Did you know that humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish? The average human has an attention span of 8 seconds and a goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds.
According to a report by Kissmetrics, 47 percent of users expect a site to load within 2 to 3 seconds, 40 percent of users would abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load, and a site that loads after 5 seconds can see a great increase in bounce rates, poor conversion rates, and terrible performance in the SERPs.
An example of how a slow page can affect conversion is Amazon. Amazon discovered that for every second it took their website to load, they lost an estimated 1.6 billion dollars. To put this in numbers, a second delay can reduce your conversion rates by up to 7 percent.
You cannot afford to waste any second on the internet. The speed of your WordPress site matters!
Optimizing the speed of your site comes with a ton of advantages for bloggers and content creators. Some benefits to note are:
- A fast website improves visitor experience and Google user engagement index. According to Google, the satisfaction of a user drops by 16% with every 1-second delay.
- Improving your page speed also help you to reach your marketing goals faster. You would notice more visits, retention, lesser bounce rates, increased lead generation on landing pages, and more sales for your business.
Fortunately, WordPress as a content management system offers a ton of plugins to help improve the quality of your site. There are plugins you can you use for search engine optimization, membership plugins, editorial plugins, and a lot more.
In this guide, we would be looking at 17 best plugins to speed up your WordPress site.
1. WP Rocket
WP Rocket is one of the most powerful caching plugin available to WordPress users. The plugin already has over 900,000+ active installations on WordPress.
The plugin is beginner-friendly with minimal configurations and setups. You do not need to learn any programming since the plugin launches on activation.
WP Rocket also comes with a user-friendly and intuitive dashboard that makes it easy for you to monitor your site.
Along with page caching, this plugin optimizes the rendering of web browsers and saves bandwidth by performing gzip compressions, expires headers and etags. It also stores browser caches, static content, CSS images in your browser so that when a visitor visits another page on the site, the static content would not reload again.
One great feature it comes with is lazyloading – images on your site loads as a visitor scrolls down your content. Major websites like Facebook and YouTube use this to increase speed.
2. WP Optimize
WP Optimize is an all in one plugin that helps you to clean up your database, compress images and perform caches. The plugin is one of the fastest caching plugins available and is efficient in keeping your site fast and optimized.
The WordPress database serves to store everything that you need for your website. Some of the things stored are not needed (pingbacks, unapproved comments, spam, stale data) and only suck up space and slows down your site. WP Optimize removes this unnecessary data and even retrieves space lost to fragmented data.
The plugin also has an efficient image compression tool that helps convert large images into compressed files that can be loaded in an instant.
Perfmatters is great in reducing the size of your site. The way the plugin works is by disabling the features that you are not using on your site. For example, default emojis would show on every page on your site. They slow down your site speeds and if you are not using them, there is no point keeping it.
Perfmatters disable scripts that you do not need so that you can reduce the number of HTTP requests and the page size.
Another way it helps increase speed is by limiting post revisions. Post revisions can fill up your site’s database quickly and cause your site to slow down. By limiting some of these default WordPress features, you ensure that you have a fast site.
Some of the important features include: disable emojis, disable embeds, remove query strings, remove wordpress version number, remove shortlink, disable rss feeds, remove rss feed links, remove dashicons and lots more.
ShortPixel increases your website’s speed and performance by reducing the size of images. It is a freemium tool that is lightweight and easy to install.
After installing the plugin, you can forget about it and it would take care of all the optimizations in the background. New images are automatically resized, rescaled and optimized in the background.
It also compresses PDF files and is compatible with any slider, gallery or e-commerce plugin. Even images that are not uploaded to your website’s Media Library such as images directly uploaded to FTP are optimized. After images are compressed, they are glossy and lossless – this means that they do not lose their quality.
With over 100,000 installations, you should try this tool.
5 WP Fastest Cache
WP Fastest Cache is a great tool that focuses on improving performance via caching. The plugin generates a static HTML file and saves it so that a page would not need to render over and over again.
The plugin is also very easy to install and setup. The app also modifies your .htaccess file automatically. It also allows you set cache expiration times for selected URL strings.
The plugin has over 1+million installations with amazing reviews. Another added feature that is really helpful is it’s CDN, Cloudflare, and SSL support.
6. WP Smush.it
Smush.it is a super-sharp image compression plugin that smushes huge photos of up 32MB. The tool helps you to optimize images and remove unnecessary bytes and reduces the size of images.
The plugin is completely free and reduces the size of your image without it losing its quality. It is very efficient and saves you time by compressing up to 50 images in a stretch.
Another great feature is that it optimizes images that are not even in your media library. You can set it to asynchronously auto-smush your attachments for a faster upload. With global and individual multi-site settings, you can compress images at any time.
The plugin allows you to perform code cleanups so that you can clear up unnecessary files and data that makes your site bulky and slow. The site comes with more than 50 features to help you speed up your site and optimize it for search engines.
Clearfy also automatically remove WordPress page duplicates, remove posts pagination, and eliminates duplicate post comments.
8. Lazyload by WP Rocket
By default, when a user visits a site, the whole page loads at once. If a page contains lots of images or videos, it can take a very long time for the page to load.
The whole page does not need to load at the same time, especially when it contains huge images like infographics.
9. WP YouTube Lyte
WP YouTube lyte plugin allows you to lazy load your videos using lite YouTube embeds. This plugin looks similar to the normal embedded videos, but it reduces the size of the video substantially and also the rendering time.
The plugin is very useful when you have multiple YouTube videos in the same page. Videos can increase how long a page loads if you do not optimize it. With this plugin, you can change your load time from 5 seconds to 1.5 seconds.
10. Pre* Party Resource Hints
If you use external resources frequently on your site, they can slow down your site significantly. The pre* party resource hints plugin can help reduce the size of these resources and improve the speed of your site.
The plugin allows users to automatically and easily embed resource hints to improve page load time.
This plugin also supports DNS prefetch, prerender, reconnect and preload.
11. OMGF (Optimize My Google Fonts)
The OMGF plugin allows you to optimize your google fonts so that you can leverage browser caching and minimize DNS requests.
This plugin is very user-friendly and helps you to download google fonts automatically and add them to a stylesheet in your header. Adding this stylesheet would ensure that any requests from external Google fonts that are loaded from fonts.gstatic.com or fonts.googleapies.com which normally slows down a site are removed.
Doing all this would help decrease your page load times, minimize DNS requests, and leverage browser caching.
12. Harry’s Gravatar Cache
Loading your gravatars from Gravatar server can cause your site to load slower. Harry’s Gravatar Cache plugin helps to improve site speed by caching Gravatars so that they load from your web server instead of Gravatar server.
Other features include changing your Gravatar size, changing the cache time, and emptying the cache.
Autoptimize makes it very easy to speed up your WordPress site. The plugin allows you to minify and cache scripts without any programming knowledge.
14. AMP for WP
AMP for WP automatically helps you to add accelerated mobile pages to your site. Accelerated mobile pages is a feature created by Google to help sites loads much faster.
The plugin allows you to render a lightweight version of your site and further increases the speed for mobile users. It also supports Adsense, contact form 7, call-to-actions, Yoast SEO, email opt-ins, and a lot more plugins.
15. GTmetrix for WordPress
GTmetrix is a handy WordPress plugin that helps you keep track of your site and notify you when there are errors that can slow down the speed of your site. The plugin monitors your Page Speed, YSlow scores and load times.
The plugin would also give you reports on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. After a routine analysis and your site falls short in any way, the plugin would send you a report about the health of your site in the WordPress admin dashboard.
16. WP Super Minify
Minifying allows you to compress and combine JS, HTML, and CSS files that are served to your visitors so that the amount of time a page takes to load reduces.
Note that you have to ensure that the plugin works properly with your site’s theme and the other plugins you use.
17. Cache Enable
Cache Enabler is another good plugin created by the team at KeyCDN. It is an efficient and fast disk cache engine that automatically helps you to clear your cache.
The plugin is lightweight and takes a few minutes to be installed. The idea for the plugin is efficiency so it comes with only a few features that you absolutely need. Some of these features include
You can also use it with its sister plugin CDN Enabler to add a content delivery network service.
If you are finding it difficult to speed up your WordPress site, installing just one or two of the plugins in this article can cause a significant improvement in your page load time.
Note that you don’t have to install all the plugins I have mentioned in this article. Download only the ones you need. The lesser, the better. The reason for installing these plugins is to make it lighter so that you can increase productivity and efficiency, not add excess plugins that would make your site bulky.