Speed is one of the most important features of any website. With only one chance to make a great first impression, your website must be on top of its game. Always. If you want your site to be successful, to have a lot of visitors, and for your voice to be heard, you need to work smart and hard.
Before digging into the world of plugins, there are a couple of things that can help, too.
- If you want a fast WordPress website, you need a fast WordPress theme. Look for a fast and lightweight theme that will not slow down your website with unnecessary features.
- Keep the size of your website under control. It is always better to reduce the size than to pay extra for a hosting plan that will compensate for the large size.
- A smart web hosting choice is crucial. Pick a provider that will grow with you, with quality servers, good security, and quality support.
When it comes to plugins, there is one golden rule: “Install only those with must-have features.”
1. Smush Pro
Oversized and unoptimized images can significantly increase the loading times and performance of your website. This plugin allows you to resize, compress, and optimize all images on your page. With great bulk image optimization that covers your media library and any other image in any directory, this is one of the best free plugins for WordPress.
WordPress caching is one of the best and easiest ways to improve your website’s performance. W3 Total Cache plugins will temporarily store the website’s data in the cache so that it loads faster the next time the user opens the same page. W3 Total Cache features page caching, database caching, object caching, browser caching and a lot more. It also offers HTTP compression of the HTML, JS, and CSS files, and lets you integrate CDN services. This way, you can reduce the page load time, save bandwidth, and increase the website’s speed.
Database optimization is one of the key things for good performance. WPOptimize plugin is used for cleaning up the WordPress database and optimizing it as well. It will remove unnecessary data from WordPress, like spammy and unapproved comments, trash posts, and trackbacks.
4. BJ Lazy Load
Everything comes back to the loading speed of your website and its content. If you need to have a lot of images, you need some magic to improve the loading times. BJ Lazy Load replaces all your images, thumbnails, and content iframes with a placeholder and loads the content as it gets close to entering the browser screen. Images will be displayed only when the user scrolls the page, resulting in faster loading and decreased bandwidth.
5. WP Rocket
WP Rocket is a caching and performance plugin that covers a couple of aspects that can help improve your website’s loading speed and performance. With minimal configuration, WP Rocket offers page caching, cache preloading, static files compression and image & videos on request. Its user-friendly dashboard simplifies the use of this plugin and there are video guides that explain every feature and help you understand what WP Rocket is all about.
This plugin will help you track down bottlenecks in your WordPress site’s database. Note that it is designed for developers, so beginners might struggle to pull meaningful information from the plugin. With Query Monitor, you can see all database queries performed on the current request, slow queries, duplicate queries, and queries with errors. It can also help you with other debugging issues by showing PHP errors, scripts/styles, HTTP requests, etc.
Perfmatters is a handyman for your website. It helps you make a ton of smaller performance improvements to your site that can further reduce your site’s HTTP requests and page size. With this plugin, you can enable and disable scripts on a per-page or per-post basis. This helps if you have a plugin that loads its scripts everywhere even though you only use it on a few pages.
A content delivery network or CDN is a system of distributed servers that deliver pages and other web content to a user based on his or her geographic location, the origin of the webpage, and the content delivery server. Cloudflare CDN is one of many plugins that utilize CDN, but its strength lies in additional benefits. With this plugin, you get additional protection from DDoS attacks, a shared SSL certificate, and an integrated firewall. With improved security, you’ll be certain that your website’s performance will not be affected by any type of attack.
For beginners who want a caching plugin that’s easy to set up, Cache Enabler is a great option to consider for your website. While it doesn’t offer a lot of features compared to other caching plugins, it’s incredibly easy to set up and navigate. It offers cache expiry time setting and minification setup among other things. With just one click, you can clear up cache and allow your website to run faster and perform better.
NitroPack is an all-around speed and optimization platform perfect for any WordPress website. It’s a performance plugin that offers features in several aspects, all in the name of simplifying the process of optimizing website performances. Instead of using multiple plugins that address limited concerns in running a website, NitroPack basically packs everything in one go. It resolves all key concerns and optimizes everything for the user. You can choose the level of optimization you want for your website and NitroPack will take care of everything for you.
A fast website is a must
To put it simply, you need a fast website because the average span of users’ attention is getting smaller every year. You need to serve great content without any delay, and for that to happen, you need great WordPress plugins. Pick them smart and watch as your metrics improve.
First published in December 2019; updated December 2021