It is not rocket science!

To understand what makes your WordPress website slow, you need to understand the Ecosystem of WordPress

The agenda for the next 30 minutes

  • To understand what parts of the WordPress ecosystem can slow down your site and why?
  • And how we can avoid a slow website by following best practices
  • A case study that proves the above point

The WordPress Ecosystem has five parts

The Core Software

Active Theme



Web hosting

Next, let’s understand:

  • The responsibility of each part
  • What parts of the ecosystem can slow down your website
  • The best practices you must follow for each part

The Core Software provides us with the core functionality of a CMS:

  • Creating and managing blog posts
  • Creating and managing static pages such as About Us, Contact Us, etc.
  • Page builder (Block Editor) for helping us write content
  • Uploading and managing the media such as images, videos, docs, etc.
  • Managing users and comments
  • Installing and managing third-party themes and plugins

Can the Core Software slow down your website?

Nope! It can never slow down your website because it is being developed, maintained, and battle-tested by top-notch contributors who follow high-quality coding standards.

The best practice

Don’t modify the code of the Core Software. That’s the only best practice.

If you are not modifying its code, you can stop thinking about the Core Software regarding speed optimization.

The next part we need to discuss is Themes 👇🏻

A theme is responsible for the look and feel of your website.

Can a theme slow down your website?

Yes, it can 😅

  • There are three reasons why a theme could slow down your website.
  • Let’s see them in ultra detail 👇🏻
  • Reason 1: A lot of customization options can slow down your website because it involves a lot of code processing and queries to the database.
  • Reason 2: Some themes use proprietary page builders that change the default way that WordPress saves and retrieves content.
  • There are many themes like Enfold. Divi, Avada, BeTheme, etc.
  • Reason 3: A theme depends on Javascript and CSS code to achieve the desired design. If a theme is loading a lot of CSS and Javascript files, it will slow down your website because browsers take a certain amount of time to process and render each file.
  • Enfold theme loads 14 CSS and Javascript files, which is a lot 👉

✨ Best Practice 1: Use a default theme if possible

  • The default themes, such as TwentyTwentyFour, are fast and reliable because they have limited customization options.
  • They use the default Block Editor instead of proprietary page builders.
  • Default themes are developed and maintained by the same top-notch contributors who built the Core Software.
  • So, you can trust them and, by all means, go with them if they match your design goals

✨ Best Practice 2: Go with a third-party theme that is performant

  • GeneratePress is a good example of a performant third-party theme
  • It doesn’t load a lot of CSS and Javascript files
  • It provides customization options that are absolutely necessary
  • It uses the default WordPress Block Editor, although it supports other page builders.
  • Astra and Neve themes are performant, too.
  • Another rule of thumb 👇🏻

Choose a theme that is closer to your design goals

  • This way, you don’t need a theme with many customization options.
  • For example, don’t choose a tech theme for your cooking blog just because it looks good.

If you can afford it, go with a custom theme

  • Custom themes are expensive because of the development time involved
  • But they give you the ultimate control over the design and performance of the website
  • So, they save you a lot of money in the long run

The next part of the ecosystem we need to discuss is Plugins 👉