11 Quick Ways to Speed Up Your WordPress Site on SiteGround

By | Published | Updated 10 December 2021

SiteGround is a popular WordPress host. If you have a WordPress website hosted on SiteGround, this speed optimisation guide is for you.

You want your website’s pages to download quickly because slow download speeds annoy both:

  • Potential clients and customers
  • Google

And you don’t want to annoy either of these.

Within Your Siteground Account

You should action the following 4 strategies within your SiteGround account.

1. Purchase the best hosting plan you can afford

Your hosting plan has a large impact on your website’s speed and hence on speed optimisation. At a minimum, use SiteGround’s GrowBig plan. But, if you can afford it, purchase the GoGeek plan.

SiteGround plans 4 September 2021 in $AU

2. Use the Ultrafast PHP Setup

In the latter part of 2020, SiteGround launched its Ultrafast PHP setup for sites on GoGeek plans or higher. As of February 2021, it is also included in their GrowBig plan. However, unless you have a new site you must turn it on – but it is easy to do.

How to use Ultrafast PHP configurations to speed up your wordpress  site hosted on Siteground

3. Use Server-Side Caching for Static Resources

Turn on NGINX Direct Delivery to serve static resources directly from NGINX. Static resources are those that don’t change regularly – resources such as images. Within Your SiteGround account, go to Websites > Site Tools > Speed > Caching. Then, click on the NGINX tab and turn it on.

How to use SiteGround's NGINX direct delivery to enable server-side caching of static resources

Siteground Optimizer Plugin Within WordPress

The next speed optimisation strategy involves installing and setting up the SiteGround Optimizer plugin within your WordPress website.

4. Dynamic Cache with the SiteGround Optimizer plugin

Many of the functions in the SG Optimizer plugin are better handled by later strategies. However, make sure to turn on Dynamic Caching.

How to speed up WordPress with SiteGround's Dynamic caching within the SG Optimizer plugin

5. Web Fonts Optimisation

In my experience, loading your web fonts locally is the best way to avoid fonts from slowing down your website. However, if you are not comfortable doing this, then enable Web Font Optimization within the SG Optimizer plugin.

How to speed up WordPress on SiteGround by optimising web fonts within the SG Optimizer plugin

ShortPixel Image Optimisation Plugin Within WordPress

The following 2 strategies involve using the plugin ShortPixel to further optimise images upon or after uploading.

6. Set ShortPixel to Compress & Resize Images in General Settings

Enter your API key. Then select:

  • Lossy compression type
  • Also include thumbnails
  • Image backup
  • Remove EXIF
  • Resize images to a maximum of 1920 wide (height doesn’t matter)

Finally, click Save Changes.

How to speed up wordpress by compressing and resizing images

7. Set ShortPixel to Serve WebP images + Advanced Settings & Bulk Optimise

Select:

  • Also create WebP versions of images
  • Adjust image colours for computer and mobile screen display
  • Also optimise Retina images
  • Automatically optimise PDF documents

Click Save & Go to Bulk Processes. Then finally, click on Start Optimising.

How to speed up wordpress by creating WebP versions of images using ShortPixel.

WP-Rocket Plugin Within WordPress

In my experience, WP-Rocket is the best speed optimisation plugin for the NGINX servers used by SiteGround. It is a paid plugin but is well worth the small cost. In general, its default settings work fine, but if you want to check them – check the following.

8. Basic Cache Options

Enable cache for mobile devices but do not check the option separate cache for mobile devices.

How to speed up WordPress on mobile devices using WP-Rocket plugin

9. File Optimisation

Check the options to minify CSS and optimise CSS, but don’t select combine CSS or remove unused CSS.

Select the options to minify JavaScript, load JavaScript deferred and delay JavaScript execution. But don’t select combine JavaScript files.

How to speed up WordPress by optimising CSS and JS using the WP-Rocket plugin.

10. Media

Don’t use Lazy Load – it annoys people who visit your website, which defeats the purpose of improving your site’s speed. Tick add missing image dimensions and enable WebP caching.

How to speed up WordPress by serving up WebP images using the WP-Rocket plugin

11. Preloading

Activate preloading under the Preload Cache subheading. But there is no need to enable link preloading or to prefetch any DNS requests.

If you scroll to the bottom of this section, you will also see the option to preload fonts. This is useful if you loaded your fonts locally – if not ignore it. If you have loaded your fonts locally, simply specify the URL of each font location.

How to activate preloading and to preload locally hosted fonts.
shaun killian (aka the WP Wheelie) profile

Shaun Killian (aka the WP Wheelie) has been working with WordPress for over 15 years. He started this site as a way of giving back to the WP community by freely sharing his expertise. For his day job, Shaun is the lead designer at WEBsmall, a web design business specialising in helping individuals, small businesses and non-profit organisations to make their online presence felt. He also spends part of each day doing physio to try and get the hang of using 2 prosthetic legs.

If you notice anything is out-of-date on this post please contact Shaun.