WordPress Scalability: How To Scale Websites for High Traffic

Before looking for ways to increase your website traffic, you must account for WordPress scalability techniques to accommodate users better during high traffic spikes.

Traffic-induced slow loading, website crashes, and malfunctioning are all things you want to avoid. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of the best website scalability tips to scale a website for high traffic.

Here’s an overview of what we’ll cover:

How To Scale a Website

1. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

2. Keep WordPress Software Up-to-Date

3. Get a Robust Hosting Server

4. Use Lazy Loading

5. Repair Broken Links

6. Upload Only Essential Elements to Your Websites

7. Optimize Your Media Files

8. Install Caching Plugins

9. Clean Your WordPress Database

10. Install Security and Website Speed Plugins

Final Thoughts: WordPress Scalability Tips for High Web Traffic

How To Scale a Website

  1. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  2. Keep WordPress Software Up-to-Date
  3. Get a Robust Hosting Server
  4. Use Lazy Loading
  5. Repair Broken Links
  6. Upload Only Essential Elements to Your Websites
  7. Optimize Your Media Files
  8. Install Caching Plugins
  9. Clean Your WordPress Database
  10. Install Security and Website Speed Plugins

Realistically, there is no limit to the number of pages, users and visitors you can have on a WordPress website.

However, if you don’t have a dedicated hosting plan, you should implement the 10 website scalability techniques listed above to ensure a top-notch user experience.

Let’s look at how these techniques help you build a scalable website that can handle higher traffic levels.

1. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A Content Delivery Network is a network of interconnected, geographically distributed servers that deliver content to users with minimal delay by bringing the content closer to the geographical location of the users.

CDNs temporarily store cached copies of files in servers near you so you can access a website without it having to load first.

CDNs increase WordPress scalability by storing content on the servers closest to a user, increasing bandwidth and decreasing website downtimes.

As a website owner, whether e-commerce store, blogger, or other business, CDNs also help you quicken loading times by using object caching.

Moreover, CDNs offer image optimization, management services and advanced security-related services. Web hosting providers like Bluehost come with a CDN add-on.

Using CDN for WordPress scalability
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Here are some examples of CDNs:

2. Keep WordPress Software Up-to-Date

In the same way most people rush to update their smartphone apps like social media, update your WordPress site to get features that help scale your website for traffic.

For improved WordPress scalability, you should update your WP software, theme, and plugins. In addition, outdated web applications can pose a threat to both your website security and speed.

With each new update, the open-source WordPress content management system (CMS):

  • Fixes bugs
  • Adds better features
  • Prioritizes high performance
  • Enhances software features to stay up to date with new industry standards.

3. Get a Robust Hosting Server

As time goes on and your web traffic continues to surge, you’ll realize that shared hosting plans may no longer serve you effectively due to limited server resources.

As a result, you’ll need to get a robust hosting solution for your WordPress site to enhance your website’s scalability.

Hosting your website on a server with a larger hosting capacity is a sure-fire way to scale your website for traffic. You could ask your provider for managed or dedicated WordPress hosting solutions that offer load balancers and reliable uptime.

Bluehost’s managed WordPress hosting services offer a wide selection of advanced features. It manages all technical aspects of your website, including traffic surge control, regular updates and security checks.

While managed or dedicated hosting costs a bit more than shared hosting plans, getting a managed WordPress hosting plan from hosting providers takes the pressure of scaling your website off your shoulders and provides you with performance monitoring 24/7.

4. Use Lazy Loading

Lazy loading is a great optimization technique for website scalability. It’s the process of delaying the download of an element or resources (such as images, infographics or videos) until the user needs it.

Lazy loading is a website scalability technique
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This WordPress scalability practice optimizes content delivery by reducing the time and memory consumed when loading in bulk. It’s also a great way to conserve bandwidth.

For instance, you can use lazy loading for a page with several images. These images will only load when the user scrolls and reaches them.

You should activate lazy loading to prevent website crashes or delayed page load times due to resource overload.

Broken links are frustrating for users. Those who click on a website link and land on a dead-end 404 error page will likely be disappointed.

Not just that, broken links derail all the hard work you put into creating an excellent user experience. The worst part is that disappointed users may never return.

Broken links harm search engine optimization (SEO) by affecting bounce rate and time spent on your website. They also signal that your website may be old and outdated.

To scale your website, fix broken links. To do that, you can use a plugin like Broken Link Checker.

6. Upload Only Essential Elements to Your Website

Plugins are great apps to improve your website’s functionality, and visuals are memorable. However, uploading the least amount of plugins and images possible to your website is crucial to ensure users have a smooth user experience. 

Failing to do that could affect your website storage and slow it down, thus, making a mess of your website when you get high traffic.

Go through your media library and plugins from time to time, and remove unwanted or unnecessary plugins, images, videos and animations you uploaded previously to free up your website space.

7. Optimize Your Media Files

While it is good to use visuals — such as images, infographics, GIFs and videos — in your website content to increase engagement and conversions, ensure that you optimize all media files for WordPress scalability.

Optimizing your media files to improve website scalability
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Adding unoptimized videos and images can slow down your website and drag your website scalability behind.

To scale your website by optimizing your media files, you should:

  • Compress image files (JPGs and PNGs) with a plugin like TinyPNGs
  • Use iFrames to show videos to conserve space
  • Resize images to ensure they fit your blog’s dimensions

8. Install Caching Plugins

Installing a caching plugin is a simple way to scale your website for traffic.

When a user sends a query to visit your website, a request is sent to the server network. This query is processed, and the result is sent back to the user’s browser, loading the page.

The more things present on your website, the more processing the server has to do.

For instance, if your website has a header, footer, sidebar, gallery and background images, it will have a slower loading time than a website with just header, footer and sidebar features.

That is where page caching plugins for website scalability come in. They instruct the server to store some files offline. That way, they produce these files immediately after you request them again in the future.

As a result, your webpages load much faster, directly from the cache, instead of processing through the server.

There are several good caching plugins you can use for WordPress scalability, such as:

9. Clean Your WordPress Database

As you use WordPress, your database increases in size steadily. It accumulates necessary data, but it also collects extra data you may not need, such as revisions, spam comments, unused auto drafts, trashed comments and data from discarded plugins.

Soon your database becomes bloated and slow, affecting your website scalability. Before that happens, perform a database cleanup.

After you back up your database, you can install a database cleanup plugin like:

Prepare your website for WordPress scalability by ensuring that your database is leaner.

10. Install Security and Website Speed Plugins

Plugins are important. They essentially give your website instructions as to how it should act in a particular situation. You can transform a simple WordPress website into a cutting-edge platform with many features by installing the right plugins.

And here’s the good news — there are also security and speed plugins you can install for WordPress scalability.

Security plugins are designed to protect your website from cyberattackers and malware that might want to hijack important details or forcefully get website access.

Examples of reliable security plugins for website scalability are:

There are also speed plugins that improve your website speed and overall performance. They help you scale your website for traffic and enhance user experience. Caching plugins also work to strengthen WordPress scalability and page speed functions.

Final Thoughts: WordPress Scalability Tips for High Web Traffic

Using WordPress scalability techniques is vital to scale a website for high traffic. While it could be disheartening to see the high traffic you’ve always wanted crashing your website, you can avoid it with the website scalability tips above.

Updating your WordPress software and clearing your database is not the end of your website scalability process. You should also consider using CDNS, investing in a robust hosting server and installing plugins to scale WordPress.

If strengthening WordPress scalability on your own seems like a daunting task, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

At Bluehost, we offer Fully Managed WordPress Hosting services to provide your website with reliable, high-performance web hosting. Check out our plans and start scaling your website as soon as today.

Devin Sears
Devin Sears | Field Marketing Manager

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