If your WordPress powered blog is running slow as molasses, you should be able to fix it by checking the three things that are usually the culprit. I can pretty much guarantee you that it is not a problem with the WordPress core files, but something else that can be resolved with a little research and some tweaks.
WordPress plugins are the number one cause of slowdowns, so they should be the first thing you check. Go to Pingdom Tools or a similar site that will test the page load speed for your blog. After the test is completed, it will show a list of all of the files that were required to load the page, as well as the load times for each file. Scan the data to see which files are taking the longest to load.
Most likely, there are one or two plugins that are taking an inordinate amount of time to load, and thereby slowing down your site. You need to weigh the utility of these plugins and decide if you really need them.
Usually, if a plugin takes too long to load, I get rid of it regardless because page load speed is just too important to user experience, visitor retention, and click-through rates. Google even uses page load speed in its ranking algorithm now, so if your WordPress powered sites are loading too slowly it can have major consequences.
The second thing that quite often causes WordPress to run slowly is a sluggish server response from your hosting company. Look again at the data you got from the test at Pingdom Tools, and pay close attention to the first result.
The file path for this should correspond to the URL that you are testing. This is a measure of the response time or latency period of your server. It is the amount of time that passes between when a request was sent to your server and when your server first responded by sending the first files required to load the page. If you can see that this is what is causing the slowdown, then you need to contact the technical support team for your hosting provider to see if they can assist you with solving the problem.
Keep in mind that there are very real differences between hosting companies, and some are much faster than others. Cheaper is not always better. I’ve used several different hosting companies, and there are big differences in server response time. Some hosting companies load down their servers, and during peak times there is simply not enough bandwidth to cover demand. The hosting company that I have been using for the last year is Host Gator, and they are the best I’ve used so far.
The next thing you can do is install a caching plugin for WordPress. These plugins can decrease page loading times by 300 percent or more, easily. They do this by compressing the data before it is downloaded by the web browser, greatly reducing the file size.
There are two main caching plugins for WordPress that I would say are clearly superior to the others. Either one will do the trick, and you can reference my blog post on these two caching plugins for more information.
Checking these three things will solve, I would guess, over 90 percent of the slowdown issues with WordPress. Most of the time it is a problem with one of your plugins, and simply disabling the plugin will restore the speeds back to normal.
If you have any other input or suggestions on how to improve the speed of WordPress sites, please let me know in the comments below.