Note: These plugins address mainly front-end
optimization issues only. If your site still takes a long time to load,
an improved server or back-end code optimizations is what will make a
real difference. Read more about our
WordPress Consulting Service.
***Optional First Step*** Download and activate GTmetrix for WordPress
Use this plugin to get a before snapshot of your WP performance.
Enter your GTmetrix API key
Once you've installed it, enter your API key from your GTmetrix account in the Settings page (you must be registered to generate an API key).
Test your Front Page
After this is done, visit "Tests" and under the "Latest Front Page Score" module, click "Test your Front Page now" button.
Front Page Report Generated
A report will be generated with PageSpeed and YSlow grades for the front page of your WordPress site. This is your before performance.
Step 1) Download and activate W3 Total Cache
You'll notice a new section in your admin sidebar called "Performance."
a) On the sidebar, click on the "General Settings" sub-section.
Under "General," Check "Toggle all caching types on or off at once."
W3 Total Cache: Check this option
Since W3 Total Cache will turn on all its caching features, there are a few that may not be applicable to you. The common ones are a CDN and the CloudFlare feature. Uncheck "Enable" on these features if you don't have them.
Under the Minify subsection, There is an option called Minify mode. Select the Auto option.
W3 Total Cache: Set Auto Mode for Minifying
Click Save all settings.
Note: If you make any changes to your WordPress plugins, the W3 Total Cache plugin may ask you to Empty the Cache. This is done to make sure the plugin doesn't serve a cached version of any changed files.
b) On the sidebar, click on the Minify sub-section.
Under HTML & XML, check Enable in the HTML minify settings. You can also check the other options, but make sure to test your site to see if it breaks.
W3 Total Cache: Enable HTML & XML minification, and other options if you wish
c) On the sidebar, click on the Browser Cache sub-section.
- Set expires header
- Set cache control header
- Set entity tag (eTag)
W3 Total Cache: Enable Browser Cache Options
Click Save all settings.
Step 2) Download and activate WP Smush.it
This plugin will optimize every image you upload henceforth since you activated it.
You can re-smush images in your Media Library
There are no options for this plugin and nothing to set up!
In the newer version of WP Smush it, there is a Bulk Smush.it feature that can smush all of your uploaded images. It has worked for us on smaller media libraries and it is very convenient, however it is experimental (we've experienced some errors with it on larger media libraries). Have a look at the feedback forums if you are looking for support.
That's it! You're finished.
Step 3) Analyze your site
Analyze your site again (via GTmetrix.com or with our plugin) and see the difference in performance!
We did a lot of testing and experimentation to find the best solution for
WordPress users. These basic plugins can really improve the performance
of a WordPress blog. Take a look at the difference in our blog:
If you have a WordPress blog, slow or not, give these plugins a try and
improve your user experience!
Need further help?
We're experienced with optimizing high-traffic WordPress platforms. From
code-optimizations to managed hosting, we can help even the most
demanding WordPress installs run faster and more stable. Read
more about our
WordPress Consulting service.