WordPress plugins are great for adding extra functionality to a website. Some can even make sites load and display more quickly, which is impressive considering WordPress plugins are notorious for just the opposite…
Here are our top 9 WordPress Plugins for site speed:
- Query Monitor. Perhaps the closest thing to the sadly neglected P3 Plugin Profiler, Query Monitor can reveal which plugins are taking time to load. It’s also effective at identifying enqueued scripts and PHP errors, and measuring MySQL performance.
- W3 Total Cache. Total Cache is one of the most detailed optimization plugins. It handles page caching, CSS minification and database caching. The interface includes Yoast’s iconic traffic-light notifications, but it’s not recommended for WP beginners as it tends to be a little complicated.
- WP Super Cache. With 5.5 million clients including Google’s Matt Cutts (previously a Total Cache advocate), Super Cache is a simplified alternative with an Easy settings tab. It excels at serving static HTML files and regularly deleting cached files.
- WP Rocket. The third caching tool on our list of WordPress plugins is compatible with Cloudflare, ecommerce plugins and Google fonts. DNS prefetching is another integral feature, in a plugin reminiscent of Super Cache’s button-driven interface.
- WP Smush. Alongside caching, image compression can improve page loading times. Smush losslessly scales down JPGs, PNGs and GIFs to specified parameters, removing metadata from JPGs. It can even batch compress 50 images at a time.
- BJ Lazy Load. Alternatively, why not delay image loading until users are scrolling to visible parts of the page? BJ Lazy Load drops placeholders into spaces where images, thumbnails and video clips will appear, loading pages in chunks so they display faster.
- Cloudflare. One of the best-known WordPress plugins, Cloudflare is a free content delivery network. CDNs store static files on rapid-access servers, and Cloudflare’s default settings will be perfectly suitable for many users.
- WP Super Minify. Minifying is a technical way of combining JS, CSS and HTML files. Compressed files can then be delivered to web browsers more quickly. WP Super Minify is effective and easy to use.
- WP-DBManager. Our final plugin regulates databases, which can often slow a site’s performance. DBManager optimizes and repairs databases, as well as backing up files and removing empty tables to incrementally improve site speeds.
It’s worth noting that their homemade nature means plugins often become obsolete over time. Popular tools like Hammy and P3 Plugin Profiler have withered on the vine in recent years, so it’s crucial to ensure plugins are still being supported and update them whenever possible. Even accelerators can slow a site down if they’re inefficient or outdated…