Best practices for climate-friendly WordPress Websites

These easy to follow best practices are a good start to build environmentally sustainable WordPress websites. Use our WordPress plugin and our webpage scanner to verify your progress.

If you feel ready for more details and opportunities, have a look at our guides.

Principles

  • Keep the amount of transferred bytes low: reduce your use of streaming video, images, web fonts, and scripts. Every transferred byte contributes to the Internet’s energy usage. Especially on mobile networks.
  • Don’t force your visitors into having to upgrade to more capable hardware: Reduce your use of animations, complex styles and heavy scripts. The production of electronics is very energy and resource intensive and results in more electronic waste.
  • Keep your server load low: Use a site caching plugin, update to the latest PHP version, use few and lightweight plugins where possible. Your server will be able to handle more sites and visitors, which is more efficient and sustainable.
  • Use renewable energy where possible: For your web clients, for your server, for your network infrastructure. While it’s more sustainable to use no energy at all, use renewable energy where this is not feasible.
  • Improve usability: Users have to spend less time on your webpage if they are able to quickly find the information they are looking for. If you optimise for search engines, go for quality instead of quantity. Visitors that are looking for something else or are not your target audience will only increase network and server load.

Videos

  • Video streaming has a great share in the energy usage of the internet.
  • Avoid using videos for mostly aesthetic purposes, especially large background videos.
  • Don’t use autoplay for embedded videos. It creates network traffic even though the user might not want to see it at all.
  • Prefer linking videos (possibly with a thumbnail) instead of embedding players from external video platforms into your webpage. Embedded players contribute to network traffic even if not used by the visitor, because external code has to be loaded. This may have a huge impact on the amount of bytes transferred for your site.

Images

  • Avoid using images for mostly aesthetic purposes, especially large background or full width images.
  • Use the JPEG file format for most image types, especially photographic images. Use the PNG file format only for simple graphics with few details and few colours. If in doubt, try both formats and compare the sizes and quality. PNG files will be really big in file size for photographic images!

Themes

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