There are many things that we should all be doing today as WordPress developers to ensure that pages load quickly to please our visitors and of course good old Google SEO.
- Optimise images, basically make their file sizes as small as possible (WordPress does this automatically for you).
- Get the best from browser caching, implement a CDN.
- Files that take time to load should be moved to load last.
- Ensure the site is mobile responsive.
We can also install a great WordPress caching plugin like WP Rocket.
As a web developer I can do all of these things but if the hosting is cheap the work is virtually in vain. I can suggest WordPress hosting to clients and there is nothing worse to hear than “I have found a hosting package for £50/year, let’s try that to start”. I won’t even go into the security issues here, that is a whole different subject. When I hear WordPress get accused of being insecure that is annoying because breaches are generally down to low quality hosting with questionable security.
When I show clients their WordPress site on my test server it runs like a dream, it is fast. That is because my test server runs on a Virtual Dedicated Server that costs around £500 per year. You get what you pay for, there is no doubt about that.
Stick it on that £50/year shared hosting package and it is a different story, at best it is slow and at times of the day when server demand is high* the site might not even load at all! The dreaded 500 Server Error can become pretty common and that is nothing to do with the web developer.
Sites these days have a lot of functionality and the hosting server needs to be able to cope. You want the perfect e-commerce site with image sliders and product carousels and you are prepared to spend thousands of pounds to get it. Please don’t then stint on the hosting.
You don’t have to pay £500 per year, you can go with someone like WP-Engine and pay about £200 per year. For that you get top grade hosting, backups, very fast pages and bags of security, there is even an SSL certificate included. If you are paying less than £150/year for hosting you are paying too little.
In summary everything will be done to make your site run as quickly as possible but at the end of the day good hosting is more important than ever.
*With shared hosting there are often hundreds of sites on the same server, if they are all accessed at once the server cannot cope.