One of the best ways to ensure that your website does not come across as sloppy is caching. Other known methods, beside using speed optimization plugins, include reducing image sizes and minifying codes. Although these do not make a slow site automatically run faster, they work to reduce the delivery time of websites. In other words, the time it would take for users to access pages they search for would be cut down. Why is this?
Having seen some ways you can optimize your website speed, let us proceed to review some plugins that would be a great addition to your site for this purpose. But first, why do you need plugins to optimize your site speed when you can maneuver on your own?
Why You Need Speed Optimization Plugins on Your Site
Some general benefits of having plugins for optimal site speed on your website include;
Improved SERP rankings – Speed optimization is known to have an impact on the SEO of websites. This has to do with your site having users exiting your site almost immediately. This, of course, would be inevitable if users lose interest before they can access your content. By extension, having plugins that assist in optimizing the speed of said websites, reduces the bounce rates on your site and translates to better SERP rankings.
Effective caching – Certain speed optimization plugins can determine best what pages should or should not be cached. Not only does it make this decision, these plugins automatically take action.
Time effectiveness – As with other plugins, speed optimization plugins reduce the amount of work you would have to put in if you had to manually take steps towards freeing up space on your site's backend.
Storage – Using speed optimization plugins, you get to store cached objects for longer periods than stated by the web application rules.
With these few general importance of having speed optimization plugins in mind, let us consider some top WordPress plugins that are effective for site speed optimization.
Top Speed Optimization Plugins for Your Website
1. LiteSpeed Cache
LiteSpeed Cache is a speed optimization plugin with several features that make it a go-to plugin amongst several site owners. One such feature is the HTTP/2 Push which allows site owners to include add-ons to cached pages that are rendered to site users before they are requested. Other key features of the LiteSpeed cache are highlighted below.
LSCache offers DNS prefetching with which domain names are resolved beforehand, therefore improving site performance.
It has options for the advanced optimization of images.
In a case where the contents of a page are updated, the plugin automatically purges the previously cached file to ensure that site users access the most recent content.
LiteSpeed cache offers a free version and a range of paid versions. These paid plans start from as low as $10 to $92 monthly.
With help from the available presets and the option to customize a preset, LiteSpeed cache stands as a plugin that is suitable for tech beginners and the tech-savvy as well.
By working at the server level, LiteSpeed cache can bypass database queries and PHP scripts that are normally slow to generate.
Being a server-level cache, site owners need to place their entire hosting stack on the LiteSpeed server. This becomes an issue as only some WordPress installations can run on this server.
2. WP Rocket
WP Rocket is a paid WordPress plugin that focuses on optimizing site speed for a better on-site experience. For many site owners, this plugin cuts across as an all-in-one fix to their needs in terms of speed optimization. Alongside its reputation for requiring minimal configuration before it runs, the plugin offers the following features.
Cache preloading - This feature reloads the contents of the site, regenerating a cache whenever changes are made across pages.
Render-blocking - The render-blocking feature of the plugin optimizes speed across pages as it prioritizes important pages over less important ones.
Lazy loading - This feature places the loading of images and other media on hold until they are requested by users.
Paid plans available on WP Rocket start at $57 annually.
The minification of the plugin automatically extracts unnecessary characters that make the code behind the page less bulky.
Your page data is cached and optimized as spam content, trash, and old content are removed.
Image caching is not a feature that you would get using the core plugin. In other words, you need to install a separate plugin, Imagify, for image optimization.
The plugin is difficult to fully grasp. When site owners using this plug-in encounter problems like broken sites, a degree of coding knowledge is required to reverse the enhancement that led to the issue.
If you would like to utilize this plug-in on WordPress, you would first have to sign up for it, download the plugin, then upload it on WordPress. This process could carry some security concerns.
3. W3 Total Cache
If you have gained a good level of coding and web development knowledge, W3 Total Cache would prove intriguing to you. Using this plug-in, site owners gain complete control over the caching activities that go into site speed optimization. While its free version provides several features that make the plugin highly suitable for advanced optimization, the paid version opens the window to even more benefits. Some features of the W3 Total cache are noted below.
Fragment caching - The fragment caching feature of this plug-in allows it to limit caching only to specific contents on entire pages. This contributes to reducing the load time of the server upon queries.
Reverse proxy integration - Having a reverse proxy server such as Nirgnix or Varnish act as a form of middle server, cached content is delivered to site visitors faster than usual.
Lazy loading - As with WP Rocket, W3 Total cache offers a lazy loading feature. While the WordPress core itself offers this feature, it is not compatible with every browser. In instances like this, the lazy loading feature offered by W3 Total cache would come in handy.
Aside from the free plan, the paid plan on W3 Total cache costs $99 annually.
With insights provided by the tool, site owners can measure the impact or effectiveness of the plugin on their pages.
The plugin equally extends its optimization services to mobile devices. In other words, both desktop and mobile devices that access the sites in question would enjoy an optimized website.
The wide range of settings and options can be overwhelming for users that are not familiar with the interface. If not properly configured, your website’s functionality can be threatened.
It can conflict with other plugins and cause broken functionality because of its nature of caching and optimization.
This WordPress plugin is designed to help clean and optimize the WordPress database. Using WP-Optimize will help you improve your site performance by optimizing data, removing unnecessary data tables, and reducing the database overhead. Some interesting features of the WP optimize plugin include the following.
Database cleaning - WP-Optimize helps you in removing unnecessary data which may include post revisions, spammed comments, and more. In doing this, the size of your database reduces and the performance of your website improves.
Database optimization - WP Optimize can defragment your database and reclaim unused space hence optimizing the database. This results in an overall increase in site speed.
You can set scheduled cleanups to ensure the optimization of the database without manual intervention.
Aside from the free plan, it has several paid versions ranging from $29 to $179.
Compatibility: The WP-Optimize plugin is widely used together with many other themes and plugins. It works well with these themes and plugins. However, it is advised that you test any plugin, WP-Optimize included, in a staging environment before using it on a live site.
WP-Optimize reduces the regular maintenance process by automating tasks that may be time-consuming or complex.
It is easy to use.
WP-optimize, though programmed to delete unused data, can accidentally delete important data. It is advised you back up your sites’ data before carrying out any important database operations.
Some plugins may not be compatible with wp-optimize and may lead to conflicts and errors
Beginners may find the concept of database optimization and cleanup difficult to grasp.
Before using any of these plugins, you should remember that their effectiveness depends on the specific needs of your websites and configurations. So, endeavor to put factors such as compatibility, features of the free and paid versions, and your technical prowess into consideration before selecting any of these plugins listed above.