Most websites won’t experience a sudden traffic spike out of nowhere. But as your business grows, you may notice your website is a little slow, or it may have errors or periods of downtime. That likely means it’s time to prepare your WordPress website for more traffic.
Regardless of how many visitors you get to your website, the user experience should maintain the same level of quality. But, if you’re not prepared, you could get a sudden influx of visitors that causes your site to crash, and that could mean losing a new client or even a lot of sales.
But there are plenty of things you can do to ensure your website is well prepared for a traffic increase, and most don’t require a lot of technical knowledge to accomplish.
Choose a Hosting Company That’s Compatible With WordPress
- We’re big Siteground fans here. They have great support and affordable, solid hosting.
WordPress runs on MySQL and PHP, so make sure you choose a hosting provider that supports those platforms. There are three hosting companies that WordPress recommends, but we prefer using SiteGround because we’ve had a lot of luck using it for a variety of clients. The hosting is rock-solid, the customer support is excellent and it is relatively inexpensive.
Consider Purchasing Managed WordPress Hosting
Because WordPress is a popular platform for web development, a lot of hosting companies offer “managed WordPress hosting.” Essentially, that means the hosting company will help you scale and maintain your website if you pay a little more money for your hosting plan.
When you pay for managed WordPress hosting, your website will benefit in several ways, including:
- Faster speed
- Better security
- Automated backups – likely daily
- Automated updates
- More knowledgeable support representatives
- Little – if any – downtime
- Greater scalability
There are several hosting companies that offer managed WordPress hosting, in addition to SiteGround, but some are better suited for different types of websites.
Choose a Hosting Company That Allows You to Scale
Shared hosting, which means you share a server, is designed for the lowest-traffic website. Shared hosting may get the job done for a while, but if you’re expecting rapid growth or spikes in traffic because your business is seasonal, you should consider VPS hosting.
Also note that some hosting companies allow a burst data limit, which allows your website to temporarily go over a pre-set transfer speed limit when your traffic spikes.
Limit the Number of WordPress Plugins You’re Using
One of the easiest things you can do to ensure your website is running at peak performance is limit the number of plugins you’re using.
It’s easy to get carried away with plugins, but you should only have activated the plugins that you’re currently using. All other plugins should not be activated and possibly uninstalled.
WP Rocket, which develops a WordPress caching plugin, recommends having installed a maximum of five plugins if you’re website is using shared hosting and having between 5 and 20 plugins installed if your website uses VPS hosting or has dedicated servers.
Compress Your Images
High-quality images will not only decrease the speed at which your website loads; it also will put more strain on your server, increasing the odds of your website crashing.
The best way to optimize images is to compress them before uploading them to your site. There are plenty of image compression plugins designed specifically for WordPress.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Cloudflare has a bunch of tools you can use to improve your site’s security and load times. Most of them are free to use for sites with less than 10,000 visits. Cloudflare can often help shave a second or two off a site’s loading time and assist with SSL issues.
You may want to use a content delivery network (CDN) – especially if your website gets visitors from different parts of the world. We like to use Cloudflare.
A CDN stores copies of your website’s files on multiple data centers. That way, when people visit your site, the files are served from the data center closest to the user.
Use a Caching Plugin
A WordPress caching plugin is used to create and store HTML versions of your pages. Once a page has been cached, your server can skip processing and converting the page to HTML since it already has it stored.
This not only helps increase the overall speed of your website, but it’s also a great backup in case your server goes down as users will still be able to access cached web pages.
Add a Backup Plugin to Your Site – Just in Case it Goes Down
A backup plugin won’t actually prevent your site from going down because of too much traffic, but it will help you restore your website if it does. Your hosting company may offer a backup service, but you’ll want to also use a plugin to ensure all your website’s data is safe.