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Old 01-28-2011, 12:25 PM
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csm csm is offline
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Boosting The Loading Speed Of Your WordPress Blog

Many people have a blog that is not optimized for loading speed – which is not only a usability factor now, but a minor ranking factor in Google. One of the problems of a WordPress blog is: the more plugins you install, the slower your website will load.

To make your blog load more quickly you can use plugins that will help you to combine and minimize your CSS and JavaScript. If you are familiar with Firebug addon for Firefox you could check the start page of your own blog.

Here are some suggestions to help you achieve a high Google Page Speed score:


Using The W3 Total Cache Plugin To Boost The Loading Speed

Using the W3 Total Cache plugin, a cookieless domain and the ability of W3TC to store the static content (CSS/images/JavaScript) via the self-hosted FTP option are the key to get a Google Page Speed score of 90+/100 very easily.

So, here is basically what you have to do.

After installing and activating (maybe changing some settings, too) all the plugins you want for your blog – you know, the ones that will slow it down -- you should take a look at the source code of your blog to find out which CSS files and JavaScript are getting loaded.

You will see in the source code of your not yet optimized blog that several CSS files and JavaScript files are loaded in the head.

Let’s just assume we have 8 CSS files and 8 JavaScript files.

We all should know that loading JavaScript files in the header slows the loading process and rendering the site will be slower, too.

The best solution for loading JavaScript files is putting them to the bottom of your code. Read more about this at Yahoo Developer Network.


If the script uses document.write to insert part of the page's content, do not move it from the head.

Settings In The Browser Cache Section Of The W3 Total Cache Plugin

When the W3TC plugin is installed and in it's default state there are some settings that need to be checked.

Since the Browser Cache settings are extensive, I will just tell you my own settings.

Summary of the Browser Cache Settings:

- Set expires header
- Set cache control header
- Set entity tag (eTag) activated in all 4 sections
- Enable HTTP (gzip) compression in General and Media & Other Files sections

That's it. Save changes and press deploy.

W3 Total Cache And .htaccess Files

To get things working as you need it you have to get some .htaccess files and other "Tools" installed/configured.

Head over to the Install section of the W3TC plugin.

In this section everything is described well, so you should normally get no problems. In case you have any problems you can check with Google or post your problem in the Wordpress forum.

Activating Minify And The Content Delivery Network Options

Now go to your W3 Total Cache General options and activate Minify and Content Delivery Network. Choose Self-hosted / File Transfer Protocol Upload for your CDN settings.

- Enable Minify (Minify Cache Method: Disk)
- Enable Content Delivery Network/CDN (CDN Type: Self-hosted / File Transfer Protocol Upload)

Save changes and move on to the next step.

Combining And Minifying CSS And JavaScript Files

First we should combine all CSS files to one file and get it minified.

I will show you the W3 Total Cache page from the CookielessDomain blog where you can see the CSS files that get combined and minified. Go to the Minify option of the W3 Total Cache plugin.

- Enable CSS minify settings
- Enable Combine only

You should add all your CSS files that your blog is loading to the W3 Total Cache Minify CSS option.

Press Save changes and follow the instructions of W3 Total Cache. It's really easy.

Okay, now we will get a combined and minified CSS file.

In the same W3 Total Cache plugin section (Minify) you can add your JavaScript files to get them combined and minified. It's right above the Cascading Style Sheets option.

Example: add all your JavaScript files with the following syntax (File URI):


(This is an example.)

You can also copy the whole URL from your source code and paste it into the File URI section.

Now you should use the Embed Location „Embed before </body>“ and click on „Verfiy URI“ to make sure you do not get any errors.
If the JavaScript code is getting displayed … good job.

Save changes and again... follow the instructions of W3 Total Cache to get one combined and minified JavaScript file.

Now that you have only one CSS (in the head) and one JavaScript (in the bottom of your code) left your blog should load a lot faster now.

Preparing The Content Delivery Network

Well, before you can use the CDN option you need to insert your FTP username, password and a path, if that is needed. When you inserted your FTP username, FTP password and all other settings are correct you should press Test FTP server.

If everything went OK (Test passed) you can press Save changes.

Maybe you have to play with Passive Mode and/or SSL settings, if they are supported by your host/server.

After the connection from your blog to the FTP server is working you need to click on „importing attachments into the Media library“ and then „exporting media library to CDN“.

A popup will open and you just need to press Start. The media library files will now get exported to your CDN.

Exporting The Combined And Minified And Other Files

In my settings I have checked the following in the General CDN Options:

- Host wp-includes/ files
- Host theme files
- Host minified CSS and JS files
- Host custom files

The custom files are defined in the Advanced settings under „Custom file list“.


- favicon.ico
- wp-content/gallery/*
- wp-content/plugins/*

In this case all files and folders stored in the folder wp-content/gallery and everything in wp-content/plugins are transferred to your FTP-server.

Now it's time to export the files.

Click on the button „Upload includes files“ and a popup will open. Click on Start to get the wp-include files exported.

Next is „Upload theme files“, then „Upload minify files“ and the last one is „Upload custom files“.

After exporting you should click deploy and then „empty all caches“.

The settings in the sections Database Cache, Object Cache and User Agent Groups were not changed by me.

Testing The Loading Speed Of Your Blog

Okay, time to test everything.

Check your Google Page Speed score, and if you are familiar with Firebug, take a look at the CSS and JavaScript files that are getting loaded.

For me the process went smooth and well. The loading speed increased a lot and it was worth the time I had to spend to get it working like it is now. FAST.



Old 01-29-2011, 09:26 AM
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Snerdey Snerdey is offline
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Awesome information!

Thank you for sharing, I'll have to give this a go
Old 01-29-2011, 11:37 AM
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Thank you.

If you need any help then let me know
Old 01-31-2011, 09:00 PM
snakeair snakeair is offline
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Ok, i have a question related to this plugin that i'm not sure about. Perhaps another member might have the same issue. You know in this plugin you can click on the "Check Compatibilty test" button and it'll give you the results of what is ok, not installed...etc

I'm on shared hosting and not sure if i could somehow fix these issue's myself or would my hosting provider do this if i asked but remember i'm on shared hosting.

PHP Timezone: Not set
Opcode cache: Not installed
Memcache extension: Not installed

I have the plugin all customized other and not sure if these issue's play a important roll regarding this plugin's performance.
Old 02-02-2011, 12:01 AM
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scm, I haven't heard of total cache before. Why do you recommend total cache over the others?

I did use supercache initially, and then was told by numerous sources (including my web host) to use hypercache which was touted as being faster, and more effective.

I also used db cache reloaded which is supposed to cache the db, so it reduces mysql queries.
Old 02-04-2011, 12:48 AM
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Opcode Cache: http://devbee.com/opcode_cache_for_dummies

Memcache: http://www.php.net/manual/en/memcache.installation.php

Timezone has to be set in php.ini itself. Google should show you lots of tutorials about it.

I am also using memcached (daemonized version).


I recommend it because it is the only cache plugin that is able to minify/combine your css/js files and has an option to "outsource" your static content to CDN.

Last edited by snakeair; 02-17-2012 at 06:22 PM. Reason: merged posts
Old 02-24-2011, 11:27 PM
AsusReview AsusReview is offline
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Wow this has really helped load times, even if it doesn't rank my page higher it's worth the time to do for my users. But since such well known pages have such poor loading times I wonder how much it really does affect ranking.
Old 05-25-2011, 11:12 AM
Okoji Okoji is offline
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This stuff has not worked for me.

The moment I activated it, my blog page scatted.

I am not too sure what happened. Can someone help me out?

Old 05-25-2011, 08:52 PM
snakeair snakeair is offline
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Originally Posted by Okoji View Post
This stuff has not worked for me.

The moment I activated it, my blog page scatted.

I am not too sure what happened. Can someone help me out?

What exactly do you mean by scatted?

Could you grab a screenshot of the errors or messed up page when the plugin is activated? I still have this plugin enabled but have not enabled a few settings described by the OP.

The more details you give us, the better advice we can give you to make this plugin work.
Old 06-24-2011, 06:14 AM
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Awesome post, i also use the W3 cache plugin for some of my site and i really like it.
Didnt know about the use of the mimify yet i guess.. hmm
Old 09-06-2011, 04:23 AM
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Hello Csm

I followed your guide and have had some good results.
i was also reading in google that other people also had some good results
from adjusting the setting in the Xml sitemaps plugin this works good if you
have an Autoblog.
Old 09-08-2011, 07:15 AM
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Before you get started on all that, make sure your website is hosted on a server that is running at optimal speed. All the King's ,men and best plugins won't make any difference if the server you are on is oversold and overloaded.
Old 10-31-2011, 02:03 AM
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All my servers are dedicated, not shared.
Old 03-24-2012, 02:45 AM
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Thumbs up

If u guys really want to speed up your wordpress site just installing W3 Total Cache Plugin is not good enough! along with W3 Total Cache Plugin u have to use a wordpress theme framework like thesis / gensis. I recommend thesis

These two things combination will make your site page loading not fast, super fast. One more thing that u have to use as less plugin as possible. Plugin makes page loading slower. So deactivate unnecessary WP Plugins if possible.......

W3 Total Cache Plugin configuring process is pretty complex so I would recommend every one before installing W3 Total Cache Plugin plz watch below youtube tutorials........

Old 02-11-2013, 09:43 AM
snakeair snakeair is offline
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W3 Total Cache has been updated a few times and 2 times in the past 2 week's. The thread creators tips may not be valid anymore.

I strongly recommend that you contact your web host before you install this plugin. Chances are they support it and have certain settings you should enable for better performance.

I'm closing this thread.

If someone understands the latest version and has a starters guide to setting this up for shared hosting accounts (most people are on these), please start a new thread. The moderators will determine if it's worthy of being stickied.
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