When you’ve activated Really Simple SSL on your site, in some cases you might notice your site has become slower. I specifically built this plugin to be fast: most of the work is done in the back-end, which doesn’t harm your performance. So why is your site slower now?
What most people forget is that when you activate Really Simple SSL, not only are you activating a plugin, but you are now also running your site over SSL!
There are three things I encounter a lot when checking this out:
- No .htaccess redirect enabled
This only applies to the old domain, because obviously the new domain does not have to be redirected. A .htaccess redirect is much faster than the default WordPress redirect. As some apache servers to not respond well to a .htaccess redirect, this is not enabled by default. It is recommended to enable it if possible.
- Slow server
When your site is running over SSL, the server needs to encrypt your website before it sends it to the browser. This will need some extra processing power. Depending on your webhost, this will make your site a bit slower. So if you feel your site is not fast enough, and this is caused only by the move to SSL, you should think about upgrading to a hosting service with a faster server.
- Loading of remote services
If your site loads services or data from other domains, this sometimes suddenly takes a long time to load when forced to load over SSL. In some cases the service just isn’t available over SSL, while the website keeps on trying to load over SSL. Try to deactivate or remove these services to see if that helps.
You can check out the your site speed, and the see what the waiting time consists of on tools.pingdom.com
Doesn’t Really Simple SSL do anything on the front-end?
It does, but not much. Only two things really:
- A redirect (which you really need, and if it’s a 301 redirect, traffic should come in through the new url soon enough)
- Fix mixed content. You can disable this one to check the speed difference, but it’s a really fast function, so should hardly be noticeable. When you have a noticeably difference between activated and disabled mixed content fixer, you could enable a good caching plugin, like WP Rocket, or Fastest Cache.