Let’s be honest, we hate those sites that take more than 3 seconds to load. Multiple studies show how important website speed is.
Even a one-second delay can cause a 7% revenue drop.
Thankfully, there are numerous ways to make your site faster. One of them is reducing HTTP requests. According to experts, it can be an effective way to increase site speed.
High HTTP requests can be caused by heavy plugins, bad themes, third-party requests, unoptimized images, and not using CDN.
In this tutorial, we’ll see some of the most effective ways to decrease the amount of HTTP/S requests.
But, before we begin looking at the steps that you have to take to reduce HTTP requests, we first analyze how many requests our site is making.
To check it, we gonna use the tool GTmetrix, the most trusted online tool. You can also use Pingdom, but for this tut, I’m using GTmetrix.
- 1 How To Check And Analyze How Many HTTP Requests Your Site Is Making
- 2 How To Make Few HTTP Requests
- 2.1 1. Remove Heavy Plugins Or Replace Them With Lightweight Ones
- 2.2 2. Remove Unnecessary Images, Optimize Rest, And Enable Lazy Loading
- 2.3 3. Combine Google Fonts And Limit Custom Fonts
- 2.4 4. Don’t Use Emojis
- 2.5 5. Use A Lightweight Social Sharing Plugin
- 2.8 8. Conditionally Load Scripts
- 2.9 9. Reduce Redirects
- 2.10 10. Eliminate Or Optimize Third-Party Requests
- 2.11 11. Combine Images Using CSS Sprites
- 2.12 12. Use A CDN
- 2.13 Some Extra Tips For You!
How To Check And Analyze How Many HTTP Requests Your Site Is Making
- Step 1: Go To Gtmetrix.com
Gtmetrix is the most reliable tool to test your website speed.
- Step 2: Test Your Site
Enter your site’s URL and hit the analyze button. After that, wait for a few seconds and the reports will be ready.
- Step 3: Click On The Waterfall Tab
Under the waterfall section, you’ll see each HTTP request along with information on how long that HTTP request took to download.
You can see that none of the HTTP requests is equal in size. For example, the 297 KB image takes 663ms while the 96.6 KB image took 465 ms:
Also, you can view HTTP requests from the different WordPress plugins that you are using by searching for the name of that plugin’s folder on your server.
As you learned above, all HTTP requests are not always “equal”. Some HTTP requests are bigger than others. Some are slower to load compared to others.
For example, the request for a big 2 MB image file will take much longer time than the request for a tiny 10 KB file.
If you want to make the most prominent improvement to your site, centering on the big, slow-loading HTTP requests first will have the biggest impact, surely!
How To Make Few HTTP Requests
Now, we’ll look at the 17 ways that can help us decrease HTTP requests significantly. These tips that I’m about to present are proven ways. Many pro bloggers use them to increase their site speed.
Make sure to follow every step closely to get the desirable results. Without wasting any more time, let’s begin!
1. Remove Heavy Plugins Or Replace Them With Lightweight Ones
Most heavy WordPress plugins include page builders (including Elementor page builder), social sharing, statistic, slider revolution, portfolio, calendar, chat, contact form, related post (don’t use it), sitemap, Jetpack, WPML, WooCommerce, and any plugin that works ongoing scans or processes.
List Of 70 Slow/Heavy Plugins (Credit – Onlinemediamasters)
- AdSense Click Fraud Monitoring
- All-In-One Event Calendar
- Backup Buddy
- Beaver Builder
- Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
- Broken Link Checker
- Constant Contact for WordPress
- Contact Form 7
- Contextual Related Posts
- Digi Auto Links
- Disqus Comment System
- Divi Builder
- Envira Gallery
- Facebook Chat
- Fancy Gallery
- Fuzzy SEO Booster
- Google Analytics
- Google Language Translator
- Google Translate
- Google XML Sitemaps
- Leaflet Maps Marker
- NextGEN Gallery
- Query Monitor
- Real Estate Website Builder
- Really Simple Share
- Reveal IDs
- Revolution Slider
- S2 Member
- SEO Auto Links & Related Posts
- Share Buttons by AddToAny
- Share Buttons by E-MAILiT
- Social Discussions
- Similar Posts
- Slimstat Analytics
- Tribulant Slideshow Gallery
- Ultimate Social Media & Share
- WooCommerce Customer History
- WordPress Facebook
- WordPress Related Posts
- WordPress Popular Posts
- WordPress Social Ring
- WP Facebook Like Plugin
- WP Jump Menu
- WP Social Bookmarking Lite
- WP Social Share
- WP Statistics
- WP Power Stats
- Yoast Seo
Alternatives To Use
- SEO – Use RankMath instead of Yoast SEO
- Backups – UpdraftPlus (My recommendation for beginners).
- Sliders – Soliloquy or MetaSlider (easy to use and lightweight).
- Page Builder – Oxygen or Gutenberg (Way faster than Elementor).
- For Gallery – Use Gutenberg Gallery or Meow Gallery.
- Analytics – Google Analytics and Google Search Console (don’t use any plugins).
- Social Sharing – Grow By Mediavine (ranked as fastest social sharing plugin in WP Rocket’s test).
How To Find or Detect Slow Plugins
I’ve already shown you above how to find the plugin that is generating a high number of HTTP requests with the help of Gtmetrix. But, there is another great way to detect the slowest plugin, and we’ll do it by using a plugin called Query Monitor.
The Query Monitor plugin can also help you understand which plugin is consuming most server resources and taking the longest time to load or work. You can then replace that plugin with a lighter one.
Once you installed the plugin and activated it, click on Overview and then Queries By Component to see which plugin is taking the longest time.
2. Remove Unnecessary Images, Optimize Rest, And Enable Lazy Loading
I know how important it is for you to use images in your blog posts. Images increase reading time and shares, however, using too many images may slow down your site. Also, more images may drop the ads revenue as well.
You may not know, but each image on your site is a separate HTTP request. So if you have images that aren’t adding value, it’s best to remove them to eliminate those HTTP requests.
Don’t Use Gifs
Gifs look cool on sites like Buzzfeed, however, these sites are highly optimized and use high-speed servers. Using Gifs on your site might slow down your site and increase the number of HTTP requests. Gifs also take a lot of space which can pressurize your site’s servers.
If you need to use gifs, then use the site ezgif.com, it can help you compress and optimize the gif. A normal blogger should ignore using Gifs, instead use optimized vector images.
Enable Lazy Loading
Lazy loading is a must nowadays. Every blogger is using this feature, and you should use it as well. With lazy loading, your website will wait to load below-the-fold images, videos, and iframes until a user begins scrolling down.
When images won’t load until a user scrolls down, there’s no need to make an HTTP request for the initial page load. Most people don’t know that WordPress now includes native lazy loading for images applying the HTML loading attribute.
However, if you want aggressive lazy loading then you should consider using plugins like Ewww optimizer, Smush, or W3 Total Cache.
Most Reliable Plugin To Optimize Images
The plugin that I like the most is Ewww Image Optimizer. A great plugin that offers greater features for free. You can optimize every image present on your site with the help of too.
I have published a complete article discussing how to use the Ewww plugin to optimize website speed, and compress images up to 80%, consider checking it out!
Also, it has over 9000k+ active installations and over a thousand 5 stars reviews, so, you can trust this plugin. (Btw I am not sponsored by Ewww)
Read How To Setup EWWW Image Optimizer – How To Setup EWWW Image Optimizer (Compress Upto 80%)
Lazy Load Embedded Videos Elementor
Elementor is a widely known plugin with millions of users. However, many critics claim that Elementor slows down a site, especially if you are using a shared hosting plan. But there is a cool hidden feature that can help you lazy load embedded videos.
There is a great video on Youtube posted by WPCrafter, by following that, it is possible to lazy load embedded videos. However, You will have to install Elementor Ultimate Addons plugin, then use the native Elementor video element to load the video.
The key here is to upload a custom thumbnail straight to your website (through Elementor) so your website doesn’t have to go to YouTube to load the thumbnail. You can even add the arrow buttons and branding on your embedded videos. It’s just brilliant.
Here is the video:
There is another unique and simple solution to lazy load embedded youtube videos by using WP YouTube Lyte.
3. Combine Google Fonts And Limit Custom Fonts
Combining Google fonts is an effective way to decrease the number of HTTP requests. To do that, we have to use a plugin. There is a coding way available as well. If you are familiar with coding and know how it works, then check out the article by coderwall.com
Let’s see the step-by-step process.
- Open GTmetrix Waterfall report to check how many font files are being loaded.
- Enable Google Font optimization in your cache/speed optimization plugin.
According to Wp-Rocket, combining multiple font requests reduces the number of HTTP requests. If your cache plugin doesn’t have the option to combine Google font then install the OMGF plugin.
OMGF is avaible at plugin section.
- Combine your fonts, weights, and font icons.
In GTmetrix, you may have noticed that each font, weight, and icon creates its request. Try to use only one font and only a couple of weights. Font icons can be performed by plugins like Elementor, such as the arrows in my navigation menu.
- Enable Preload Fonts
Preloading informs browsers to start downloading a resource as quickly as possible and should decrease font load times in GTmetrix Waterfall. You can do this with plugins like WP-Rocket and Perfmatters.
4. Don’t Use Emojis
Emojis can increase the connection between you and your site’s readers. But the problem is by default, WordPress adds its HTTP request for emojis.
There are many ways to disable emojis but the best way to do so is by installing a lightweight plugin developed by Gijo Varghese, it’s called Flying Images by WP Speed Matters.
I also recommend you install Flying scripts and Flying Pages, both are amazing plugins.
5. Use A Lightweight Social Sharing Plugin
I use the default social sharing feature which came with my theme. Using a plugin for social sharing might be a bad idea because most social sharing plugins create HTTP requests from Facebook, Twitter, etc. which can significantly reduce your site speed.
If your theme doesn’t have the social sharing feature then use Grow Social plugin by Mediavine. It’s an awesome plugin that generates only 1 single request.
Also, It lets you add highly customizable social share buttons that will integrate beautifully with your website’s design, leading to increased interactions and social media shares.
Grow Social is easily available in the plugin section of WordPress. Fun Fact: This plugin was rated #1 by WP-Rocket.
According to Imperva.com, minification is the method of minimizing code and markup in your web pages and script files. It’s one of the main ways used to reduce load times, HTTP requests, and bandwidth usage on websites.
Minification dramatically increases site speed and accessibility, directly improving user experience. It’s also beneficial to users accessing your website through a short data plan and who would like to save on their bandwidth usage while surfing the internet.
8. Conditionally Load Scripts
Plugin on one hand can reduce the work and time, while on the other hand, they can increase loading time and make your site terrible for users.
You should not use too many plugins, some plugins are only required on specific parts of your site but load their scripts everywhere. For example, Contact Form 7.
We normally use Contact Form 7 on specific pages like Contact us or about us, however, Contact Form 7 loads its scripts on every single page on your site. Contact Form 7 is adding HTTP requests to your blog posts even though your blog posts don’t have any contact forms in them.
WooCommerce plugin is another great example of why you need to load scripts conditionally. Some people use WooCommerce only for its payment processor, however, like contact form 7, this plugin also loads its script everywhere.
Loading script conditionally can be done by both coding and plugin. Asset CleanUp is the free plugin that can help you. If you wanna try the coding method but don’t know how to code, then hire a developer from codeable.io.
Read Similar –
9. Reduce Redirects
What are redirects? When you delete or move something on your website, you want your site visitors to arrive at the new location, not the old one. Well, a redirect is a function that automatically transfers your website visitors to a new location.
How They hurt Your Site? When booking a flight to some soothing destination, which would be quicker: the direct flight or the one with many connections?
The difficulty with redirects is your visitors have to go within one or multiple connections before they arrive at the new location. Whether it’s just one connection or various, your page will still take a lot of precious time to load. And you know, a slow loading time is something Google sees when ranking your website.
Where to check redirects on your website? Thankfully, there is no deficiency of tools that scan your website and give you a genuine report on all the redirects currently hiding under the hood. The most trustable tools are, GTmetrix, Pagespeed Insight, Redirect Mapper Tool, Broken Requests Tool, and Redirect Detective.
How To Minimize Redirects
- Here are a few things you can do to minimize redirects on your site.
- Never link back to a page that you know has a redirect on it. It will begin to cause multiple redirects and could make the visitor very frustrated.
- Heavy plugins can result in unnecessary redirects, so make sure to remove any plugins that you don’t really require.
- Monitor your website regularly to check for old redirects that lead to pages you deleted a long time ago. This is a good practice after changing hosting providers or making large content modifications to your website.
- If you’re a WordPress user, try the Redirection plugin like RankMath SEO for alerts on new redirects, 404 errors, and any loose ends that you’re not aware of.
10. Eliminate Or Optimize Third-Party Requests
Optimizing third-party requests is another effective way to enhance website speed. So far, we have focused mainly on decreasing the HTTP requests for files on your WordPress site’s server. However, your visitor’s browsers might also want to request files from third-party servers.
These requests can affect your site speed because your site depends on the speed of those third-party servers.
Here are some examples of those third parties:
- Ads – Ads generate a huge number of third-party requests, especially if you’re allowing too many ads on your site.
- Google Analytics – The tracking of Google Analytics script is hosted on Google’s servers, but visitors’ browsers still need to load that file.
- Embedded YouTube videos – You’ll see tons of HTTP requests to YouTube’s servers.
- Google Fonts – You will see third-party requests to Google’s servers to load your font files.
You can apply several tips shown above to these third-party HTTP requests. If a plugin adds up its third-party requests, you can eliminate it and use something more optimized.
For example, above I’ve shown you how social sharing plugins cause more HTTP requests. You can replace your social sharing plugin with a more optimized one like Grow Social.
For YouTube, you can use image thumbnails and lazy load them which can significantly reduce the initial page load time. I highly recommend watching the video by WP Crafter or simply install a plugin called WP Youtube Lyte.
For third-party scripts that are important, like Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel, you can host them locally by using WP-Rocket or CAOS (Complete Analytics Optimization Suite). It should reduce HTTP requests.
Prefetching External Requests
To prefetch all the external requests, first, you need to see all your third-party scripts from the “Reduce the impact of third party code” part in GTmetrix Structure, copy their URLs, and use the prefetch feature available in plugins like WP Rocket, Pre* Party Resource Hints, or Hummingbird.
11. Combine Images Using CSS Sprites
(Credit – WP-Rocket)
Combining images using CSS sprites is a really popular performance enhancement technique that can speed up your site by decreasing the number of HTTP requests required to load the images on your site.
What is exactly Combine Images Using CSS Sprites Means?
Without CSS sprites, the individual image on your WordPress site is a separate file. When someone goes to your website, that person’s browser begins an HTTP request to download each specific image file, which you can see if you look at the waterfall analysis section in a performance optimization testing tool like Gtmetrix.
If you use 6 images on a page, that means 6 separate HTTP requests – one for each image. This is a problem because, all things equal, fewer HTTP requests mean a quicker loading site.
To solve that, you can join your images into as few images as possible using CSS sprites. Basically, this means that you combine all your separate images into a separate image file.
Then, you use CSS to handle that single image so that it only shows the specific image you want at each position. So you can still give five separate images on your page, they just all get from the same image file.
On the front-end, your visitors won’t see any difference between using CSS sprites and separate image files. But on the backend, users’ browsers will only require to download a single image file, which speeds up your website’s page load times.
How To Combine Images Using CSS Sprites?
Sadly, there’s no WordPress plugin for CSS sprites. However, you can use tools, like this CSS Sprite Tool:
- Upload the images that you want to combine with the help of the tool.
- The tool will then provide you a combined image file, along with CSS code for every image that you uploaded.
- Upload the combined image file to your WordPress blog.
- Use the CSS code to show the image in your content. The given CSS will automatically select only the proper portion of the combined image file.
Manual Process –
I can’t show the process manual process in this tutorial as it is a little lengthy. Also, you must have some coding knowledge to perform this. However, this process can certainly make your site faster. Here is the guide by WP-Rocket about how to combine images using CSS sprites effectively.
12. Use A CDN
To minimize the distance between the user and your site’s server, CDN stores a cached version of its content in various geographical locations (also known as, points of presence, or PoPs). Each PoP includes a number of caching servers liable for content delivery to visitors within its closeness.
A CDN can help make fewer HTTP requests. I mostly promote BunnyCDN (I am not an affiliate of BunnyCDN), it’s my number one choice, however, it is not free. It charges as per your usage.
Many people have reported an increase in TTFB while using Cloudflare. However, if you’re a beginner and don’t earn much from your blog, then stick to Cloudflare as they offer more than 190+ servers worldwide which is a really big deal.
Some Extra Tips For You!
- Use lightweight theme (For example, Astra and kadence) – blogging can be done without a glamorous theme.
- Don’t use SEO plugins. You don’t need them, just find some hidden keywords, a catchy title, and motivation to write more than a thousand words.
- Learn Coding – if you think you’re old to learn something new, then you should read this wonderful quote – “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” Once you know how to code, you won’t have to add plugins and make your site heavy for simple things.
- Use a better/faster host – Most popular hosts are crap. I recommend either Cloudways or A2Hosting. They are awesome. Avoid Bluehost, Hostgator, Godaddy, and Dreamhost.
I hope this article helped you reduce the HTTP requests. If you’re having any issues or want some more tips then please let me know through my Contact Us page.
Check out my other works!
Thanks For Reading!