Increasing WordPress Page Speed Scores for SEO & User Experience on Cloudways Hosting

It is easy to test the page speed scores of your website using tools like GT Metrix, Google Page Speed, and

Since 2010 Page speed has been a metric that Google uses to determine the ranking of a page in search results. In 2016 Google announced that it was going to focus on the mobile version of a site for ranking.  Google was attempting to reach mobile first indexing for all sites by 2020. In May 2020 Google announced that it would be using data from it’s page speed and user experience tools (Google Page Speed and Lighthouse) to influence page ranking.

In short what all of this means is that websites must load quickly on mobile. Page speed insights scores could become a significant factor for ranking in search results.

When you are browsing the web, how long do you wait for a site to load on your phone? Statistics say that people start to bounce if they have to wait more than 2 or 3 seconds. Page speed also has a huge impact on conversion rates. Slow sites miss opportunities to interreact with their visitors.

So now that you have used Page Speed Insights and see some obvious problems, what do you do?

Here’s a real world example from a client:

A Google Page Speed insights report for a poor performing site, pre-optimization.

There is a lot of red and it doesn’t look good. 

Ideally a WordPress website is built from the start to include page speed and user experience.

Sometimes there is no way around the fact that the way a site has been built will make it nearly impossible to optimize. This often results from ‘bloat : too many plugins, poorly coded plugins or a theme or page builder that performs poorly. These kinds of issues may require backtracking and doing some rebuild work. The project above did require a rebuild.

Here are some of the steps we went through for optimization: 

  • Re-theme – choose a different WordPress theme
  • Re-work the design to eliminate all sliders.
  • Use a different Page Builder plugin – some are much faster than others. (I use Beaver Builder)
  • Optimize images, scale them correctly for different screen resolutions and use WEBP replacements.
  • Fine tune the caching. (Using WP Rocket)
  • Use WP Rocket’s critical CSS.
  • Reduce the number of fonts.
  • Create a custom icon set to serve only the necessary icons.
  • Remove all unused files from loading where they are not needed.

Here’s where the site is now:


Can we get the site to rank even higher? Here are some things that can still be done: 

  • Upgrade hosting to a service like Cloudways. (I am an affiliate, so thanks if you use my link.)
  • Use a CDN.

Hoisting is a crucial component of page speed.

I use A2 hosting LiteSpeed servers and have recently started looking into Cloudways. Cloudways has great reviews and offers a fantastic service that doesn’t get bogged down by the bottleneck problems that shared hosting has. The verdict is out, but I’m going to clone the site in the examples above onto Cloudways and check the speed, I’ll update once I have something to show.

Here’s what Cloudways boasts:

Load WordPress Sites in as fast as 37ms!


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  1. l · February 4, 2021 Reply

    Have you tried cloudways? How was it?

    • Aaron Jerad · March 1, 2021 Reply

      Unfortunately I was not able to migrate the site in the original tests above, so instead I tested my own website. The results are pretty remarkable. This current website is not optimized and scores a 54 (mobile) and 94 (desktop) on Page Speed Insights. It is running on Litespeed servers with Litespeed cache. I cloned the site to Cloudways VULTR HF 4gb server, removed Litespeed Cache(for obvious reasons) and installed the Cloudways Breeze Cache plugin with basic settings. The page speed score went up to 82/96 – That is an amazing speed boost! There is plenty more optimization that could be done to this site to bring it easily into the 90’s: using WEBP, Asset Clean up and a CDN.

      Litespeed server page speed score

      VULTR HF 4gb Server page speed score

      • L · March 2, 2021 Reply

        Nice, have you considered wp rocket for cache instead of breeze? Also what are you using for CDN?

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