Essential Plugins to Speed Up Wordpress
Wordpress is the most popular Content Management System when it comes to building a website and powers millions of websites around the world. While there are several more frameworks and CMS to build websites, Wordpress is still the most used because of its attractive user interface, flexibility and ease of use. Learning Wordpress is easy and you can learn a lot once you start using it within weeks. However, there are a few aspects of Wordpress that may be difficult to master and may take you some research and time to learn.
One of the common concerns for the Wordpress website owners is site speed. For new users it can be particularly difficult to achieve top pagespeed scores. However, speed is now a critical factor and very significant in terms of SEO and SERP rankings. You want to have a fast loading website and pass the core web vitals test.
Plugins have an important role in terms of Wordpress speed and there are several in the Wordpress repository which can make your website fly. While website speed also depends on your server resources and cdn, there are a few things that are critical to site speed and can be achieved only through plugins.
Here we have prepared a list of Wordpress plugins that can significantly speed up your Wordpress site.
WP Rocket: A premium plugin with comprehensive features, including page caching, cache preloading, GZIP compression, minification, and lazy loading. Whatever be your wordpress site type, you definitely need a good caching plugin to speed things up. Currently, at the top of this list is WP Rocket which is a premium caching plugin. The best thing about WP Rocket is that you do not need to be an expert to optimize your website using this plugin.
It comes with all the optimizations and you just need to install the plugin and then switch caching on. It even includes the features that are included in Google Pagespeed and can speed up your website significantly. You will also find database optimization features included in this plugin. WP Rocket also includes cdn and Cloudflare integration features. It is a feature rich and simple to use caching plugin.
WP Super Cache: A free, user-friendly plugin that offers static caching with various options for customization. WP Super Cache is also one of the top and popular caching plugins in the Wordpress repository. This plugin is also simple to use and does not need you to be a technical expert to optimize your website.
There are two types of setups included in this plugin. One of them is simple and the other is expert. You can go for the simple setup if you do not know about the technical settings. WP Supercache generates static html files from your Wordpress blog. It can significantly speed up your Wordpress site for your visitors. 99% of your visitors are served static html pages.
W3 Total Cache: A powerful plugin with extensive features, but a steeper learning curve. It handles caching, minification, CDN integration, and more. With more than one million active installations, W3TC is among the most popular caching plugins available in the Wordpress repository. It is a feature rich plugin which offers page and browser caching as well as minification and compression.
You can also set object caching through this plugin if you have Redis or Memcached installed on your server. W3TC can also be used for applying cdn and for Full Site Delivery using a cdn (premium feature). The plugin comes in both free and premium versions and the basic free version is generally sufficient for a simple Wordpress blog.
LiteSpeed Cache: A free plugin with excellent performance, especially for sites hosted on LiteSpeed servers. It offers server-level caching, image optimization, and more. Litespeed cache is also among the leading cache plugins in the Wordpress repository. While Litespeed cache is most suitable for Litespeed servers, it can be used on just any server including Apache and Nginx. Litespeed cache is also widely popular among Wordpress users.
Like W3TC, Litespeed Cache also includes several mind blowing performance features and allows for Redis integration. Litespeed includes a vast number of speed solutions including minification, compression, lazy loading, webp support and so on. However, there are a few ready made settings that you can enable if you do not want to manually set up everything. Litespeed can make your Wordpress site fly.
Image Optimization Plugins:
Optimizing images on your website is also critical to speeding up your site. It is advisable to use modern formats like WebP and there are a few plugins that can help you optimize images, resize and convert them to the desired format. Here is a list of most popular and effective image optimization plugins for Wordpress. Smush is available in both free and pro versions and you will need the pro version to achieve the best level of optimization.
Smush: Automatically compresses images without sacrificing quality, reducing file sizes and improving loading speeds. Smush is the most widely used image optimization plugin. You can optimize, resize and compress images using this plugin. You can also use smush to convert images to WebP format for faster loading webpages. Smush is a one stop solution for all your image related needs and if you have too many images on your website, you really need it for performance optimization. Smush also includes lazy loading features.
EWWW Image Optimizer: Offers lossless and lossy compression, WebP conversion, and bulk optimization for existing images. EWWW Image Optimizer is another superb image optimization plugin and provides excellent compression. This plugin also features all the essential image optimization options like Lazy Load, image resizing, and WebP conversion. The users having too many images on their websites can benefit from the premium plan of EWWW Image Optimizer. The premium plans start from $7 and offer extra benefits like auto webP, auto resize, unlimited cdn images and so on.
ShortPixel: Compresses images using a variety of algorithms, provides WebP conversion, and integrates with cloud services. Short Pixel is also an effective plugin for image optimization and also among the most popular ones for Wordpress. You can easily optimize your existing and new images with the help of Short Pixel, convert to WebP and so on. The plugin automatically resizes and rescales any new images you upload to your website. ShortPixel is a lightweight and easy to use plugin and popular because of its one click optimization option.
Optimole: Optimole is another well known image optimization plugin in the wordpress repository. It claims to be a one stop solution for all your image optimization related needs. Users can have images delivered through Optimole’s free cdn for up to 5k monthly visits. It is easy to set up and includes a nice range of features including support for modern image formats and one click automated settings.
Lazy Loading Plugins:
Lazy Load by WP Rocket: Loads images and videos only when they enter the viewport, reducing initial page load time. If you are using WP Rocket on your Wordpress site, which is a premium caching plugin, you do not need to worry about Lazy loading. You can easily switch this feature on by just a click.
A3 Lazy Load: Offers lazy loading for images, iframes, and videos, with customization options for loading behavior. A3 Lazy Load is an excellent plugin for lazy loading images, iframes, and videos on your website. It includes support for WebP formats and can automatically detect WebP images. You can also lazy load images with a fade in or spinner effect.
Database Optimization Plugins:
WP-Optimize: Cleans up the database by removing unnecessary data like post revisions, spam comments, and transients.
Advanced Database Cleaner: Provides a comprehensive set of tools for cleaning up and optimizing the WordPress database.
Additional Performance Plugins:
Perfmatters: Disables unnecessary scripts and features, controls font loading, and offers various performance tweaks. Perfmatters is an excellent performance plugin that can help you significantly speed up your website by disabling unnecessary scripts including comments and comment links, RSS feeds, XMLRPC, heart beat, embeds and so on. You can also use it to optimize JS on your website and disable scripts on specific pages as well as for applying a CDN. There are several additional features included with Perfmatters that can help improve the performance of your Wordpress website significantly.
Query Monitor: Identifies performance bottlenecks and helps diagnose issues that may be slowing down your site. If you are unable to find what is slowing down your website, use the Query monitor plugin to discover the reason.
Choose plugins based on your specific needs and website setup.
Use a performance testing tool to measure the impact of plugins before and after activation.
Keep plugins updated to ensure compatibility and security.
Overusing plugins can have a negative impact on performance. Use only essential plugins and remove any that are inactive or unnecessary.
Too many plugins can significantly slow down your website and therefore keep only the essential ones and try to use the light weight substitutes for each plugin functionality you need on your website. Select plugins from a good plugin author and check the reviews before installing it. You may need to do some testing and optimization to settle on the right toolkit or set of plugins to keep your website performing smoothly.