20 WordPress Speed Optimization Plugins To Make Your Website Run Blazing Fast (Mine Loads In Under 1 Second)

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Need a solid list of WordPress speed optimization plugins?

Boy do I have the list for YOU. Cache plugins, image optimization, lazy load, AMP, Gravatar cache, load time monitoring, and plugins that fix Google Font + Analytics errors in GTmetrix and Pingdom. I use many of these speed plugins on my own site and have 100% GTmetrix scores. I also do WordPress speed optimization for a living, so I’m pretty much a nerd about it.

I recommend running your WordPress site through GTmetrix (check the Page Speed and YSlow tabs) or another speed testing tool to use as a benchmark. Once you’ve installed each plugin, retest your GTmetrix scores to see how it affects your page load time and scores. Most plugins have at least a 4.5 star rating, and rest assured, I have done my research and testing.

ps. If you join the WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group they have a list of 60+ recommended WordPress Speed Up Tools and useful links. But I did try to include the important ones here 🙂

pps. Hosting is still the #1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide and SiteGround was rated #1 in 10 different Facebook polls. If you need a solid host with fast servers and great support, they’re who I use – you can see my GTmetrix report. They’ll also migrate you for free.

List Of WordPress Speed Plugins

  1. WP Rocket
  2. WP Fastest Cache
  3. WP-Optimize
  4. Imagify
  5. Specify Image Dimensions
  6. WP YouTube Lyte
  7. WP Disable
  8. CAOS for Webfonts
  9. CAOS | Host Google Analytics Locally
  10. AMP For WP
  11. Plugin Organizer
  12. CDN Enabler
  13. Harry’s Gravatar Cache
  14. Autoptimize
  15. Query Monitor
  16. GTmetrix For WordPress
  17. Display PHP Version
  18. PHP Compatibility Checker
  19. WP Hosting Performance Check
  20. Better Search Replace
New-GTmetrix-Report.png

1. WP Rocket

WP Rocket was rated the #1 cache plugin in multiple Facebook polls and is what I use. It’s a $39 premium plugin but well worth it, since your hosting and cache plugin and generally the top 2 speed factors. It’s also the easiest cache plugin to configure and is updated frequently with new features. You should only be using 1 cache plugin, but it’s best to try at least 2-3 (the ones I listed) to see which one gives you the best results/scores in Pingdom/GTmetrix.

WP Rocket has many features most cache plugins don’t:

  • Heartbeat control
  • Database cleanup
  • Lazy loading images/videos
  • Integration with Cloudflare and other CDNs
  • Google tracking (hosting Google Analytics locally)
Best-WordPress-Cache-Plugin-Poll
Best-Cache-Plugin-Poll
Swift-Performance-vs.-WP-Rocket-Feb-7

If you decide to buy WP Rocket, I would appreciate it if you used my affiliate link. I donate a good chunk of the money to GoFuneMe campaigns – in 2018, $3,000 went to feed homeless people in Denver. And in 2017, $3,000 went to American Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey. Your support helps and I genuinely appreciate it. Thank you 🙂

My WP Rocket tutorial shows you how to configure the settings with Cloudflare + StackPath. I keep it updated with the latest versions and reference WP Rocket’s documentation. This can fix a TON of items in GTmetrix and is probably the 2nd biggest speed factor outside of hosting.

Similar Plugins

View My WP Rocket Configuration Guide

2. WP Fastest Cache

It’s the highest rated FREE cache plugin and is super easy to configure. My WP Fastest Cache tutorial shows you how to configure the tabs and integrate it with Cloudflare + StackPath but here is the first tab (below). Unlike WP Rocket, this plugin doesn’t have an option for lazy loading images/videos, database cleanup, and other options. So you will need to use WP-Optimize and the Lazy Load For Videos plugins if you want those features too (recommended).

WP-Fastest-Cache-Settings

View My WP Fastest Cache Configuration Guide

3. WP-Optimize

Removes trash, spam, post revisions, transients, and other junk files stored in your database which after accumulating, can slow down both your WordPress site and admin panel. I would run this every couple weeks (both WP-Optimize and WP Rocket have an option to schedule database cleanups). If you’re using WP Rocket you do NOT need this plugin since WP Rocket has an option for this in the database settings. If using another cache plugin, use WP-Optimize.

WP-Optimize Plugin

Instructions

  • Backup your database!
  • Install the plugin
  • Go to the WP-Optimize tab
  • Run the plugin as the default settings but uncheck “unapproved comments”

If using WP Rocket, you don’t need WP-Optimize (WP Rocket has this in the “database” tab)…

WP-Rocket-Database-Settings

Similar Plugins:

4. Imagify

Losslessly compress images which fixes optimize images items in GTmetrix. I have a full guide to image optimization (there are actually 20 ways) but the main ones are lossless compressionserve scaled images (resizing them to the correct dimensions) and specify image dimensions(setting a width/height in the images’s HTML or CSS). Imagify gives you 25MB/month free, then you need to buy a plan or wait until next month for it to reset. Imagify, ShortPixelSmushKraken, and EWWW all basically do the same thing. You only need to be using one of them.

Features

  • Lossless image compression
  • Resize oversized images
  • Remove EXIF data
Lossless Image Compression
imagify-wordpress-image-optimization

Instructions

  1. Sign up for Imagify
  2. Install the Imagify Plugin
  3. You will be prompted with the instructions below:
  4. Enter your API key from your Imagify account
  5. Set your compression level (normal, aggressive, ultra)
  6. Imagif’em all (photo above) which bulk optimizes all images on your site
  7. Once you’ve reached your limit, pay $4.99 or wait next month to reset your limit

5. Specify Image Dimensions

Specifying-Image-Dimensions

Specify Image Dimensions is an item in GTmetrix and other speed tools which means you need to add a width/height to the image’s HTML or CSS. This plugin automatically adds a width/height to images that don’t currently have one set. To my knowledge, it doesn’t specify dimensions for images located in page builders, widgets, or any areas outside the visual editor.

6. WP YouTube Lyte

Lazy loads videos by inserting responsive “Lite YouTube Embeds” which only calls the “fat” YouTube player when the play button is clicked. Videos take the longest time to load by FAR. Just to give you an idea, my W3 Total Cache tutorial only has 2 videos, but when I lazy load them that post’s load time went from 5s to 1.5s. It has the same function as light video embeds.

Here are the settings:

a3-Lazy-Load

Similar Plugins

If you’re using WP Rocket, they have this feature in the “media” settings…

WP-Rocket-Lazy-Load

7. WP Disable

This is a must-have speed plugin which disables unnecessary features in WordPress core that may consume CPU. It also helps remove query strings (although the best solution for that is to use lightweight plugins), loads fonts asynchronously, hosts your Google Analytics tracking code locally, limits the number of post revisions, disables autosaves, and other speed features.

WP-Disable-Requests

Allows you to disable:

  • Revisions
  • Autosaves
  • Emojis
  • Gravatars
  • Google Maps
  • RSD (Really Simple Discovery) tag
  • Shortlink Tag
  • WordPress API from header
  • Windows Live Writer tag
  • WordPress Generator Tag
  • Pingbacks + trackbacks
  • RSS
  • XML-RPC
  • WooCommerce scripts
  • WooCommerce reviews
  • Woocommerce Cart Fragments

It can also paginate comments after 20 comments or disable them after 28 days.

Similar Plugins:

8. CAOS For WebFonts

Google-Fonts-GTmetrix

CAOS For WebFonts fixes Google Font errors in GTmetrix, Pingdom, and PageSpeed Insights. It will download your Google Fonts (using the Google Fonts Helper API) and generate a stylesheet for it. Afterwards, you will need to remove any requests to external font sources.

CAOS-for-Webfonts

Tip: if using external fonts, be minimal with the number of fonts (and font weights) you choose. If for some reason this plugin doesn’t fix errors, I have a guide for hosting Google Fonts locally.

9. CAOS | Host Google Analytics Locally

Leverage Brower Caching Google Analytics

CAOS fixes the leverage browser caching item in GTMetrix by hosting Google Analytics locally. Just install the plugin, enter your Tracking-ID, and CAOS will add the Tracking Code to the header (or footer). CAOS is also compatible with Monster Insights and has other options.

WP Rocket, Swift Performance, and WP Disable can also do this (you only need to use one).

10. AMP For WP

Accelerated mobile pages is a Google project that makes mobile pages load faster. It also adds an “AMP” stamp next to your mobile snippets. This plugin will change the layout/design of your mobile pages, so be sure to fully customize the settings. If for some reason you don’t like it, delete it and it will revert back to your old design. You can also use the Glue For Yoast & AMP plugin to customize text color, link color, hover color, and other elements of your mobile pages.

AMP-Pages

This plugin has tons of settings for customizing your AMP Pages:

Accelerated-Mobile-Pages-Plugin-Settings

Instructions

  • Install the plugin
  • Customize which content your want AMP Pages (pages, posts, etc)
  • Install the Glue For Yoast SEO AMP plugin if using Yoast (customizes the design)
  • Add /amp/ to any page on your website to see how it looks and make sure it works
  • Go to Yoast’s Settings → AMP to change your design and enable custom post types
  • Wait for Google to recrawl your site and add the AMP sign in mobile search results
  • Visit the accelerated mobile pages section in Google Search Console to see errors

11. Plugin Organizer

Selectively disable plugins on certain pages/posts. The most common example is contact forms (which should load on pages with contact forms). Social share plugins can also usually be disabled on pages. You’ll want to configure the settings, global plugins, and edit specific pages/posts to selectively disable plugins. You can read their documentation if you need help.

plugin-organizer

Instructions

  • Install the plugin
  • Go to Plugin Organizer > Global Plugins to configure
  • Edit any page/post and selectively disable plugins using the sidebar

Similar Plugins

12. CDN Enabler

CDN Enabler helps you setup a CDN (content delivery network). First, sign up for a CDN (I use StackPath) then enter your with your CDN URL into the CDN Enabler plugin. See instructions:

Step 1: Sign up for a CDN (I use StackPath who has 31 data centers) and create a CDN site.

Step 2: Grab Your CDN URL:

StackPath-CDN-URL

Step 3: Enter your CDN URL into CDN Enabler, then configure the settings:

CDN-Enabler-Plugin-Settings

13. Harry’s Gravatar Cache

If you have a lot of comments on posts, Gravatars can absolutely destroy your load times and GTmetrix reports. You can use this plugin to cache Gravatar images. Another option is to disable Gravatars completely (though this will prevent photos from showing up) and make your comments section look boring. But it’s a tradeoff between Gravatars or your load times.

Cache-Gravatar-Images

Similar Plugins

14. Autoptimize

Autoptimize

Optimizes HTMLCSS, and JavaScript. You don’t need Autoptimize unless you’re hosted on Godaddy, WP Engine, or any host who blacklists cache plugins, since WP Rocket and most cache plugins optimize the code for you. But while Godaddy and WP Engine’s built-in caching might be fine, it doesn’t optimize HTML/CSS/JS. That’s where Autoptimize comes into play.

Autoptimize-Main-Settings

15. Query Monitor

Find your slowest load plugins, queries, scripts, and other elements that take longest to load.

Query Monitor Slow Plugins

P3 Profiler used to be great at finding slow plugins, but hasn’t been updated for years. Query monitor is as an alternative. Another alternative is to run your site through GTmetrix and use the Waterfall tab. You can also check this list of high CPU plugins.

Slow-WordPress-Plugin

16. GTMetrix For WordPress

The GTmetrix WordPress plugin monitors you load times and Page Speed + YSlow scores, then sends you a report directly in your WordPress dashboard, or through scheduled email reports.

GTmetrix-WordPress-Dashboard-Widget
GTmetrix-Scheduled-WordPress-Reports
GTmetrix-Scheduled-Reports

17. Display PHP Version

Display PHP Version simply shows you which PHP version you’re running.

Display PHP Version Plugin

Higher versions make your site run much faster…

WordPress PHP Speed

You can upgrade to new versions in your hosting cPanel…

SiteGround PHP 7.3

18. PHP Compatibility Checker

PHP Compatibility Checker scans your plugins to make sure they’re compatible with new PHP versions. Some WordPress plugins aren’t updated frequently or coded well – running this beforehand can prevent errors (like your website from breaking) due to incompatible plugins.

PHP Compatibility Checker

19. WP Hosting Performance Check

Shows overall performance of hosting and whether your technology (PHP, MySQL, WordPress versions) is running slow, in which case it should be updated. It also shows your slowest pages.

Hosting-PHP-Server-Response
Browser-Load-Speed
Web-Server-Response-Time
Technology-Level

Bytecheck.com and GTmetrix also show your TTFB (time to first byte) in the Waterfall tab…

TTFB Check
GTmetrix TTFB

Cool Trick: one of the only things PageSpeed Insights is good for is checking for server response times. Google says it should be under 200ms. If not, your server (hosting) is slow.

Reduce Server Response Time Under 200ms

20. Better Search Replace

If you see minimize redirects in your GTmetrix report, this might mean you changed the www or https version of your site, but didn’t change your links to correspond with the new version…

Minimize-Redirects

Instead of fixing all your links manually, use the Better Search And Replace plugin to update them in bulk. It can also be helpful for fixing broken links, or even bulk updating links/images which appear on multiple pages/posts. Better Search Replace can be an enormous time saver.

Better Search Replace – WWW Versions

Other Notable Tools / Resources

SiteGround – they were rated the #1 host in a 10 Facebook polls, many of which were taken by the official WP Hosting Facebook Group with 10,000+ members. I won’t tell you to switch hosts if you don’t need to, but it’s the #1 speed factor and worth considering if you have a slow server response time. SiteGround will migrate you for free and their average load time is 1.3s (I use their semi-dedicated GoGeek plan which has 4x more server resources than regular shared hosing and have 100% GTmetrix scores. There’s a reason WordPress recommendsthem and they’re #1 in thread after thread after thread. I would avoid Bluehost, HostGator, iPage, and other hosts owned by EIG. SiteGround is solid and I’ve been with them since 2014.

2017-WordPress-Hosting-FB-Poll
View Poll On Facebook or View Full Poll (Screenshot)
WordPress-Hosting-Poll-2017
View Poll On Facebook or View Full Poll (Screenshot)
Shared-Hosting-Poll-2017
View Poll On Facebook or View Full Poll (Screenshot)
WooCommerce-Hosting-FB-Poll
View Poll On Facebook or View Full Poll (Screenshot)
2016-Web-Hosting-FB-Poll
View Poll On Facebook or View Full Poll (Screenshot)
2016-WordPress-Hosting-FB-Poll
View Poll On Facebook or View Full Poll (Screenshot)
WordPress-Hosting-Poll-June-1
View Poll On Facebook or View Full Poll (Screenshot)
Managed-WordPress-Hosting-Poll-2017
View Poll On Facebook or View Full Poll (Screenshot)
2014-Managed-WordPress-Hosting-FB-Poll
View Poll On Facebook or View Full Poll (Screenshot)
Best-Web-Hosting-Provider-Poll
View Poll On Facebook or View Full Poll (Screenshot)

I like SiteGround because…

  1. They’re recommended by WordPress
  2. They use PHP 7.3 (check your version here)
  3. They use HTTP/2 servers (check your version here)
  4. Their speed technology page clearly lists what they use
  5. Free Let’s Encrypt SSL (EIG companies charge for this)
  6. My GTmetrix/Pingdom reports are great (the biggest reason)
  7. Average load time is 1.3s, giving most people instant speed improvements
  8. Ivica runs the WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group and ranks them #1
  9. Consistently #1 in Facebook polls/conversations (#1#2#3#4#5#6#7)
  10. Their semi-dedicated plan is affordable yet much faster than shared hosting
  11. They have 1-click Cloudflare activation in the cPanel (view cPanel demo)
  12. Designated WordPress support (tickets usually answered in <10 min)
  13. SG Optimizer plugin keeps your PHP updated with latest version
  14. Automatic daily backups, WordPress updates, and security updates
  15. Great eCommerce hosting
  16. Weekly security email notifications
  17. I usually get 100% uptimes but 99.99% is guaranteed
  18. Out of 50 people I referred to SiteGround in July, not 1 person cancelled
  19. I can call them 24/7 and they’re happy to answer questions (1.800.828.9231)
  20. They will migrate you for free with a 30-day money back guarantee

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for SiteGround using my affiliate link I will donate a good chunk at no expense to you. This year I donated $3,000 to feed the homeless in Denver. In 2017, I donated $3,000 to American Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey. Your support helps and I genuinely appreciate it. I try to make my reviews unbiased and backed by evidence in the form of Facebook pollstweets, and real conversations. If you don’t want to use it, here’s a non-affiliate link to SiteGround. Either way I truly believe they’re the best host and that your site will run faster/smoother… do your research on Google and Facebook groups and you’ll find most people say the same.

Join the WordPress Hosting/WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group and see what people say:

Looking-For-New-Hosting-Provider
wordpress-hosting-question

Cloudflare – free CDN and speed/security service which mirrors your site (and offloads resources) on over 150+ data centers. Integrates with most cache plugins with option to use aggressive minification, Railgun, and hotlinking. All my cache plugin tutorials include Cloudflare setup instructions and don’t forget to setup page rules for your WordPress admin.

StackPath – paid CDN which adds 30+ additional data centers around the world (more data centers = faster content delivery), reducing the distance between your website/visitors – a recommendation in the WordPress optimization guide. $10/month with a free 30-day trial.

Pingdom – most accurate tool for measuring load times according to WP Rocket, though GTmetrix has better recommendations for actually optimizing your site, in my humble opinion.

GTmetrix – good for identifying images that need to be optimized using the 3 methods: serving scaled images (resizing them), specifying images dimensions in the HTML/CSS, and optimizing images (lossless compression). GTmetrix recently switched to a fully loaded time metric which shows a longer load time than previously. Their waterfall tab measures individual slow loading elements, and if your time to first byte is long that indicates your hosting is slow.

Google PageSpeed Insights – most recommendations can be ignored but it’s good for measuring server response time which Google recommends <200ms or your hosting is slow.

Bad Bots .htaccess List – extensive list of spammy bots which when blocked by uploading to .htaccess may significantly reduce CPU usage. You can find out if spammy bots are crawling your site using AWStats (listed in the Analytics tools section). Configuring Wordfence’s crawl limiting rules will also help block fake Google crawlers, spammy bots, excessive crawling, etc.

Pronaya (My WordPress Speed Optimizer) – you can hire my WordPress speed optimizer on freelancer.com who I’ve been working with for 5 years and we’ve optimized multiples sites to load 500% faster. His name is Pronaya, he’s $40/hour and has a perfect 5/5 star review with 19 reviews (just sign up for a Freelancer account and search for user BDKAMOL). If you think I’m good at speed optimization, Pronaya is way better. I’ve also been working with Usama (his username is I333) who is quite cheaper but is also amazing with 4.9/5 stars and 375+ reviews.

My WordPress Speed Optimization Tutorial – has 300+ comments with people saying things like “My page speed score on gtmetrix went from 69 to 93” and “this might be one of the most helpful posts I’ve ever read.” Tons of people have used it to improve Pingdom/GTmetrix scores.

I hope you find these WordPress speed optimization plugins useful! If you have questions leave me a comment. Or if you simply need to fix your slow WordPress site, see my tutorial above. It has over 300 comments and has helped many people reduce their load time to <1s.

Cheers,
Tom

FILED UNDER: WORDPRESS SPEEDTAGGED WITH: CLOUDFLARECONTENT DELIVERY NETWORKGTMETRIXIMAGE OPTIMIZATIONMAXCDNP3 PLUGIN PERFORMANCE PROFILERW3 TOTAL CACHEWORDPRESS PLUGINS

WORDPRESS SEO + SPEED TUTORIALS

1. Tom’s WordPress SEO Guidenew
2. Yoast (Settings Configuration, Focus Keywords, Green Lights / Content SEO)
3. Focus Keywords
4. Local SEO
5. YouTube SEO
6. Google Search Console
7. Rich Snippets
8. Click-Through Rates
9. Whitespark Citations
10. Yoast Premium Review11. SiteGround (#1 In 10 Facebook Polls)
12. How I Optimized My Site To Load In .2s With 100% Pingdom/GTmetrix Scores
13. WP Rocket
14. Swift Performancenew
15. W3 Total Cache
16. WP Fastest Cache
17. Loading Google Fonts Locallynew
18. Make $ With Affiliate Marketing
19. WordPress Affiliate Programs
20. StudioPress Themes
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Sande Kennedy

Sande Kennedy is the founder of SandeKennedy.com & Kenyans247.com He is a Kenyan-based Internetprenuer,blogger Political Activist,informer who has an interest in politics, governance, corporate-fraud and human-interest. Kindly drop me a note if you feel aggrieved on any matter that you would want to be highlighted. Twitter @itssandekennedy , Instagram @itssandekennedy WhatsApp: +254791890826 Read More about me here
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