How To Speed Up A Slow Elementor Website (18 Ways)

Have a slow Elementor website?

A slow Elementor site can usually be fixed by using faster plugins, hosting, upgrading to PHP 7.4, increasing memory limit, configuring WP Rocket with a CDN, and optimizing your images, database, third party scripts, and plugins. These should make a significant speed improvement.

This was already asked in the Elementor Facebook Group so I included all the solutions (plus others) in this tutorial. Elementor says the most common reasons for a slow Elementor website are your servers, media, third party scripts, plugins, no CDN, and using a mediocre cache plugin.

I use Elementor and am still able to get great results in GTmetrix.

Slow-Elementor

Quick tips to fix slow page speeds on Elementor:

  • Use PHP version 7.3 or higher
  • Increase memory limit to 256MB
  • Invest in a top-rated cache plugin
  • Move away from low quality hosting
  • Combine font files and preload them
  • Use a CDN like Cloudflare or RocketCDN
  • Avoid using resource-hungry plugins with Elementor
  • Host Google Fonts, Analytics, and Facebook Pixel locally
  • Be minimal with fonts, weights, and Elementor font icons
  • Enable varnish and memcached when using cloud hosting
  • Selectively disable plugins and scripts from specific content
  • Find oversized images in GTmetrix and resize to correct dimensions

Elementor Speed Optimization

 

1. Disable Unused Elementor Addons

Many Elementor plugins have widgets, add-ons, and scripts which are turned on by default, but you may not be using (Elementor Ultimate Addons, Premium Addons For Elementor, etc). Go through each plugin’s settings and deactivate the addons not currently being used on the site.

Warning: disabling certain Elementor addons or scripts can break parts of your site. If you disable an option, check your site for errors, and if you see any, re-enable it. You may want to use a staging site to test these without things breaking on your live site.

Disable-Addons

To go a step further, install Asset CleanUp or Perfmatters and use the script manager to deactivate Elementor scripts not being used on your site. For example, if you’re only using some Elementor functionality on pages (but not posts), you can deactivate the scripts on your posts. Again, test each one carefully since this can also break things if you are indeed using the script.

Elementor Scripts

 

2. Move Away From Poor Hosting

Hosting recommendations are usually garbage.

Join the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group to get unbiased feedback. Most members (myself too) swear by Cloudways WordPress Hosting. Specifically DigitalOcean / Vultr High Frequency.

Yes, it’s a little more expensive at $10-$13/month, but we’re talking about speed here – not being cheap. With Cloudways, you have a choice of using DigitalOcean, Vultr High Frequency, Google Cloud, AWS, or Linode. These are worlds faster than shared hosting and can handle resource-intensive tasks much better (Elementor on shared hosting is a recipe for slow TTFBs).

Cloudways makes it easy to test them out and see the difference in your load times: they do free migrations, monthly pricing, a Migrator plugin, and a promo code to save money: OMM25

Here’s what happened when I moved:

SiteGround vs Cloudways

GTmetrix tests are always different, but even posts with a huge page 2.70MB page size and 96 requests can often load in under 2s. I’ll also take a 148ms time to first byte any day of the week. That post has 70+ images, 480 comments (showing Gravatars), Font Awesome, and Elementor.

OMM-TTFB

The evidence is there:

Cloudways Response TimesCloudways-Migration-Result
Cloudways Google PageSpeed
WP Engine To Cloudways
DigitalOcean Pingdom Report
Hosting-Recommendation
Moving-From-WPX
SiteGround-Alternatives
Preferred-Web-Hosting
UntitledWPEngine-To-Cloudways
Godaddy DigitalOcean Migration
Cloudways Pingdom Load Times
Cloudways Pingdom Report
Elementor-Hosting
Web-Hosting-France
SiteGround-Alternative
VPS-Cloud-Hosting

 
This was a simple Pingdom test to measure load times of 16 WordPress hosts. I signed up for popular hosting companies then installed the same Astra Starter Site on each of them while measuring load times in Pingdom for 1 week at 30 minute check intervals. Some domains are still live (cwdoserver.com is hosted on a $10/month Cloudways DO plan and stgrndserver.com is hosted on SiteGround GrowBig). I cancelled most of them because it was getting expensive. Even when browsing through their pages or running your own tests, you can see the difference.

WordPress-Hosting-2020-Pingdom-Test

Hosting Companies You Should Avoid

  • SiteGround – they have gone completely downhill in recent years.
  • Bluehost – slow servers, owned by EIG, bad support, rated poorly in FB Groups.
  • HostGator – also owned by EIG with slow servers, bad support, CPU limit issues.
  • GoDaddy – top malware hosting network worldwide, rated poorly in FB groups.
  • Hostinger – they write fake reviews and vote for themselves in Facebook polls.
  • WP Engine – also not what it used to be, expensive and not even fast anymore.
  • *A2 Hosting – if you can’t afford Cloudways, A2 is still fast and uses LiteSpeed.

I use Cloudways because:

  • Even posts with a 2.70MB page size can load in under 2s
  • DigitalOcean and Vultr HF are miles faster than shared hosting.
  • It’s $10-$13/month (no yearly contracts or high renewal prices).
  • Varnish, Redis, and memcached are all built-in for higher performance.
  • You get to pick from DigitalOcean, Vultr HF, Linode, AWS, Google Cloud.
  • 4.8/5 star TrustPilot rating and highly recommended in Facebook Groups.
  • They have 25+ data centers between all their cloud hosting providers.
  • No CPU issues like on SiteGround, Bluehost, and other shared hosting.
  • SSL, staging, and backups are all very easy in the Cloudways dashboard.
  • Support used to be average, but is now really good as reflected on TrustPilot.
  • They offer a free migration but their Migrator plugin will also do the trick.
  • Adding a server, migrating your site, and the dashboard is actually very easy.
  • Mustasaam (their community manager) gave me peace of mind when moving.
  • Only complaint is they need to add LiteSpeed servers to their list of providers.

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for Cloudways using my affiliate link, I would seriously appreciate it. I don’t recommend bad hosting like many other affiliates. I also donate quite a bit to charity ($6,000 to GoFundMe so far) and your support would really help. I try to base my reviews not only from my experience, but real evidence from the overwhelming feedback in numerous Facebook Groups. It would mean a lot.

Just do your research (look at this thread).

 

3. Upgrade To PHP 7.4

Check your current PHP Version under Elementor > System Info.

Upgrading PHP versions is one of the easiest ways to speed up your Elementor site. Kinsta’s PHP benchmarks show how higher PHP versions can run 2-3x faster. Elementor also recommends higher PHP versions and to increase memory limit to 256MB (see next step).

Elementor PHP Version

You can do this in your hosting account:

PHP-7.4

 

4. Enable Varnish + Memcached

Login to your hosting account and make sure varnish and memcached are enabled.

Below are settings for Cloudways, but other providers also have these options. If using SG Optimizer, activate memcached in SiteGround’s dashboard then activate it in SG Optimizer.

Hosting Application Services

 

5. Increase Memory Limit To 256MB

Again, check your memory limit under Elementor > System Info.

Both Elementor, WordPress, and WooCommerce recommend a 256MB memory limit.

Elementor Memory Limit

You can usually change memory limits in your hosting account:

Memory Limit

Otherwise, add this code to functions.php.

define( ‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’ );

 

6. Configure Optimal WP Rocket Settings

If you’re not using WP Rocket, you should (also for obvious reasons).

But most people don’t have the optimal WP Rocket settings configured. There are a few additional tweaks that can significantly improve your load times: testing and enabling everything in the file optimization tab, lazy loading, and prefetching DNS requests (basically just copying/pasting all URLs you find in the “reduce DNS lookups” section your GTmetrix YSlow report). Also preload font files shown in your Waterfall tab, and activate heartbeat control, database cleanup, and RocketCDN. After these, you should see a huge improvement.

2016 best cache plugin poll

2019 cache plugin poll

Swift vs WP Rocket

2016 cache plugin poll

Best cache plugins 2018 poll

wp rocket vs w3 totla cache

WP Rocket Before After

 

7. Optimize Google Fonts

If you get font errors in GTmetrix, there are a few ways to optimize them.

Elementor Pro lets you use custom fonts.

Elementor Custom Fonts

Use Transfonter to convert fonts to web font files and upload them to CSS, or use OMGF.

Transfonter-Google-Font-Conversion

Optimize Google Fonts in WP Rocket.

Optimize-Google-Fonts

Preload font files in WP Rocket (copy/paste font files from GTmetrix Waterfall).

Preload-Fonts

Google-Fonts-Waterfall

 

8. Avoid Slow Loading Plugins

Some plugins you should just stay away from.

High CPU plugins that slow down Elementor sites usually have to do with statistics, backups, social sharing, portfolios, live chat, contact forms, sliders, JetPack, and any plugin that is constantly required to run on your website (such as Query Monitor or Broken Link Checker).

  1. AddThis
  2. AdSense Click Fraud Monitoring
  3. All-In-One Event Calendar
  4. Backup Buddy
  5. Beaver Builder
  6. Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
  7. Broken Link Checker
  8. Constant Contact for WordPress
  9. Contact Form 7
  10. Contextual Related Posts
  11. Digi Auto Links
  12. Disqus Comment System
  13. Divi Builder
  14. Elementor
  15. View Full List Of 65 Slow Plugins

If you’re running slow plugins, replace it with a lightweight plugin. For example, I use the Grow by Mediavine for social sharing buttons and it doesn’t affect my GTmetrix report whatsoever.

 

9. Optimize Third Party Requests

Just like Google Fonts are a third party request, so is AdSense, Analytics, Maps, Tag Manager, embedded videos, and even Gravatars or social sharing plugins can cause third party requests.

Find these in the “reduce DNS lookups” section of GTmetrix YSlow.

External Scripts

Optimizing Specific Third Party Scripts
WP Rocket has an Add-ons tab that can help host analytics locally and add browser caching to Facebook Pixel. WP Rocket’s Media settings let you lazy load videos while replacing the iframe with a preview image. If you embed posts from social media, try taking a screenshot and using an image instead. I also use the Flying Scripts plugin to delay loading of Gravatars and Discuz which is why I still get fast load times when showing Gravatars on posts with lots of comments.

WP Rocket Local Analytics

 

10. Resize Images To Correct Dimensions

When using Elementor, it’s important to scale (resize) images to fit their correct dimensions.

Serve Scaled Images

Otherwise, you will see serve scaled images errors in GTmetrix. If you see any, grab the recommended dimensions provided by GTmetrix, resize the image to those dimensions, then replace the old image with the new one. I recommend creating an “image dimension cheat sheet” with the dimensions of different areas of your site (sliders, featured images, full width blog images, logo). That way, you can resize images to the correct dimensions before uploading.

 

11. Disable WooCommerce Scripts, Styles, Cart Fragments

Just like you selectively disabled scripts in the very first step, you can use Perfmatters and Asset CleanUp to do the same thing with WooCommerce scripts, styles, and cart fragments.

Asset CleanUp WooCommerce

Perfmatters lets you do this with 1-click:

perfmatters woocommerce optimization

 

12. Clean Your Database

WP Rocket doesn’t let you go through individual plugin tables, while WP Optimize does.

This lets you delete old tables left behind by plugins you deleted which are shown as “not installed.” You probably installed the plugin, deleted it, but it left behind pre-configured settings in your database. So if you don’t plan on using that plugin again, delete the table. Otherwise, WP Rocket is fine for regular database cleanups, but install WP-Optimize and do this every so often.

WP-Optimize-Tables

 

13. Utilize CDNs

Most Elementor users are using Cloudflare or RocketCDN (with WP Rocket).

RocketCDN

RocketCDN is extremely easy to set up (just buy the plan through WP Rocket which uses StackPath’s data centers), while Cloudflare requires changing nameservers. If you’re using Cloudflare, be sure to go through your actual Cloudflare dashboard and tweak your settings.

 

14. Use A Lightweight Theme

There are the themes most people are using:

Astra-Themes-Facebook-Poll

 

15. Find Bottlenecks In GTmetrix

Other than measuring scores + load times, you can uncover quite a few things in GTmetrix. Since every Elementor site is different, you want to find exactly what is slowing down yours.

Time To First Byte

Time To First Byte

Unoptimized Images

Image Optimizations In GTmetrix

Slow Plugins

Slow WordPress Plugin

 

16. Explore Plugins By Gijo Varghese

Love this guy and his plugins; he even has his own Facebook Group.

Flying Scripts is my favorite because it lets me show Gravatars without affecting GTmetrix. He also has plugins for hosting analytics locally, image optimization, Flying Pages (preloads pages), and other useful plugins. Check out my 25+ WordPress speed optimization plugins for a full list.

Gijo Varghese plugins

 

17. Switch Editor Loader Method In Elementor

Elementor says:

“If you are having hosting or server difficulties using Elementor, we’ve included a simple switch that may solve your issue.”

Find this under Elementor → Settings → Advanced → Editor Loader.

Elementor Switch Editor Loader Method

 

18. Finish The Last 10% Of Speed With Perfmatters

Perfmatters (by Kinsta) takes care of what I like to call “miscellaneous speed optimizations.”

perfmatters features

Some of these are extremely useful; the script manager which lets you selectively disable plugins/scripts from certain pages, changing the autosave interval, limiting post revisions, preconnect, and disabling WooCommerce scripts, styles, and cart fragments. When it comes to these types of optimizations, I don’t know of any plugin that does a better job than Perfmatters.

What do you expect, it’s Kinsta.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common reasons for a slow Elementor site?

Using too many Elementor modules and addons, a mediocre cache plugin, high CPU plugins, underpowered servers, and not optimizing fonts, images, and external scripts.

Why is Elementor slow?

Elementor is not the fastest page builder and you can view how many unnecessary files it adds in your source code. Elementor naturally adds many scripts that load on your website.

🚀 How do you use Elementor's custom fonts?

You will need an Elementor Pro account to use custom fonts. You can try hosting fonts locally or using the OMGF plugin to make fonts load faster. Download your font files (from Google Fonts) and upload them in the custom fonts section of Elementor or OMGF.

 

Still Have A Slow Elementor Site?

I’ll say this: Cloudways and WP Rocket should fix 80% of your problems.

Most every part of WordPress speed optimization relates to your infrastructure: hosting, theme, page builder, plugins, etc. You can still get an extremely fast site with Elementor (mine is just 1 example), however, after watching this video and looking at my own source code, I kind of wish I went with Oxygen. I love how my site looks, but next redesign will likely be with Oxygen.

Not cool!

Elementor Souce Code

Cheers,
Tom

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