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5 WordPress Performance Plugins to Boost Your Speed Today

5 plugin icons displayed on a blue background

Today speed is everything, and if you want to keep your customers satisfied your website should be fast. No one wants to spend more than a couple of seconds waiting for a page to load, so if your page does not respond instantly, you can easily lose your customers. But what should you do to keep your page speed high and website performance good?

Here is where WordPress performance plugins come to save you! In this blog, we’ll guide you through all the awesome plugins that can boost your speed and improve your page’s performance, never letting you lose even a single customer. But let’s start from basics:

The Importance of a Fast Website

Even without us telling it, you have probably considered that a slow page can have a negative influence on your website and decrease your traffic. Well, studies have shown that your hypothesis is correct. According to research done by Akamai Technologies Inc., 40% of users are not going to wait more than 3 seconds for a page to load.

Furthermore, according to HubSpot your website’s speed directly affects your revenue. If your page was making $100,000 a day, even 1 second improvement of your page’s speed will bring you additional $7,000 daily. Guess when they said that time is money, they really meant it. In this case, every single second is important as it will not only help you keep your customers on your website, but will also directly influence your company’s income. But enough about speed, let’s figure out:

Why does website performance matter?

Now let’s talk about your webpage’s performance. Imagine an eCommerce website where you can’t add the products you want to buy to the cart because the page doesn’t function properly. Or you can’t quickly share your favorite blog post because the social media icon does not respond. In all of these cases, you get frustrated and it is very possible that you won’t ever come back to the website. In other words, if your website is performing badly, you will lose a lot of your potential customers.

Now this is also bad for another important reason: your SEO. Search engines are very focused on site providing good user experience, and if something goes wrong, they get a bad signal. That is, if too many visitors open your page and leave it fast, search engines will conclude that you probably don’t deserve to be on those front pages of SERPs (search engine result pages). So making your page function properly is not only recommended, but an absolute must.

How can I check my WordPress site performance?

Today there’s an easy way to understand how you’re doing with your website speed and performance. We at 10Web have a special tool that measures your website’s PageSpeed score and shows you the aspects you need to work on to improve it. Plus, we offer a pre-optimized 95+ PageSpeed for your website if you switch to our hosting, and you can do it pretty easily, with a 1-click automatic migration. But before that, simply enter the URL of your site in the field below, and we will tell you how fast your website is:

How Fast Is Your WP Website?

Test your website and automatically
get an optimized
copy with a 95+
PageSpeed score.

What WordPress performance plugins should you not install?

Basically, anything that lowers your site speed. Don’t forget that having too many WordPress performance plugins installed will eventually hurt your page, instead of improving it, because the more plugins you keep, the harder it is for your page to function, and the worse its performance gets. That is why below we’ll list the best WordPress performance plugins that cover a lot of features and are really worth it. So without further ado, let’s jump right into

5 WordPress Performance Plugins for 2020

And the first in our list is:

10Web Speed Optimizer

10Web Speed Optimizer plugin's homepage displayed on a blue screen
This is a WordPress performance plugin that helps you get a 95+ PageSpeed score. It has some essential features that speed up your site and improve its performance.One of the useful features you can benefit from with this plugin is

Lazy Loading.

Ever visited a website, where you see only a few images, but as you scroll down you notice that there are a lot of photos that were not there at first? This is because many websites use lazy loading mode, which starts to load the large files only when they become visible to the user.

This is frequently done for photography websites or other professional platforms that have to exhibit a lot of high quality photos or videos. If the website loads all of them immediately, it will take too much time, which will make the visitors bounce. But since many visitors don’t even get to the end of the page, the lazy loading makes the page much faster.

Now many website owners will have to install a separate WordPress performance plugin for lazy loading (which we will mention below), but this WordPress speed optimization tool already has it. With 10Web, you can lazy load your images, background images, videos, and iFrames. This function will work best if you want to create a portfolio page, and want to show everything on one page without sacrificing your site’s speed and performance.

In addition to that,

10Web Speed Optimizer also has a bunch of other useful features, such as asynchronous CSS loading,Font Swap, HTML minification, an option to disable CSS files in specific pages, and much more.

In short, this is one of the best WordPress plugins that will help your site get a high PageSpeed score immediately.

WP Fastest Cache

WP Fastest Cache's homepage

Another handy WordPress performance plugin is WP Fastest Cache. With 10Web hosting, you don’t need a separate caching plugin, as 10Web already uses Nginx FastCGI cache which is faster than any other caching plugin. But if you’re hosting your page with a different provider, caching plugins will be extremely useful. To explain how it functions we first of all need to understand what caching is.

When the web user clicks on your website and decides to visit it for the first time, a lot of complex processing goes on. The WordPress core sends a PHP query to the database which then has to send back the requested data. Later on WordPress uses this data to create an HTML page for the user.

As you can see, simply displaying your page to the new visitor requires a lot of steps, and it would take too much time if WordPress had to perform these tasks every single time. That is why people use caching plugins. These plugins create a static copy of your site’s HTML, which can be called every time needed, without going through all the intricacies of the original process. As a result, the request does not take too much RAM and CPU and renders faster.

You could practice caching with WP Fastest Cache which is our best caching plugin recommendation. As listed on their plugin page, here are some of the ways this WordPress performance plugin improves your website:

  • Generates static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress blog
  • Allows you to decrease your page’s size (minifies HTML)
  • Allows you to decrease your CSS files’ size (minifies CSS)
  • Reduces your page’s loading time for repeat visitors (leverage browser caching)
  • By reducing the size of the files which are sent from the server, improves the speed with which they get transferred to the browser (enable gzip compression)

The plugin also gives you a bunch of useful features, such as the ability to delete your cached files, enable or disable caching for mobile devices, SSL support, CDN support, Cloudflare support, and much more.

WP Rocket

WP Rocket's homepage

Another cool plugin that we really recommend is WP Rocket. It is recognized by the WordPress experts as the most powerful caching plugin. As the name suggests, this WordPress performance plugin “rockets up” your speed by providing a bunch of useful automatic optimization features, such as page caching, cache preloading, sitemap preloading, GZIP compression, Lazyload, database optimization, and others. Here is the exact list of functions that WP Rocket does, as listed on their page:

  • Providing you static cache for your desktop and mobile version, that is giving the static HTML version of your content
  • Browse caching either on Apache or if available on the server, which means storing certain file types on the local computer of your visitors
  • Providing support of different third-party plugins, hosting environments, and themes
  • Combining the inline and third party scripts

And you do not need to enable or disable these features, once you activate the plugin your site will automatically benefit from all of them. In addition to that, WP Rocket is eCommerce and developer friendly and has multilingual and multisite compatibility. The plugin is also famous for its simplicity, as you can install and configure it in less than 3 minutes. This makes it easy to use, even if you are a complete WordPress beginner.

It is worth a mention that unlike most of the plugins in this list which are completely free, WP Rocket costs $49 for one website, $99 for 3 websites, and an unlimited number of websites for $249.

And then your license is valid for only a year and when it expires you can neither use the support nor the updates. Nevertheless, your plugin will continue to function without any issues for some time, so there is not much to worry about. Plus, you will get discount rates for your license renewal in case you decide to update it.

Autoptimize

Autoptimize's homepage

The mere fact that Autoptimize has over 1 million installs on WordPress should be proof that you’re dealing with a really good WordPress performance plugin. Now, let’s have a quick overview of what Autoptimize does and why exactly it is so popular among WordPressers.

This WordPress performance plugin offers a quality optimizing service for your website by minifying caches scripts and styles, minifying HTML, offering image lazy-loading services, optimizing Google Fonts, removing WordPress core emoji cruft, and doing much, much more.

Another advantage of this plugin is that it is compatible with all web hosts, even the ones which have customized caching configurations. Plus, Autoptimize’s free version has all the features required for optimizing your website, so you really don’t need to pay anything to get yourself a well-performing WordPress site. Here’s a short guide on how to use the plugin.

First, install and activate it. Once you do so, go to your Settings and enter the Autoptimize tab. Here you will find three options: optimizing your HTML, JavaScript and CSS.

Optimizing your JavaScript codes minifies your javascript files. You can choose the “aggregate JS files” option which combines all of your JavaScript files into a single file. Same way, if you enable “optimize CSS code,” you’ll minify your CSS files. And finally, turning on HTML optimization will help you reduce the size of your pages. This is done mainly by reducing the unnecessary whitespace in your HTML.

To test this plugin out, Themeisle has done a test by installing Autoptimize and enabling all of its three options of optimizing HTML JavaScript, and CSS. The result was that they’ve cut their home page’s size down to 297.8 KB, and their loading time decreased by 0.58 seconds.

This might seem a small difference, but in fact it is still noticeable and as we’ve mentioned before, even if your website is one second faster, you can boost your conversions and improve your SEO.

W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache plugin's homepage

Yet another caching plugin, W3 Total Cache not only provides caching services, but also deals with website optimization. And if you also wanted to improve your SEO, then this WordPress performance plugin is the perfect solution. It improves your SERP (search engine result page) rankings (this works especially well for mobile-friendly websites and those that use SSL), enhances your conversion rate which in the end affects your site rank and reduces page load time.

In addition to that, W3 Total Cache improves your total site performance at least 10 times. When fully configured, you get a grade A in WebPageTest or significant improvements in your Google Page Speed. They also ensure 80% bandwidth savings if you minify your HTML, CSS, and JS files.

Another useful feature is that they also improve your server’s performance which allows you to handle high traffic periods. For instance, if you’re selling Christmas gifts this can be extremely helpful during those pique seasons when visitors are bombarding your page. W3 Total caching also optimizes progressive render which means your page starts rendering faster and users can interact with it more easily.

W3 Total Cache is compatible with both shared hosting, virtual private/dedicated servers and dedicated servers/clusters. To use the plugin you need the minimum version of WordPress 3.2 or higher. You don’t need to worry about the compatibility of W3 Total Cache with other plugins or widgets as it will perfectly go with them, and if you use minify settings you will improve performance a couple of times.

Finally, this plugin is absolutely free so you can benefit from all of its features without having to pay anything.

FAQs

Is there a correlation between WordPress performance and the number of plugins installed?

Yes, of course. You can’t simply download all of the plugins that look cool. You should choose your plugins very carefully and make sure you install only the best ones that do a couple of functions at once. It is generally advised not to keep more than 20 plugins, and if you’re on a shared hosting this number goes down to 5. If you don’t, your website will run slowly, and you will eventually lose your visitors.

Do WordPress plugins affect website speed?

As we mentioned, in order for plugins not to lower your speed, you need to choose and install only the best ones and keep their number as small as possible. Plus, WordPress plugins can also harm your performance if they have too many intricate features that look promising but are too heavy to perform. So try to keep your plugins simple. Plus, don’t forget that plugins can also cause security issues if you don’t upgrade them from time to time as they are an easy target for the hackers.

What are the best cache plugins for WordPress?

Here at 10Web we don’t recommend using caching plugins if you’re hosting your website on our platform. However some good caching plugins on our recommendation list are WP Fast Cache, WP Rocket, W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache. All of these plugins will help you get your caching done quickly and efficiently.

How can I find WordPress performance bottlenecks?

There are a couple of places where you should look for the performance bottlenecks first. First of all, if you’re using shared hosting, then the website’s bad performance is definitely because of your hosting provider. In shared hosting, you share your page with thousands of other users, so if your neighbour’s page gets a sudden traffic boost, it will also affect your website and make it run slowly.

But if you have a good host, you could check your Javascript and PHP files (if they are outdated or not) and make sure that all your plugins are updated. Plus, as we’ve mentioned before, don’t overstuff your page with plugins because it will eventually lower your speed.

Also, you can find WordPress performance bottlenecks by checking website score with Google PageSpeed insight or GTmetrix, which has a very insightful recommendation section.

Page speed is important as it directly influences your website’s traffic, conversion rate, and SEO. So, in order to speed up your WordPress and improve its performance, we’ve recommended five good plugins that will surely do the work. In our list, we have 10Web’s Speed Optimizer, WP Fastest Cache, WP Rocket, Autoptimize, and W3 Total Cache. With any of these 5 premium plugins, you can be sure that your WordPress speed will get a boost and you’ll quickly see new customers on your page. Let us know in the comments what you do to speed up your site!

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Mari
Mari
Mari is a content writer at 10Web. As a true cineaste she’ll make sure that every article she writes feels like a movie - even if it’s just about WordPress. So, grab your popcorn and enjoy!

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