A Beginner’s Guide to Website Speed Optimization

website speed optimization

Website performance optimization, the focal point of technologically superior website designs is the primary factor dictating success for modern online businesses. After all, unimpressive website performance kills a businesses’ bottom line when the torture of waiting for slow Web pages to load frustrates visitors into seeking alternatives – impatience is a digital virtue!

And speed sells!

We created the following six-chapter in-depth speed optimization guide to show you how important it is to have a fast loading, snappy website! Countless research papers and benchmarks prove that optimizing your sites’ speed is one of the most affordable and highest ROI providing investments!

In the following guide, we’ll try to explain the technical details while at the same time provide you with easy to follow instructions that you can start implementing right away! We hope you’ll find it valuable and perhaps share-worthy! 😄

Lightning-fast page load speed amplifies visitor engagement, retention, and boosts sales. Instantaneous website response leads to higher conversion rates, and every 1 second delay in page load decreases customer satisfaction by 16 percent, page views by 11 percent and conversion rates by 7 percent according to a recent Aberdeen Group research.

Highlighting the Key Aspects of Website Speed Optimization:

Chapter 1: Introduction to Website Speed Optimization

What Exactly is Page Speed?

The term page speed essentially refers to the length of time at which web pages or media content is downloaded from website hosting servers and displayed onto the requesting web browser. Page load time is the duration between clicking the link and displaying the entire content from the web page on the requesting browser.

Page load time

Page load time

There are three core aspects necessary to understand page speed in the context of user experience and website performance:

  • The view of time taken in delivering the requested material along with the accompanying HTML content to the browser.
  • Browser response to page load requests.
  • The view of end-users as the requested web page renders on the browser – this is the ultimate empirical measure of page load speed.

Website performance subsequently impacts rankings in search engines developed under proprietary and undisclosed algorithms, incorporating key factors including page speed, user experience, website responsiveness, and a whole lot of other website performance metrics.

The absolute critical principle in maximizing website performance is to focus on page speed optimization from the ground up. Performance optimization plugins, server-side scripts, and final tweaks have minimal – however noticeable – impact on page speed and load times. Yet, Web developers and online business owners tend to overlook page load times in their website development and design strategies.

Slow? How Slow?

Anything slower than the blink of an eye – 400 milliseconds. Engineers at Google have discovered that the barely perceptible page load time 0.4 seconds is long enough to cause users to search less.
Technology has come a long way in improving the internet experience. The over-crowded cyberworld of the 1990s was often labeled as the World Wide Wait, but innovations in communication and networking technologies have revolutionized the way digital information is transmitted across the internet. The next generation of online businesses have all the resources they need to deliver content instantaneously, but to leverage and complement these resources, businesses need speed-optimized websites that deliver the best user experience.

Microsoft speed specialist and computer scientist Harry Shum believes 0.25 seconds of difference in page load time – faster or slower – is the magic number dictating competitive advantages for online businesses.

And what happens when they don’t?

1 in 4 visitors would abandon the website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load. 46 percent of users don’t revisit poorly performing websites. Website owners have a mere 5 seconds to engage visitors before they consider leaving. 74 percent of users accessing the mobile site would leave if it takes longer than 5 seconds to load. Every one-second delay in page load time could lead to $1.6 billion in annual losses for online merchants as big as Amazon.

Slow load times


47 percent of eCommerce customers expect page load times of less than two seconds before they consider leaving – 40 percent of users would abandon the site at the third second of waiting before a performance analytics tool even captures their presence on the site. The average peak load time for conversions is mere 2 seconds – faster than millions of websites out there.

And what happens when they speed up?

When Mozilla increased page speed by 2.2 seconds, Firefox download figures rose by 15.4 percent or 10 million per year! Walmart saw a 2 percent increase in conversion rates for every 1-second improvement in page load times. The numbers don’t lie!

Speed increase

Speed increase

Acceptable Website Performance – The Neuroscience and Rhythm

100 milliseconds. That’s how long the Occipital lobe in our brain stores visual information as a Sensory memory.

Google researchers suggest page load times of less than 100 milliseconds give visitors the illusion of instantaneous website response as the visual Sensory memory processor in our brain works in bursts of 100 milliseconds. The memory store clears itself after 0.1 seconds as photoreceptor cells in the eyes transmit more information to the Occipital lobe.Acceptable website performance

Acceptable website performance

1 second of page load time does suffice in maintaining a seamless flow of thought – users feel in control of their Web browsing activities, and the mental stress is not aggravated unless the website fails to respond as desired.

At 10 seconds of delay, visitor attention is barely kept. The sensation of impatience, frustration, and feeling of abandonment is usually strong enough to keep visitors from revisiting such slow websites again.

The Pragmatic Psychological Conundrum

However, abandoning a website due to slow page speed is not always the quickest path to access the desired information on the web. An average user would spend several extra minutes browsing fast-responding but irrelevant websites, instead of waiting a few more seconds for sluggish relevant websites to respond. Struggling with downtime and WordPress problems? The Core Hosting is the hosting solution designed to save you time! Check out our features

And considering the sea of resources on the web, users eventually find the required information on some website or the other. But the eventual losers are online businesses unable to reach their online customers fast enough, despite hosting the exact information and services being sought.

Strange enough, visitors would rather spend excessive time browsing for the information elsewhere than waiting a few seconds for the right website to load. The experience is similar to the Houston airport incident from a few years back that led to a clever solution.Play with human psychology

Play with human psychology

Passengers at the airport had to take a 1-minute walk to the baggage claim and waited there for 7 minutes to receive their bags. The customer relations center was ultimately inundated with complaints about the slow service.

So the airport executives came up with a cunning solution to “resolve’ the issue. They moved the arrival gates far away and routed the luggage to the outermost carousel.

Passengers now had to take a 6-minute walk to the baggage claim area where they received their luggage within 2 minutes. The result? Zero complaints. Absolutely no passenger left unsatisfied – except with some tired legs.

Similarly, elevators contain mirrors so the passengers keep busy in styling themselves and not thinking about the time spent traveling. This passenger behavior is analogous to that of website visitors in the cyber world. And the same general principle applies for online businesses as well: It is the objective length of wait that defines the experience of waiting.

Now, online businesses can play with human psychology like the Houston airport executives and speed up evolution, but with virtually no specific formula to make website response times bearable for every individual visitor out there. Or they can actually reduce the objective length of wait in delivering the requested content to their online visitors with a fast responding website – whichever is possible when the website is designed to deliver instantaneous response and high quality, seamless user experience.

This guide will focus on the latter practice, and will actually help you maximize the potential of your online business by optimizing website performance and thereby enhancing customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty.

Core Components of the guide include:

Chapter 2: Website Performance Impacts Business Success

Performance Impacts Sales

Website performance is user experience – the power of page speed, translating into an attractive online shopping experience inspires sales figures and eventually determines online business success. The industry kingpin Google began factoring page speed into its proprietary search algorithms ever since it experienced the compelling repercussions of website performance lapses impacting sales. The search engine giant once experienced a 20 percent slump in traffic resulting from half a second delay in page load times.

While Google was quick to resolve the issue that barely crippled its market share, the same is not always the case with online businesses yet to establish their presence in the competitive online marketplace.

Q: So how does website performance affects sales for an average online business?

A: Dramatically, is the only answer!

Forrester consulting firm recently studied the state of consumer online shopping expectations and evaluated how underperforming websites kill business bottom line whereas high-level website performance rapidly boosts sales.

The research finds 88 percent of internet users choose online retailers delivering a high-performance and user-friendly website experience, and almost 50 percent abandon websites that fail to load within 3 seconds.

These actions consequently impact sales. 79 percent of dissatisfied customers no longer revisit underperforming websites – except when you’re Google or Amazon. 46 percent of dissatisfied customers develop a lasting negative impression and 44 percent share their shopping experiences with the rest of the world. The implications go well beyond the cyber world as 87 percent of customers shop in online as well as brick-and-mortar retail stores.

Abandon slow websites

Abandon slow websites

While service and product quality apparently has the biggest impact on business sales, converting website visitors into purchasing customers in the cyber world largely depends on developing a positive customer impression. And this is where ecommerce website performance parameters such as ultra-fast page speed and rapid check-out processes come into play, ultimately giving customers a positive psychological impression encouraging sales and customer loyalty.

Performance Impacts Conversion

As the most important and powerful internet metric for online businesses, conversion rates holistically depend on website KPIs in establishing competitive advantages for online retail platforms.

In the cyber world, traditional marketing campaigns alone do not boost conversion rates without improvements in website user experience – comprising of page speed and website responsiveness.

Obama’s fundraising campaign during the 2011 Presidential Elections raised an additional $34 million when the Obama for America website shrunk page load time from 5 seconds to 2 seconds – that’s 14 percent increase in donation conversion with mere 3 seconds of website performance improvement!

Fast load times equal better conversions

Fast load times equal better conversions

Bringing potential customers to the doorstep of brick-and-mortar retail stores often requires a thoroughly planned marketing and advertisement campaign. And once customers enter the shop, they usually don’t leave without a purchase.

It takes far fewer efforts in bringing online customers to visit an online retail store – internet users don’t mind a few wayward clicks to open the Web pages they’ve never visited before. Search engine optimization and social media adverts often do the trick.

Equally convenient for visitors is to leave the site if the required information is not made available within a bearable few seconds – for unimpressed visitors, that doesn’t take a lot more than a few wayward clicks either!

User experience in terms of website performance and responsiveness, therefore, becomes the ultimate factor impacting conversion rates in online marketplaces. Ecommerce is first and foremost all about customer convenience and reaching potential customers efficiently with the right information, products, and services at the right time.

Neither of which is possible without page speeds faster than users abandoning visits due to website performance concerns. Not aware of your website performance impacting conversion rates? Tools like Google’s Test My Site tool can help answer that question (see example below).

Conversion speed calculator

Conversion speed calculator

Performance Impacts User Engagement

User engagement statistics feed the cauldron of website analytics in developing the best strategies to optimize online sales. Online businesses established in the competitive cyberspace well understand the importance of website performance and tools that analyze and predict next-best actions correlating page speed and revenue.

Enhanced user engagement information with responsive and fast-loading websites is often seen as a proxy for online business success. User engagement is highly dependent upon human limitations in storing short-term memory beyond a few seconds, and human aspirations of feeling in control over the machine under all circumstances.

Under performing websites

Underperforming websites

For underperforming websites – notice underperformance being a relative term – page load times exceed human limitations, whereas failure to process user requests gives the false impression of ignorance or incompetence in delivering the desired response efficiently and accurately.

High-performing websites

High-performing websites

High-performing websites on the other hand – notice high-performing being a relative term as well – impact three parameters that determine user engagement: user feelings, user mental states, and user interactions. These three aspects create an emotional, cognitive and behavioral connection between human visitors (can’t say much about bots!) and the website.

With this connection in place, online businesses can exploit user engagement characters such as focused attention, motivation and trust in converting visitors into customers, repeat customers and even brand ambassadors generating leads across the social media and outside of the internet world.

Performance Impacts OpEx and Revenue

While investing in website performance optimization adds to the CapEx in favor of shaving off a few seconds in page load times, the return is inevitably seen in the shape of rising revenues and shrinking operational cost and hardware investments.

Ecommerce giant Shopzilla saw a 50 percent reduction in its operational budget by shrinking page load times from 7 seconds to 2 seconds. Performance improvements with a website design overhaul enabled the company to utilize the same hardware resources to efficiently in processing the same amount of website user requests. The improved website responsiveness also increased revenues by 12 percent as the retail store accommodated expanding web traffic without prompting additional investments in consequently expanding hardware resources.

Improvements in website KPI also lead to a better Google AdWords Quality Score and therefore reduce the Cost per Click (CPC). Online businesses with a high-quality score and page speed are able to spend advertisement budget efficiently and effectively, thereby maximizing reach and attracting customers without necessitating additional OpEx.

A slowdown, on the other hand, minimizes resource utilization. Bing conducted an independent study on its website performance affecting revenue and found a 2 seconds delay in delivering search query incurred a revenue loss of 4.3 percent per user.

And customer behavior doesn’t alter drastically when the delays are removed. When Google removed a delay of 0.4 seconds in providing search results, users still made 0.21 percent fewer searches even with the web page performing optimally.

Additional efforts in enhancing website performance may stretch CapEx temporarily, but the tradeoff is ultimately justified as the extra investments translate into higher bottom line, increased revenue streams and minimum operational expenses.

Performance Impacts Usability

Websites with the steepest learning curve achieve the highest customer lock-in. Internet users consider the time taken in learning to use alternate websites as a significant switching cost, which acts as a mechanism to lock them into online services offered via high-performance websites.

The relationship elements between website usability and customer loyalty are tied down to website KPIs, including page speed, load time and website responsiveness to user requests. A hypothetical model of website speed optimization puts these elements into consideration, with characteristics such as Site Trust, Interactivity and Information relevance considered as a subset of website usability by end-users.

Similarly, web crawlers and search engines measure website performance in terms of page speed, navigability, user experience, responsiveness and reachability to a global audience as a subset of search engine optimization impacting search rankings.

Usability traits

Usability traits

End-users expect the following traits affecting the usability of websites:

  • Easy to operate, navigate and understand.
  • Directly deliver relevant information and controls being sought.
  • Accessible across all device form factors, machines, operating systems, browsers and geographic locations.
  • Delivering legitimate, credible and high-quality information, products and services with minimal clicks and browser requests.

Fulfilling these intents is vital to maximizing website performance, usability and customer loyalty, all of which are the overlapping elements of the single system that works as a channel to online business success.

Chapter 3: Speed Optimized Mobile Website Overshadows Desktop

Mobile is the future of everything wired. Adoption is skyrocketing as the mobile device onslaught looks to encompass the entire human race – 2.32 billion smartphone subscriptions, around thirty percent of the global population in 2017. And the booming tides of stimulating repercussions continue to disturb online businesses barely making inroads into the mobile internet marketing segment.

Success in the cyber world depends on the ability to embrace a mobile-first approach in reaching the exploding population of mobile subscribers. And for organizations pushing to reach the massive mobile population effectively, the unimaginable awards emerge just around the corner.Mobile vs desktop

Mobile vs desktop

Desktop internet marketing, on the other hand, is so last decade-ish. Google the terms “Post PC Era”, “freefall of PC sales” and the “death of desktop machines”, and what returns is a myriad of journalistic fodder portraying a bleak future for organizations still lingering around the desktop internet user-base only.

For such industry laggards, it’s not too late to embrace a mobile-first strategy, yet. However, this approach doesn’t always pay off for forward-looking online businesses either when they fail to optimize their reach to a mobile user-base.

That’s not as much for taking a false direction in going mobile than missing a few vital steps and not filling the void in reaching mobile customers efficiently and effectively. These gaps center on the lack of responsive and high performing mobile websites.

Mobile vs. Desktop – Why does it Matter?

Because everyone else is doing it, to start with. Competition for the mobile space is intense and back in 2014, the Yahoo CEO labeled it as the “tipping point” for the internet. And she was right! Stone Temple pulled some statistics from Similar Web in 2017 and not to our surprise, but mobile accounted for over 50% of the traffic based on 77 billion website visits.

Aggregated total visits on desktop vs mobile

Aggregated total visits on desktop vs mobile (Img src: Stone Temple)

Here are a few additional statistics:

  • 87% of U.S. citizens own mobile devices.
  • 45% of these own smartphones.
  • 90% of these go online via mobile.
  • These mobile users average 1.4 hours of mobile internet browsing every day.
  • 74% would abandon mobile websites that don’t load within 5 seconds.

The entire focus should lie on treating the two entities – mobile and desktop – separately, at least from a website design standpoint. Without this strategy, mobile user experience in accessing desktop versions of websites is usually compromised in terms of page load times, usability and functionality. Compromising these core aspects of mobile websites can force online businesses into facing the obvious negative implications including:

  • Low Mobile Purchases: Mobile internet shoppers have a shorter attention span and lower patience than desktop internet users.
  • Losing Competition: According to a survey of over a thousand U.S. adult smartphone users, almost 75 percent of the respondents said they prefer revisiting mobile ecommerce sites that deliver high-end mobile user experience.
  • Losing Brand Value: Poorly designed mobile websites that simply shrink the HTML of full desktop website version for visitors to zoom in and out in navigating through mobile Web pages makes users less likely to engage with the company in the future.

These consequences negate the following primary objectives of reaching customers via mobile internet:

  • Expanding customer-base.
  • New advertisement options.
  • Offering quality services efficiently at user convenience.
  • And most concerning, the inevitability in productively embracing mobile web for business development.

Desktop and mobile differ in technology resources, form factor and user interface – all aspects governing website performance optimization implementations. Without optimizing mobile websites separately to deliver the best mobile website performance, several website KPIs degrade and negatively impact mobile user-experience.

And since mobile technologies give users the ability to search the web on-the-go, while standing, walking or even lying comfortably on the couch, the hunger to feel in control of website operations drives user expectations beyond conventional standards applicable only in the desktop arena. The ability to deliver mobile website content within this short attention span of around 2 seconds makes all the difference in winning customer loyalty and long-term business relationship with mobile internet users.

web objectives

Web objectives

High-Performance Mobile Website and the Competitive Space of High Conversions

Considering the high volume of internet traffic using mobile devices for ecommerce purchases, high-performing mobile websites is an evident priority for ecommerce organizations. A recent research study reveals ecommerce businesses could miss out on millions of mobile shoppers with the potential aggregate revenue per conversion of mobile shoppers averaging around 80 percent of the same among desktop users purchasing online.

The conversion rate among small ecommerce businesses operating on low-performance mobile websites is typically 0.6 percent in comparison with the 1.6 percent conversion rate of desktop ecommerce providers in the same size segment.

Tablet users, on the other hand, spend 20 percent more than desktop users. By capturing this audience, online businesses making inroads into the mobile internet marketing segment can expect high revenue streams that could potentially replace desktop audience one day – although that day currently seems to be a bit too far into the future.

Website revenue streams

Website revenue streams

Nevertheless, the demand to satisfy the needs of mobile users will continue to rise exponentially. Search Engine Optimization of mobile websites is now a separate trade – and so is mobile website speed optimization, which constitutes of:

  • High page speed
  • Low page load times
  • Efficient delivery of media-rich content
  • Download speed
  • Optimal site format
  • Easy navigation and usability across the website
  • And a fully functional website requiring minimal user-input in performing an otherwise complex task of mobile internet usage.

By addressing these issues, micro-sites in the mobile internet sector can hope to compete with their larger counterparts enjoying up to 1.2 percent conversion rates (that’s twice as much as desktop-site conversion rates!), and well over 80 percent of revenue per conversion achieved with the desktop versions of their sites.

Fastest to the Finish Line Stand Tallest on the Podium

It, therefore, is no surprise that Fortune 100 companies average 5 seconds in page load times for their mobile websites – that’s two seconds faster than the average acceptable standards (7 seconds max).

Average page load times

Average page load times

For ecommerce merchants, however, 5 seconds of page load time is perhaps sufficient to put visitors off toward a faster alternative. And in the retail segment, some websites load as fast as Google – page load times as low as 1 second!
Strikingly fast, perhaps a bit Google-like focus on page speed and website responsiveness. That, however, is the average page load time of 16 of the top 100 multichannel retailers reaping the rewards of an insanely-fast mobile website and thereby yielding multi-billion dollar revenue figures from mobile customers.

Google describes a number of changes (here and here) in mobile website design to render Web pages on mobile screens well within 1 second – that’s even if you’re not a Fortune 100 company or a Top 100 eCommerce retailer!
For those uber-geeks taking mobile Web development matters into their own hands, the non-profit World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) provides a handful of best practices (here and here). It’s a long read, demonstrating how important and intensive mobile website optimization really is!

And for business owners employing Web developers to design highly responsive and speed-optimized mobile websites, the improvements should be sought in the following three ingredients of mobile website anatomy:

  • Fluid grids
  • Flexible images
  • Media queries

And a design focus on the following mobile website elements:

  • Masthead
  • Image gallery
  • Product description
  • Auxiliary information
  • Footer

Customers appreciate fast responding websites and ultra-low page load times. Mobile technology and the innovation coming along with increasing reliance on smartphones and tablets are showing no signs of slowing down. Top online retailers understand the need to deliver website content efficiently from Web servers to the tiny real estate of mobile screens. Getting it right with thoroughly designed websites dedicated to mobile platforms enables customers to make quick and educated purchase decisions that ultimately create never-ending revenue streams for online businesses.

Mobile purchasing

Mobile purchasing

60 percent of consumers use mobile devices exclusively to make quick purchase decisions. Mobile devices and desktop computers or laptops are considered equally important as the media source of information – 42 percent of internet users favor of mobile as opposed to 43 percent for PC/laptop – but the convenience in accessing the Web via mobile devices is driving mobile internet usage and business opportunities.

And if you still plan to overlook mobile website performance, you might want to reconsider the opportunities and success otherwise achievable mostly with a dedicated, speed-optimized mobile website.

Chapter 4: Common Business Mistakes that Kill Website Performance

Online marketplaces – like battlegrounds of the ancient Greeks – are high-stake competitive platforms where only the most diligent survive. And as with all high-stakes battles, human factors (decision errors, blunders, and ignorance) contribute significantly toward the outcome of online business competitions.

Yet, online businesses and webmasters responsible for maintaining high-performance and fully-optimized websites tend to overlook crucial web design elements that cripple site load times. And the consequences are usually as hazardous as the Trojan Horse penetrating through fortified defenses and taking full control over the City of Troy, despite the size and dominion of the Trojan Army.

Competition for online business success is just as intense if only a bit less violent. The fight for customer attention boils down to delivering the requested content most efficiently and accurately, irrespective of the company size and past laurels. And just like human blunders and ignorance dictating the outcome of the Trojan War, common mistakes killing website performance tend to determine the outcome of online business competition – fastest to the finish line wins the race!

The fastest website load time wins

The fastest website load time wins

The aptly named Gap of Death, the interval between expected page load time of under 2 seconds and average site load time of 5 seconds expands or contracts due to surprisingly neglected website optimization tactics and business decisions. Contrary to the popular sentiment, speed optimization is ideally implemented across all stages of website development, and not just after building the entire site, which is only when website owners realize the need to push for website performance optimization.

Final tweaks and speed optimization add-ons implemented after developing websites does improve page speed though, bringing down the load time to at least reach the Gap of Death. But even within this performance zone, conversion rates go down by 7 percent for each second of delay after the expected page load time of 2 seconds.

On the other hand, website owners wary of speed optimization tactics can aim for higher website performance by avoiding the following deadly mistakes as well:

Mediocre Web Hosting Service

The mistake of opting for a mediocre Web hosting service can live forever. With over 1.8 billion websites online as of 2020, the web hosting space is both crowded and fractured. Global availability of a vast array of hosting options is pushing businesses and hobbyists to establish their presence in the cyber world. The demand for cost-effective web hosting services is rising exponentially, and hosting providers are more than willing to compromise service quality in accumulating market share with low-cost tiers.

Mediocre web hosts selling cost-effective services continue to maximize profitability by hosting thousands of websites on single instances of bloated Apache stacks. Un-optimized servers running thousands of public websites on a single server stack is particularly harmful to ecommerce websites characterized by uncontrollable web traffic spikes, multimedia content and large website files.

Web hosting and development companies with a common response to speed optimization concerns that “everyone’s got broadband these days” translates directly into financial losses and damaged brand reputation for online businesses. Attractive website performance is critical to the success of ecommerce businesses since websites taking more than 3 seconds to load immediately lose 40 percent of the traffic. 79 percent of dissatisfied visitors almost never return to slow ecommerce sites!

Web hosting services

Web hosting services

Perhaps then, investing time and money in pursuing the highest quality web hosting services is key to maintaining high-performance websites generating vast revenue streams by attracting visitor attention efficiently and accurately.

Giving Way to Bandwidth Thieves

Website speed optimization is an ongoing and evolving process and goes well beyond subscribing to the best web hosting services in the world. Some business decisions intended to maximize revenue by altering website design and features adversely affect website performance by stealing size-able chunks from the bandwidth allotted to each individual visitor.

Too Many Widgets or Plugins

Additional features and functionality always pleases website owners and developers. Widgets and plugins enable convenient changes to existing websites along with a slight burden on website performance. Even with the smallest of widgets such as the Google+ button box, the burden to website performance in terms of page load time can increase by as much as 2 seconds in some instances.

The Facebook like box is another common slow down as it has been known to easily add 40+ HTTP requests (as seen below). On a clients site, we saw that it added 700 KB to the overall page weight, which is not good!

facebook widget requests

Facebook widget requests

Keeping add-ons limited to a bare minimum is essential to maintaining optimum website performance – even plugins installed to the same website core compete in delivering the quickest response to browser requests, ultimately draining bandwidth.

Sometimes the quality and functionality of plugins installed matters far more than the number itself. Plugins that query large streams of data to perform complex operations should do this off-server, and not within the website hosting environments such as WordPress.

Too Many Ads and External Services

Tempting as it may seem, selling too much real estate to third-party advertisers drastically degrades website performance. Too many ads or slow loading ads drive bounce rates and negatively impact online marketability. The financial losses that come with high bounce rates outweigh the monetary benefits of handing over vast website spaces to advertisers.

pingdom external services

Pingdom external services

External services typically bring with them two problems. One is brought about by sheer volume, the other has to do with waiting until they load.

  • If you have a lot of external services, you need to load all of them and wait for information from them on each page load. The more calls you have, the more you wait, the higher the load on your own server, and the higher chance you have of bumping into the second issue.
  • In some cases, the page load will wait until the data transfer is completed between your site and the external service. If the service is called in the header and there is a service interruption your page will simply refuse to load.

According to one research study, the cost of generating revenue with a banner advertisement is almost 33 percent of additional latency. Intrusive pop-up ads further aggravate visitors into abandoning websites at even higher rates.
Affiliate code, even just those few additional lines of the script takes up valuable memory space on the hosting environment and requires additional processing cycles in delivering the content to end-users.

Nevertheless, online advertisement is the primary source of income for many online businesses (think Google and Facebook!), and an optimal website advertisement model goes a long way in increasing website revenue while minimizing the cost of latency and page load delays.

Bloated Design Theme and Incompatible Multimedia

Tempting website design themes and multimedia content are head turners for online traffic. That is if the content even reaches the eyes of impatient visitors fast enough. High-quality images and videos (large pixels, large file size) take longer in downloading onto requesting browsers, whereas low quality, lightweight graphics barely capture user attention despite their lower load times.

However, graphics intensive content is not always the deciding factor in driving conversions and sales. This is especially true for ecommerce websites that must contain fast-loading product images and videos describing the value of products, and not necessarily their visual beauty.

Compatibility issues also affect multimedia and application performance for certain browsers and geographic locations. Take Google Chrome and Shockwave Flash as an example. The two rarely play nice to each other. Similarly, government restrictions can also prevent specific multimedia content from reaching local visitors.

Websites with non-functional multimedia content take excessive client-server communication cycles to reach requesting browsers, ultimately deteriorating website performance. It is, however, up to website owners to ensure streamlined serviceability across all browser platforms, device form factors and geographic locations as government policies and browser compatibility potentially changes over time, and most often, unpredictability as well.

Streamline content

Streamline content

Fast loading and fully functional multimedia content are necessary for eCommerce merchants to keep hold of website visitors. Every second of delay in page load time leads to frustrated visitors abandoning slow websites, and drawing along a 7 percent loss in conversion rates, 11 percent fewer page views, and a 16 percent decrease in customer satisfaction.

And a Bit More of that Code – Sign Up Forms and Analytics

Sign up forms and analytics code add only a few lines to website core files. But when too many single-lines of code take space on the website back-end, web content assets and plugins with lengthy code end up competing for tiny memory spaces in short processing cycles. As a result, the popular physics phenomenon of non-linearity kicks in, and each component performs unpredictably, usually consuming more processing cycles than expected.

From the perspective of end users, excessive services are often unnecessary or at most, considered secondary to the actual content portrayed by the website. Many websites host more than 80 assets (images, plugins, add-ons and other multimedia content), and all of this content is not necessarily delivered to requesting browsers as per user preferences. Additional investments in developing media-rich websites ultimately backfire when the information actually requested to reach end-users is held by irrelevant sign-up forms, analytics code and other content adding unnecessary weight to the website.

Mobile Mistakes and Misguided Redirects

Global smartphone subscription is expected to surpass the 2.7 billion mark by 2019, when 83 percent of internet users will access the internet via mobile devices. 30 percent of ecommerce website traffic in 2016 came from mobile, and this number continues to rise exponentially with the exploding smartphone user-base.



The competition to capture the attention of mobile users is even more intense due to slow loading mobile websites and lower visitor patience levels. 60 percent of mobile users expect mobile websites to load within 3 seconds. And on average, 3 in 4 people will abandon a mobile website if it takes any longer than 5 seconds to load, whereas an average mobile takes even longer periods of 6-10 seconds to load.

Excessive delays in mobile page load time occur mostly when websites are not specifically optimized and designed to deliver high performance on a mobile device interface. Even with dedicated smartphone-optimized pages, mobile users are not always redirected to the intended mobile-versions of desktop website pages requested from mobile browsers.

Redirects are instructions that send users seeking one website URL to another one that (supposedly) contains the exact information requested by users. Redirects are most effective for mobile users searching for desktop versions of website pages that must be mapped well to equivalent mobile versions in delivering the best mobile website experience.

Doing so inaccurately keeps users from switching between unwanted website files until they reach the right one. This causes unnecessary delays in loading the information actually sought by end-users.

This is analogous to finding an empty parking spot in a large, crowded parking lot, and reaching the apparently empty space only to find out it’s occupied by a small vehicle that wasn’t visible from the distance. The process continues until a free space is finally reached – that is if the driver even continues searching for the empty space and isn’t frustrated enough to leave the parking lot altogether.

Bad redirects

Bad redirects

Website owners are eventually responsible for losing competitive advantages in the mobile space when the mobile web traffic is simply redirected toward irrelevant desktop website version, instead of delivering a speed-optimized mobile solution for mobile visitors.

Websites not speed-optimized for mobile devices suffer from common issues hampering mobile user experience. Issues such as faulty redirects, unplayable videos, bloated images and graphics, irrelevant cross-linking and unnecessary assets delivered to mobile visitors degrade website performance and ultimately drive bounce rates.

Only 10 percent of the waiting period is defined by the HTML response to browser requests, and the remaining 90 percent of the delay is caused in rendering pages, parsing HTML, executing code scripts and retrieving embedded assets. Website performance overhaul with optimization tools and script tweaks can scrape off sizeable chunks from page load times, but perhaps not as effectively as developing a speed optimized website from scratch. And the latter is more of a marketing strategy, a business decision and slight awareness in avoiding the most common mistakes that can potentially ruin online businesses by killing website performance.

Chapter 5: Website Speed Testing – Identify Performance Bottlenecks!

Web traffic and search engine ranking is primarily a vanity metric for website performance. Important as they are, neither is more indicative of online business success than sales figures and conversion rates. Putting things into perspective, ecommerce websites with (almost) zero percent bounce rate, 15 percent conversion rates and 10,000 unique website visitors from low search engine rankings fare far better than high ranking sites enjoying 100,000 unique visits with only 0.01 percent conversion rate.

The debate of conversion rate optimization can carry on for encyclopedic lengths, and implementing business best-practices on Frankensteinish websites can take tons of investments with efforts of patient execution spanning across months before any significant conversion rate improvement is yielded.

And there’s more to convincing impatient citizens of the cyber world into purchasing online products and services than implementing passive business strategies to enhance marketability. Online businesses focusing on improving website performance experience immediate results in the form of higher conversion rates and sky-rocketing sales.

Page speed, in particular, fills the void in enhancing marketability by improving website user experience to keep impatient online customers engaged and satisfied. A recent research report published by O’Reilly concludes improvements in website end-user experience by reducing page load time boost sales and conversion rates significantly. The staggering statistics are as follows:

  • +3%conversions per second with page load time improvement from 15 seconds to 7 seconds.
  • +2%conversions per second with page load time improvement from 7 seconds to 5 seconds.
  • +1%conversions per second with page load time improvement from 4 seconds to 2 seconds.

These statistics only describe how page speed impacts business success in the competitive cyberspace. Complicated as it seems, slicing off large chunks of page load time from slow loading websites is a relatively low-hanging fruit IF speed optimization tactics are implemented in the right direction – that’s a huge IF when performance bottlenecks are unknown, too complex or simply too vast and diverse to identify.

The pursuit for speed optimized website begins with identifying critical front-end issues most apparent under standard website performance testing processes. Google’s Head Performance Engineer Steve Souders advises on this matter, saying “80-90% of the end-user response time is spent on the front-end. Start here”.

What to Test?

Before the exploration for page speed bumps begins, understanding the behavior of the most impactful website speed performance indicators helps to accurately identify performance loopholes in websites.

Initial Page Speed

Downloading tons of memory hogging website content within milliseconds of initiating browser requests is not entirely possible without a thorough revamp and speed optimization of slow websites. In many cases, visitors only seek the primary information in the form of content or product information portrayed by Web pages. Add a lot of complementary graphics and website features, and page rendering times rise beyond measure.

Initial page speed

Initial page speed

Keeping the initial page speed high keeps visitors engaged even when the entire website content including bulky graphics takes ages to render completely. Monitoring high initial page speed by tracking parameters such as Time to First Byte (TTFB) or performing ping requests from website servers accurately describes initial page load times and page speed statistics. If these take too long, work needs to be done at the back-end in the form of server-side and website core optimization.

Full Page Load Time

Monitoring the time consumed in rendering entire page content onto requesting browsers is an integral element of end-user website experience testing. This information drives strategic IT decisions in deploying and optimizing hardware infrastructure to maximize website performance.

Regularly monitoring this performance indicator enables website owners to realize how the website performs as it scales in terms of size and content type. With this information, webmasters can cache static content in separate locations such as Content Delivery Network (CDN) while maintaining dedicated back-end servers to efficiently deliver dynamically-loaded content.

Geographic Performance

One of the perks of operating an online business is the ever-expanding global market reach. But this reach is not always equally efficient – and hence effective – across the globe due to the very factors that limit client-server communication. Government policies, bandwidth and technology limitations prevent optimum website performance around the world, so website speed and availability tests should be conducted across disparate locations to determine global website performance results impacting world-wide business reach.

Geographic website performance

Geographic website performance

Load Tolerance

Website performance varies with fluctuations in web traffic. Hosting servers handling the normal load at peak performance may lose page speed under excessive loads. Conducting stress tests, ramp tests, load tests and other performance tests on websites creates an accurate picture of how much web traffic the website can handle before losing performance or going down altogether. Compare the results with the website’s actual usage patterns to determine whether the website needs hardware upgrades to handle peak load as efficiently as possible.

Web Server CPU Load

Shared hosting providers running thousands of websites on single Apache servers fail to deliver high performance even when the website is well-designed with a clean and speed-optimized code. Performance issues intensify during peak load times when insufficient server computing power fails to process website download requests efficiently. Monitoring server CPU load enables hosting companies and IT staff running locally hosted websites to keep a check on back-end hardware capabilities in handling unpredictable web traffic deluge.

Website Database Performance

Database performance is critical for websites maintaining dynamic content pulled from back-end databases. A mechanism should be in place to detect and alert for inaccuracies in data transmission. Keeping an eye on free disk space on servers hosting websites locally helps avoid errors and data losses that lead to broken links and eventually degrade website performance.

How to Test

Website owners can leverage an array of free and premium website performance testing services to analyze web pages and generate tailored solutions to fill the deepest of performance loopholes hampering page speed.

Website speed test

Website speed test

Page speed testing tools powered by search engine giant Google, website monitoring specialists Pingdom and GTMetrix yield valuable insights into website performance indicators for free, and programmatically generate scores and suggestions to educate non-geeky website owners. Check out these in-depth guides to help you get started.

How These Tools Work

These tools use a bunch of browsers to load websites and replicate end-user website experience across disparate geographic locations. Performance bottlenecks are monitored across various elements of the web page under scrutiny including file size, load time, response time and requests pertaining to various website parts (JavaScript, CSS files, HTML, images, etc.).

The tools generate performance scores based on a set of rules developed in the context of Web page performance and user priorities. The principles include resource caching, client-server round-trip times, data download and upload size, and a host of rules impacting end-user website experience in terms of page speed.

Suggestions are generated in anticipation of page speed improvements that should occur by implementing appropriate performance optimization rules. For example, if a large image file is served uncompressed, monitoring tools would recommend implementation of various measures to compress the bulky file. Such issues otherwise go unnoticed due to human errors or plain ignorance, neither of which can be completely eliminated. At the same time, page speed monitoring tools would at least empower website owners to identify the issues and take appropriate steps in eradicating hidden website performance bottlenecks.

Testing Tutorial

The following test was conducted using the free Pingdom website speed test tool. Visit Pingdom and conduct the test selecting various geographic locations according to the options provided, and compare the end-results. Enter your website and hit the Test Now button.



It will then return a summary of your site, including a performance grade, a total load time, the total page size, and the number of requests you have on your website.

Pingdom summary

Pingdom summary

The performance insights section of the Pingdom speed test tool is very helpful. These are all based on the Google PageSpeed Insight rules. Generally, if you improve these on your site, you should see a decrease in your overall load times.

Pingdom performance insights

Pingdom performance insights

The tool lists all downloaded files in a waterfall chart form, sorting it in terms of load order, load time, size, type or URL.

Pingdom waterfall requests

Pingdom waterfall requests

Analyze the performance of each file download by reading results against the key chart provided within the tool:

Pingdom charts

Pingdom charts

The tool helps to identify the next-best actions for website speed optimization tactics. In the sample test shown above, the tested website needs to fix some errors for requests that aren’t being found. However, it’s important to understand that optimizing these website design elements is an ongoing and evolving process that starts from the ground-level of website development and implemented across all new pages as the website scales.

If you need more help troubleshooting your site’s performance on Pingdom, check out our deep dive into the tool.

Which Tool to Pick?

Different tools – Google’s Page Speed Insights, Pingdom and GTMetrix, among others – identify different issues, test different performance parameters and indicators in different ways, from different browsers and geographic locations. Performance ratings and test results are therefore bound to be different, and no single tool identifies every single performance bottleneck in website designs. It is however recommended that you stick with one tool as you make improvements to better monitor your progress.

However, testing across multiple tools, analyzing different website design elements and comparing multiple test results provides reasonable insights for online business owners to devise speed optimization strategies for their websites.

Chapter 6: How to Improve Website Speed?

Developing a great website takes great work. Leading online businesses leverage industry-proven experience, supernatural web development skills and a killer web hosting service to develop websites boasting top-notch performance figures and user experience. But for those who miss this starting point in their pursuit of speed-optimized websites, employing a minimalistic approach in executing simple DIY page speed optimization tactics works (almost) well enough to patch slow websites.

The knowledge of investing in the right set of website speed optimization solutions and services, website management and perhaps downright coding trickery is essential to yield maximum website performance. Strategic business decisions based on this knowledge contribute directly toward enhancing website performance that in turn, lead to better online sales, leads, conversions and ultimately business success.

Website speed optimization

Website speed optimization

Optimization is the buzzword of success in the cyber world. Cyberspace, like the real physical world of planets, stars and galaxies is itself in flux – a state of continuous change and evolution. In fact, change is the only consistent process across both the real and the cyber world. Survival in these spaces depends on how well the inhabitants can adapt to varying resources and environmental circumstances.

And the same goes for website owners competing for online business success amid varying market trends, changing the behavior of internet visitors, advancements in cyber technologies at breakneck speeds under Moore’s Law and varying website performance standards set forth by search engine giants.

DIY Speed Optimization

Online business owners and webmasters adapt their websites to maintain optimal results under the consistent impression of change by improvising and optimizing key elements of website design that make or break page speed.

Image Optimization

As a general rule of thumb, larger files take longer to download than smaller files. Web page download time, also known as the Page Load Time depends on the total size of content assets being downloaded from hosting servers to the requesting browser. High-quality bulky images are the largest contributors to web page size, degrading page speed and agitating visitors eagerly waiting for the web page to load.

According to HTTP Archive, as of December 2017, images make up on average 66% of a total webpage’s weight. The following image optimization best-practices go a long way in reducing the negative impact of images on website speed:

  • Format Selection: Use JPGs when quality is a high priority and image modifications are not required before uploading it. JPGs can take limited processing and modifications before image quality degrades sharply. For images with icons, logos, illustrations, signs, and text, use PNG format. Use GIFs only for small or simple images and avoid BMPs or TIFFs.
  • Proper Sizing: Save valuable bytes of image payload and match the dimensions (width) of your Web page template. Use browser resizing capabilities to make images responsive by setting fixed width and auto-height instructions.
  • Compression: Image compression should be a thoughtful tradeoff between image size and quality. For JPGs, a compression of 60-70 percent produces a good balance. For retina screens, increase (JPGs) image size by 150-200 percent, compress by 30-40 percent and scale it down again as per the required dimensions.
  • Fewer Images: Keep the number of images to an absolute minimum.

WordPress Solutions:

Leverage image optimization plugins such as ImagifyShortPixel Image OptimizerOptimus WordPress Image OptimizerWP SmushTinyPNGEWWW Image Optimizer Cloud. It’s even better if you go with the ones that compress and optimize images externally, which reduces the load on your own site.

And for more tips check out our in-depth image optimization guide.

Optimize CSS Code and Delivery

Not so long ago, 30 KB was considered as the ideal web page size. And that included images, content, graphics, and code making the entire page. The popularity of CSS and JavaScript ripped apart the ceiling of 30 KB page size in delivering enriched website user experience.

Yet, modern websites coded in CSS are better at downloading content from hosting servers to requesting browsers efficiently and accurately. Optimization, therefore, isn’t all about minifying file size. The following best practices ensure a speed-optimized CSS delivery:

Optimized CSS delivery

Optimized CSS delivery

  • Shorthand Coding: Cut down the size of your code by using fewer declarations and operators. Fewer lines of code mean fewer processing cycles and efficient delivery of website files to requesting browsers.
  • Axe Browser Specific CSS Hacks: CSS is in danger from endlessly complicated browser specific hacks – or correctional declarations as they’re called – adding unnecessary weight to CSS script files. Speed optimized CSS code is both light and simple for servers to process efficiently.
  • Minify CSS: Almost all website speed monitoring tools give a common suggestion of reducing the weight of CSS code to improve speed. Lightweight and compact code helps to speed up downloading, parsing and execution to drastically reduce page load time.
  • Code Positioning: Load CSS code inside the <head> and JavaScript inside the body, as referencing CSS outside of this section prevents Web browsers displaying CSS content immediately after downloading it.
  • CSS Delivery Best Practices:
    • Do not use @import call.
    • Remove unused CSS.
    • Do not use CSS in HTML such as H1 and DIV tags.
    • Use inline small CSS.

WordPress Solutions:

Tools such as AutoptimizeWP RocketCache EnablerCloudFlare CDN, and W3 Total Cache are some of the most popular tools available for minifying JavaScript and CSS.

Minification – JavaScript, CSS, HTML

Indeed, speed optimization isn’t (just) about shrinking page size. Reducing the number of client-server requests in delivering website content to Web browsers is an integral part of website speed optimization. Webmasters can achieve this by not making too many folks with CSS, HTML, and JavaScript requests. Although the number of requests isn’t as important as they used to be thanks to improvements with HTTP/2. That is to say, optimize, minify, and squish all unnecessary and compressible code lines.

Minification is particularly important for inline JavaScript and external files not cached. Google recommends minifying all JavaScript files over 4096 bytes of size, and a shaving off a minimum of 25 bytes to produce any noticeable difference toward page load time.



A rigorous approach toward designing speed optimized website would incorporate a strong intent on eliminating unnecessary bytes from the code. Utilizing all the coding space available, deleting extra spaces, indentation and line spaces while maintaining readability of the code reduces the overall size of website core and front-end files. And for websites already developed without this strategy in perspective, combining multiple server requests (for HTML, JavaScript, and CSS) into single ones effectively slashes sizeable chunks from page load times.

However, overindulgence in HTML Minification potentially leads to loss of fidelity of the website code, with user agents taking excessive memory cycles and CPU power in “guessing” the missing resources required to parse HTML files. Monitoring page load performance changes in response to implementing each minification process individually ensure that only the unnecessary code and spaces are deleted.

Minification of CSS, JavaScript, and HTML share common benefits: reduced network latency, fewer HTML requests, enhanced compression, faster browser downloading and execution, ultimately boosting page speed and yielding higher scores on website speed measuring tools.

Plugins – Less is More!

Additional website functionality with plugins comes at a price: performance degradation. Unfortunately, webmasters deploy a myriad of plugins to add attractive but often unnecessary features such as gravatar, profile tools, website stats and font tools – some even use 10 different plugins for social media integration. The only benefit here is successfully avoiding manual coding.

Many popular websites carry as much as 80 plugins. Yet, the number is not entirely a concern if the installed plugins are developed well to avoid complex actions and expensive server processing.

Number of plugins

Number of plugins

Four major areas to look at when it comes to selecting high-quality plugins:

  • Does it perform complex operations?
  • Does it load many content assets and scripts?
  • Does it increase the number of database queries to each page request?
  • Does it perform requests to external APIs?

If the answer to all these questions is YES, your reaction to the plugin in question should be a huge NO!

Now to the big question, how many plugins is too many?

While there’s no comprehensive answer to this question, limitations are unique to every website and plugin. A lot of WordPress experts recommend not using too many plugins. But many well-performing websites host over 80 plugins until they install one low-quality plugin that adds half a second to page load time.

Similarly, using 10 plugins for simple and unique tasks is much better than deploying one plugin to perform all of the complex tasks by itself. Exceptions include high-quality SEO plugins by credible developers, such as Yoast SEOAll In One SEO Pack (free WordPress SEO plugins) and the likes.

WordPress Solutions:

Use the following solutions to keep a check on WordPress plugins performance:

  • NewRelic – application performance profiling solution
  • Query Monitor

Limit/Disable WordPress Revisions

Revision management is one of the perks that WordPress has to offer. The CMS automatically keeps track of the content created on the CMS and makes all of it available for future changes. To the server, this costs unnecessary processing through additional database entries not actually required in the first place. Controlling the number of revisions stored relieves the website core of useless burden.

WordPress revisions

WordPress revisions

Writing the following code snippets in the wp-config.php file helps to get around this issue:

Disable Revisions:

define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', false );

Limit Revisions:

define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 10 ); // limited to 10 revisions

Check out our in-depth guide on how to optimize WordPress revisions for faster performance.

Optimize Databases

WordPress CMS stores posts, comments, pages and other forms of textual and encrypted data within a single database – except for images and videos that are stored in the ‘wp_content’ folder instead. This database gets crowded over time, not only with unnecessary content and post revisions, but also with garbage data.

Garbage content includes:

  • Comments in the spam queue
  • Unapproved comments
  • Post revisions
  • Trashed items such as posts and pages

Database optimization revolves around getting rid of garbage data and useless content from cluttered databases, shrinking them in size, and making it easier for website hosting servers to fetch requested content efficiently, within minimum processing cycles. This can also involve ensuring that you are using InnoDB for your MySQL database tables, as opposed to MyISAM. Learn how to convert MyISAM to InnoDB.

The wp_options table is also often overlooked when it comes to overall WordPress and database performance. Especially on older and large sites, this can be the culprit for slow query times on your site due to autoloaded data that is left behind from third-party plugins and themes. Check out our guide on how to clean up your wp_options table.

WordPress Solutions:

  • Limit, disable and delete post revisions.
  • Automatically purge trash by adding the following code in the wp-config.php file:define('EMPTY_TRASH_DAYS', 10 );10 is the number of days before garbage data is automatically deleted. Change as appropriate.


According to Google, every day the cyber world sees 99 years of human years wasted due to uncompressed Web content. And although most of the latest Web browsers support content compression capabilities, not every website delivers compressed contents. Visitors to these bandwidth-hogging websites experience insanely slow interactions with Web pages. Primary reasons for this unfavorable (and mostly unintentional) website behavior include misconfigured hosting servers, Web proxies, old or buggy browsers and antivirus software.

Uncompressed content hurts bandwidth-constrained users receiving the Web content in agonizingly lengthy page load times. Here’s the transcript of a common browser-server communication in delivering uncompressed content:

HTML compression

HTML compression

Browser: Hey, GET me /HeavyWeightChampion.html!

Server: On it! *server skims through the server and finds the file*

Server: There you go, 250 KB of response code.

Browser: Ouch! *end-user sweats, ultimately receiving the requested content in a few tens of seconds*. (Okay, client-server communication is perhaps a bit more formal and less dramatic than the above narrative.)

Most of the problem lies in the way client-server communication goes in the HTML world. HTML files (making almost the entire Web content) includes several redundant code instances. <Tags>, <Alts>, <HTML> and the likes are all the same stuff materializing repeatedly.

Google recommends the following compression tactics to deliver website content efficiently:

  • Minify JavaScript, HTML and CSS
  • Ensure consistency in CSS and HTML code with the following techniques:
    • Consistent casing – mostly lowercase.
    • Consistent quoting of HTML tag attributes.
    • Specify HTML attributes in the same order.
    • Specify CSS key-value pairs in the same order by alphabetizing them.
  • Enable GZIP compression. GZIP finds similar strings and code instances, replaces them temporarily with shorter characters. Browsers decompress gzipped files, bringing them back to their original shape.

A few words of caution though:

  • Do NOT GZIP (already compressed) images, PDF or other binary data.
  • GZIP data only in the range of 150-1000 bytes in size. The speed of compression must be faster than the time taken in delivering the content uncompressed.
  • Do NOT compress content for old browsers.

Not following the above recommendations actually increases file size and page load times due to the overhead of compression and decompression.

WordPress Solutions:

  • Enable GZIP compression using W3 Total Cache plugin.
  • The best way to enable GZIP compression is at the server-level of Apache or Nginx. Check out our GZIP compression guide.


Developers crave simplicity in website design code. Website code easier to create, read and maintain leads to efficient website development processes. This includes using the available code functions frequently to cut short extensive coding for specific website functionality.

However, adding too many extraneous loops and unnecessary code lines increases page rendering times by a few milliseconds. Influx a torrent of website traffic, and the milliseconds compound to plunge page speed well below acceptable standards.

Webmasters can reduce these response times by delivering cached copies of the requested content instead of rendering it repeatedly in response to every single user request that pings their server. Web cache is the mechanism of temporarily storing copies of web content to satisfy subsequent user requests from the cache database when specific conditions are met. This process reduces the number of client-server round trips taken in delivering (static) website content to requesting browsers.

WordPress cache

WordPress cache

Website owners can enable caching with the following add-ons and configurations when hosting service providers do not provide server-side caching:

Along with static cacheable content, websites also host dynamic information containing unique attributes changing regularly for every end-user. Storing cached copies of non-reusable dynamic content, therefore, doesn’t make sense, even though rendering non-cached content is a painstakingly slow process.

Fragment Caching

This is the art of caching smaller elements of non-cacheable dynamic website content. When Web pages containing static and/or dynamic content are loaded, hosting servers process PHP code and query MySQL databases to fetch the requested content. These time-and-resource consuming processes are circumvented by delivering the desired output stored as a cached copy.

Fragment caching stores the output of some code blocks that remain unchanged across varied versions of the dynamic content. When the code runs and reaches the code block cached for a predetermined time, the server queries and delivers the cached output of this code instead of executing it repeatedly until the time limit reaches.

The end result is cache-optimized website content for maximum page speed even for eCommerce and membership-based websites handling intensely dynamic content. The Core Hosting actually provides four different types of caching, all of which are automatically done at the software or server-level. So there is no need to mess with third-party plugins.

Content Delivery Networks (CDN)

CDN is an extension of cache optimization designed to supercharge website performance aimed specifically at globally dispersed web traffic. CDNs consist of a network of servers hosting cached copies of web pages. Internet visitors requesting this information are directed to the nearest server within this network based on their geographic location.

Traditional benefits of CDN including performance boost, high availability, and page rank collectively lift the business bottom line. Check out all the reasons why you should be using a CDN. The Core Hosting includes a free HTTP/2 and IPv6-enabled WordPress CDN for all clients!

WordPress CDN

WordPress CDN

Switch to Managed Hosting!

WordPress essentially democratized the web by empowering citizens of the cyberworld to create their own blogs and launch products and services online with minimal investments. In general, website owners leverage one of the following hosting services to keep their websites up and running:

  • Free hosting: Favorite to hobbyists.
  • Shared hosting: Favorite to individuals developing an online business presence at the lowest cost.
  • Dedicated or managed hosting: Favorite to serious individuals and small and midsize firms setting up an online presence.
  • Collocated hosting: Favorite to large enterprises or government institutions with in-house IT teams to manage websites.

Among these, employing managed hosting for end-to-end website development and management services is the most cost-effective and productive option for maintaining an ultra-high performance website. Features of managed hosting services impacting page speed and website performance include:

  • Performance optimization – compression, code minification, server-side caching, etc.
  • Cache optimization.
  • Content optimization for performance – image optimization, controlling garbage data, etc.
  • Search engine optimization.
  • Regular software updates.
  • Plugin compatibility and deployment for best performance.
  • Database optimization.
  • Content delivery networks.
  • Performance testing and monitoring.
  • Lightweight and speed optimized servers.
  • Server and website configuration and maintenance to minimize client-server roundtrips.
  • Latest versions of PHP and MariaDB

WordPress is Faster With PHP 7

With the release of PHP 7 came huge performance gains! So big in fact, that it should be a priority over a lot of the small optimizations you might play around with on your WordPress site. The following benchmarks demonstrate significant performance improvements with PHP 7 over its previous iterations. PHP 7 allows the system to execute twice as many requests per second in comparison with PHP 5.6, at almost half of the latency.php 5.6 vs php 7

PHP benchmarks by Rasmus Lerdorf, PHP Fluent Talk

We also ran our own PHP benchmarks. And similarly to the benchmarks above, we saw that PHP 7.3 could execute almost three times as many transactions (requests) per second as compared to PHP 5.6. PHP 7.3 is also on average 9% faster than PHP 7.2.WordPress 5.0 PHP benchmarks

WordPress 5.0 PHP benchmarks

  • WordPress 5.0 PHP 5.6 benchmark: 91.64 req/sec
  • WordPress 5.0 PHP 7.0 benchmark results: 206.71 req/sec
  • WordPress 5.0 PHP 7.1 benchmark results: 210.98 req/sec
  • WordPress 5.0 PHP 7.2 benchmark results: 229.18 req/sec
  • WordPress 5.0 PHP 7.3 benchmark results: 253.20 req/sec 🏆


The performance gap between PHP 5.6 and the later versions of PHP are evident, and that is why The Core Hosting always offers the latest stable version. PHP 7.4, which is even faster, was officially released as of November 28th, 2019 and is now available for all The Core Hosting clients.

Conclusion: Website Speed Matters. A lot.

Phew, you’ve made it through the guide! Congratulations and thanks for reading it. We hope you found at least a couple of great bits of advice that you can act upon now! At The Core Hosting, we provide premium managed WordPress hosting services, and with our infrastructure, you can rest assured that all the server-side optimizations are taken care of. If you’d like, give our system a try.

Last, but not least, if you found our guide helpful please share it with your friends and followers!

If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love The Core Hosting’s WordPress hosting platform. Turbocharge your website and get 24/7 support from our veteran WordPress team. Our Google Cloud powered infrastructure focuses on auto-scaling, performance, and security. Let us show you The Core Hosting difference! Check out our plans

The latest WordPress version (September 2020) 

wordpress latest version

WordPress is one of the most popular open-source projects in the world, with 70 developers contributing 4,969 commits to the core in 2019. Knowing that, it’s probably not surprising to learn that there’s usually a new WordPress release every single month (if not more like two or three)! 

Some of these releases are full new versions or critical security patches, in which we recommend updating all your sites to the latest version fairly quickly. Others are minor fixes or even release candidates that are less critical to update right away or even optional (in the case of beta releases). 

How to update WordPress

If your sites are on a managed WordPress host, updates are probably automatically taken care of for you. The Core Hosting, for example, updates major versions two weeks after release and security updates  24-72 hours after release. Of course, you can always manually update your site yourself or opt-out of major version updates if you need more time for testing. 

Click here for more information about how The Hosting Guy handles updates to the WordPress core. 

If you’re not working with a managed provider yet, you’ll likely have to manually update your sites to the latest version via the WordPress admin panel. This is very easy to do, but can be time-consuming if you manage lots of client sites. 

To update WordPress manually, simply log into wp-admin and look for a notification at the top of the homepage prompting you to update. Click that, and you’re good to go!

Even if your hosting provider takes care of updates for you, it’s still a good idea to be in the know about the latest WordPress version. Then you can make sure your sites are ready for the upgrade and can take advantage of any important new features (like the recent Gutenberg Editor)!

To help you stay up to date with the most current WordPress version, we’ve created this changelog where we’ll publish the details of major version updates, security releases, and maintenance releases. 

The latest WordPress version is 5.5.1 “Eckstine” that came out on August 11th, 2020. Other recent versions include:

WordPress 5.5.1 Maintenance Release

Released on September 1, 2020.

This maintenance release features 34 bug fixes and five enhancements. Nothing too exciting in this short-cycle maintenance release except for improvements in user interface functionality. The WordPress core team is working around the clock to ready WordPress 5.6 for its target release in December!

Highlights of this maintenance release include: 

  • Fixing an issue so you can now check your site health by using the [site-status-tests] filter.
  • Fixing an issue with XML sitemaps since they were incorrectly paginated in the previous release (woohoo!).
  • Removing the ability to change the list of environment types with a new wp_get_environment_type() function.

For more information about this update, check out the official release post or the documentation page

WordPress 5.5 “Eckstine”

Released on August 12th, 2020.

This new version of WordPress, named after Billy Eckstine, is bringing improvements to three primary areas of your sites: speed, search, and security.

Speed improvements

Posts and pages now use lazy loading to feel like they load faster to users. This means images won’t load until they’re about to scroll into view, which should give image-heavy sites a nice boost in performance. (In fact, this is one of our recommended steps when optimizing images for the web!)

Search improvements

By default, WordPress 5.5 will include an XML sitemap from the moment you go live. This will help search engines discover your content sooner, and therefore help more people find your content sooner.

Security improvements

Outdated themes and plugins are one of the most common reasons sites get hacked, but it’s also easy to miss an update (especially if you’re using lots or managing several sites). WordPress 5.5 gives you the new option to set themes and plugins to automatically update when a new version releases, so you can automate the process on a per plugin or per theme basis.

A word of caution: Sometimes an update can cause problems on a site, which is why we usually recommend either making updates on a staging site first or using a service like The Hosting Guy’s Managed Plugin Updates Add-on (in which we’ll review the site and roll back updates if anything breaks).

A few other highlights of WordPress 5.5:

  • Create stunning site layouts combining text and media with new block patterns.
  • Looking for a new block? Search the directory right from the editor, so you never have to leave your screen to find what you’re looking for!
  • Edit images right in the image block. You can now crop, rotate, and zoom without leaving the post or page. Plus you can edit images with an assistive device!
  • Copy links in media screens and modals with a button (without trying to highlight the text).
  • Move meta boxes with the keyboard.

To learn more about Eckstine and see what it brings for developers, check out the official release post or the documentation page.

For more information about this release, check out the announcement post.

WordPress 5.4.2 Security and Maintenance Release

Released on June 10th, 2020.

WordPress 5.4.2 features 23 bug fixes and 6 security patches, so it’s recommended you update to the latest version. If you haven’t updated to version 5.4, there’re also updated versions of 5.3 and earlier that fix the bugs for you!

Highlights of the WordPress 5.4.2 security updates include:

  • Fixing an issue where authenticated users with low privileges are able to add JavaScript to posts in the block editor.
  • Fixing an issue where authenticated users with upload permissions are able to add JavaScript to media files.
  • Fixing an open redirect issue in wp_validate_redirect().
  • Fixing an authenticated XSS issue via theme uploads.
  • Fixing an issue where set-screen-option can be misused by plugins leading to privilege escalation.
  • Fixing an issue where comments from password-protected posts and pages could be displayed under certain conditions.

For more information about this release, check out the official release post or the documentation page

WordPress 5.4.1 Security and Maintenance Release

Released on April 29th, 2020.

WordPress 5.4.1 features 17 bug fixes and 7 security patches, so it’s highly recommended you update to the latest version if you haven’t already.

Highlights of the WordPress 5.4.1 security updates include:

  • Fixing an issue where password reset tokens weren’t properly invalidated.
  • Fixing an issue where certain private posts could be be unauthenticated.
  • Fixing XSS issues in the Customizer, search block, wp-object-cache, and file uploads.

For more information about this release, check out the official release post or the documentation page

WordPress 5.4 “Adderley”

Released on March 31st, 2020.

This major release, named after American jazz trumpeter Nat Adderley, is all about giving you more ways to make your pages come to life without sacrificing speed (in your workflow or your page load time). Let’s start with block updates.

Naturally, enhancements to the Gutenberg Editor were a big focus of this release. Here are some of the new things you’ll see!

  • Two new blocks! “Social Icons” and “Buttons,” to increase interactions on your page.
  • New color options, such as gradients for Buttons and Covers and added color functionality for Group and Columns blocks.
  • A streamlined process for placing and replacing media in blocks.
  • The option to have the Media+Text block link to something.

On top of all the block updates, WordPress 5.4 brings cleaner UI and easier navigation. You’ll find things like block breadcrumbs, better tabbing and focus when navigating with the keyboard, and a faster editor load time. (51% faster time to type!)

To round it out, this version also helps with some privacy-related matters (like being able to see progress as you process export and erasure requests), and a number of enhancements specifically for developers.

Here are a few highlights!

  • You can add custom fields to menu items natively, thanks to two new actions.
  • Blocks are easier to style, and no longer have negative margins and default padding.
  • There are two new APIs for block variations and gradients.
  • The block editor now supports TikTok in embeds.

For more information about this update, check out the official release post or the WordPress 5.4 Field Guide

WordPress 5.3.2 Maintenance Release

Released on December 18th, 2019.

This maintenance release features 5 fixes and enhancements. Some high-severity tickets were opened shortly after WordPress 5.3.1 was released, so the team pushed this release to solve those issues.

Highlights of the WordPress 5.3.2 updates include:

  • Ensuring that get_feed_build_date() correctly handles a modified post object with an invalid date.
  • Fixing a file name collision in wp_unique_filename() when uploading a file with upper case extension on non case-sensitive file systems.
  • Fixing PHP warnings in wp_unique_filename() when the destination directory is unreadable.
  • Fixing the colors in all color schemes for buttons with the .active class.
  • Using a proper delta comparison when checking the post date to set future or publish status.

For more information about this update, check out the official release post or the documentation page

WordPress 5.3.1 Security and Maintenance Release

Released on December 13th, 2019.

This update features 46 fixes and enhancements, including a number of security improvements. For this reason, updating is highly recommended!

This security release includes fixes for: 

  • An issue where an unprivileged user could make a post sticky via the REST API.
  • An issue where cross-site scripting (XSS) could be stored in well-crafted links.
  • Hardening wp_kses_bad_protocol() to ensure it’s aware of the named colon attribute.
  • A stored XSS vulnerability using block editor content.

On top of these security updates, WordPress 5.3.1 also introduces several maintenance fixes, such as:

  • Adding Customizer options to show/hide author bio, replace JavaScript-based smooth scroll with CSS, and fix Instagram embed CSS.
  • Fixing Edge scrolling issues and intermittent JavaScript issues.
  • Avoiding thumbnails overwriting other uploads when filename matches, and excluding PNG images from scaling after upload.
  • Ensuring administration email verification uses the user’s locale instead of the site locale.

For more information about this update, check out the official release post or the documentation page

WordPress 5.3 “Kirk”

Released on November 12th, 2019. 

WordPress 5.3, named after jazz multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, brings some great improvements to the publishing experience. This version includes the new default theme, Twenty Twenty, which takes full advantage of the block editor to offer new levels of flexibility and design. It also features a variable font for the first time (Inter by Rasmus Andersson), which is easy to read for users and easy to load for browsers.

The block editor was also a major focus of this update, with over 150 new features and usability improvements! 

I won’t list them all, but here are some of the highlights: 

  • Improved image support, specifically for non-optimized, high-resolution photos from a phone or camera. 
  • Accessibility improvements, including a new Navigation mode that will help users jump from block to block when navigating the dashboard with a keyboard (instead of tabbing through every control).
  • Predefined layouts, which makes it easy for content creators to arrange content in advanced designs. 
  • Additional style options, including the ability to control the text and background color of Heading blocks, support for fixed-width columns in the Columns block, and a new Group block that can be used for creating colorful sections throughout the page. 

Beyond the block editor and Twenty Twenty, WordPress 5.3 also introduces some basic improvements that everyone will appreciate. Images will now automatically rotate on upload based on the embedded orientation data – a feature that was first proposed nine years ago! And now when you log into a site as an administrator, you’ll occasionally be asked to verify your email address. This should help reduce the chance of getting locked out in the event that your address changes. 

For more information about WordPress 5.3, check out the official release

WordPress 5.2.4 Security Release

Released on October 14th, 2019.

This security update fixes six bugs that are found in WordPress versions earlier than and including 5.2.3.

This security release includes fixes for: 

  • An issue where stored XSS (cross-site scripting) could be added via Customizer.
  • A method of viewing unauthenticated posts.
  • A way to create a stored XSS to inject JavaScript into style tags.
  • A method to poison the cache of JSON GET requests via the Vary: Origin header.
  • A server-side request forgery in the way that URLs are validated.
  • Issues related to referrer validation in the admin.

For more information about this update, check out the official release post or the documentation page

WordPress 5.2.3 Security and Maintenance Release

Released on September 5th, 2019. 

This security update fixes bugs that are found in WordPress versions earlier than and including 5.2.2, along with a few additional feature enhancements. Updating is highly recommended!

This security release includes fixes for: 

  • Issues where cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities could be found in post previews by contributors, stored comments, and shortcode previews. 
  • Issues where validation and sanitization of a URL could lead to an open redirect or XSS attacks. 
  • Reflected XSS during media uploads and in the dashboard. 

For more information about this update, check out the official release post or the documentation page

WordPress 5.2.2 Maintenance Release 

Released on June 18th, 2019. 

This maintenance release fixes 13 bugs and includes improvements to the Site Health feature released in WordPress 5.2.

Highlights of the tickets completed in the 5.2.2 Maintenance Release include: 

  • Dashboard elements don’t always have clear focus states or tab order
  • Make Site Health page access be filterable
  • Theme update links show in Customizer but don’t work

For more information about this update, check out the official release post or the documentation page

WordPress 5.2.1 Maintenance Release

Released on May 21st, 2019. 

This maintenance release fixes 33 bugs (nice work, core contributors!) and includes improvements to the block editor, accessibility, internationalization, and the Site Health feature released in WordPress 5.2.

Highlights of the tickets completed in the 5.2.1 Maintenance Release include: 

  • Gutenberg right-to-left (RTL) typing issues
  • At least one function in /wp-includes/sodium_compat/src/Core32 that timed out on 32-bit servers
  • wp_targeted_link_rel filter that shouldn’t be applied to “Custom HTML” widget
  • Editor: Update packages for WordPress 5.2.1

For more information about this update, check out the official release post or the full list of changes

WordPress is constantly evolving and improving thanks to the dedicated team of developers working on the core. For more information about any and all WordPress versions, be sure to check out the Release Archive

Introducing PHP 7.4: Performance, Features, Depreciation

PHP 7.4

PHP 7.4 has finally appeared! This version that is new released November 28, 2019, is now available on all The Hosting Guy servers. Developers can expect improvements in code readability, maintenance, and ease of use. Let’s look at some of the features that are new performance tweaks along with other factors why you need to migrate to PHP 7.4.

Table of Contents: 

What Does PHP 7.4 Mean for You?

PHP continues to evolve, by releasing their newest PHP 7.4 up-date, high in brand new features. Like we’ve observed in past PHP 7 releases – speed and performance keep improving. One of the most exciting features that are new*********************)preloading. It can help script that is speed-up also presenting the capacity to have quicker and cleaner rule, as a result of the simplification of typical lines of rule.

The good individuals in charge of PHP have actually heard their audience’s opinions and needs and replied them in complete force. They’ve since been code that is continuously changing become more intuitive and better to switch between development languages.

PHP can be used in over 78.9% of most web sites. According to W3techs, the most used web sites PHP that is using are, Pinterest, and Twitter to call several.

(we can see a double speed increase****************)If we specifically look at WordPress sites running PHP, comparing PHP 5 and 7. WordPress powered websites definitely gain the most by using the latest PHP version out there. The Hosting Guy users can super-charge their WordPress sites to heights that are new simply a click of a button.

PHP Usage Statistics

See each one of these figures that are cool? This graph is spitting some truth about web sites earnestly making use of PHP. Are 39,191,714 live websites enough to seize your attention? That’s exactly how many are utilizing PHP right now. Plus PHP 7.4 is testing a lot better than PHP 7.3 with enhanced performance along with other well being improvements.

The graph below programs the overall benchmark test on new and old variations of PHP. A few of the requirements tested were simplicity of use, rate, and gratification amongst others.

PHP Geometric Mean of All Results

Changing Your PHP Variation

Ready to upgrade? Thought so. The Hosting Guy causes it to be as simple as ever with your four steps that are simple. You’ll be fiddling around with your new-and-improved version that is PHP virtually no time.

  1. Log into your The Hosting man account and hit the Home switch.
  2. On your house page, scroll down seriously to the Hosting section and then click in the Manage icon.
  3. In the search field, key in PHP setup and then click about it.
  4. Select PHP 7.4 and simply click Save.
Enabling PHP 7.4 in Hostinger hPanel

Congrats! At this point you get the best & most PHP that is up-to-date version there.

To check your overall version that is PHP all you have to do is visit the Hosting tab and check out the remaining part panel for PHP variation. If it is anything significantly less than 7.4, go right ahead and upgrade.

What’s New in PHP 7.4?

Since 2016, PHP7 was releasing updates that are annual fail. Each they deliver on new features, additions, and the possibility to write cleaner code that makes the language more reliable and user-friendly for those who run it on their websites.( year*******************)

Let’s dig in and simply take a better glance at a number of the modifications that have been made out of the addition of PHP 7.4. For a list that is full out their changelog here.


Let’s talk about rule. When utilizing a framework or libraries, its files need to be linked and loaded on every request. Preloading is when you can load frameworks and libraries into the OPCache. It allows for the server to load the PHP files and store them in memory during startup and have them available for any requests that are future. Mention getting things going fast!

Preloading is run by a specific php.ini directive: opache.preload.This has got the PHP script compiler and executes once the host starts-up. It’s also utilized to preload more files and choose to either include or compile them.

This rocks !, nevertheless, in the event that way to obtain the files that are preloaded ever changed, the server must be restarted. The files that are preloaded remain cached in OPCache memory forever.

However, these files that are preloaded remain designed for any future needs in the event you ever need certainly to utilize them once again.

Spread Operator in Array Expressions

Back whenever PHP 5.6 premiered, PHP started argument that is supporting (spread operator) nevertheless now, with 7.4, we’re able to utilize this function with a selection phrase. Argument unpacking is a syntax for unpacking arrays and Traversables into argument listings. And, to carry out therefore, it just has to be prepended by … (3 dots.) That’s it.

Let’s understand this example:

$animals = ['dog', 'cat'];
$animalkingdom = ['lion', 'elephant', ...$animals, 'giraffe'];
// [‘lion’, ‘elephant’, ‘dog’, ‘cat’, ‘giraffe’];

We are now able to expand a selection from anywhere we wish an additional array, simply by utilizing the Spread Operator syntax.

$num1 = [1, 2, 3];
$num2 = [...$num1]; // [1, 2, 3]
$num3 = [0, ...$num1]; // [0, 1, 2, 3]
$num4 = array( num1 that is...$ ...$num2, 111); // [1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 111]
$num5 = [...$num1, ...$num1]; // [1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3]

Not just that, you could additionally utilize it in a function. Consider this example:

function getNum() {
  return ['a', 'b'];
$num6 = [...getNum(), 'c']; // ['a', 'b', 'c']
$num7 = [...new NumIterator(['a', 'b', 'c'])]; // ['a', 'b', 'c']
function arrGen() {
    for($i = 11; $i < 15; $i++) {
        yield $i;
$num8 = [...arrGen()]; // [11, 12, 13, 14]

In addition, you’re now in a position to unpack arrays and generators which are came back by a function straight into a array that is new

A rule example would appear to be this:

function getAnimals(){
  return ['dog', 'cat', 'elephant'];
$num1 = [...getAnimals(), 'lion', 'tiger', 'giraffe'];

And with PHP 7.4, it could print:

array(6) {
  string(3) "dog"
  string(3) "cat"
  string(8) "elephant"
  string(4) "lion"
  string(5) "tiger"
  string(7) "giraffe"

With this array that is new, spread operators should have means better performance throughout the 7.3 array_merge. The reason being the spread operator is a language structure while array_merge is a function. Additionally because spread operator supports objects implementing traversable and array_merge only supports arrays.

Some considerations to notice, it is possible to just utilize indexed arrays since sequence tips aren’t supported. If utilized, a error that is recoverable be tossed in the display screen, once a string key is available.

Another glorious benefit to 7.4 may be the elimination of the array_merge. Bid farewell to the dreaded index change!

For instance, let’s understand this long array that is winded below:

$array = [‘banana, ‘orange’];
$array[2] = ‘orange’;
$array[1] = ‘apple’; //shifting
// prints 
array(3) {
  string(6) "banana"
  string(5) "apple"
  string(6) "orange"

Another advantage of 7.4 is utilising the generator function. A generator function works exactly like a function that is normal except in the place of coming back a value, a generator function yields as numerous values because it requires to.

Check out of the instance rule below:

function generator() {
  for ($i = 3; $i <= 5; $i++) {
    yield $i;
$num1 = [0, 1, 2, ...generator()];

Weak Recommendations

Now PHP 7.4 has a WeakReference class, that will be not to ever be confused utilizing the class WeakRed or the Weakref extension.

WeakReferences let the programmer remember a guide to an item. This is certainly helpful as it does not avoid the item from being damaged. They have been ideal for applying cache like structures.

WeakReference {
/* Methods */
public __construct ( void )
public static create ( object $referent ) : WeakReference
public get ( void ) : ?object

Contravariant Parameters and Covariant Comes Back

Currently, PHP makes use of parameter that is mostly invariant and return types. Meaning, then the subtype parameter or return type must also be type X.( if a method has a parameter or return type of X*******************)

Now, with PHP 7.4 it proposes to allow covariant (ordered from particular to generic) and contravariant (reversing your order) on parameter and return kinds.

right here is a good example of both:

Covariant return kind example:

interface Factory {
  function make(): object;
class UserFactory implements Factory {
  function make(): User;

Contravariant parameter kind example:

interface Concatable {
  function concat(Iterator $input); 
class Collection implements Concatable {
  // accepts all iterables, not just Iterator
  function concat(iterable $input) {/* . . . */}

Typed Characteristics 2.0

Since PHP 5, kind tips are an feature that is available you to specify the type of variable that is expected to be passed to a function or class. The addition of the object data type gave hope that more would be available in the future in the PHP 7.2 migrations. The long run is currently.

In this new 7.4, PHP has the capacity to offer the type list:

bool, int, float, string, array, object, iterable, self, parent
any class or interface name
?type // where "type" may be any of the above

Note that the parent type may be used in classes and doesn’t need to own a moms and dad in keeping with the parameter and return type.

Also, note that void and callable are not supported. Void was eliminated as it had not been helpful and had semantics that are unclear*********************)Callable, because its behavior had been context-dependent.

Let’s browse even more examples.

right here is a course, written for PHP 7.3:

class User {
    /** @var int $id */
    private $id;
    /** @var string $name */
    private $name;
    public function __construct(int $id, string $name) {
        $this->id = $id;
        $this->name = $name;
    public function getId(): int {
        return $this->id;
    public function setId(int $id): void {
        $this->id = $id;
    public function getName(): string {
        return $this->name;
    public function setName(string $name): void {
        $this->name = $name;

In PHP 7.4, without having to sacrifice any type-safety, a course are now able to be written since simple as:

class User {
    public int $id;
    public string $name;
    public function __construct(int $id, string $name) {
        $this->id = $id;
        $this->name = $name;

Check out samples of most of the types 7.4 now supports:

class Example {
    public int $scalarType;
    protected ClassName $classType;
    private ?ClassName $nullableClassType;
    // Types are also legal on static properties
    public static iterable $staticProp;
    // Types can also be used with the "var" notation
    var bool $flag;
    // Typed properties may have default values (more below)
    public string $str = "foo";
    public ?string $nullableStr = null;
    // The type applies to all properties in one declaration
    public float $x, $y;
    // equivalent to:
    public float $x;
    public float $y;

Arrow Functions 2.0

Anonymous functions in PHP are usually wordy and long, even if they truly are just doing operations that are simple. This is partially due to a amount that is large of boilerplate, and partially as a result of the should manually import utilized factors.

This makes rule that makes use of closures that are simple to learn as well as harder to know.

Let’s appearance at some rule that you’d utilize with PHP 7.3:

function array_values_from_keys($arr, $keys) {
    return array_map(function ($x) use ($arr) { return $arr[$x]; }, $keys);

Now, the following is the more syntax that is concise of 7.4:

function array_values_from_keys($arr, $keys) {
    return array_map(fn($x) => $arr[$x], $keys);

Therefore, arrow functions are in possession of this form:

fn(parameter_list) = expr

Below you can observe a good example of two functions $fn1 (7.3) and $fn2 (7.4) side by part. They’ve the outcome that is same look various:

$y = 1;
$fn1 = fn($x) => $x + $y;
$fn2 = function ($x) use ($y) 
    return $x + $y;

This may also work if the arrow functions are nested:

$z = 1;
$fn = fn($x) => fn($y) => $x * $y + $z;

right here the function that is outer*********************)$z. Then, the inner function also captures $z from the function that is outer. With 7.4, the external range becomes obtainable in the function that is inner. This is certainly one thing 7.3 wasn’t in a position to do.

The arrow function syntax enables many different functions such as for example, variadics, standard values, parameter and return kinds, in addition to by-reference moving and coming back. All while maintaining a clean, readable appearance. Here are most of the valid arrow functions ( that is now available*******************)

fn(array $x) => $x;
fn(): int => $x;
fn($x = 42) => $x;
fn(&$x) => $x;
fn&($x) => $x;
fn($x, ...$rest) => $rest;

One thing to notice is the fact that arrow functions have actually the cheapest precedence. Start to see the example:

fn($x) => $x + $y
// is
fn($x) => ($x + $y)
// not
(fn($x) => $x) + $y


There are numerous deprecations occurring utilizing the merge to 7.4. The list that is following a short overview of the functions targeted for deprecation. You can find a more detailed here:|*************) that is explanation (” class=”synonym”>*************) that is explanation (

  • The real type
  • Magic quotes legacy
  • array_key_exists() with objects
  • Reflection export() methods
  • mb_strrpos() with encoding as 3rd argument
  • implode() parameter order mix
  • Unbinding $this from non-static closures
  • hebrevc() function
  • convert_cyr_string() function
  • money_format() function
  • ezmlm_hash() function
  • restore_include_path() function
  • allow_url_include ini directiv

Some essential ones to notice would be the after two-step deprecations.

Changing the Precedence of a Concatenation Operator

Currently the precedence of ‘.’, ‘+’ and operators that are all equal. Any combination of these operators will be solved from simply left-to-right.

Let’s understand this rule in PHP 7.3:

echo "sum: " . $a + $b; 
// would be evaluated left-to-right
echo ("sum: " . $a) + $b;
// could also look like this

With PHP 7.4, ‘+’ and ‘-’ would simply take precedence over ‘.’ so that the improvements and subtractions would be performed before always the string. This would look like the ( that is following*******************)

echo "sum: " . $a + $b; 
// would be executed as if the code were as follows.
echo "sum :" . ($a + $b);

This two-step proposition aims become less error-prone and more instinctive. PHP 7.4 presently is within the stage that is first a deprecation notice of un-parenthesized expressions of ‘+’, ‘-’ and ‘.’ While waiting for the vote/change that is final in PHP 8.

Left-Associative Ternary Operator

Unlike almost every other languages, the operator that is ternary PHP is left-associative as opposed to right-associative. Not merely being unusual, it’s also confusing for coders whom switch between various languages. PHP 7.4 proposes to get rid of the left-associativity and needs the utilization of parentheses rather.

Let’s take a good look at the rule below:

return $a == 1 ? 'one'
     : $a == 2 ? 'two'
     : $a == 3 ? 'three'
     : $a == 4 ? 'four'
               : 'other';

In almost every other languages it will be interpreted as:

return $a == 1 ? 'one'
     : ($a == 2 ? 'two'
     : ($a == 3 ? 'three'
     : ($a == 4 ? 'four'
               : 'other')))

whilst in PHP, it really is alternatively interpreted as:

return ((($a == 1 ? 'one'
     : $a == 2) ? 'two'
     : $a == 3) ? 'three'
     : $a == 4) ? 'four'
               : 'other';

This can cause mistakes as it’s generally speaking perhaps not that which was meant.

Through a different two-step proposition, PHP 7.4 has implemented the explicit utilization of parentheses as a deprecation caution and certainly will ideally carry a compile runtime error out in future variations.


Just with time for the holiday season, PHP 7.4 brings features that are new well being improvements for several PHP developers.

WordPress web sites will surely take advantage of these improvements and their users can get quicker execution times much less memory use whenever PHP that is using 7.4 with earlier incarnations.

With the addition of first-class home kind declarations and kind hinting, arrow merging functions, and a ridiculously better rate, the 7.4 will certainly enhance both the rate and quality of one’s workflow.

Elements of a Successful Business Website

Gone are the days when a company’s website was only there to inform customers about common information such as store hours and email addresses. Today, a company website needs to pull out all the stops to not only get people to visit their site but also to stay. The following list includes some of the most important elements that a successful business website needs to have in order to be successful.


When it comes to visuals, this is as basic as it can get, but implementing the right design can mean a world of difference. The reality is that we are visual creatures. If a consumer looks at a dull website, they are not likely to stick around. People yearn for visually pleasing visuals, from the color of your font to the logo. Customers only need 10 seconds to look at your brand logo before forming an opinion of it. A lively website that is appropriate to your particular business can greatly increase the consumer’s perception of your company and make them take a second look.


Visuals are a great place to start when constructing your website, but it is certainly not the most important. A nice website is only as good as its content. Content, through the use of SEO keywords, can provide you with a positive flow of customers. Content provides your customers a reason to stick around and even interact with your website. Lastly, the right type of content can mean the difference between being the little guy in your industry and being seen as an industry expert.


If your customer searches and lands on your page, they are likely searching for something specific. The last thing you want to do is make that search difficult for them. Having clear and fluent navigation throughout your website is critical and can mean the difference between a potential customer leaving or checking out. Note that you should also make navigation convenient for a mobile format, as an overwhelming amount of searches are done through a person’s cell phone.

In today’s world, your first interaction with a customer might not be in person but rather through your website. This is why it is so critical to make sure that your website is ready for them to visit. You may accomplish this by utilizing some of the tips listed above and applying them towards your own business website.

Looking to build a website for your company? Click here for affordable hosting!

Why you should abandon PHP 5.6

PHP 5.6 was a great and very widely used version of PHP. For years developers enjoyed the benefits of the PHP 5 branch and were updated for a long period. But, all good things must come to an end, and as of Jan 1st, 2019, PHP 5.6 has reached E.O.L which stands for End Of Life. This means it is no longer receiving security fixes or updates.

What does this mean for you?

If you’ve been keeping your PHP applications up to date (you should be!) then moving to a new version of PHP should be little to no problem. PHP applications that are being developed on a continual basis, will almost always be supporting the latest in server software. This is especially true for PHP applications.

However, we all have lives away from the screen and we tend to forget about the software we have installed to run our online website/applications. which means they tend to get overlooked when it comes to updates. If you’ve not been keeping your PHP apps up-to-date, then the first thing to do is check with the developer and see if there are updates to the applications you are using. If there are newer versions of your application, then updating your application should be relatively straight forward. Many of today’s PHP applications, such as WordPress, have the ability for automated updates to make moving to a new version fairly straight forward.

No matter what, however, The one thing you should make a top priority is moving away from PHP 5.6. Not moving away from 5.6 could lead to your site and serve being compromised, as security vulnerabilities will, and more than likely already have been found.

Why moving to PHP version 7.1 or higher is the right thing to do.


PHP 7 saw a rewrite of the Zend Engine, introducing what is called ZendEngine NextGen, adding one of the largest speed enhancements to PHP applications ever. PHP 7.1 and higher versions add immense performance increases to PHP applications that were running on PHP 5. Most tests conducted show speed improvements of almost double to triple for WordPress and most common CMS applications.

php 5.6

Code compatibility

With a new Major version of PHP (That being 7.x), most application developers will be dropping support for 5.6. In most cases, without upgrading your PHP version, you will be unable to upgrade your application or will have issues if you do. In other words, the transition stage of migrating PHP applications seamlessly from PHP 5 to PHP 7 is closing fast.


As of now, PHP 7.0 has already reached its EOL period and is no longer maintained. But PHP 7.2 does not end its EOL until January 1st, 2021, and PHP 7.3 until January 1st, 2022. This means you will always have security updates and fixes until those times.

How do I move to PHP 7.1 or higher?

That’s the easy part! If you are one of our DIY or Managed WordPress Hosting clients, no need to worry about upgrading because you’re already using the most current version! If you’re hosting with another provider, the best thing to do is to check with their support team to see if they have them available. Alternatively, on Cpanel based systems, you can easily swap version using the build-in MultiPHP version change system.

Motivated to move away from PHP 5.6?

Hopefully, we have helped you to see the benefits of moving away from PHP 5.6. If you want to move away, and either is not able to or do not know how to, then contact us! With our new Managed WordPress Service, we will help maintain, update, secure and optimize your WordPress site, and help the transition process much easier. Or make the migration to us today, We will match or do better than your current pricing! We offer both DIY(Do it Yourself) hosting for those who want to control all aspects of their site, as well as Managed WordPress Hosting where we take care of all the backend work for you! Contact our sales team today!

What is Managed wordpress hosting?

what is managed wordpress hosting

What is Managed WordPress Hosting? There’s no denying that WordPress is a standout among the most amazing site frameworks available today. It offers broad Search engine optimization abilities, strong security, and all the customization a developer may require. WordPress additionally has an overall network of engineers, bloggers, and specialists devoted to developing and enhancing the open-source system. In any case, organizations hoping to embrace WordPress should initially recognize the contrast between Managed WordPress Hosting and unmanaged, or shared hosting, WordPress Hosting. Understanding the nuanced advantages of Managed WordPress Hosting can enable you to settle on the best decision for your business site.


Managed WordPress hosting is a professional service that controls and maintains the technical elements of a WordPress website. Managed WordPress hosts are a more sophisticated option for businesses and institutions in all industries, offering invaluable advantages, such as cutting-edge security, superior customer support, optimal site speed, improved performance, and a variety of other benefits.


While unmanaged hosting is traditionally less expensive than managed WordPress hosting, unmanaged sites often offer minimal features and require much more work to create and maintain. The minimal nature of unmanaged WordPress hosts can be a great option for individuals, bloggers, or independent contractors looking to create a personal website or establish an online presence. It can also help engineers and other individuals who want to learn more about WordPress development and customization.

For businesses trying to grow their brand and expand their audience reach, however, managed WordPress is a much more effective and reliable option. Why? Because managed WordPress hosts like The Hosting Guy oversee the more challenging and technical aspects of a WordPress business site. For example, managed hosts conduct routine backups, monitor site downtime, and ensure speed and reliability. Managed WordPress sites almost always guarantee faster site speeds, despite the amount of traffic your website receives. And with automatic updates, you’ll always have the most up-to-date version of WordPress — without having to spend time checking for updates and waiting for downloads.

With the specific knowledge and skills required to manage such technical elements, managed WordPress hosts provide business owners with a hassle-free experience and piece of mind. As a result, investing in managed WordPress frees up resources that website owners can dedicate to other key areas of business development.


The number of sites relying on managed WordPress has grown rapidly in the last seven years, and it has become a dominant content management system for companies of all sizes and industries. And if you’re considering a managed WordPress host for your company, it’s important to understand the main differences between managed hosting and unmanaged hosting.

Benefits of Managed wordpress hosting

Here’s a more detailed look into four key benefits of managed WordPress hosting.


One of the most beneficial aspects of managed WordPress hosting is that it offers unparalleled security. With an unmanaged WordPress site, for example, you’re responsible for finding the right tools, scans, and updates you need to keep your site secure. This might work if you’re a one person team who has experience in malware and file scanning and DDoS mitigation. If not, no problem. Managed sites implement the highest level of security on your site, plus they’ll conduct daily backups, malware scans and frequent updates that prevent hackers from disturbing your website.


The speed and performance of your WordPress site has a direct impact on your search engine rankings and your user experience. So when your website experiences slow speed, downtime, or other performance issues, it’s important to identify and remedy these issues promptly. Most managed WordPress hosts offer 24/7 website monitoring, so business owners don’t have to worry about checking their site’s performance at every waking moment. For busy business owners who want to maintain a strong reputation and customer experience, performance monitoring is a huge plus of Managed WordPress.


When you invest in managed WordPress hosting, you’re paying for highly-skilled support agents that can assist with all your needs 24/7. Managed WordPress hosts train support technicians who can understand the technical nuances of WordPress, helping to solve both common and complex problems. For example, The Hosting Guy equips every member of its support team with a comprehensive skill set and contextual client knowledge. Every person who calls The Hosting Guy support receives consistent, high-quality support tailored to their website’s specific needs. This is just one example of how technical support differs between managed and unmanaged WordPress.


Most managed WordPress hosts have the customization capacity to support all industries, from higher education, to eCommerce companies, and everything in between. If you’re in the healthcare industry, for example,
The Hosting Guy supports regulatory compliance statues like HIPAA. If you’re an online retailer, you can protect cardholder security through PCI DSS support. Additionally, managed WordPress sites can be a great solution for agencies. By managing critical site elements like server management, speed tuning and caching, agencies can launch creative work confidently and securely.


Once you’ve decided that managed WordPress hosting is right for you, it’s time to choose the right provider. And while many managed WordPress hosts are designed to support a variety of industries, every website’s needs are unique and some hosts may meet your needs better than others. This article features reviews of managed WordPress hosts, and it’ll provide you with some industry-specific details. If you’re new to managed WordPress hosting, this is a great place to start learning about the marketplace.

24 Amazing Business plugins for WordPress

business plugins for wordpress

A significant number of our clients are entrepreneurs who regularly approach us for Plugin recommendations. Having the correct arrangement of instruments can enable you to take your business to the sky. In this article, we will share the must have best WordPress plugins for business sites in 2018.

Amazing WordPress Plugins 2018

1. WPForm

business plugins for wordpress

As a business owner, allowing your customers to contact you should be your top priority. WPForms is the most beginner friendly contact form plugin for WordPress. This drag & drop online form builder allows you to easily create contact forms, email subscription forms, order forms, payment forms, and other type of online forms with just a few clicks.

2. MonsterInsights

business plugins for wordpress

MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to connect your website with Google Analytics, so you can learn more about your website visitors such as where are they coming from and what are they doing on your website.

You can then optimize your site accordingly to improve your earnings. We have detailed guides on how to install Google Analytics in WordPress and how to use Google Analytics.

MonsterInsights also has a free version. If you would like to take advantage of the advanced features, then you should get the Pro version.

3. OptinMonster

business plugins for wordpress

OptinMonster is the most popular conversion rate optimization software. It allows you to convert abandoning website visitors into email subscribers. If you want to grow your email list, then this is a must have WordPress plugin in 2017. Read these case studies to see how much success other businesses are having by using OptinMonster.

4. Constant Contact

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is one of the best email marketing service providers. Thus allows you to build an email lists and send emails to your subscribers. It is by far the most beginner friendly platform, with quick and easy setup. It comes with built-in tools to add signup forms and also works well with lead generation software like OptinMonster.

5. Sucuri


Security is going to be a big concern for online business owners in 2017. Sucuri’s web application firewall is probably one of the best protection you can get for your site.

They monitor and protect your site from DDoS, malware threats, XSS attacks, brute force attacks, and basically every other type of attack.

If you don’t have a firewall on your website, then add one today.

6. BackupBuddy


While we’re talking about security, there’s no better security than having a reliable backup system.

As a business owner, you cannot afford to lose your business and customer data in case of a hardware failure or an attack on your host’s servers. The first thing you should setup on all your WordPress sites is a backup plugin. We recommend using BackupBuddy because it is one of the most reliable and easiest way to backup and restore your WordPress sites with just a few clicks.

7. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. It allows you to optimize your WordPress site for search engines.

It not only helps you add meta tags, it optimizes your site as a whole. We have a complete step by step guide on how to install and setup WordPress SEO by Yoast.

8. Baqend

business plugins for wordpress

Speed is one of the most important SEO factors. Faster websites rank higher in Google, this means more visitors for your business website and more conversions.

Here at The Hosting Guy, we partnered with Baqend to provide a fully integrated caching and CDN Hybrid. Cut your Time to first byte (TTFB) down and load everything instantly.

9. SeedProd


SeedProd is the best WordPress coming soon and maintenance page plugin in the market. It comes with a real-time page builder that gives you access to 500,000+ background images, 750+ Google Fonts & 50+ ready-made templates.

You can add your social media profiles and connect it to all popular email service providers to capture emails from day 1. You can also have full control of your website as you work on it or give full or limited access to anyone you want.

10. Envira Gallery

Envira Gallery

While you can easily create image galleries in WordPress without using a plugin, these galleries are fairly basic. Envira Gallery allows you to create beautiful responsive galleries in WordPress.

You can create multiple galleries, add them anywhere on your site, create albums, open images in lightbox popups, and much more. Take a look at our tutorial on how to easily create responsive WordPress image galleries with Envira.

11. MemberPress


MemberPress allows you to build online communities on your WordPress website. It is the best WordPress membership plugin that allows you to easily add membership options to your WordPress website.

You can create subscriptions and restrict content to users based on their subscription plans. It works with all popular payment ways and plays nicely with online stores using WooCommerce.

12. Shared Counts

Shared Counts

Shared Counts is the best WordPress social media plugin. It allows you to easily add social media sharing buttons to your website. Unlike other social sharing plugins, Shared Counts is super-fast and comes with only the social platforms you actually use.

13. LearnDash

business plugins for wordpress

LearnDash is the best WordPress LMS plugin to create and sell online courses from your WordPress website. It has a drag and drop course builder that allows you to quickly add lessons, quizzes, assignments to build your course.

For detailed step by step instructions, see our guide on how to create online courses in WordPress using LearnDash.

14. Quick and Easy FAQs

Adding FAQs section in WordPress

When launching a new product or website, you may need to add a FAQs section in WordPress. You can add a new page with all the frequently asked questions (FAQs), but in most cases FAQs grows as your product evolves and as your customer base grows.

By adding the FAQ section, you can significantly reduce your support overhead and improve conversion. Take a look at how to add a FAQs section in WordPress.

15. Insert Headers and Footers

Insert Header and Footer

While managing your WordPress sites, you may sometimes need to add code snippets to your WordPress site’s header or footer. This means you will have to edit the theme files which could get messy and break up your WordPress theme. Insert Headers and Footer allows you to easily add code snippets to your WordPress site without editing your theme files. Take a look at our tutorial on how to add header and footer code in WordPress.

16. CSS Hero

CSS Hero

WordPress themes rely on CSS for the visual appearance of your website. If you want to make customization to your theme, then you will have to learn CSS. This can be time consuming for a business owner.

CSS Hero is a WordPress plugin that allows you to customize any WordPress theme without writing a single line of code. Check out our review of how CSS Hero makes WordPress customization easy for more information.

17. Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder

As a business owner you may soon realize that placing things differently on your pages can result into more conversions and sales. But how do you create those landing pages without learning to code?

Beaver Builder is a powerful drag and drop page builder tool for WordPress. It allows you to easily create your own page layouts using a simple user interface. See our comparison of the best drag and drop page builders for WordPress for more information.

18. Google Apps for Work

Google Apps for Work

Google Apps for Work is a suite of web applications like email, docs, spreadsheets, etc. Created by Google, this powerful suite of office applications is cheaper, easy to deploy, and hassle free. Most importantly, it allows you to use your own business domain name for emails.

19. Freshbooks


Freshbooks is a cloud based accounting software for professionals, freelancers, and agencies. It allows you to easily send invoices to clients, receive payments, and manage your finances. Take a look at our article about creating invoices for clients using WordPress.

20. SEMRush


As a business owner, you need data to find out what your competitors are doing for their websites. SEMRush allows you to look at the keywords where your competitors are ranking. You can checkout their paid keywords as well as their organic traffic. This way you can optimize your own content and marketing strategy. Also checkout our list of best WordPress SEO plugins and tools that you should use.

21. All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets

All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets

Rich Snippets are special markup that you can add to your content and describe your content more precisely to search engines. This information is then used by search engines to show your content differently. For example, star ratings below your product listings, maps when someone searches for your business, and so on. All in One Schema.org rich snippets plugin provides you an easy user interface to generate that markup and use it in your WordPress posts and pages.

Check our guide on how to add rich snippets in WordPress.

22. BirchPress


If you need a solution for your business website where your users can book and pay for appointments, then BirchPress is the solution for you. It allows you to easily add a complete online booking system to your WordPress site.

You may also want to see our guide on 5 best WordPress appointment and booking plugins.

23. MaxCDN


Images and other static content on a website take the longest time to load. If you want to make your website even faster, then you will need to use a CDN to deliver your static files. MaxCDN is the most reliable CDN service, and it integrates easily with WordPress. See our guide on how to install and setup WordPress CDN solution MaxCDN on your site.

24. Slack


Slack is a team management, productivity and communication tool. We use it to communicate with our team spread across different timezone and locations. Slack is more convenient than email, and it can integrate with tons of other online tools you may be using. See our guide on how to integrate Slack with WordPress for more information.

We hope this article helped you find some of the best WordPress plugins for your business website. You may also want to take a look at our guide on 25 most common WordPress mistakes that you want to avoid.