Here’s the field. A list of WordPress speed optimization plugins to make your site load faster?None bring quite firepower to the game as WP Optimiser.
Cache plugins, image compression, image delay and more. We have tried most of these on production sites in (sometimes vain hopes) attempt websites load% faster.
One recommended set is running your WordPress site through GTmetrix (check the Page Speed and YSlow tabs) or another speed testing tool to use as a benchmark . Once you’ve installed each plugin, retest your GTmetrix scores to see how it affects your page load time and scores. Most plugins have at least a 4.5 star rating within WP already.
Here’s the list…
WP Rocket was rated the #1 cache plugin in this Facebook poll and is what I use on my site. It’s a $39 premium plugin but is well worth it if site speed important. I even did my own test on WP Rocket vs. WP Fastest Cache. vs. W3 Total Cache, and WP Rocket gave me the best load times. Note you should only be using 1 cache plugin at a time, however it’s best to try out at least 2-3 (the ones I listed) to see which one gives you the best results/scores in Pingdom/GTmetrix. Here you can see WP Rocket in a head-to-head test against Viper Cache.
WP Fastest Cache
This is the highest rated free cache plugin and is relatively simple to configure. Unlike WP Rocket, this plugin doesn’t have an option for lazyloading images/videos, database cleanup, and other options… so you will need to use WP Optimise and the Lazy Load For Videos plugins if you want those features too.
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache can perform well in some contexts, not so well on others. The W3 Total Cache settings are difficult to configure, a start contrast with WP Optimise. After a couple of years of running W3 Total Cache we abandoned it after a series of fatal issues.
WP Optimize (not WP Optimiser)
Removes trash, spam, post revisions, transients, and other cruft files stored in your database which after accumulating, can slow down both your WordPress site and admin backend. You can run this every couple weeks (both WP Optimize and WP Rocket have an option to schedule), but this will add to your site’s overhead.
Lazy Load For Videos
The Lazy Load plugin replaces embedded Youtube and Vimeo videos with a clickable preview that when clicked, will load the video— obviously this will not allow for the auto-playing of videos. Videos often slow site loads considerably. If you’re using WP Rocket they have this feature in the “basic” settings.
Imagify fixes the “optimize images” items in GTmetrix (lossless compression).. Imagify gives you 25MB/month free then you need to buy a plan or wait until next month for it to reset. Again, WP Optimise is cleaner option, with the batch option allows you to accomplish this with a free account.
Here’s a succinct take on Heartbeat control. “If you commonly leave your WordPress admin up for long periods of time, especially while writing or editing a post, the repeated POST requests can cause high resource usage and slow down your site. Heartbeat Control allows you to manage the frequency of the WordPress heartbeat API and you can change the frequency to 15-60 seconds, or disable it completely. This is one option missing from WP Optimise.
Disables many features that consume CPU slow site performance:
Allows you to disable:
- Google Maps
- RSD (Really Simple Discovery) tag
- Shortlink Tag
- WordPress API from header
- Windows Live Writer tag
- WordPress Generator Tag
- Pingbacks + trackbacks
- WooCommerce scripts
- WooCommerce reviews
- Woocommerce Cart Fragments
It can also paginate comments after 20 comments or disable them after 28 days.j
The downside to the optimization approach is, of course, you are losing all of this functionality.
P3 Plugin Performance Profiler – Depecrated
This was our go to tool for many years. Too many plugins will significantly slow down your site. P3 identifies your slowest loading plugins and organizes them in a nice pie chart. This allows you to search for a plug-in with similar function, but less impact..
- Install the plugin
- Go to your plugins menu
- Under P3 click Scan Now > Auto Scan
- Wait for P3 to analyze your slowest plugins
- Replace slow plugins with lightweight plugins
- Deactivate and delete all plugins you don’t use
- Delete plugins you only need at certain times, then reinstall when needed
P3 Profiler hasn’t been updated for years and may not work. An alternative is to run your site through GTmetrix and use the Waterfall tab. You can also check this list of plugins that consume high resources from the WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group.
Selectively disables plugins on certain pages/posts and change the order in which they load— can be an impressive troubleshooting tool. Contact form and social sharing plugins don’t need to be on every page/post so only use the plugins you need.
Autoptimize addresses expired headers, minification, others typical problems. Using a cache plugin (eg. W3 Total Cache) to complement Autooptimize is recommended by the plugin developer. This is one capable alternative to WP Optimise.