We built our entire network around providing affordable high-speed cloud web hosting to our customers regardless the size of your website or the number of visitors you receive. Rather you're starting your first website or are moving over an existing website with thousands of visitors, we're going to help you speed things up.
Before we get started, it's really important to understand you can move your website to the server of all servers, but if you have poorly coded applications (i.e. WordPress plugins/themes) you're going to have to make some optimizations. Additionally, some performance tweaks are very unique based on your website, so this article will help explain some easy tweaks you can make.
Step 1) Make Sure Your Website Is Updated
The majority of NameHero customers use WordPress to power their website which also means they have several custom plugins and themes to achieve their unique goals. Rather you're using WordPress or a similar application such as Drupal, the first step to optimizing your website is making sure your core application as well as any third-party plugins and themes are running the latest version.
Step 2) Make Sure You're Using The Latest Stable Version Of PHP
At NameHero we make it very easy to select specific PHP versions for your website. We do this because we understand PHP updates may break your website and if you're running some custom code, it may take you a bit more time to get everything updated. Regardless, you're not going to achieve optimal performance until you're using the latest stable version of PHP. You'll also receive numerous security benefits.
As of this writing PHP 7.3 / PHP 7.4 are the latest stable, with PHP 7.3 being my current preference. Once you're certain all your software is updated, cross-check you're using PHP 7.3.
Step 3) Perform A Plugin/Theme Audit
Before we get into the meat of optimization, it's a good idea to evaluate the theme and plugin(s) you're using. Ask yourself:
- Are all the plugins I'm using 100% necessary?
- Are there some tasks I can achieve without a plugin?
- Are all the plugins I'm using developed by professional developers that have good reviews/lots of installs?
- Is my WordPress theme from a reputable developer and do they provide frequent updates?
- Do they offer theme support / documentation and have a large community?
These are all very important because the more plugins your website has installed and activated, the more "taxing" your website can be on the server.
Remember a lot of plugins are developed with revenue in mind, meaning they may offer convenient functionality, but were they developed with performance and security in mind?
Additionally, just because a theme looks cool, doesn't mean it was developed to be fast. Most web designers develop around what looks good, not what runs fast.
If you're unable to safely answer all of these questions, now maybe the time to find a new theme or disable some unused plugins.
Step 4) Perform A Website Speed Test
PLEASE NOTE: Nothing against free tools like GTMetrix and other speed testing websites, but please conduct all your speed tests locally, as I'm about to demonstrate. This is going to provide you with the most accurate results and in this tutorial we're going to be doing some DNS modifications, so those tools will not update as fast and end up frustrating the heck out of you.
Once you've knocked out all the prerequisites, you can do an initial speed test to see how fast your website is loading.
For my example, I've setup a WordPress website that uses a custom theme along with the popular WooCommerece plugin.
I highly suggest doing this by opening up an Incognito (Private) Google Chrome window and loading up your website:
Next, Right Click -> Inspect:
This will bring up Chrome's dev tools and you should Click on the Network tab:
Now, go up to the top where the refresh button is, and hold down your left mouse click until a menu pops that allows you to select Empty Cache and Hard Reload. This is going to force your website to clear your local cache and pull a fresh copy of your website.
This will generate a waterfall load chart and show you the total time it took for your website to load:
As you can see, my example page loaded in 2.61 seconds, not bad, but it can be much faster.
Step 5) Install LiteSpeed Cache Plugin
Since my example is using WordPress, I'm going to install the LiteSpeed cache plugin.
LiteSpeed also has plugins for PrestaShop, Xenforo, Magento, Joomla, Drupal, MediaWiki, and OpenCart.
LiteSpeed Cache for WordPress (LSCWP) is an all-in-one site acceleration plugin, featuring an exclusive server-level cache and a collection of optimization features.
Since all of NameHero's Web and Reseller Hosting packages use the LiteSpeed web server, this plugin integrates directly and is 100% free.
If you're already using LSCWP, you can skip this step.
Additionally, if you're using an alternative caching plugin such as W3Total Cache, I'd recommend reading their documentation to safely remove. You'll likely see much better performance with LSCWP.
1) Login to your wp-admin area
2) Go to Plugins -> Add new on the left side:
3) Search for LiteSpeed Cache, click Install Now, then Activate:
4) Go to LiteSpeed Cache -> Cache make sure it's ON:
Mobile caching is disabled by default, it's likely you want to enable that.
There are a ton of additional options/configurations, but I would suggest leaving them default to get started. As you get everything setup, you can always go back and tweak things specific for your website.
Step 6) Enable QUIC.cloud
LiteSpeed web server is the base, LiteSpeed cache is the accelerator, and the final piece is their QUIC.cloud platform that brings everything together, including their high-speed global CDN.
To enable QUIC.cloud, click on General under LiteSpeed Cache and then Request Domain Key:
They key takes about a minute to generate and then you can click Link to QUIC.cloud:
This will direct you to their website where you can register a free account or login to your existing account.
Once you've signed up (and verified your email) or logged in, you can return to LiteSpeed Cache -> General where you'll want to turn on Auto Upgrades and whitelist the server IP (click the link to get your IP):
Click Save Changes
Step 7) Enable QUIC.cloud CDN
For those using Cloudflare, you may alternatively it vs. QUIC.cloud, however I would highly suggest disabling Cloudflare and going with QUIC.cloud. This way, LiteSpeed is able to utilize its full potential.
Before proceeding, you'll want to make sure you're using "www" infront of your WordPress URLs, so the CDN can easily route through the CNAME. You can check this wp-admin -> Settings -> General:
Once your certain your site is using 'www', from wp-admin click on CDN under LiteSpeed Cache and Enable:
Go back to https://my.quic.cloud and click your domain and CDN under Service:
Then Enable CDN:
You will then need to modify one CNAME record in your DNS (don't worry it's easy):
This is the record you need to add. Go to cPanel -> Zone Editor:
Click on Manage:
Find your existing WWW CNAME and edit it with the information provided in the step above (i.e. c309777.tier1.quic.cloud) and Save:
Give it about 5 - 10 minutes and you should see the CDN activate like this:
Don't worry about the SSL certificate, it will generate in a couple hours, but your existing cert provided free by NameHero will be fine for now.
It's a good idea to give yourself a 30 - 45 minute break at this point to give the DNS time to propagate. Remember, this is assuming you're using QUIC.cloud and NOT Cloudflare.
Step 8) Re-test Your Page Speed
Follow the same steps as you did in Step 4 and see where you are; here's mine:
You'll also notice a handy new Dashboard inside of wp-admin -> LiteSpeed Cache -> Dashboard that helps you keep track of this:
You'll notice my website was even faster when they retested it; 99% faster! Wow!!
Now, there are many, many more optimizations/tweaks we can do inside of LiteSpeed Cache. In my case, my site is 99% faster, so I'm going to leave it as is.
If you're still not achieving the results you're looking for, feel free to explore all of the options of LiteSpeed Cache:
As a warning, if your website has shopping cart functionality or an area where customers/visitors login, you may want to fully test everything once you make any changes as if you get too aggressive, you may break some functionality of your website.
I highly suggest making one setting change at a time, purging the cache, and checking everything.