Choosing the right hosting for your WordPress powered blog can be stressful. If you go with the wrong one, you might be in for a world of hurt when you inevitably decide to switch. I know, because I recently switched my hosting to BlueHost (affiliate link) after problems started popping up with DreamHost.
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Let’s put first things first, head over to Google PageSpeed Insights and get your score. This will provide a baseline score that you can compare against after implementing the 3 speed improving tips I’m going to discuss below.
Why I Started with DreamHost
I started Poosh on DreamHost’s optimized WordPress hosting called DreamPress. DreamHost isn’t the only popular hosting provider that offers a optimized WordPress hosting plan. They’re affordable, your resources are guaranteed and you can get them up and running in about 15 minutes.
DreamHost seemed like a solid choice. You can find them on WordPress’s recommended hosting page and they have a 100% uptime guarantee. Unfortunately, I quickly found out there is no such thing as a 100% uptime guarantee.
Why I Left DreamHost for BlueHost
On the second day after launching Poosh, I wasn’t able to get to the site for short periods of time. This is a big problem for a blog. If I’m not able to reach my blog, neither can my readers. However, the nail in the coffin was the piss-poor performance. My site was as slow as a Beijing, China traffic jam.
I quickly jumped ship and headed on over to BlueHost. They’re numero uno on WordPress’s recommended hosting page, costs a little more than DreamHost and also offer a similar WordPress optimized hosting service. BlueHost had what I would consider as standard performance out of the box. Significantly better performance than what I experienced with DreamHost.
Now I want to show you how to make your BlueHost hosting really scream.
W3 Total Cache Plugin
The number of features can be overwhelming. But you can’t beat it’s performance improvements when fully configured. That’s why I’m running it on this blog and recommend it over the top-ranked WP Super Cache plugin.
The more comments you have on a page the slower to download it will be. The best way to battle spam is with Akismet. There’s quite a few steps to get it installed, but once it’s in place, you’ll never have to worry about spam weighing your pages down again. I would expect nothing less from a 9-year-old plugin with almost 24 million downloads.
Just as there is a plethora of hosting providers, there is an equal amount of CDN (content delivery network) providers available. I can’t think of any other CDN than CloudFlare when you’re wanting to quickly and easily speed up your site.
The first time I setup a website to use CloudFlare it felt like voodoo. Than I realized what CloudFlare does differently from every other CDN I have used in the past. Rather than having you setup a CNAME that points to the CDN, you replace your current DNS (domain name server) with CloudFlare’s name servers. This gives CloudFlare the ability to monitor who’s connecting to your site, check if they are a threat, know what files they are requesting and apply some fancy tricks (minify and cache) to those requested files.
Oh, did I mention that all of this is free?
If you do these three things, I guarantee that you will see improvements in the responsiveness of your BlueHost hosted site. There are many other ways of improving the load time of your WordPress powered site. I would love to hear how you optimize your site and what works for you in the comments below!