Why WordPress site speed matters?
Because slow WordPress website can seriously harm your site search engine visibility and decrease your website conversions.
Google now take website speed as one of the majority factors when ranking sites. The slow website won’t be able to rank in top positions which affect how easily users can find your website in the first place.
In March 26, 2018, Google officially announced the mobile-first indexing practice in Google search algorithms. This means Google reserves the top ranking positions for the site that mobile-friendly and easy to use for mobile users. For this reason, mobile user experience now plays a very important role in search engine rankings. In other words, the faster site gets better mobile user experience.
Slow WordPress website can also kill conversions. According to a survey from Kissmetrics Blog, 47% of consumers expect websites to load in two seconds or less and 40% will abandon a page that takes three or more seconds. This means if your website takes more than three seconds to load, you lose nearly half of your visitors before they even land on your site.
Plugins to speed up WordPress site
One of the benefits of using WordPress for your website is the flexibility that you can very easily find at least one plugin to solve your site problems from 29 thousand available WordPress plugins. In this article, I handpicked the best WordPress plugin to speed up a website. Let’s get started.
Autoptimize is one of the most popular WordPress minifies plugins around. Plus, it’s free to use. Along with minifying your scripts, it can also bundle them together, cache them, and even set them to load later, in order to further optimize your website’s performance.
2. Fast Velocity Minify
3. Merge + Minify + Refresh
4. WP Super Minify
Website load times can be significantly improved by asking visitors to save and reuse the files included in your website.
Browser caching can help by storing some of these files locally in visitor’s browser. Their first visit to your website will take the same time to load, however when the same visitor re-visit your site, the load time will dramatically decrease because the browser already saved some of the files they needed. The amount of data the user’s browser has to download is less, and fewer requests need to be made to your server.
1. WP Fastest Cache
WP Fastest Cache comes with a great set of features, balanced with ease of use. It comes with the features like:
- Easy setup
- 1-click to clear cache and/or minified CSS etc
- Minify CSS and HTML
- Set posts/pages to exclude (some like admin area excluded by default)
- Set expiration times for all posts/pages or certain URL strings
- CDN integration
- Premium version on available with extra features
2. WP Super Cache
This is one of the most widely used caching plugins available for WordPress. At the time of writing this post, it has had over 2 million active installations. It comes with the features like:
- Support for multiple caching types (Mod_Rewrite, PHP, and Legacy)
- Serve static HTML files
- Cache Preload
- CDN support
3. W3 Total Cache
This is another popular speed enhancing plugin. It goes beyond just being a simple caching plugin. It’s a complete framework.
But, the reality is that because there are so many options, it’s not the easiest to set up. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could break something. That’s why only advanced users should use this plugin. It has the features like:
- CDN Support
- Browser caching
- Database caching
- Object caching
Image optimization is about reducing the file size of your images as much as possible without sacrificing quality so that your page load times remain low. It’s also about image SEO. That is, getting your product images and decorative images to rank on Google and other image search engines.
1. EWWW Image Optimizer
EWWW Image Optimizer automatically optimizes any images you upload to your blog as long as they’re either JPG, PNG, or GIF files. It also includes a function to optimize your entire media catalog, in case you already have lots of images on your site.
One of the advantages of EWWW Image Optimizer is that the optimization process takes place on your own servers by default, instead of connecting to a third party service. This means your optimization tasks will require less time, which can come in handy when tackling large media libraries since regular-sized files. should take a few seconds at the most.
2. WP Smush
WP Smush available in both free and premium formats. As is common with this sort of plugin, any images you upload to your WordPress site will be automatically optimized.
The plugin also has a bulk optimization option, which as its name implies, enables you to tackle multiple tasks at once – perfect if you’re looking to compress your image backlog after installing the plugin. This bulk option is limited to 50 files at a time in the free version of the plugin.
You can also optimize images individually by heading over to your Media Library, clicking on whichever file you want to compress, and clicking on the Smush option on the Attachment Details window. This option can come in handy if for some reason you’d prefer not to use the bulk optimization option and have only a few images you’d like to compress.
3. Compress JPG & PNG Images
Compress JPG & PNG Images plugin employs only lossy compression methods, which make for a drastic reduction in filesizes while mostly preserving the quality of the images undergoing the procedure.
The plugin doesn’t offer many configuration options in its settings page since you can’t modify the compression methods it uses. However, you can choose maximum resolutions for your uploaded images, pick exactly which sizes you want to compress (i.e. thumbnail, medium, etc.), and whether or not to preserve the copyright information of each file if available.
4. ShortPixel Image Optimizer
ShortPixel Image Optimizer packs a nice interface. After installing and activating the plugin, every JPG, PNG, and GIF you upload will be automatically optimized, and this plugin doesn’t enable you to turn off this option at all, as most others do.
A bulk optimization tool is included, and individual images can be compressed by opening your Media Library in the List View format, where each file will appear with an individual Optimize Now button alongside it.
ShortPixel enables you to choose between lossy and lossless compression methods, using the former by default. It optimizes all of the image thumbnails created by WordPress during the upload process, is capable of removing EXIF data (or preserve it you prefer), can establish a maximum resolution for your images, and best of all, it automatically saves a backup of every image you upload to a new folder.
1. WP Performance Score Booster
- Remove any query strings from static resources like CSS & JS files
- Add Vary: Accept-Encoding header, and
- Set expires caching (leverage browser caching).
CDN(Content Delivery Network)
CDN is short for Content Delivery Network which is a network of servers that deliver cached static content from websites to users based on the geographic location of the user. Below are some of the advantages of using a CDN for your WordPress site:
- Improved Speed – Once you started using a CDN on our site, the site got faster.
- Crash Resistance – CDN distributes the load to multiple servers instead of having 100% traffic to the main server thus making it less likely to crash.
- Improved User Experience – Clearly a fast site means improved user experience.
- Improvement in SEO – Google has clearly stated that faster sites tend to rank higher in Search Engines.
CloudFlare is one of the most popular CDN services for WordPress. Besides its excellent CDN feature, the CloudFlare plugin offers other useful features like total protection from spammers and detailed information about the comments on your contents. The superior security features of CloudFlare will help you in keeping your site safe and secure from potential hackers and abusers.
Cloudinary is an excellent free WordPress plugin to supercharge your images. The plugin lets you upload all the images to the cloud. Besides reducing the load on your server, this also helps you in optimizing and backing up your images in an easier and simpler way. You can apply different types of filters and/or effects on your images. Other useful features include face detection, rotate, resize, crop, PDF processing, shape alteration, etc. The fully optimized images are delivered via a superfast CDN system.
3. WP CDN Rewrite
4. Rackspace CDN
If your website is powered by Rackspace’s Cloud Files CDN, you should also take advantage of its official plugin. Rackspace CDN will sync and deliver all the media files of your WordPress website. Once all the media files are synced with the remote server, you have the option to keep them on your server or use them directly from the remote server.
5. CDN Speed Cache
CDN Speed Cache is an excellent free WordPress CDN plugin which offers premium level CDN caching service. By using cloud caching technologies, this plugin will provide a significant boost to your website loading speed. The plugin developers have made it a priority to use only those optimization techniques that do not conflict with other plugins. The plugin will start working within an hour of installing and activating on your website.
What is a good load time?
According to Google, the best practice is three seconds. Unfortunately, according to its recent benchmark report findings, most sites are nowhere near that.
In an analysis of 900,000 mobile ad landing pages spanning 126 countries, Google found that 70% of the pages analyzed took nearly seven seconds for the visual content above the fold to display.
The average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds, but 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load.
Plus, as page load time goes from one to ten seconds, the probability of a mobile user bouncing increases by 123%.
Getting your WordPress website load times to where you want them to be is a challenging undertaking, but will have a significant positive impact on your overall site performance.
Spend some time looking through your site’s speed test results and look for the issues that have the greatest impact on your load times. Focus on those high-impact factors and take the necessary steps to get them into shape.
What is your favorite WordPress plugin for speeding up your site speed?