Why Is My WordPress Website Suddenly Slow? Here’s 8 Reasons Why And How To Fix Each One

WordPress Website Suddenly Slow

I bet this has happened to you. You jump online and head to your website and then say, Why is my WordPress website suddenly slow?

Well, there are many potential reasons why your website is slow to load. It could be your host, a plugin, or maybe your theme is the issue. At this point – who knows?

But what I do know is that by the time you’re done reading this post you’ll have a better idea of what’s slowing down your website and how to fix the issue.

So let’s get to it and let’s speed up that website of yours.

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here

Your Hosting

web hosting

It all starts with your hosting. And if you’re like a lot of people you’re probably on a shared hosting plan.

This is where you and hundreds of other websites are sharing the same server with each website sharing the same resources from that one server. Hence the name “Shared Hosting”.

Now while there is a cost-saving when it comes to shared hosting. You can end up paying for it by slow loading times.

If one or more websites are using up a lot of resources, which increases the server load. This can affect all the other websites including your website’s load speed.

Now host have monitoring in place to watch for resource usage and will take the appropriate measures to restore the server to a normal load.

But until things have been dealt with by your host there’s nothing you can do.

The Fix

If you’ve been experiencing more and more slow load times it’s time to look at upgrading your hosting. And you have several options to choose from.

A few of those are…

VPS Hosting

VPS hosting is a much more secure and stable option compared to shared hosting. This is the hosting I have from Hostgator.

With VPS, which stands for Virtual Private Server. VPS is a virtual machine configured to operate like a physical computer on a dedicated server.

Now your website is on the same server as other websites. But unlike shared hosting, your website lives within its own secure container and you’re guaranteed your own server resources like memory, disk space, CPU core, etc.

It’s all yours and you don’t have to share any of it with anyone else.

Cloud Hosting

With cloud hosting instead of your website being hosted on one physical server. Cloud hosting utilizes virtualization. This is where this technology splits a physical server into multiple virtual machines.

So now your website files are using the resources of multiple machines which results in much faster performance.

So let’s say your website gets a huge surge of traffic. Because you’re using cloud hosting your files are not coming from one server which will increase server load and slow your website’s load time.

Those resources being used are now coming from multiple servers and your website’s load time will not be affected.

VPS Hosts:

Cloud Hosts:

I also want to mention if your website’s traffic is increasing, well first of YEAH!!

While this is great this can also lead to a slower-loading website simply because the hosting plan you’re on cannot handle the traffic load.

So if traffic is going up and your website speed is slowing down, it’s time to upgrade your hosting.

Unoptimized Images

Image files can be HUGE and as such, they will slow down your website’s load time if they have not been optimized.

Now there are several different ways of checking to see if your images have been optimized. But I find the fastest way is to use free performance testing tools like GTmetrix.

gtmetrix

Simply type in your site’s URL and it will run a performance test breaking down your load time and give you suggestions on how to improve things. Including a list of unoptimized images.

Here are the results of my performance test for NetWiseProfits.com and you can see I’m in great shape.

gtmetrix performance report

The Fix

Now with my website report, I don’t have any issues with my images when it comes to optimization. And that’s because all of my images are optimized.

If my report showed I had images that need optimizing it would look like this.

gtmetrix optimize images report

And when I say optimized I mean the image files have been compressed to make the file smaller.

Now you can compress images manually before you upload them to your website using free image compression tools like Tiny PNG.

Simply upload your image and Tiny PNG will compress either PNG, WebP, or JPG images for you. Once done, you then download the image to your computer and then upload them to your WordPress website.

Now this works but there are more efficient ways of compressing images for your website.

For example, I use a plugin called Imagify. And it will compress images as I upload them to my website. So it’s nothing I have to worry about because it’s automatically done.

imagify

The plugin also allows you to bulk-optimize your images. This is a great feature if your images have not been optimized at all. You can do it all in one shot.

Or maybe you’re not sure which images have or have not been optimized. This feature takes care of that.

This plugin is free and you can optimize up to 20MG every month. That’s about 200 images per month. And then you also have the option to pay for more monthly optimization if you need it.

Out Of Date PHP

The underlying framework that WordPress runs on is called PHP. And running on an older version of PHP will definitely slow down your website.

Each new version is typically 10-20% faster than the previous version. So you definitely want to be running the latest version.

So, how can you find what version of PHP you’re running on your website? Simply log into your WordPress dashboard then click on Tools in the side menu, then Site Health then at the top of that page click on Info,

site health

And scroll down and click the dropdown arrow on Server and you will see the version you’re running.

php version

The Fix

If you need to update your PHP you will get a notice on the home page of your dashboard.

php update notice

Now, most web hosts will automatically update the PHP. But if they don’t or you don’t want to wait simply contact your host support and they can do it for you.

Or if your hosting plan gives you Cpanel access you can make the update yourself. Of course, that’s only if you feel comfortable doing so.

php in cpanel

Plugins

Plugins are fantastic because they make adding specific functionality to your website easy peezy. But plugins can also be the cause of your website’s slow loading time.

Now you may have heard that if you have too many plugins on your website that it can slow down your website.

Well, this statement is not exactly true. The reality is, that it’s not the number of plugins you have that is the cause of your site loading slowly. It’s the quality of the plugins you’re using.

I have friends that use over 30 plugins and their website speed is not affected. And that’s because they know the value of using quality plugins.

So first and foremost when thinking of using a plugin make sure you’re using a quality scalable plugin. Because every plugin you add to your site adds a bit more complexity to your site. So it’s important to only use well-developed plugins.

The Fix

This means instead of using that free plugin, you should really consider paying for a pro version of the plugin. With free plugins, they can be abandoned by the developer and are no longer updated or supported.

Now when WordPress does an update, which they do quite often this abandoned and now out-of-date plugin can end up causing conflicts to your website, which can contribute to slowing your site down.

And speaking of updates. When you see the notification in your WordPress dashboard to update a plugin, don’t wait, do it right away. Also, remove any plugins that you are no longer using.

plugin update

Your Theme

Just like plugins, there are great themes and there are very poor themes. And operating with a poorly coded bloated theme is definitely going to impact your website loading time.

Along with the overall look and the customization capabilities of the theme. You want to look for a lightweight theme. And by lightweight I mean you don’t want to use a theme that is boosting all kinds of unnecessary functions, bells, and whistles.

Now when it comes to themes just like plugins you have free themes and paid themes to choose from.

I have used both. And I will say there are some really good free themes available. When I first started with affiliate marketing I started with the Twenty Twenty theme that comes with WordPress.

And it did the job. And as my business grew I move over to other premium themes with my current theme being Generate Press. It’s very lightweight and at the premium level, it provides me with all the customization options that I will ever need.

Your theme is the foundation of your site and it does have the biggest impact on your website loading speed. So again don’t just use a theme because it looks “pretty” or it has 100 different functions most of which you will never use.

The Fix

Keep these things in mind when searching for a quality theme:

  • Simplicity – all you need is a simple pleasing layout
  • Mobile Responsiveness – 90% of people browse using mobile
  • Size – you don’t need a bloated feature-packed theme
  • Update frequency – the internet is always changing you want your theme to keep up

Now like everything with your website testing is part of it. So if you’re like most people you’re going to try different themes.

And if so make sure to do your due diligence when it comes to theme selection. You can start by checking out reviews on the themes you’re looking to use.

Here’s a good selection of well-coded lightweight themes you can check out.

  • GeneratePress
  • Astra
  • Neve
  • Schema
  • OceanWP
  • StudioPress
  • Divi
  • Kava
  • Twenty Twenty

Caching

Caching is very important when it comes to your website’s loading speed.

So, what is caching?

Caching is the process where frequently-accessed data such as a webpage are copied and then temporarily stored (cached) for quick retrieval.

Here let me explain what happens when you don’t use caching. When someone comes to your website your browser contacts your web server.

It then retrieves the data (information) of your pages, posts, widgets, and so on from your database that’s on your web server.

Your web server then compiles all that information into an HTML page and then displayed it to your visitor.

Now while this process does insure your visitors see the freshest version of your website. Each time this happens it takes time and can cause your website to load slower and make your visitors wait.

And we don’t want to make visitors wait any longer than needed. The shorter the waiting time the better.

The Fix

To speed this process up you use a caching plugin. What the caching plugin does is create a static version of your web page and then delivers that web page to your visitor. Making your website load much faster.

Ok, now you may be asking – what if I make changes to a page or post or even redesign my website? What happens now if I have a caching plugin?

No worries, caching plugins have mechanisms in place to empty the cache when changes have been made and show the latest version of that web page.

The caching plugin that I use and just happens to be the best choice for less tech-savvy online entrepreneurs is WP-Rocket.

wprocket

What’s really great about WP-Rocket is once you install it, it’s ready to go and will speed up your website right out of the gate.

But you also have access to tutorial videos on how to find the best setting for your website.

Now, this is a paid plugin but the cost is very reasonable and well worth it.

wprocket pricing

Not Using A CDN

A CDN (content delivery network) is a network of strategically distributed servers located all over the world.

So how can CDN speed up your website?

If you’re not using a CDN right now all your files are being stored on one server in one location.

And let’s say that location is Seattle. Anyone that’s close to Seattle that accesses your website will see your website served to them pretty quickly.

But if someone who lives in Asia is accessing your website they will be served a slower response time because they are much farther away from Seattle where your server is.

However, if you are using a CDN your content is distributed from the original server, in our example, that’s Seattle, and caches your content on multiple servers located around the world.

content delivery network

Now when someone wants to access your website. It makes no difference where they are in the world. Your content will be delivered from the closest server to them. Thus decreasing the load time of your website.

The Fix

If you’re considering a CDN here is a list of some of the top CDN providers:

WordPress Is Not Up To Date

When you see this notification in the dashboard of your WordPress website it’s not to be ignored.

wordpress update

The main reason you want to update WordPress is for security. These updates fix vulnerabilities and ensure you have the latest security fix.

But by not updating WordPress you’re leaving your website open to possible hacking. And you certainly don’t want that.

And of course, running an older version of WordPress not only is a security risk and can also slow down your website.

The Fix

Of course, the fix is when you see the notification to update WordPress don’t delay, update things right away. You don’t want to leave yourself open to security issues or cause your site to be slow.

Website Speed Testing Tools

Now that you know what can cause your website loading speed to slow down. Here are some free website speed testing tools you can use to improve your website’s performance.

Before you make any updates first run a baseline test of your website. This way you know how fast your website is currently running.

The current rule of thumb is you want your website to load in under 2 seconds. And for the best user experience, you want your website to load in under 1 second.

Once you have your baseline test done. You can then take the steps to improve your site’s performance. And as with all testing. Do just one change at a time. Then retest your site’s performance and move forward from there.

Wrapping Things Up

Your website load speed is so important to the success of your website. Not only does it provide a great user experience for all your visitors.

But it also puts you in the good graces of Google which uses load speed as one of its more important signals when it comes to ranking websites in the serps.

And we all want great search engine rankings!

Thanks for dropping by, I hope you found this post helpful. If you have any comments or questions related to this post you can leave them below.

And feel free to share this post with your audience.

Take care.

I believe in you!
Leo

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