2nd October 2014 Mario Gheghici

7 Plugins to make WordPress faster

Is your website too slow and you’d like to make WordPress faster?

Is it just you, your internet connection, or is it for everyone? If you want to have an idea about what’s wrong and what’s good with your website, you should first use PageSpeed Insights, a tool provided by [intlink id=”598″ type=”post”]Google[/intlink] which will show you how your website acts on desktop and mobile devices.

Even better, will tell you what to do to fix most of the issues found on the website.

 

The only problem is that some (or most) of the solutions are made for developers, and not for those who just enjoy their [intlink id=”444″ type=”post”]WordPress installation[/intlink]. For example:

Leverage browser caching

Setting an expiry date or a maximum age in the HTTP headers for static resources instructs the browser to load previously downloaded resources from local disk rather than over the network.

What??

Or another example:

Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content

Your page has X blocking script resources and Y blocking CSS resources. This causes a delay in rendering your page.

None of the above-the-fold content on your page could be rendered without waiting for the following resources to load. Try to defer or asynchronously load blocking resources, or inline the critical portions of those resources directly in the HTML.

OK, now, to be fair, some of us would be a bit lost… Fortunately, there are some amazing plugins which can help us solve most of these problems.

Let’s find some good plugins, which will help us make WordPress faster, without getting a developer on board. Or even if you are a developer, I’m sure these plugins will make you save a lot of time!

 

  1. Async JS and CSS

When your page is loaded by browser – all that stuff placed in HEAD tag is loaded before the page content – in blocking way. So the content is delivered to user in the last moment, after all javascript and css files are loaded.

If you are a webmaster or just want to make your web to make better your positions on search engines (yes, they preffer faster webs), just take a look on Google PageSpeed Insights – you’ll see that one of the mos important things is fastenes and one of the reason why your page is not so fast – is “Render-blocking JavaScript and CSS”.

This plugin makes ALL scripts loaded by other plugins to be loaded in asynchronous way just like Google PageSpeed Insights recommends. All CSS files will be inserted inline into the document code or moved from the document beginning to the end, just before closing BODY tag (or just where you placed wp_foot() function). There are various methods to do that – they are all in plugin’s configuration page.

Plugin makes all scripts to be loaded asynchronously using wp_enqueue_script and also can detect scrips included inside of wp_head and wp_footer hooks.

All CSS files loaded using wp_enqueue_style can be loaded just before closing BODY tag

 

  1. Autoptimize

Autoptimize makes optimizing your site really easy. It concatenates all scripts and styles, minifies and compresses them, adds expires headers, caches them, and moves styles to the page head, and scripts to the footer. It also minifies the HTML code itself, making your page really lightweight. There are advanced options available to enable you to tailor Autoptimize to each and every site’s specific need.

If you consider performance important, you really should use a caching-plugin such as e.g. WP Super Cache or HyperCache to complement Autoptimize.

 

  1. Leverage Browser Caching Ninja

That’s an amazing plugin, and you can see the results in Google’s PageSpeed in seconds. Very simple plugin that allows you to quickly leverage browser caching on your website making you 100% compliant with Google’s PageSpeed Insight rules. This only works with Apache Web Servers (which most WordPress installs are on) and edits your .htaccess – it also makes a safe backup copy of your .htaccess if you ever want to revert.

 

  1. Use Google Libraries

A number of the javascript libraries distributed with WordPress are also hosted on Google’s AJAX Libraries API. This plugin allows your WordPress site to use the content distribution network side of Google’s AJAX Library API, rather than serving these files from your WordPress install directly.

This provides numerous potential performance benefits:

  • increases the chance that a user already has these files cached
  • takes load off your server
  • uses compressed versions of the libraries (where available)
  • Google’s servers are set up to negotiate HTTP compression with the requesting browser

 

  1. W3 Total Cache

 

This plugin was already mentioned in this article. The only WordPress Performance Optimization (WPO) framework; designed to improve user experience and page speed.

W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by increasing server performance, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.

An inside look:

Benefits:

  • At least 10x improvement in overall site performance (Grade A in YSlow or significant Google Page Speed improvements) when fully configured
  • Improved conversion rates and “site performance” which affect your site’s rank on Google.com
  • “Instant” subsequent page views: browser caching
  • Optimized progressive render: pages start rendering quickly
  • Reduced page load time: increased visitor time on site; visitors view more pages
  • Improved web server performance; sustain high traffic periods
  • Up to 80% bandwidth savings via minify and HTTP compression of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and feeds

 

  1. WP-HTML-Compression

Combining HTML “minification” with cache and HTTP compression (WP Super Cache, or similar) will cut down your bandwidth and ensure near-immediate content delivery while increasing your Google rankings.

This plugin will compress your HTML by shortening URLs and removing standard comments and whitespace; including new lines, carriage returns, tabs and excess spaces. Most importantly, by ignoring <pre>, <textarea>, <script> and Explorer® conditional comment tags, presentation will not be affected.

 

  1. WP HTTP Compression

This plugin allows your WordPress blog to output pages compressed in gzip format if a browser supports compression.

HTTP compression generally means a 60-80% REDUCTION in the size of your pages (broadband usage) as well as an INCREASE in download speeds of 3x to 4x.

 

 

Excepting the last one, I have all these plugin installed and activated on all my websites. The last one had some issues with one of the themes I’m using, and I had to deactivate it. But still, you can give it a try on your website. All the plugins have the links to their home page. But you can just install them from the dashboard of your WordPress, so you don’t even need to use those links.

 

About the Author

Mario Gheghici Mario Gheghici has over 15 years' experience in media and advertising. Throughout his career he has been a journalist, a PR expert, advertising guru, and now he is widely known as a social media, online marketing, web development and SEO consultant. | Follow @mariusdigital | Follow on Google+ | Connect on LinkedIn |

Comments (3)

  1. Amazing artcle Marius,
    We do have a fast wordpress theme but it still showing 71/100 on Page speed? I will really try this.

    Thanks,
    Alex

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