How to Reduce HTTP Requests in Your WordPress Site

Updated on Dec 7, 2022

Do you want to cut down on the number of HTTP requests made by your WordPress site? Great. You're well on your way to speeding up your WordPress site. Most WordPress sites have slow page load times, and owners often don't know what steps to take or what to avoid. HTTP requests are one of the factors that affect your site's speed and load time, and in this article, I'll show you how to reduce the number of HTTP requests on your WordPress site.

Furthermore, there are numerous ways to test how fast your WordPress site is, so make sure you take all other measures to speed up your website in addition to this guide.

Before we break the code, you should understand what HTTP is and how to view HTTP requests.

This post includes:

What is HTTP?

HTTP, or "HyperText Transfer Protocol" is a client-server protocol that allows resources such as HTML documents to be retrieved. HTTP is the foundation of data exchange on the World Wide Web; without it, you cannot view files or other documents on any website. HTTP Requests and HTTP Responses are used to communicate between the client and the server.

When you visit a website, your client browser sends an HTTP request to the server in order to retrieve the text content, image files, CSS, Javascript, videos, and so on. To put it another way, all of the website's content is retrieved using HTTP.

If you want to learn more about HTTP, we've talked about how important HTTP 2 is and why it matters for a WordPress site.

How to View HTTP Requests

The developer tool in your browser can be used to view HTTP requests made by a website. In Google Chrome, for example, you can open the developer tool by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+I, or you can right-click your mouse on any page and select Inspect.

Next, click Network and refresh your page; the developer's tool will display the screen below.

You can now inspect your site's elements and count the number of HTTP requests on your site.

Awesome! You now understand how to determine the number of HTTP requests on your website. Let's get started with how you can speed up your WordPress by reducing HTTP requests.

How to Make Fewer HTTP Requests in WordPress

To force WordPress to make fewer HTTP requests, simply use the techniques outlined below:

Create CSS Image Sprite

An Image Sprite is a group of images combined into a single image. Because multiple images take longer to load and generate more requests, a single image saves time and bandwidth.

Here in this example that we tested on w3schools.com, you have three different icons for Home, Next & Back. But they're combined into a single image, and I'm using parts of it for my preview.

We used a single image URL three times for three different IDs (home, next, back), and in each, it previews a different image icon. Why? By adding its position in “px” in the style sheet, we can preview any specific position of the image, which helps reduce the number of HTTP requests on your WordPress site, and the page loads faster.

Delete Unnecessary Images

We all have images in our media files that we no longer require. Removing all unused and unnecessary images from the media library also helps to reduce requests.

Reduce File Size

You can also increase the speed and number of requests to your site server by reducing the size of your images. Always optimize your WordPress site image sizes before uploading them, as this improves the site's speed.

Optimizing External Images

External images are a major factor in the number of HTTP requests and site speed. These can be images added by users in the comments section or their profile pictures. External images such as Gravatars are a good example of external images that increase the number of HTTP requests and can slow down page load time. To avoid this, use a comment section plugin, such as Disqus, that assists you in dealing with unnecessary HTTP requests.

Delete Unnecessary Files

It is not enough to delete unnecessary images in WordPress to reduce HTTP requests. Sometimes plugins or data files that are running in the background aren't being used to generate HTTP requests. To make fewer HTTP requests on your WordPress site, simply uninstall or delete those plugins or data files.

Do Lazy Loading

You can also make fewer HTTP requests by using a WordPress plugin like Lazy Loading, which loads only the images that are visible on the screen. The remaining images are only loaded when the user scrolls down and brings the rest of the page into view. Here's how to enable lazy loading on your WordPress site.

Use Caching Plugin

One of the most sure-fire ways to reduce the number of HTTP requests is to use a caching plugin. A web browser creates and maintains a cache of all data files from your WordPress site on the client side. Once saved, your website will automatically load the page without requiring HTTP requests. Here are the best WordPress caching plugins for fast loading speed.

Ignore Irrelevant Assets

Ignoring irrelevant assets, like lazy loading, means we only load the files, plugins, or other assets (.CSS and .JS files) that the visitor is viewing. There are numerous plugins available that will scan your page and detect all loaded assets. The Asset Cleanup plugin is an excellent choice for this process, as it delays requests for other plugins, files, or other data assets that are not being used on the visitor's viewable page.

Combine CSS Files

WordPress usually has multiple CSS files because developers prefer to work in separate files. However, as a result, it generates a large number of HTTP requests. However, there is a simple solution to this problem: merge all CSS files into a single CSS file. Once all of the files have been merged, your site will generate a single HTTP request for the CSS file.

Images enhance the visual appeal of a website. However, using too many images can cause your website to load slowly. Simply limit the number of images you use in a single blog post to avoid this. To maintain a balance between visual appeal and not overburdening your website, use 11 to 15 images.

Conclusion

Hopefully, the techniques mentioned above will significantly reduce the number of HTTP requests on your WordPress site. This article has covered what HTTP is, how to check the number of HTTP requests on your WordPress site, and 10 ways to reduce HTTP requests.

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