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Why & How to enable GZIP for your WordPress Site

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What is GZIP compression of files?

GZIP is an application which is used to compress or decompress files. The compression needs to be enabled on server-side and it will help in compressing the size of HTML, javascript, and stylesheets.

Over the period of many years of managing WordPress sites we have observed that the file sizes get reduced by 70%. However, just so that you are aware of it, it is not used for the compression of the image.

Here’s how it works!

Whenever a user visits a website through their web browser, it verifies if it contains ‘content-encoding: gzip’ header. In case it does find, the website automatically shows up smaller and compressed files.

What are the benefits of enabling GZIP compression?

It is the most effective method to open a WordPress file faster as it compresses the size by 70%. The same site which took minutes to load can be loaded in few seconds. It is used widely in recent times. Here are some of the benefits which anyone can get through GZIP compression:

    • The search will prefer you more in search results.
    • Large server requests won’t be processed on your server.
    • The size of a page will be reduced from 800 Kb to 80 KB.

 

How to enable GZIP compression for your WordPress?

If you don’t have GZIP compression to reduce the size of WordPress files then you must look out for these mentioned ways to enable it:
W3 Total Cache

The most popular option is to just install the W3 Total Cache WordPress plugin. It is very helpful in improving the performance of your WordPress site.

To enable the GZIP compression with using W3 total cache, first, click on the performance and then opts for browser cache. After that, you need to select the Enable HTTP compression in the options shown.
Edit your .htaccess

The second most suitable way is to edit your .htaccess file. Most of the hosts that are shared use apache, which simply allows you to tag a quote just below the .htaccess file.

An example of .htaccess could be:

 
# Compress HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Text, XML and fonts
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/vnd.ms-fontobject
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-truetype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/svg+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/x-icon
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml

# Remove browser bugs (only needed for really old browsers)
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip
BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
Header append Vary User-Agent

Compression plug-in

This option allows getting the page in GZIP compressed way. It can compress the size of the page by an average of 70%. To use this method you need to download WP HTTP Compression. Make sure you install and activate as well. And it works automatically so you don’t need to make effort as it will start showing compressed pages on its own.

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How to Optimize 100,000 Pages WordPress Site

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If you have a massive WordPress site with more than 100,000 pages, you end up spending a lot of money on your hosting and yet might not be able to provide a better experience to your readers. However, if you take care of the architecture of your site and optimize it, you can give a seamless experience to your users.

One of the best things about WordPress is the fact that it’s scalable – if you make the right architectural choices. You can check the following things to make sure you have a scalable WordPress installation for your size of website:

RAM

You need to make sure that your database can fit into your server RAM. This also includes the indexes. If you are not sure of the size of the database, you can use mysqltuner to check out the amount.

OS

When you rent a server, you need to make sure that you’re usng a 64-bit OS. In case you can’t verify or can’t arrange for a 64-bit OS, you can run all of your MySQL data and temp directories on SSD disk. This an be a costly business as SSD hosting a more clostly than normal hosting but this will make your website 1000 times faster and thus giving your users a much better experience.

Tweak robots.txt to restrict bots

When you have many pages hosted on your WordPress site, a substantial amount of traffic will come from bots. You will not gain anything with Bots crawling your old posts and just add to your bandwidth consumption. Of course, this is applicable if you don’t update your posts regularly. In that case you want bots to crawl through the new content.

However, if the content of your posts is going to be static once it’s up, you have no reasons to not block bots from those pages. You can edit your robots.txt file to define the pages that are a few days old.

Separate Database Server and Web Application Server

Separating your Database server and your web application server where you host your WordPress files will ensure that you have take care of read & write issue. This not only brings greater efficiency but is also easier to manage. While servers can multitask, separating the Database Server from your Web Application Server will bring greater efficiency.

Use Ngix to cache the site

You can allow Ngix to cache the site every 24 hours. This makes sure that pages are loaded with minimal overload. You can still get WordPress and MySQL to render or create the pages, and set it to go through normal WordPress if uncached page is requested. This will take off a major overload from your servers.

If you have a WordPress website with more than managable amount, you can partner with us where we will provide all the support that you need and all you need to do is take care of the content.

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How to speed up your WordPress site?

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While WordPress CMS makes it extremely easy to start and maintain a website, the platform also makes websites pretty sluggish.

You must be asking why does website speed matter?

Studies have shown that if it more than 2 seconds for a website page to load it leads to lesser satisfaction. And you wouldn’t want to have dissatisfied visitors.

Besides that, if the page takes longer most people just close the tab and move on to the next best results.

What’s worse is that even Google has started penalising websites with slow speeds. This means that your slow website could be hurting your SEO, which in return could mean that you recevie less numbers of visitors — new or old.

Kissmetrics has a nice infographic on what it means to have slow website.

But how do you know whether your website is slow or fast?

If a website loads quickly for you doesn’t mean that it will load quickly for a visitor sitting on the side of the world.

You can use tools such as Pingdom to check the speed of your website from various geographical locations.

So how to speed up your WordPress website?

To know that you first need to understand what slows down a WordPress site. Fixing what slows down a WordPress site is really the trick to the game.

Hosting

Hosting can make or break the speed of your website. I cannot stress enough on how important WordPress hosting service is for a good Website performance.

When you are just starting with your website, an unlimited shared hosting sounds likea good idea as it’s easy on pocket. However, it also comes with a lot of disadvantages.

Shared hosting really means that you’re sharing the server resources with hundreds of other customers. This limits the performance of your website as you’re really sharing bandwidth and space with many other customers.

Having said that, just going for shared hosting doesn’t mean that you’ll get a bad performance. Website speed also dependson whether or not your servers are optimized for WordPress.

Going for a managed WordPress Hosting service which comes preconfigured with WordPress optimized configurations can help a lot, if you don’t have the coding knowledge to speed up the page speeds.

At WPKOALA, we can manage and optimized your website for you – Subscribe Now

Cache WordPress pages

If you’re still new to the world of WordPress this might seem daunting. It’s not.

The best thing about using WordPress is that if you don’t find a feature for WordPress out of the box, you will most certainly find a plugin for it.

You might think why do you need caching of pages?

WordPress was written in PHP and MySQL which means that the site dynamically serves you pages. Every time you request for a page the the frontend makes a query request to your database and then the query is processed and the database passes on the relevant content back to the page to be displayed. This entire process, albiet pretty fast, slows down the site.

Instead you could be serving HTML pages which do not require the website to hit a database. Serving HTML pages speeds up the site tremendously.

You can download W3 Total Cache, a free plugin, to cache your WordPress pages. It’s one of our favorite plugin and handles the entire process beautifully.

Optimize Images

Besides caching pages, you can also optimize the images that you use.

Imagine you’re requesting a page with 2MB of image and a page with just 100kb of image file. Which one will load faster? The second one.

Reduce the images that you upload, manually.

Or you could use plugins like WP Smush.it plugin. It will take care of your images from the time you start uploading them.

Use Content Delivery Networks (CDN)

We use Content Delivery Networks like CloudFare for some of our clients and it has worked out like a charm.

CloudFare provides a CDN (Content Delivery Network) or a distributed proxy server. It essentially optimized your website’s page speed by acting as a proxy between your website visitors and user server.

Read our in detail guide on how to setup CloudFare on your website.

These are just few of the easy tricks that you can implement yourself. If you want to futher speed up your site, you can subscribe to our service where WPKOALA will take care of every needs of your website.

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How to setup CloudFare CDN for WordPress site?

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Page Speed is one of the major factors which contributes to user-experience. Page speed is different from site speed. Your site speed is the page speed of the sample of a site. But on the other hand, page speed is page load time or First Byte Time- Time to receive the first byte from the server.

Why is page speed important?

In today’s world, when most websites are loaded on mobile devices, if your site takes longer to load on user’s mobile device, you’ve quite possibly lost the user forever. It’s even more difficult or costlier to get back that one lost user than bringing in new users. Imagine the number of retargeting ads you have to run to get back the user who thinks your site is too slow for them.

That said, these days Google punishes websites that are too slow to load.

Here comes in CloudFare. CloudFare provides a CDN (Content Delivery Network) or a distributed proxy server. It essentially optimized your website’s page speed by acting as a proxy between your website visitors and user server. Over all, CloudFare offers 5 features that help in optimizing your page speed:

CDN: CloudFare’s CDN will distribute your content around the world so it’s closer to your visitors (speeding up your site).

Optimization: CloudFare will load your pages with ad servers and third-party widgets fast on your mobile and computers. It does this by minimizing the number of network connections, combining JavaScript files into a single request, among others.
Security: It protects your website from online threats.
DDoS Protection: It helps website protect against DDoS attacks.
DNS: CloudFare also run a DNS service with global coverage, built-in security, and robust API.  This is more secure as CloudFare serves through their own DNS and helps in securing your servers from malicious attacks, bots, etc.
We’ve been using CloudFare with a bunch of our clients and the results have been more than wonderful.

Setting Up CloudFare For Your WordPress

Before setting up CloudFare for your website to increase the speed, you must check with the web hosting. Because Page Load Time also depends on your  web hosting. For better results it is always recommended to use better web hosting. If you’re looking to signup for hosting for your WordPress site, here’s our review of hosting providers. 

Step 1: Visit the link CloudFare SignUp page and create your account. Fill all the basic details and click on “Create Account Now” button.

Cloudfare-setup1

Step 2: You will see the header as “Add a Website”- Enter your website address in the space provided and click on “Add Website” button.

Cloudfare-setup2

Step 3: CloudFare will then scan your website; meanwhile you will be shown one video describing the method setting up account with CloudFare CDN. Once the scan is complete, Press “Continue” button present over there.  This will inform about all DNS associated with your website. 

Cloudfare-setup3

Step 4: After that you will see two lists of domains and subdomains of your website. One with Orange CloudFare Icon and other with the Gray CloudFare Icon. Orange CloudFare represents domains or subdomains passed through the CloudFare and are the optimized one. While on the other hand Gray CloudFare represents domains or subdomains that bypass the CloudFare network. Ensure your main domain and subdomains are under the Orange CloudFare icon.

Cloudfare-setup4

Step 5: Once, you are done with domain categorization, you need to click on “I have added all missing records, Continue” button to proceed ahead with the setup.

Step 6: Here you need to choose the plan, performance and security further followed by few recommended settings. Select the options available under each segment, according to your requirements and click on “Continue” button. CloudFare will ask you to update your name servers.

Cloudfare-setup5

Step 7: For changing the name servers, you need to first login to Hosting account. Click on the option “Domain Manager” and press on “Name Server”. After that, you will be allowed to choose the domain servers which need to be renamed. Choose server provided by CloudFare and then click on “Use custom Nameservers” and feed the new data. Once it is completed press on “Save Nameserver Settings” button.

Cloudfare-setup6

Step 8: Go back to starting point and click on the option “I have updated my server name, press on Continue to finish”.

Cloudfare-setup7

Benefits of CloudFare CDN

  • Speed- User experiences faster service and their waiting time getting reduced and efficiency gets enhanced.
  • Apps- You will get free apps which will enhance the user experience. Some free apps like SmartErros, UserVoice, PunchTab etc.
  • Analytics- CloudFare CDN shows a detailed analysis of your website. This includes information’s like number of pages crawled, page views, retention time, etc.
  • Threat Control- This feature helps users in white listing and black listing the websites to prevent attacks on your website.
  • Development Mode- This option is very helpful when you keep changing your website. Changes include, image, JavaScript, etc. It should be noted that this mode last only for 3 hours.
  • Rocket Loader- If you have advanced version of CloudFare you can enjoy further lighting speed as it loads all JavaScript code asynchronously.

At WpKoala we understand your need for customizable WordPress services. Check out our plans that includes:

  • Unlimited small wordpress fixes
  • Daily backups to our local server
  • 500MB free hosting for your website
  • Monthly website performance audits
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How to fix “Installation failed could not create directory” Error

By | Tips, WordPress Plugins | No Comments

One of the reason why everyone likes to use WordPress to build their site is because it’s a great CMS and everyone with a little tech knowledge can manage and maintain the site.

Theres’s a very good reson why WordPress now powers more than 25% of the websites worldwide.

However, if you have ever managed a WordPress site and are slightly on the non-tech side of the curve, you know that it can be a little intimidating to manage. WordPress does throw up a lot of errors and if you’re not savvy with your coding skills, there’s a change that you might want to give up and move on a station HTML site.

It doesn’t have to be that way though.

Many a times when you’re installing a plugin you get an error “Installation failed could not create directory”

There are two ways to solve this error:

Give WordPress write access to Plugin folder

When you install a plugin from the WordPress dashboard, Wodpress has to create a new directory in /wp-content/plugin folder.

If it does has a write access to the folder to create a new directory, WordPress won’t be able to create the folder by itself. To grant WordPress the permission, just log on your cPanel or get FTP access to your server and locate the folder /wp-content/plugin. Once you’ve located the folder, change the permission to 775. This will allow WordPress to create its own folder.

Enough server space

Another reason to get the “Installation failed could not create directory” is when you have low server space. You need to check with your hosting provider if you have enough space to install new files on your server.

If you’re running on a low space, this could restrict you in many ways. For instance, you might also not be able to update your WordPress. And WordPress releases many updates with security fixes.

Make sure you have enough space to install new plugins, update WordPress, or add more media content.

Voila! This should solve your plugin issue.

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