1. Test your load times
Let’s begin by going through perhaps the most significant way to test WordPress site performance – the test of how fast your site is.
For starters, you could just enter the URL of the site in your browser’s address bar, and see for yourself. But a test like that doesn’t give you the whole picture. As in, it only lets you know how fast the site behaves for you, and not for your audience.
To do a better test, go to Pingdom:
There, select the server location from where you want to measure your site performance. It’s best to select the location that is nearest to your target audience:
A couple of seconds after clicking “START TEST,” Pingdom will let you know about the individual components of your overall performance score.
The most important info you can find right in the first section:
2. Test how much concurrent traffic your site can handle
The next test really worth doing is via the Load Impact tools:
Just enter your site’s URL in the box and click “Run free test.”
What Load Impact does is that it actually creates 25 concurrent (bot) users, and sends them over to your site in order to see how the site performs under load. The test takes place over the duration of five minutes.
When the test is done, you get a nice summary + chart:
At first glance, this seems complicated, but you can actually read that chart pretty easily. Basically, all that matters is this:
(!) You want the green line – representing your load time – to be as flat as possible. If it goes up, it means that your site performance can be improved.
3. Test the quality of your WordPress setup
Much like all software products, your WordPress site consists of multiple small elements, scripts, and mechanisms that, when combined together, give you all the features that make WordPress awesome.
However, not all those elements are always 100% optimized…
This is where GTmetrix comes into play, and provides a really comprehensive way to test WordPress site performance.
Similarly, all you need to do is enter your site’s URL and click the “Analyze” button.
After a while, you will get a detailed summary, going through different elements of your website:
- image optimization,
- browser caching,
- CSS optimization,
- HTTP requests optimization, and much much more.
GTmetrix also gives you an overall score using a simple grading system. For example, if you’re not doing all that great in the performance department, you’ll see this:
4. Test how optimized your plugins are
Finally, we have the last element of the puzzle. It’s this plugin: P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler).
Once you have it installed and activated, you can go to wp-admin / Tools / P3 Plugin Profiler. There, just click the “Start Scan” button, and then “auto scan” when prompted:
After a while, you’ll get a chart representing the impact that each of your plugins has on the overall load time of the entire site. Like this one:
What you can do now, for example, is remove some of the slow plugins, and look for faster alternatives offering similar functionality.
For more tips, visit www.cloudliving.com/speed-up-wordpress/.
We perform these tests when building your site and periodically when on an SEO package. For more information, please contact us.