How can your choice of theme affect your website’s speed?

Posted on Jul 31 2021 by in Blog Blog Post Blogs Blogs and Blogging Wordpress Blogs 

Do you have a WordPress website? If yes, you probably know a lot about WordPress themes. This article covers how your choice of theme can directly affect your website speed.

Do you have a WordPress website? If yes, you probably know a lot about WordPress themes.

Themes make your website look good. It is not easy to design a website from scratch. A WordPress theme affords you the ease of getting a pre-packaged look for your website instantly.

WordPress has a large range of free themes in its marketplace. You can instantly get a new design for your website by choosing a new theme from a seemingly endless library.

Themes are essentially skins for your website. WordPress has a given set of functionalities and features. A theme simply organizes all the elements in an aesthetic and organized manner.

If you’re short of a talented designer in your team, purchasing a premium theme can help solve that problem.

While it’s fun to pick and choose different themes for your website, your choice can have a big impact. Your choice of theme can have a direct impact on the speed of your website.

If you have an app that relies on your website response time for performance, this can affect app speed as well. Powerful iOS & Android app makers are known for syncing website data to apps and thus rely on the response time of your site.

The wrong theme can thus slow down your website and app. This article lays out how different themes can slow down your website, and the factors you must consider while choosing one.

#1: Too many database requests

Generally, themes don’t interfere with your website’s functionality. They simply present your website’s content and resources in a well-designed interface.

However, some themes come packaged with additional features and functionalities. The extra functionality can make your website more powerful and user-friendly.

At the same time, there is a tradeoff. More in-built features can slow down your website.

How does a visible frontend work? When a client opens your website, every little element of the webpage is requested from the database. This includes information about fonts and texts to data requested by CSS and JS scripts.

Every element in your webpage is requested from the database. While some requests are unavoidable, some others are excessive and unnecessary.

Too many database requests are the main cause of slow website speed. You can make a smart theme choice by testing the number of requests the theme makes to the website server.

Lightweight themes make very few requests to the database. Some light themes like SoloStream and Generate Press are very efficient and make 70-80 requests on average. Fewer requests mean your website server has more bandwidth to respond to other requests.

#2: Large page size

Depending on the theme you choose, the size of your page will be different. A larger page size naturally slows down your website as the server and browser take more time to load it.

You can check the size of your web pages with tools like GTMetrix and PageSpeed Insights. These tools will help you see the size of your web pages.

What causes large page sizes? Choosing the wrong theme can cause your page size to bloat because of unnecessary elements. Many themes come with additional elements like widgets which enable site owners to add extra features on the front end.

Additionally, some themes do not have any compression mechanism to manage file uploads. Good themes generally come with a compression mechanism that reduces the size of each image uploaded automatically.

An in-built compression mechanism also eliminates the need for using other plugins to compress images. Theme users can simply rely on their theme to compress and manage uploaded media.

A combination of heavy widgets and a lack of compression can bloat your website. While choosing a theme, it is a good idea to trust a light theme more focused on speed and load times.

#3: Excessive theme files

Every theme comes packed with files. While you may not see your theme’s installation files in the admin panel, they’re present on your website database.

These are generally PHP, CSS, and image files. The function of each is explained below:

  • PHP: Contain info on how each file works on the website. This includes instructions for CSS files and their functions on the front end. PHP files also contain information about the overall structure of the theme.
  • CSS: Contain info on how information looks on your website. This can include anything, from text position to button size and more.
  • Image files: Image assets in JPG, PNG, and GIF formats. They’re no different from image files stored anywhere else. Other CSS and PHP files contain information on how these images files are displayed.

Some themes contain too many files which don’t contribute little to the general functioning of the website.

All these files are compiled on your server and render on your client’s browser. Too many theme files can burden the server and make it difficult for your website to load at the best speed possible.

Before you take a call on your theme, make sure it doesn’t contain too many files. You can either do research about the theme or talk to the theme developer directly about this. There are plenty of websites online which compare the speed  A small theme reduces the compile time on the server and improves the website response time.

In conclusion

Themes are an essential part of the WordPress environment. This article shows three key ways your choice of theme can affect your website speed.

A low website speed can also affect your app load time in case you create an app using your website as a foundation. Bloated themes can be a double whammy in such cases, which is why you should take a call after taking all factors into consideration.