5 Plugins to Speed Up WordPress Websites
By Jash Unadkat, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - July 21, 2020
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems in existence. It is used frequently by businesses to create and maintain websites offering information, and services. As per research by Kinsta, 37% of websites on the internet are built using WordPress. This is quite significant, compared to competitors like Wix (1.6%) and Joomla’s (2.6%) global website shares respectively.
Despite all the effort that teams or individuals invest in developing rich and multifaceted WordPress websites, something that can inevitably ruin user experience is website speed, or rather, the lack thereof. A previous article discussed why website speed matters for businesses and why one shouldn’t avoid optimizing website speed.
This article delves into how WordPress users can accelerate their websites by leveraging speed optimization plugins in WordPress.
1. W3 – Total Cache for effective caching
W-3 Total Cache is a highly preferred plugin among website developers and the WordPress community. This advanced plugin enhances website performance by reducing page load times considerably via leveraging CDN integration. It also results in improved SEO and user experience. Because of its benefits, this free to use plugin is trusted by millions of publishers globally.
The WordPress speed optimization plugin provides the following benefits:
- Improved page rankings in search engines particularly for mobile-friendly websites
- Faster rendering of pages leads to at least 10x improvement in overall site performance
- Bandwidth savings of up to 80%
- Increased visitor time on site – leading to more conversions
Refer to this official resource to learn how to integrate this plugin on your site.
Just download the plugin, upload it in the directory file and activate it through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress.
3. WP Smush for optimizing images
Images make content more meaningful and appealing. They are an integral part of websites. However, higher resolution images tend to have larger file sizes which in turn, takes a toll on website speed. WP Smush is an award-winning plugin recognized for image compression. It helps reduce the overall size of images without degrading their visual quality.
WP Smush is a go-to plugin for one million+ WordPress users for the following reasons:
- Supports all standard image formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF
- Eliminates metadata and unused colors from images
- Provides compatibility with other plugins and compresses every image in the directory
- In case there are multiple images to be added, it can optimize 50 images at a time
4. Incorporating Lazy Load using Lazy Load by WP Rocket
The natural behavior of a website includes loading the entire content of a page automatically when a user visits the site for the first time. In case the webpage has long-form content with multiple images, naturally, the loading time is going to be slower.
An effective way to tackle this issue is to use Lazy loading. It’s a technique that loads only the images within the first fold of a visitor’s browser window. Doing this ensures that the page doesn’t load the content all at once. For example, if a web page has ten images listed only the first few will be loaded initially and the rest will be loaded as the user scrolls down.
Also read: How to check website loading time?
Lazy load by WP rocket is a free plugin that makes this possible for WordPress users. It’s a highly recommended plugin that reduces HTTP requests in order to enhance the initial loading time.
5. Optimizing WordPress Database using WP-Optimize
Every time a WordPress user adds a new post, WordPress creates a revision for the same page or post. For example, if a blogger edits a post four times, WordPress creates three copies of the same post as revisions. This leads to inefficiency in the database.
Besides, a blog with multiple posts may have received numerous spam messages and un-approved comments in the comments section. WP-Optimize helps resolve this issue by removing unnecessary revisions that result in bloat and slow access. It also helps users identify which table in the database contains unnecessary data. This helps with cleaning up the comments table by eliminating all spam and un-approved comments which clears memory space.
WP-Optimize also provides features like caching and image compression. This makes it a multipurpose plugin and a must-have for WordPress users.
Apart from just using plugins, teams should also consider incorporating the following technical enhancements:
- Improving server response time
- Reducing redirects
- Using a CDN to deliver lightning-fast page speeds for visitors from different geographical regions
Refer to this article on how to increase website speed to learn more.
Once the WordPress user has made the necessary optimizations, it’s vital to test the results. To do so, teams must use a website speed test tool to test page load time across a range of real devices and browsers. This will help them evaluate their optimization efforts.
WordPress has evolved as a highly preferred content management system over the years for creating and maintaining websites. For a WordPress website to deliver impressive results, optimizing it for speed is a must. The plugins listed above, when incorporated correctly will enhance user experience significantly for WordPress websites.