Here Are 12 Plugins to Speed up Your WordPress Website

Although WordPress offers one of the most suitable platforms to build profitable websites based on customizable templates, it requires time to master its tools and make it work efficiently.

At first, it is common to have fun choosing a professional website template from the many different available designs and customizing your WordPress website with easy to use plugins. Nevertheless, when you start receiving significant organic traffic, it is possible to notice a slowdown in your website’s performance. A slow website can mean impatient browsers seek another, faster option, and can head straight to your competitors’ sites. Therefore, you should do all you can to keep your WordPress site running as fast as possible for your users.

Here are 12 easy ways to tame the beast and improve the speed that users experience each time they visit your WordPress site.

1. W3 Total Cache

In order to improve page loads time, one of the plugins you will find at the top of almost every list is W3 Total Cache. It increases server performance by providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration, taking some of the load from your server. It can reducing download times too, as content can be cached on fast servers closer to the users’ locations.

2. CoralCDN

W3 Total Cache is widely regarded, but to get on the Content Delivery Network (CDN) bandwagon at no cost you can try CoralCDN. Most popular WordPress sites now use a CDN plugin because they take all of the static files you have on your site, such as CSS, JavaScript and images, and offer them from servers that are closer to visitors, allowing a faster download. With CoralCDN, all you need to do to start using it is to append nyud.net to the hostname of any URL, and it will start working.

3. WP-SmushIt

As you probably have already noticed, one of the main factors that tends to slow down the load speed of your site is the size of the images you are adding to your content.

In this case, there are also many ways to lower their sizes without affecting their quality significantly (e.g. editing manually with Photoshop or Gimp). On the other hand, when you are managing a high number of images, this can turn your life into a nightmare. That’s why professionals prefer to use an automatic image compression and resizing tool like WP-SmushIt. Once installed, you won’t have to worry about the size of your images again. It will do the hard work, and the compression is performed off-site so it won’t slow down your server when it is being performed.

4. WP-DB Manager

Another place where your WordPress site can start to drag its feet is in its database.

For those looking forward to save time and improve their website’s performance, this plugin will be very useful. It allow you to easily optimize, repair, make backups, restore, and delete backup of your database, as well as manage tables and run selected queries.

One of the special features that make this WP-DB Manager stand out among many others is that it supports automatic scheduling of backups, letting you decide when to backup, optimize and repair your database.

5. jQuery Image Lazy Load

In a standard WordPress site, all the images you have on your page start loading from the moment the user requests the page and the html code is sent to them. This can be problematic for initial load times, especially when the page is filled with many large images near the bottom of the page. This plugin forces the host to wait until the user scrolls down to start loading the images, optimizing the performance of your site. It can reduce load on your server and reduce the amount of time users need to wait for the visible page to load.

6. Revision Control

Each time one of your writers creates a draft in WordPress, a backup is made. There are as much backups as many times the users press the save button. Once published, the backups remain in the WordPress database, despite them rarely, if ever, being required. If you have many writers or many posts, your WordPress database can become needlessly large. Here is where Revision Control and other similar plugins come to the rescue, by allowing you to set a custom number of post revisions, keeping your database streamlined.

7. Imsanity

Similar to WP-SmushIT, Imsanity is another option for managing large images. This plugin allows for the resizing of multiple images at the same time, reducing them to a more web-friendly size while maintaining quality. Its algorithms are able to convert BMP images into JPG in order to save space and greatly increase loading speed. It is “set and forget,” so a good option if you want to enable its functionality transparently for all of your writers without them having to do anything different in their workflow.

8. WP Optimize

The more you install, use and uninstall plugins on WordPress, the messier your database can become. Many plugins use the same tables to save data related to their settings, and not all are good about cleaning up after themselves. One of the undesirable consequences of this is that your growing table sizes can slow does your site.

WP Optimize can also be set to clear out a lot of old data you probably don’t use, such as old revisions, auto drafts, trashed comments and spam. Of course, make a backup of your database before using it.

9. CloudFlare

Having decided to include your website as a part of the CloudFlare community, its web traffic will be routed through a global network that will optimize the delivery of your web pages with faster page load times. It’s fast becoming the best CDN option, and this plugin also prevents bandwidth wasting by blocking DDOS threats and limiting abusive bots and crawlers. As a result, CloudFlare can provide a significant performance improvement for your website.

10. WP Super Minify

Activate this plug in if you want to compress the source of your HTML, inline JavaScript or CSS for your visitors. This simple change can pay off with a huge bump in speed, especially for users browsing your site on a slow connection. This lightweight plugin doesn’t tax your server.

In order to check if WP Super Minify is working properly, you can view your site’s source or use the shortcut Ctrl + U. At the end of the source, you should be able to see information on the total size saved, and the size before and after compression.

11. Digg Digg

On one hand, it is widely known that having social media buttons on your blog increases shares by 50%. On the other hand, enabling social media plugins often cause a delay while the scripts are loaded from another site, affecting your load speed. The Digg Digg plugin, and other smart social media sharing plugins, solve this problem through a lazy loading option, which means that your site visitors will see a fake button until they really decide to share.

12. Google Analytics WD

To optimize the speed of your site, you need to know which pages on your site are loading quickly and which aren’t, and Google Analytics is arguably the best way to monitor this. With Google Analytics WD, you can access this power from the convenience of the WordPress dashboard. Those who like to easy the workflow will agree that it is far more comfortable to monitor website traffic and the behavior of visitors from the WordPress dashboard, and Google Analytics WD offers advanced reports and easy exporting of data.

Web developer Richard Sutherland has been working with WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and other content management systems for over a decade. Graduating from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Richard has held a number of prominent website development roles at major companies such as Samsung, ASDA and Prudential.

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