8 Tips For a Blazing-Fast Blog

No one actually likes waiting. Some of us are just better at it than others.

The internet seems to be a parallel reality where time passes differently, slow at times, fast at others. Web pages seem to take eons to load, no matter how fast your internet connection is. I remember having to wait more than a minute for most pages to load (that was back when I had dial-up). Nowadays I have a DSL connection that generally runs in the 700k-900k range. It’s a lot faster, but not fast enough. Sure, some pages load lightning-fast, but others still seem to crawl along. While they’re not taking over a minute to load, it sure seems like it.

While you’re using the web, time flies by overly quick. It seemed like it was taking an hour for that video to load, but it was really only five minutes. So why is it four o’clock? Oh yeah, you logged-on to World of Warcraft for a few minutes… But how does that come-out to be an hour?

Do you get what I’m saying?

So what can you do to make your blog load faster?

  • Install WP Super Cache. You’ll notice the difference immediately. While it won’t magically make every page load faster, it will make your more popular posts quicker.
  • Pick a Faster Host. If your webhost has a slow connection, and horribly oversold servers, you can’t expect great performance out of your site. I’m currently getting by with a 1and1 shared server plan, which is okay (and cheap), but not as fast as it could be. Michael of Pro Blog Design uses Media Temple, a pricier host that is held in high regard by bloggers everywhere. MT is known for their speed and reliability. For those looking for cheaper plans, I’ve also heard hood things about A Small Orange. Do your research before buying hosting. Check loading times for sites that use the host, look for current reviews (from reputable sources), etc
  • Lighten your images. Use less images in your template if possible, and make sure you optimize them correctly.
  • Compress your CSS. Use a CSS-optimization service like Clean CSS, or CSS Optimizer. Make sure you save the original stylesheet, in case something goes wrong!
  • Remove excess widgets and whatnot. Any extra files (JavaScript or otherwise) that must be loaded will cause a performance hit. If a bit of JavaScript doesn’t serve any purpose, then remove it. does “MyBlogLog” benefit your readers? I doubt it. Refer to this chart for help deciding what to keep.
  • Disable plugins. As with miscellaneous bits of JavaScript, plugins detract from performance as well. There’s the overhead from running the PHP commands, there’s MySQL access times, etc. If you don’t have a good reason to use it, then toss it.
  • Kill unnecessary template tags. Don’t waste server resources by using bloginfo(‘name’) when you can just write the name of your blog. See Pro Blog Design’s 13 Tags to Delete From your Theme.
  • Simplify your design. Go simplistic, and your blog will load faster. As of this writing, Webmaster-Source’s overall design only has two images. The logo, and the tiled edge graphic. Everything else is just CSS magic. The aforementioned ProBlogDesign.com takes a similar approach.

Now that you’ve optimized your blog, you can use the time you will save waiting for your blog to load every day to play World of Warcraft, er, write more blog posts.

  • http://www.ruelicke.net/ Marco Ruelicke.net

    I’m not a friend of compressed CSS files, because it can happen that the browser is not able to read/use the CSS if the compression is too high.

    I know at least one website which uses compressed CSS and which I can’t access with Firefox because of the CSS. Unsurprisingly I’m able to access that one with Internet Exploder, so you can guess how often I visit the website (once a year if at all…)

  • http://www.webmaster-source.com Matt

    Yes, ultra-compression can cause problems (no to mention they’re harder to edit). However, Clean CSS does a much better job. It mainly does things like changing { margin-right:1; margin-bottom:1; margin-left:1; margin-top:1; } to { margin: 1 1 1 1; }. It tries to clean-up your code, and minimize it as much as possible.

    By the way, kudos for saying “Internet Exploder.” :D

  • http://www.problogdesign.com/ Michael from Pro Blog Design

    Yep, MediaTemple are more expensive than normal, but I think they’ve been worth every penny so far. The absolute lack of downtime is what has amazed me the most. :D

    I have Wp-Cache 2 running at the minute. Have you ever tried it? Donncha’s Super Cache is newer, and sounded better, but do you know if there’s much of a difference?

  • http://www.webmaster-source.com Matt

    I’ve been using Donncha’s WP Super Cache for awhile now. It works great, but I haven’t compared it to WP-Cache2. I’ve purposely steered clear of of the older plugin, as it’s been known to have a lot of unfixed bugs (as development stopped back in ’05). I believe the community has patched some of the major issues though. Super Cache is sort of the “new version” of WP-Cache2. It’s really worked well for me, though I miss being able to edit my templates without having to go and clear-out the cache to preview them.

    About Media Temple: When I start to max-out my 1and1 plan, I will probably end-up moving to MT if I can afford it at that point.

  • http://www.ruelicke.net/ Marco Ruelicke.net

    I’m using wp-cache 2.0. Not sure if it is the one you are talking about in comparison to that Super Cache…

    I’m currently happy with my webspace provider although I had some downtime yesterday…not a great start for the year. On the other hand, I had almost no downtime last year.

    @Matt: oh…I guess my finger slipped away and hit “d” instead of “r”…then again, maybe I did it intentionally and don’t remember it as I tend to always say Exploder instead of Explorer… ;)

  • http://www.webmaster-source.com Matt

    Yes, that’s the one we’ve been talking about. WP Super Cache is an improvement upon the one you use.

    I’ve been referring to IE as “Internet Exploder” since I saw an article in PC Magazine or PC World (I don’t remember which magazine it was). There was a tip on editing the Windows Registry to change the name that appears in the IE title bar (you know the way some PC makers set it to say something like “Internet Explorer brought to you by Compaq”). They used “Internet Exploder” as an example.

  • http://www.ruelicke.net Marco Ruelicke.net

    I’ll give that Super Cache one a try, after I fixed my CAPTCHA issue ;)

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  • http://www.freeregistryrepairprograms.com Ash

    I installed WP-Supercache on my server and my hosting company ended up shutting my account down.  They said that WP-Supercache was creating a problem causing my server to use excessive amounts of bandwith.  

  • http://www.webmaster-source.com Matt

    @Ash, That’s rather odd. WP Super Cache is supposed to save CPU resources. I can’t see it using more bandwidth, as the finished static pages are exactly the same as the dynamic ones when they leave the server…

  • http://www.miscah.blogspot.com Dody F9 Torres

    Your article is very good, so I understand how to create a blog so quickly. Previously, I thought it was slow because the blog or the network connection from the server that I use. In fact there are ways to create a blog so much faster .. thanks a lot