WordPress site running slow on Godaddy?
That’s because they still use PHP 5.6 when PHP 7 has been out for years (makes your site load faster). Godaddy’s built-in caching doesn’t give great results in GTmetrix and since they blacklisted other caching plugins, you’re probably stuck with a poor GTmetrix report. This makes Godaddy’s speed technology slow and you can find this out first hand… run your site through Page Speed Insights to see if ‘reduce server response time‘ is in your report. If yes, your Godaddy server is slow. For reasons like these, Godaddy was rated the 13th host in this Facebook poll taken by the official WordPress Hosting Facebook Group with 7,500 members.
SiteGround was rated #1 in that poll (and in last year’s poll) mainly because their speed technology is much faster with NGINX servers, PHP7, SSDs, HTTP/2, Cloudflare, and all the latest technologies. I’m on their semi-dedicated GoGeek plan which comes with 4x more server resources than most shared hosting plans and my site loads in .5s in GTmetrix and 200ms in Pingdom. They’re recommended by WordPress and will also migrate you for free.
Regardless, these tips will help speed up your WordPress site. Comment with any questions!
When you’re done, hopefully your GTmetrix report looks like mine…
1. Check Your Server Response Time
Run your site through Google Page Speed Insights to see if reduce server response time is in your report. This either means your hosting company uses slow/outdated technology or your plan doesn’t include enough server resources. To fix this you either need to upgrade plans on Godaddy (eg. managed or VPS) or switch to a faster host like SiteGround whose speed technology uses PHP7, SSDs, NGINX + HTTP/2 servers, and has an average load time of 1.3s.
2. Godaddy Speed Limitations
Godaddy still uses PHP 5.6 (instead of PHP7 which makes your site faster) and has an array of blacklisted plugins including popular cache plugins like WP Fastest Cache and W3 Total Cache. Godaddy also has their own built-in caching system, however using a cache plugin will usually also fix other items in your GTmetrix/Pingdom report like minifying files and Gzip compression. Installing the Autoptimize plugin will help (step 3) but you are still forced to use PHP7. Godaddy says they anticipate upgrading to PHP7 in December, 2017, but there’s no promises… needless to say they aren’t quick about upgrading to the latest/fastest technology.
You can check your PHP version using the Display PHP Version plugin…
PHP7 is much faster…
3. Minify Files With Autoptimize
If you run your site through GTmetrix/Pingdom you will usually see recommendations for minify, Gzip, others. Install the Autoptimize plugin and simply enable the options in the main menu. If you plan on using MaxCDN (step 13 which is $6.95/month with my coupon or do a free trial, but is a recommendation in WordPress’ optimization guide), enter your CDN URL.
4. Clean Up Your Database With WP-Optimize
Install the WP-Optimize plugin then click ‘WP-Optimize’ (left in your dashboard). Running it deletes your trash, spam, post revisions, trackbacks, and garbage files. Since these are constantly accumulating, make sure you schedule WP-Optimize to run every 2 weeks or so.
5. Disable Unused Settings With WP Disable
Install the WP Disable plugin which helps you turn off unused settings in WordPress core (which consume CPU) and has other options to speed up your WordPress site. Tips are below.
- Disable ALL SETTINGS you don’t use
- Scheduling spam deletion is a good idea
- Emojis, Google Maps, and Gravatars take a long time to load
- Pingbacks and trackbacks aren’t usually worth the extra resources
- Set post revisions to 3-5 so you have backups, but you don’t need hundreds
- Other options in the “request” tab can further your improve your load times
6. Setup Cloudflare
Cloudflare is a free service that improves both your website speed and security. It improves speed by hosting your WordPress site on multiple data centers around the world which acts as a CDN (content delivery network) and reduces the geographic distance it takes for your content to travel. You will need to sign up, change your nameservers to Cloudflare’s, then tweak a few settings in your Cloudflare dashboard. Step-by-step instructions are below…
1. Sign up for Cloudflare, add your website, run the scan…
2. Click ‘continue setup’ then scroll down through all the rubbish and click ‘continue.’ Choose ‘free website’ then continue again. Cloudflare will then provide you with 2 nameservers…
3. Login to your Godaddy account and in your product list go to Domain → Manage DNS → Nameservers → Change. Click “custom nameservers” and add the ones Cloudflare gave you:
4. Save it, then go back to Cloudflare and click “I’ve added all missing records, continue”…
5.Go to the Cloudflare’s speed settings and copy these…
6. In Cloudflare go to the caching settings and Purge Individual Files → Purge Everything.
This is all you need to do. It can take up to 72 hours for Cloudflare nameservers to propagate.
7. Optimize Images
We’ll use GTmetrix for this. Run your site through GTmetrix and in your report you’ll see images can be optimized 3 ways. GTmetrix only shows unoptimized images for a single page so start by optimizing images that appear on multiple pages (logo, sidebar and footer images), then run your most important pages through GTmetrix and fix individual images on those too.
There are 3 ways to optimize images in GTmetrix:
- Serve scaled images – resize large images to be smaller
- Specify image dimensions – specify a width/height in the image’s HTML or CSS
- Optimize Images – losslessly compress images using Imagify
Serve Scaled Images – GTmetrix tells you which images are too large and the dimensions they need to be resized to. Find the image, crop or resize it, upload it to WordPress, then replace the old image with the new one. Follow your “image containers” and create a cheat sheet (below). You can manually check for large images by right clicking an image → copy image address then go to that URL where you should see if it’s too large. Never use the drag to resize feature in the visual editor since this only resizes the displayed image (not the actual image).
Sample cheat sheet:
- Logo: 150(w) x 37(h)
- Sliders: 1950(w) x 550(h)
- Sidebar Widgets: 319(w)
- Blog content body: 600(w)
- Featured images: 200(w) x 200(h)
- Carousel images: 225(h)
Specify Image Dimensions – refer to your GTmetrix report and expand these items to see which images need this. Locate each one in WordPress, then specify the dimensions (width/height) which GTmetrix will tell you. The visual editor takes cares of this automatically so you usually have to do this with images that are in widgets, page builders, and other places.
Optimize Images – losslessly compress images using Imagify or Kraken (both are free until you reach the monthly limit). While there are other completely free plugins that offer unlimited compressions, do NOT use these since they have bugs, won’t work, or will break your images.
- Install the Imagify Plugin
- You will be prompted with instructions
- Sign up for Imagify and enter your API key
- Set your compression level (normal, aggressive, ultra)… I use aggressive
- Imagif’em all (bulk compresses all images on your site)
- Once your limit is up, buy a plan or wait next month to reset your limit
When you’re done, run your pages through GTmetrix and make sure all 3 items are 100%.
8. Avoid Google Maps
These kill your load times. Try to only use one on the contact page, or take a screenshot of the map (since a photo is quicker to load than an embedded map) and use an “Open In Maps” link.
9. Avoid Advertisements
Just like Google Maps require your site to pull resources from external websites and add a TON of requests to your GTmetrix/Pingdom report, advertisements are pretty much the worst thing you can do to your load times. Forget about using Google AdSense and start using affiliate links (they’re not only more profitable but they will also keep you load times down).
10. Avoid High CPU Plugins
The following plugins taken a long time to load. Many of these are in Godaddy’s list of blacklisted plugins because (especially stat and related post plugins) consume a lot of CPU.
- AdSense Click Fraud Monitoring
- Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
- Broken link checker
- Constant Contact for WordPress
- Contact Form 7 (https://contactform7.com/loading-ja…)
- Contextual Related Posts
- Digi Auto Links
- Disqus Comment System
- Divi builder
- Essential Grid
- Fuzzy SEO Booster
- Google XML Sitemaps
- NextGEN Gallery
- Reveal IDs
- Revolution Slider
- S2 member
- SEO Auto Links & Related Posts
- Similar Posts
- Slimstat Analytics
- Visual Composer
- WordPress Facebook
- WordPress Related Posts
- WordPress Popular Posts
- WP Statistics
- WP Power Stats
- Yet Another Related Post Plugin
- Yuzo Related Posts
You can also use the GTmetrix waterfall tab to see your slow plugins…
Either delete these or find a faster plugin that does the same job. For example, the Revolution Slider plugin can cause speed issues while Soliloquy Slider barely adds to your load time. JetPack and social sharing plugins can cause speed issues. Delete WordPress Importer, Hello Dolly, and other plugins you don’t need. If you only use a plugin at certain times (like Broken Link Checker), fix your broken links then delete it. Yoast generates a sitemap for you so you don’t need Google XML Sitemaps. Insert your Google Analytics tracking code directly into your footer instead of using a plugin. Or use a Facebook widget and Twitter widget without using a plugin. Less plugins means faster load times and less potential errors on your website.
- Deactivate and delete ALL plugins you don’t use
- Diagnose slow loading plugins using the GTmetrix waterfall tab
- Replace slow plugins with lightweight plugins (see next 3 steps)
- Turn off all plugin settings you don’t use (just like you disabled unused WordPress settings via WP Disable, individual plugin settings can also add to your load time)
11. Use A Fast Slider/Gallery/Social Sharing Plugin
Meta Slider – free minimal slider plugin with great reviews.
Envira Gallery – $29 lightweight gallery plugin you can use to replace NextGEN Gallery and Essential Grid which are slow. Envira has a free version but it doesn’t come with albums, tags, social integration, gallery templates, deeplinking, pagination, ecommerce, image proofing, etc.
FooGallery – free popular lightweight gallery plugin with great (5 star) reviews.
Sassy Social Share – lightweight social sharing buttons with over 100 social sharing and bookmarking services and customizable icons.
DVK Social Sharing – alternative plugin that supports Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
12. Lazyload Videos
A single video usually adds 2-3 seconds to your page load time. The Lazyload Videos plugin makes it so videos are only loaded once readers scroll down the page and it becomes visible.
Light Youtube Embeds – another option is to only load videos once people click the play button. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel (and you will need some coding knowledge), but I followed this light Youtube embed tutorial. You will basically paste some code into your web template, paste some more code into your CSS, then embed each video using a “div” code. If you need help you can have my developer do this for you, but it does make a huge difference.
13. Setup MaxCDN
MaxCDN hosts your website on multiple data centers around the country/world (as oppose to just 1 origin server) which reduces the geographical distance it takes for you content to travel. This results in a substantial load time improvement for visitors who used to be far away. It’s a paid service ($6.75/month with my coupon or $90/year) but you can also do a free 30 day trial.
You can (and should at least test out) using both Cloudflare and MaxCDN since while Cloudflare is free, MaxCDN uses SSDs (solid state drives) with 10 GB connections and their support team was able to improve my GTmetrix YSlow score by 8%. That said, make sure you contact their support to make sure it’s configured optimally, then retest your site in GTmetrix. If you see an improvement, keep it. If not, cancel your free trial. But it’s for sure worth testing.
Step 1: Sign up for MaxCDN using my 25% off coupon ($6.75 for 1st month or $90/year), or do a free trial. I didn’t add more locations or Edge SSL as it gets expensive, but you can if you want.
Step 2: Create a pull zone (see tutorial).
Step 3: In your pull zone settings go to your pull zone and go to Manage → Settings. Find your CNAME which should look something like this: omm.onlinemedia.netdna-cdn.com
Step 4: Paste your CNAME in the Autoptimize settings from step 3…
Step 5: In MaxCDN go to the “manage cache” tab in your pull zone settings and purge files…
Step 6: Run your site in GTmetrix and “content delivery network” should be green in YSlow.
If you expand items in GTmetrix and see it has to do with your CDN, contact MaxCDN’s support team who should be able to help you fix these. They have outstanding support.
14. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) are a recent Google project that make your mobile pages load faster while adding that nice “AMP” stamp to your mobile search engine snippets…
- Install the AMP plugin by Automattic (adds AMP pages)
- Install the Glue For Yoast SEO AMP plugin if using Yoast (customizes the design)
- Add /amp/ to any page on your website to see how it looks and make sure it works
- Go to Yoast’s Settings → AMP to change your design and enable custom post types
- Wait for Google to recrawl your site and add the AMP sign in mobile search results
- Visit the accelerated mobile pages section in Google Search Console to see errors
You can read Yoast’s AMP guide but I basically summed up everything you need to do.
15. Host Google Analytics Locally
CAOS is a plugin that fixes “leverage browser caching” you’ll often see in GTmetrix and other speed testing tools. Just install the plugin, enter your Tracking-ID and the plugin does the rest.
16. Find Your Slowest Loading Pages
You can use Google Analytics to find the load times (and recommendations) for your top viewed pages and slowest loading pages. Login to Google Analytics and on the left, go to Behavior → Site Speed → Speed Suggestions. Click the ‘Page Speed Suggestions’ to see recommendations, though I would say GTmetrix recommendations are usually better.
17. Keep WordPress Software Updated
Update WordPress core, theme, plugins, and framework if you use one (eg. Genesis).
Switch To SiteGround (#1 Host In Multiple Facebook Polls)
SiteGround was the #1 host in a recent Facebook poll while Godaddy was 17th. I know hosting reviews are infamous for being biased so I try to include social media references if I’m doing a review. This was taken by the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group which has 6,500 members.
Here’s last year’s poll…
I’m just gonna leave this here (see the full thread)…
People usually migrate because their speed technology can improve load times by multiple seconds. Here are a few screenshots of people who migrated and posted results on Twitter.
SiteGround has 3 plans…
Higher plans include more server resources (number of servers is the #1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide). You can see a full comparison chart of their StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek plan but GrowBig gives you about 2x server resources as StartUp, and GoGeek is semi-dedicated hosting which gives you even more server resources. GrowBig + GoGeek come with priority support and you can host unlimited sites. Cloud hosting is quite the price jump at $80/year but comes with 2CPU + 4GB RAM and is even faster than GoGeek.
You can see this on the features page…
Why I Like Them:
- They were #1 in 2017’s Facebook poll
- They were #1 in 2016’s Facebook poll
- They’re highly rated in thread after thread after thread
- Ivica runs the WordPress Speed Up Group and ranks them #1
- People who migrate usually see nice load time improvements
- Average load time is 1.3 but I have .2s in Pingdom + .5s in GTmetrix
- Their speed technology uses SSDs, NGINX servers, HTTP/2, PHP7
- SG Optimizer keeps your site updated with the latest PHP version
- Their cloud hosting includes HHVM which is even faster than PHP7
- Choose from 5 data centers (select the one closest to your visitors)
- They’re the only hosted listed on all 3 WordPress, Joomla, Drupal pages
- Automatic daily backups
- Automatic WordPress updates
- Weekly security email notifications
- Their cPanel is easy to use (view demo)
- All plans come with a free Let’s Encrypt SSL
- They constantly release new security updates
- 1-Click Cloudflare activation makes it super easy
- I usually get 100% uptimes but 99.99% is guaranteed
- Support tickets are usually answered within 10 minutes
- SiteGround will migrate you for free (just fill out a ticket)
- SiteGround is NOT an EIG company (EIG has a horrible reputation)
- They are super helpful in Facebook Groups, WordCamps, community events
- Out of the 50 people I referred to SiteGround in July, not 1 person has cancelled
- Their semi-dedicated plan comes with 4x more server resources than regular shared hosting, 1-click WordPress staging, and PCI compliance if you run an eCommerce site
More WordPress Speed Optimizations
If you’re looking for more tips to make your WordPress site load faster, check out my WordPress speed guide which has 230+ comments and has helped multiple people optimize their site to load 400% faster. I’ve already gone over many of the tips but if you’re still struggling with a slow WordPress site on Godaddy, I’m always updating it with new goodies.
Get Help From My WordPress Speed Optimizer
Pronaya is a WordPress developer I found on freelancer.com who lives in Bangladesh and specializes in WordPress speed optimization (yes, he’s better than me). I have worked with him for over 5 years and he’s the one who helped me optimize my site to load so fast and multiple client sites to load 500% faster. He’s $40/hour (projects usually run $300 – $400) and he has a perfect 5 star review on his freelancer profile. I have worked with over 20 overseas freelancers and he’s the one I always turn to for advanced WordPress speed and development.
How to hire Pronaya – sign up for a Freelancer account and search for user BDkamol. Make sure the “online users” option is turned off, or email him at [email protected] Serious inquiries only, and please do not tell him you expect a 100% score when you’re using slow hosting, bloated WordPress theme, and tons of plugins. Please review my WordPress speed guide and make sure you’re on good hosting and minimize plugins at the least (thank you!!!).
Soooooo…. did it work?
Let me know your new Pingdom/GTmetrix scores in the comments! Or if you need help fixing Godaddy’s slow WordPress hosting, leave a comment and I’ll be glad to help with whatever I can. If it’s related to a plugin/tool I mentioned, keep in mind they also have their own support :)
Please share if you liked this tutorial – I’d appreciate it!