I was recently sent a couple of uninvited messages saying
- My site’s slow.
- It’s not secure.
I was offered a technical report. I didn’t reply. But I did take action.
I installed Wordfence which implements a firewall and other levels of site security.
Then I tested the site’s performance using PageSpeed Insights.
Initially the results were pretty bad, especially on the home page, and worse on Mobile than Desktop.
I set about resolving the issues by following the recommendations from PageSpeed Insights to improve the front end.
I also eliminated plugins I didn’t need, to improve the server response at the back end.
Using my oik-bwtrace plugin I was able to monitor the requests coming in from the tools that PageSpeed Insights use, to see how long the server was taking to come up with the goods.
I ended up with pretty reasonable results for some pages.
Now, before I point fingers, I’m going to spend some time re-analysing the effect of the optimization and caching, with and without each of the plugins that I disabled, and the caching plugins that I tried.
It won’t be a particularly scientific report… just enough to confirm or deny my suspicions.
Front page revisited
I made a pragmatic decision, that I didn’t need the two large background images. So I deactivated the `front-page.php` template.
That did the trick. Mobile is now 99 and Desktop 100.
The page doesn’t say anything now, but it’s pretty fast. Server side execution time is around half a second.
GTMetrix’es report isn’t as glowing, but it’s a still a significant improvement on what it used to be.
Front page images revisited
Having saved the two large background images with a quality of 80%, which reduced their overall size to between 30 and 40% of the originals, I reinstated the
Mobile is now 94. Desktop’s still 99.
Performance analysis tools
GIMP – Windows version. Export file as JPEG with 80% quality.
During the tests I added these plugins.
- Wordfence and Autoptimize are still activated; both as Network Activated plugins.
- Hummingbird made quite a few changes to the
.htaccessfile. These are still in place, but I’ve deactivated the plugin.
|Plugin name and description||Plugin links||Version, total downloads, last update, tested|
|Wordfence Security – Firewall & Malware Scan
Secure your website with the most comprehensive WordPress security plugin. Firewall, malware scan, blocking, live traffic, login security & more.
August 16, 2021
Autoptimize speeds up your website by optimizing JS, CSS, images (incl. lazy-load), HTML and Google Fonts, asyncing JS, removing emoji cruft and more.
September 1, 2021
|Hummingbird – Optimize Speed, Enable Cache, Minify CSS & Defer Critical JS
August 23, 2021