basic knowledge of PHP and WordPress template files.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of poorly coded WordPress themes out there. They ignore WordPress standard practices and end up making direct database calls, or too many unnecessary requests to the database. This can really slow down your server by giving it too much work to do.

Even well-coded themes can have code that makes database calls just to get your blog’s basic information.

In this example, every time you see <?php, that’s the start of a new database call:

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" dir="<?php language_attributes(); ?>">
<head profile="http://gmpg.org/xfn/11">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="<?php bloginfo('html_type'); ?> 
charset=<?php bloginfo('charset'); ?>" />

You can’t blame theme developers for that. They simply have no other way to find out what language your site is in.

But if you are customizing your site using a child theme, then you can replace these database calls with your specific information in order to reduce all those database calls.

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" dir="ltr">
<head profile="http://gmpg.org/xfn/11">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />

Review your parent theme for instances like this that can be easily replaced with static information.

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Optimize WordPress Database

WordPress database optimization

After using WordPress for a while, your database will have lots of information that you probably don’t need any more. For improved performance, you can optimize your database to get rid of all that unnecessary information.

This can be easily managed with the WP-Sweep plugin. It allows you to clean your WordPress database by deleting things like trashed posts, revisions, unused tags, etc. It will also optimize your database’s structure with just a click.

See our guide on how to optimize and clean up your WordPress database for improved performance.

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Limit Post Revisions

Revisions in WordPress

Post revisions take up space in your WordPress database. Some users believe that revisions can also affect some database queries run by plugins. If the plugin doesn’t specifically exclude post revisions, it might slow down your site by searching through them unnecessarily.

You can easily limit the number of revisions WordPress keeps for each article. Simply add this line of code to your wp-config.php file.

define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 4 );

This code will limit WordPress to only save your last 4 revisions of each post or page, and discard older revisions automatically.

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Disable Hotlinking and Leaching of Your Content

Prevent image theft in WordPress

If you’re creating quality content on your WordPress site, then the sad truth is that it’ll probably get stolen sooner or later.

One way this happens is when other websites serve your images directly from their URLs on your website, instead of uploading them to their own servers. In effect, they’re stealing your web hosting bandwidth, and you don’t get any traffic to show for it.

Simply add this code to your .htaccess file to block hotlinking of images from your WordPress site.

#disable hotlinking of images with forbidden or custom image option
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?wpbeginner.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L] 

Note: Don’t forget to change wpbeginner.com with your own domain.

You may also want to check our article showing 4 ways to prevent image theft in WordPress.

Some content scraping websites automatically create posts by stealing your content from your RSS feed. You can check out our guide on preventing blog content scraping in WordPress for ways to deal with automated content theft.

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That’s it! We hope this article helped you learn some useful tricks to speed up WordPress and boost performance.

Go ahead and try out a couple of these techniques. Be sure to test your site’s speed before and after, and let us know your results in the comments.

You might also be interested in our case study of how we optimized List25 performance by 256%. It has a few more advanced optimization tips for you.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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