The fastest WP theme – Nix Solutions’ survey
The content of this page is a part of Nix Solutions’ research, the purpose of which is to find the fastest theme for WordPress. To find out the results, go to Nix Solutions’ WordPress CMS Development website. We filled this and other pages with exactly the same text and images, the pages differ only in the WordPress theme used.
Nevertheless, you may find the following information useful.
There are 5 main reasons that slow down the site. Let’s figure out what to do with each of them
- Large Pages
To reduce the amount of data transferred to the user’s browser, use GZIP compression. It will reduce the size of web files by 70% without quality deterioration. You can check if this compression method is available for your site using the GiftOfSpeed or GTmetrix service.
- «Heavy» images
Large images and resolutions significantly slow down page loading. To avoid this, use JPEG images instead of PNG — they weigh 5 times less, while not inferior in quality. You can reduce the image size using any online optimizer: Optimizilla, Compressor, Imagify, TinyPNG, etc. Or, for example, you can run a picture through Photoshop and save it in a special format designed for websites.
(In our case we used heavy images deliberately. Reminder: the results of the research are on Nix Solutions’ WordPress CMS Development website.)
- Too many browser requests
The higher the number of elements on the page, the more requests the browser sends to the server, and the slower the download. What to do:
- Delete unnecessary images, JS-files, codes of third-party services.
- Combine several small elements (like icons, buttons) into one CSS-sprite using CSS Sprites generator, CssSpritegen, Spritebox etc.
- Use caching. Each time a person visits your site, their browser downloads all web files from the server. If you enable caching, the browser will save the data to the user’s computer and will download it from there for return visits. You can choose a cache plug-in to speed up the site. Nix Solutions’ team recommends WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, Hyper Cache, as they are suitable for WordPress.
- Place CSS files at the very beginning of the page — this way it will be displayed by components.
- Bring JS files to the bottom of the page. Thanks to this, the browser will first load the content of the page, and only then the scripts.
- Large server to user distance
The farther from your computer the hosting provider server is, the slower the site loads. CDN content delivery networks will help reduce this distance: Amazon CloudFront, Incapsula, Akamai, and others. When a person visits a site, CDN downloads web files from its server closest to the user.
Tools for measuring website loading speed
Below is a list of the most useful tools that will help to analyze and identify the weaknesses of the site in terms of speed tested and approved by Nix Solutions.
- Google PageSpeed Insights
A page loading speed evaluation tool from Google. Shows a value from 0 to 100 for both computers and mobile devices. It immediately indicates the weaknesses of the site and gives recommendations for optimizing speed.
- Pingdom Tools
It gives speed estimation, shows the number of server calls and the average load time. The summary table displays in detail the data for each request to the server (styles, scripts, images, etc.). It is easy to evaluate what exactly slows down loading on the site.
Download two sites for comparison (yours and your competitor’s), visually observe which one loads faster. At the end, information which site won and how much faster it loaded is displayed.
- Web Page Performance Test
It loads the page twice, compares the number of hits: reveals how well caching is organized, shows detailed statistics for each of the tests. Saves screenshots of how the site looks at every second. It also demonstrates which group of requests took the most time.
Another useful tool for site speed testing. It displays a lot of summary information, also stores a history so that you can compare how the download speed has improved or worsened.
- Load Impact
The service tests how much the site can withstand the load (light DDOS). Several dozens of users and more than a hundred active connections are emulated. Since the test lasts several minutes, at this time of the load, you can use other tools to assess the speed of loading pages at rush hour. At the end of the test, you will see a graph of how the download speed varies from the number of active users.
- Monitis Tools
It analyzes the site loading from different parts of the Earth — servers in the USA, Europe and Asia; displays summary statistics for each test.
It sends requests to the analyzed page from different data centers (about 30 servers) and determines the speed for each of them; highlights the best, worst and average indicators in time and speed.
Bulk site speed check. You can specify up to 10 addresses — thus comparing the download time and document size for each of the resources.
- WebPage Analyzer
Report on page loading and all additional scripts / styles / images. It is a simple and often necessary tool.
We hope that you will benefit from the article above. And those who are still interested in our research results will find them on Nix Solutions’ WordPress CMS Development website.