You may not be new to WordPress, but you may be new to testing your WordPress site. As your site grows, you may find your site running more slowly. Here’s how to get started load testing your WordPress site to uncover what is making it run slow.
First: if you’re new to load testing, here’s a quick primer. Load testing is part of performance testing, or a way of gauging the speed of your site. We care - we all care - about the speed of our sites because site speed is the number one predictor of visitor/reader/customer satisfaction. Assuming your site’s reasonably attractive and easy to navigate, and that your visitors are finding the content they need on your site, the key focus for you should be your site’s performance.
In other words: you want your site to be as fast as possible, ideally with pages loading in under two seconds.
Let’s get started testing your WordPress site. In this article, we’ll cover only basic testing. We suggest that for this starting example, you test the page on your site that gets the most traffic. On a WordPress site, that could be the home page (the page that loads when you type only your URL, or site name, like this: http://sitename.com). However, for many sites, the page that gets the most traffic might be your shop or store (often http://sitename.com/store) or even a particularly popular blog post. (You can find this information in your site analytics, often Google Analytics.)
Click the button below to get to Loadimpact.com. Type that URL in the box. Yep, that box: the one in the middle of the page. Click “Run Free Test.”
Let the test run - sit back and watch, or go grab a refreshing beverage. This basic test will load 25 simulated users over 5 minutes. (We often refer to those simulated users as virtual users, or VUs.) When the test is complete, you’ll see a page of results - and a guide to help you understand the results.
This test represents a baseline test: now you know what your performance baseline looks like, and when you make any changes aimed at improving your site’s performance, you can compare a test run after the changes to this original baseline test.
In our next article about testing WordPress sites, we’ll discuss some WordPress-specific tricks for improving performance. It’s likely you’re making some common mistakes that are slowing your site: and they’re easy to fix. Stay tuned, and until then,