What causes a slow WordPress website?

What causes a slow WordPress website?

It’s important that your website works well and that it’s fast. If you’re experiencing a slow WordPress site, there are some simple things you can do to diagnose the problem and fix it. In this article, we’ll go through some common causes of slow WordPress sites and how to diagnose them yourself — without paying anyone else!

Unoptimized images

If you’re using images on your website, it’s likely that the biggest issue with your WordPress site is unoptimized images.

An image file is a bitmap, which means that its pixels are laid out in a grid-like fashion. The more pixels there are in an image and the smaller they are (determined by the resolution), the larger the file size will be. Since an image can be resized as needed, it makes sense to use high-resolution images at first and then resize them later so they don’t take up too much space or load too slowly.

A good rule of thumb is to keep all files under 100KB unless absolutely necessary so users can access them quickly without encountering problems during page loads or viewings on mobile devices like phones and tablets (which use less bandwidth).

Low-quality hosting

Hosting is the most important part of your website, and it can be cheap. Budget hosting like GoDaddy or similar likeness companies, use what’s known as shared-hosting. This means they put your website on the same server as other people’s websites. If their website is not optimized or uses up a lot of resources, your website will suffer and become slow.

You should opt for dedicated hosting. Dedicated servers are usually pricier but offer more control over your site’s performance than other options.*

Excessive use of plugins

When you install a plugin, it adds functionality to your website. Unfortunately, this can also slow things down. WordPress has hundreds of plugins available—far too many for us to tell you which ones are worth using and which ones will make your site crawl.

If your site is already slow, there’s a good chance that some of the plugins are causing the problem (even if they weren’t installed recently).

Poorly coded plugins and themes

If you find that a plugin or theme is slowing down your website, it’s possible that the code isn’t optimized enough. This may be because:

  • The developer used a lot of code for features that aren’t necessary for your site.
  • The developer didn’t use caching properly and re-calls functions too often.
  • The developer did not optimize their JavaScript/CSS files (or other assets).

Inaccurate database operation

Another cause is inaccurate database operations.

Database queries that take longer than expected, or are resource-intensive, can be a sign of an issue. If your site is slow because of too many database queries, try limiting the amount of information being requested from the server’s database. You can also optimize your hosts’ databases by using MySQL command line utilities such as mysqldump and myisamchk (a utility designed to repair damaged MyISAM tables).

If you find yourself getting more results than expected when executing a query against your WordPress database, this could be caused by poorly optimized queries or excessive table joins (joins between two tables). Make sure you review all your queries before making any changes to them so you know what needs optimizing. If necessary, hire a developer experienced with optimizing MySQL databases if the code isn’t something relatively simple.

Heavy font and Javascript files.

Another common culprit for slow websites is the use of heavy fonts and Javascript files. Fonts and JavaScript files are often the largest files on a website, so they can slow down your site if there are too many of them. The best way to check if this is happening with your site is by using a plugin like Query Monitor, which provides an overview of all the resources that have been loaded by your site in real-time.

You can diagnose the issue yourself by using a plugin like Query Monitor, but you’ll have to know what to look for

You can diagnose the issue yourself by using a plugin like Query Monitor, but you’ll have to know what to look for. Query Monitor is a free and easy-to-use plugin that will tell you what’s happening on your site and where there are problems with the queries being made. If you’re familiar with PHP, this might be all the information you need to figure out why your website is slow and how it can be fixed.

If not, then there are plenty of other tools available that will give you more insight into what’s going on behind the scenes of your WordPress site. GTMetrix offers an in-depth look at how well (or poorly) your site loads, New Relic tracks performance issues across multiple devices and browsers (including mobile), W3C validates CSS code for cross-browser compatibility issues


You should always try to understand what’s causing your WordPress website to run slow. Even if you’re not a developer, there are still ways for you to tackle the issue on your own. If you’ve tried everything else and nothing works, then it might be time for some professional support!

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We are an outsource team who serves marketing agencies, small and large businesses, freelancers, and others who need supplemental or full design and development work for small or large and complex WordPress projects.

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