Blogging on WordPress, but afraid of bulking up your site and slowing it up? Here comes the good news: there are several plugins that can make your website faster than usual. Notably though, there are plugins that can also make your site slower. This is a no-no more so because Google considers page speed as an important ranking factor. Take a look at below.
Faster WordPress Site
For identifying plugins that slow down the site
P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)
P3 is a diagnostic plugin wherein it measures how each plugin in your website affects its load time. In most cases, your website have too many plugins or poorly configured plugins. The site is slow because of what are installed. The most common culprit is social sharing plugins which bloat page load speed.
GTmetrix for WordPress
When it comes to determining the overall performance of your site, you can use GTmetric for WordPress. The plugin tracks your installs and sends alerts whenever your website fails below pre-defined criteria. You can also schedule analysis and reporting on a frequency that is most convenient for you.
For browser caching
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is very useful in leveraging browser caching. W3 Total Cache is considered the only WPO (WordPress Performance Optimization) framework that is specifically designed for the purpose of improving the site’s speed and thereby user experience (UX). This plugin increases server performance and reduces download times. It can be easily integrated with your content delivery network (CDN). GoDadddy and HostGator, among others, recommend the use of this plugin. Even Matt Cutts is using W3 Total Cache.
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache performs the same function as W3 Total Cache. WP Super Cache generates static HTML files and serve to your site users. It diminishes the job to process comparatively heavier files such as PHP generated cache files.
DB Cache Reloaded Fix
If you want to cache database query, you can use DB Cache Reloaded Fix. This plugin uses less disk space and is extremely easy to use. Enable the plugin, pick a time and empty the filter. The plugin will not update, insert or delete.
For compressing the site
Force Gzip speeds up load time by deploying a GZIP output compression action. The plugin can also detect when the browsers are erroneously claims that they are not supporting when they do in actuality. Compressing the ZIP file saves bandwidth and reduces the total file size, so that sending the file to the users will then be easier and faster.
For compressing images
The majority of the WordPress sites includes images that consume a significant portion of bandwidth, and the solution is WP Smush.it. The plugin automatically compresses these images upon upload on your media library without affecting the quality of the images. It optimizes JPEG compression and converts GIFs to PNGs. The best part, you can compress images stored in the library by running them through WP Smush.it.
EWWW Image Optimizer is an alternative to WP Smush.it. The plugin automatically optimizes the images while being uploaded in your library.
Hammy is a plugin that generates and serves responsive-oriented images to the users. The plugin resizes the image based on the available content area, but still depends on content width. With this, the users are served with the most appropriate image based on what device they are using. Hammy supports retina.
BJ Lazy Load
Another great plugin for saving bandwidth is BJ Lazy Load. Lazy loading means replacing the images, thumbnails, gravatars and even content iframes with placeholders. The contents will be loaded when the user gets close to the image, for instance, as he or she scrolls the page. BJ Lazy Load also works with widgets. For responsive designs, the plugin automatically serves scaled-down images. For hiDPI screens, it serves hiDPI images.
Substitutes to BJ Lazy Load are Lazy Load, jQuery Image Lazy Load WP and Image Lazy Load (Unveil.js). For lightweight alternatives, you may use Rocket Lazy Load (2KB) and Unveil Lazy Load (0.5KB).
For cleaning up the website database
WordPress autosaves. Period. One disadvantage of such is that the database will be easily filled up with unnecessary files such as drafts, revisions, unapproved comments, trashed items and even pingbacks and trackbacks. WP-Optimize is a great plugin because it routinely clears your database. It will leave those that need to be kept. Potentially harmful cleanup options are highlighted in red. Backup your database before you use the plugin.
In optimizing WordPress database, you can use WP-DBManager alternatively. This plugin schedules database optimization dates. Aside from this, it also repairs, backups, restores and deletes backup database whenever necessary. It runs selected queries and drops or empties tables.
For storing revisions
There are instances when we want to control what post revisions we can store. Again, WordPress autosaves your drafts and revisions which can be easily removed using Revision Control plugin. An unnecessary amount of drafted posts will be removed through setting the plugin to a minim of 3 revisions, for example. Enabling, disabling and limiting the number of provisions is possible on a per post basis. The plugin has Revisions Meta box which also allows users to delete specific revisions.
For backing up files
Top Plugins for Faster WordPress Site
Speaking of backups, every blogger and website owner should backup their database. Install a plugin like Backup. Backups are in the form of zipped archives which will be then uploaded to any folder of your choice in Google Drive. What’s great about this plugin is you control what are being backed up such as database, files and directories. You can also schedule automatic backups if you want.
Better WordPress (BWP) Minify
Another coder-friendly plugin is WP-Compress-HTML. When coding, spaces, new lines, new tabs, indentations and carriage returns are used to make the contents more human-readable. These are necessary to collaborate and debug HTML documents. Nonetheless, these elements add up to the HTML document file size. WP-Compress-HTML removes such elements of the HTML document. Another great thing about the plugin is the feature of marking areas of the template reserved for preserving white space.
For monitoring malware
Malware also slows down your website, and there are malwares that are very difficult to detect. To determine whether there are malicious codes on your site, you may choose to install Sucuri Scanner. This plugin is a security suite that audits security activities, monitors file integrity, scans remote malware, monitors blacklist, hardens effective security and acts on post-hack security. It notifies the owner in case of any attempts of security breach, for example.
Evidently, there are several plugins that you can use in speeding up your WordPress site. However, the rule of thumb is using a maximum of 10 plugins. Anything more than that will slow down your site, which defeats the purpose of installing these plugins in the first place. You can experiment to determine which plugins best suit your website.