The key to WordPress speed and performance is simplicity. Less plugins means more WordPress speed and performance. There is a good reason for that.
WordPress plugins are pieces of code outside the WordPress core. They exist in a parallel universe so to speak. For the plugins to be useful and functional they have to make a jump in the WordPress core world.
This is when WordPress performance and speed starts to decrease. When WordPress plugins make the jump, WordPress core has to stop. Run the plugin. Then continue with its stuff.
In today’s world with super cheap, super fast servers and software that’s not a big problem. Everything happens in milliseconds. Extra functionality wins over a small drop in WordPress performance.
WordPress Performance and Speed vs User Perceived Speed
Things start to get ugly when there are lots of plugin jumps. Every WordPress plugin takes a bit of time to run. Put all together and milliseconds sum up to half a second or seconds.
If you care about WordPress speed it’s important to choose your WordPress plugins wisely. Keep it simple. Choose plugins with good code and simple functionality. Run tests using tools like Debug Objects. Measure performance before and after installing the plugin. Decide what is more important to you. A delay in script execution or extra functionality.
WordPress performance is one thing. User perceived speed is another. If you care about your visitors your website should load in a snap. You want to maximize WordPress performance and improve visitor perceived time.
Trying to find a balance between the two is hard. Don’t worry. I have you covered. This is my 2015 WordPress performance tips and plugins for you.
WP Super Cache
I’ve been using WP Super Cache forever. Then I switched to W3 Total Cache (W3TC) for 4 years. Now i’m back to WP Super Cache for a good reason. Simplicity.
WP Super Cache is made by the same people who make WordPress. It solves a single problem. Page caching. That’s it. Nothing else.
Simple and fast. It also supports CDNs but i don’t use this functionality. More about that later.
Switching back to WP Super Cache from W3 Total Cache created a problem. Optimizing CSS and JS files. This is where Autoptimize plugin kicks in.
It does exactly that and nothing more. Autoptimize will
- Concatenate all scripts and styles
- Minifiy and compresses scripts and styles
- Add expires headers and cache scripts and styles
- Move styles to page head
- Move scripts to page footer
- Minify HTML
Autoptimize is super easy to configure and effective.
WordPress Instant Articles
Page caching, scripts and styles optimization take place on the server. There is more you can do to increase the perceived speed of WordPress. This is what Instant Articles do.
Using the latest web performance technologies and HTML5, Instant Articles loads pages faster. It works with any page cache plugin too. WordPress Instant Articles will
- Pre-render pages in the background
- Add DNS prefetch tags to minimize network delays
- Add Link Prefetch tags to download low priority files in idle browser time
- Add Link Subresource tags to download high priority files as fast as possible
With page pre-render the browser loads WordPress posts and pages in the background. It does all the work in a hidden tab. When a user click on the pre-rendered post it appears instantly. Because it’s already loaded but hidden.
DNS prefetch works with browser algorithms to resolve domain names in advance. Minimizing any network delays in the background
Link Subresource hints the browser for high priority files. Think your website’s main CSS file or important JS files.
These are technologies Google Instant Search and Facebook Instant Articles use. Cutting edge stuff. Now available to WordPress.
CloudFlare adds a CDN to your website. Content Delivery Networks use many servers around the world to send files faster. A visitor from Europe will receive files from Amsterdam instead of New York. You get the idea. CloudFlare offers extra functionality such as spam protection and security. It’s a great service. It boosts WordPress speed a lot.
The CloudFlare plugin will save you some time for setting up the CDN.
I don’t use the plugin. I prefer to setup everything through the CloudFlare website. Same fast results. Simple and effective. Plus, i use one less plugin.
Visit the site here.