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WordPress provides an easy-to-use solution to creating your own website that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional, but optimising Your WordPress Site In China is not as straight forward as for western countries.
While its reputation is unrivalled in the western part of the world, it has its problems when used in China. For one, the Great Fire Wall in China affects loading speeds of WordPress websites as some plugins and CSS are operated from remote servers. This sluggish loading speed impacts not only users experience but also the site’s search engine rankings in China.
Is WordPress banned in China?
It is essential to differentiate between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, two completely separate platforms despite its similar names. WordPress.com, being a hosting service, is banned in China while WordPress.org is the platform from which website creation software can be downloaded. After you download this website creation software, you will be required to source for a WordPress hosting service to publish your site live online. If you are looking to launch your website in China, and fulfil the ICP License requirements, some of the more reputable hosts include Alibaba Cloud, Tencent Cloud and Xinnet. We prefer to use Alibaba Cloud (Aliyun) for our own China hosting services.
So, the conclusion is – WordPress.com, the hosting platform is banned in China and WordPress.org is not.
It is crucial to remember to use WordPress themes that are NOT blocked and load well in China, otherwise your website could still have major issues loading or in some cases not be accessible at all there.
Is it better to host inside China?
Well the first thing to mention here, is to host within China, you will be required to apply for an ICP number, so only businesses who are registered in China can actually do this. That being said, if you have your business registered there, then yes you should certainly get an ICP number and host your website inside the Firewall. This provides a nice speed boost in of itself.
Does this mean that is only option? No, you can also host a site outside of China, and still get decent speed, as long as your website it optimised and the hosting service has minimum speed lag with the China networks.
Either way, you can use a .cn or .com.cn domain name, just remember if the hosting is going to be in China, the domain name and DNS should be hosted there too. If the hosting is outside of China, you can purchase your Chinese domain names from an outside domain registrar, and just provide the necessary identity proof.
Cashing in on good caching habits
Caching sounds complicated, but it really is a simple concept of storing your website pages as static HTML. Doesn’t WordPress do that already? Well, no it doesn’t, when you view a page on a WordPress site, the HTML page you are seeing, is actually generated in real-time from PHP code, in other words it is a dynamic page, because the content and images are loading from a database. Why would this slow site down? Because to generate the page takes the server a few moments, causing some delay in the page loading.
So by using a cache of pre-generated html static page, when someone loads a page on your website, the caching function will save the server from having to do that job for every visitor. And when you update the content, the cache simple if replaced with the latest version of the page.
So in order to maximise speed options for your website, it is essential that you install a suitable WordPress caching plugin speed up your site.
Optimise your images
One of the most common and unstated ways to speed up your site, is to simply reduce the size of the page that is loading. Almost all websites can be optimised in terms of page size. It is simple maths, if your page is 2MB, it will load slower than if your page was 1MB. In fact a 1MB page would probably load twice as fast, how about that for optimisation?
Images are usually the main culprit when it comes to large page size, because they have not be optimised prior to uploading to the website. Optimised sound fancy, but it simply means saving your images to the right size and also compressing where possible.
If you are already struggling with hundreds of un-optimised images, you can use a Image Optimisation plugin to do bulk optimisation of all your images in the WordPress media library. If that sounds painful, the go for a CDN that loads your images as optimised versions automatically, but make sure you choose a CDN that is going to work well in China, or it will be counter-productive.
Plug in the right plugins
WordPress plugins can be a huge help o add extra functionality to your website. At the same time, if you have too many of them, your website will become slow and sluggish. Why do they slow your site? Well not plugins are created in nicely written code, and many do things you don’t realise they are doing. What’s the perfect number of plugins? When build WordPress sites, we rarely will need to use more that 10 plugins at any given time, if you are using more than that, make sure each plugin is absolutely necessary, and understand there is a speed compromise by using more.
Also having out dated, old plugins can also reduce loading speed and weigh down your site performance. It is important to recognise the hazards of keeping on outdated WordPress plugins which include slow speed and security exposures.
Some recommended plugins for your WordPress website that will work best in China:
- For the language difference, use WPML or Polylang, multilingual plugins that generates mirrors of every page on the website to allow you to have it set to another language.
- For caching properly, use WP Fastest Cache, Super Cache, or W3 Total Cache.
- For compressing images, use Imsanity, or Ewww image optimizer.
As mentioned earlier in this article, the application process to have your website hosted in China is not a simple process. In addition to that, you will have to ensure that the website that you have invested so much money and time on is not eventually blocked on Chinese servers as well. To save yourself the time and trouble, why not hire our team of professionals to do that for you? Contact us!
If you want an overview of why WordPress is such a solid choice for your business, check our short but comprehensive guide “How Long does It take To Learn WordPress”.