WordPress Speed Optimization Glossary | Web Training Wheels

Making an attempt to make your WordPress website quicker is an already technically complicated course of, additional obscured by all of the jargon you need to perceive. Right here’s an summary of some commonly used website “speed up” phrases. I hope it helps demystify the process!

Basic net phrases


The program you open to get on the internet: Chrome, Firefox, Safari are the most typical examples.


A particular pc, offered by your internet hosting company, the place your website truly lives. By “lives”, I imply where all the information and the database are stored. This machine delivers your website to all your web site visitors.

Identical to your telephone and pc run on a certain software – Home windows or MacOS for instance – there are a number of several types of software your server might run on.

Normally you don’t have to fret too much about this – it’s a choice made by your host and also you don’t have to get your arms soiled. However should you get really into optimization, there is usually a few differences relying on your server surroundings.

These are the most typical examples of server software program:


Apache is an open supply software program and most caching plugins can and will present further optimizations by default for this platform.


NGINX is an alternate server software program and it’s very versatile. It can be used as an alternative choice to Apache, or it could possibly truly be used together with Apache to offer a quicker layer on prime of Apache. This set up is turning into increasingly widespread for hosts. You may even see it referred to in this means as “NGINX on top of Apache”, “NGINX in front of Apache” or “NGINX as a reverse proxy for Apache.”

BONUS PDF: Demystify the jargon! Obtain this information to widespread velocity optimization terms.


HTML is probably the most elementary building block of any web site. In case your net web page is a house, the HTML is just like the blueprint. It outlines where the primary elements go. Where does the header go? The place does the sidebar and footer go? and so on. It offers the structural framework for all of your content.


This stands for Cascading Type Sheets. Fancy identify aside, CSS is the interior designer of your home. It controls the color scheme, the typography, principally all the things that makes your page look cool.
With none CSS, your page can be very plain.


JavaScript, JS for brief, isn’t required for net pages to perform, nevertheless it adds cool interactive parts. Sliders are in all probability the most typical example of features that sometimes utilize JS.


Loading time

Very usually, it means the amount of time it takes on your net page to display within the customer’s browser.

Nevertheless, this can be a common metric that can be divided into more specific ones.

Absolutely loaded

The amount of time it takes on your web page to utterly load in a customer’s browser. Meaning all information have been downloaded and executed, and it often consists of a couple of seconds of waiting time, to ensure there’s no more activity. This is the default metric used by GT Metrix.


Relying on your website this quantity is perhaps just like, or less than the absolutely loaded time. That is the default metric utilized by Pingdom.

Whereas absolutely loaded waits for every little thing to obtain and execute, onload happens sooner. It’s when all the information have downloaded, but not necessarily executed.

What’s the distinction? Some scripts don’t execute immediately. When you’ve got a website with lots of advertisements, or JavaScript-based features, they is probably not accounted for in onload, however can be in absolutely loaded. That’s why you’ll sometimes get a quicker end in Pingdom. See this submit for more information on numerous testing tools.

onload might be thought-about closer to the consumer experience as a result of often you can begin utilizing a page at the start has executed.

But absolutely loaded is beneficial if you wish to discover out the complete page measurement and get probably the most full picture of performance.

Perceived performance / velocity

This isn’t a metric in itself however a time period for the consumer expertise of loading time. Even when the absolutely load time is longer, if your website can display the crucial content material shortly, customers will perceive it as being quick. The subsequent time period tries to accomodate this as a metric.

First contentful paint / first significant paint

These are very comparable and it’s principally the time it takes before one thing helpful appears on the display – a “hero” picture, some content and so forth. As a customer to a website, in the event you’re observing a clean display, the location will really feel sluggish. However the quicker you start to see some content material, the quicker you’ll feel the web page is, even when all the page hasn’t loaded yet.

Performance grade/score

These are the vainness grades given by instruments like PageSpeed Insights, GT Metrix and so forth. You must largely ignore these since they don’t seem to be correlated to load time. Meaning it’s attainable to have a mediocre score and a quick website and vice versa. The only metric that affects search engine optimisation and consumer experience is the load time, so you need to ignore the score – it’s a gross over-simplification of your website’s performance and is usually misleading.

Optimization Methods

Page Caching

There are several forms of caching obtainable (object, browser, PHP and so on). Once you learn guides about optimizing WordPress they usually advocate utilizing a caching plugin, it’s sometimes for the purpose of page caching.

WordPress has a number of shifting elements that need to run when a visitor goes to a page in your website. Caching helps your website work smarter, not more durable. Caching runs that process once per web page, then it takes the finished page and shops it on the server. When the subsequent individual involves the page, they get the pre-assembled page which might be delivered much quicker.

When someone comes to your home, do you anticipate them to arrive before assembling that IKEA chair? That’s what WordPress does should you don’t have caching – it creates that page from scratch each time somebody needs to see it.

Or do you have got some furnishings already assembled that they will sit on? With caching, the web page is already generated and saved, ready to deliver to the visitor.

See this submit for a extra detailed, but easy-to-understand description of web page caching.

This kind of caching could be offered by any certainly one of quite a few WordPress plugins (WP Rocket, Quickest Cache, Super Cache and so forth)


Technically Varnish is a “reverse proxy HTTP accelerator.” Yeah, I know, what does that even imply? Principally it’s a kind of server-side full web page caching that stores the cache within the server reminiscence.
Mmmm, yeah, what does that even imply?

It’s performing an analogous pre-assembly process in your pages as described above, but because it runs at the server-level, it means you possibly can’t add Varnish to your website with a WordPress plugin. Your host has to offer it. A whole lot of managed WordPress hosts present this type of caching. Although it may run concurrently a WordPress caching plugin, if configured appropriately, server-side caching must be quicker.

Browser caching

Think about your net web page is sort of a puzzle. The puzzle items are CSS, JavaScript and image information. If you visit an internet page, the browser has to retrieve all these puzzle pieces from the server, then assemble them appropriately to make your net page.

Browser caching allows the browser to keep some of these puzzle pieces in place, that’s, stored in the browser itself (in your pc), in order that the subsequent time you go to that page, it doesn’t should fetch them again from the server.

The purpose of browser caching is to make repeat visits to the identical website much quicker for the customer.


There are 2 principal compression methods – GZIP and a more moderen one referred to as Brotli. The purpose is identical – to compress all of the puzzle pieces in order that they download quicker from the server to your browser. Smaller information = quicker obtain from server to browser = quicker web page. Many caching and optimization plugins provide rules to use compression for numerous file varieties, nevertheless it needs to be enabled on the server to be able to be applied.

Minification of HTML, JS, CSS

Minification is the process of stripping out extraneous whitespace and comments from code, to scale back the file measurement.
Smaller information = quicker obtain from server to browser = quicker page.
It’s just like decreasing the quantity of paper you’d use through the use of single-spacing as an alternative of double-spacing. It gained’t make too much difference to information which might be already environment friendly, but can make a distinction for greater ones.

Concatenation / Combination

The method of becoming a member of collectively a number of CSS or JS information into 1 file. This reduces the variety of puzzle items the browser has to fetch from the server. The arrival of HTTP/2 (see under) reduces the necessity for this system but it may nonetheless be useful.

Render-blocking CSS/JS

When the browser is assembling the puzzle items to display, or render, the online web page, there are some information which cease the method till the browser deals with them. Meaning these information are “render-blocking”. It’s dangerous for perceived performance to have too many information that are render-blocking.

Deferred loading of JavaScript

To stop your JavaScript puzzle pieces getting in the best way while the browser builds the online page, i.e to stop render-blocking, you should use this optimization method. It lets the rest of the web page load first then processes these information on the finish. It helps with perceived load time.


Within the days when individuals read newspapers, above the fold referred to the content material that was visible on the prime when the paper was folded in half.

With responsive websites and a mess of units, each with totally different display sizes, the “fold”, that’s the seen part of the page before you scroll, doesn’t have a set measurement. The fold on one system is totally different than one other. So it’s not fastened anymore however the idea nonetheless pertains to “content the visitor can see without scrolling.”

For perceived performance, above-the-fold content must be displayed as shortly as potential.

BONUS PDF: Demystify the jargon! Download this guide to widespread velocity optimization terms.

Picture optimization

Chunky pictures are one of the widespread elements in sluggish pages. Your photographs must be optimized in 2 methods:
1. Sized to the right dimensions. ie. don’t use a 2000 pixel large picture when solely a 500 pixel measurement is needed.
2. Compressed to scale back file measurement additional. You can do this together with your graphics modifying program or with a WordPress plugin.

Different Providers


A Content Delivery Network is a service that gives servers everywhere in the world that can retailer your website’s belongings, then ship it to the customer from the closest server to them, making it quicker. That is sometimes a paid service, via a company like KeyCDN, Stackpath, CDN77 and so forth.


Cloudflare is a service that may enhance the efficiency and safety of your website. They do have a free plan with many advantages. Many people discuss with it as a CDN and it does fulfill an analogous perform, but technically it’s totally different because it works on the DNS degree.


This isn’t a service per se. What this truly is, is super-techy and boring to elucidate. What you’ll want to know is that it’s a new and improved, that is quicker, technique used to ship net pages from the server to the browser. There are 3 circumstances:

  • Browsers need to help it – most of them do now.]
  • Servers should help it. Many do, ask your host about it. In the event that they don’t, utilizing Cloudflare will enable HTTP/2
  • Your website has to use https.

After that, you don’t actually need to do something specific – your website is simply quicker. I’m mentioning it because there are some optimization methods which may have been relevant earlier than (HTTP/1) that are not relevant when HTTP/2 is enabled on your website.