WordPress optimization plugins are the best options that you can use to speed up your WordPress websites. You don’t have to be an expert at WordPress optimization and still manage to improve the performance of your website with just a few clicks.
Since WordPress is the largest self-hosted blogging and website building platform out there, many developers have launched their own optimization plugins with powerful features. But, which one should you install?
And, do you have to install multiple WordPress Optimization plugins to speed up your website?
Let’s start with a list of the top WordPress Optimization plugins and then I will answer some FAQs that will answer all of major queries related to WordPress and website optimiztion.
Let’s get started with the list.
W3 Total Cache Plugin
Anybody who’s downloaded WordPress and launched a blog with it is very well aware of what w3 Total Cache plugin is.
It is one of the oldest Cache plugins that still exists. Back when there weren’t as many reliable optimization plugins, you had W3 Total Cache which opened doors to some basic and advanced settings that you can tweak to get the most out of this plugin and your server.
I still remember using this plugin to power a simple blog on a shared hosting plan. The blog was easily getting 5K visitors every month. No performance drop and account suspension.
That’s the power of this plugin.
I would strongly recommend this plugin to anyone who’s looking for an all-around WordPress caching plugin to minify, combine, enable CDN and more.
W3 Total Cache is freemium plugin which means that you can easily upgrade to a premium plan with much more control and independence.
If you are a SiteGround Hosting customer, there’s no other cache plugin than SG Optimizer that’s better for your WordPress installation. SG Optimizer is specifically built for WordPress websites hosted on SiteGround web hosting.
You can easily minify files, enable lazy load to multimedia files, enable features supported by the webhosting and more.
If you ask me, SG Optimizer is the complete caching plugin for Siteground customers. No payment gate blocking you from accessing the good stuff and powered by one of the most sought-after WordPress hosting providers today.
LiteSpeed Cache is a free caching plugin with all the bells and whistles that you’d expect from a caching plugin. You can optimize images, minify and optimize files, enable caching and works perfectly fine with CloudFlare API.
If I start listing all the features, it would require a dedicated article.
Long story short, if you want to work with a free plugin with all the features that you might find on a premium WordPress optimization plugin, LiteSpeed Cache is the plugin you should install on your website.
WP Rocket is one of the most sought-after premium WordPress optimization plugin. I would even go as far as saying that WP Rocket might be the best caching plugin to speed up your WordPress website.
It’s a premium plugin with a lot of settings and features that you can tweak. If you don’t want to spend money, you will have to install multiple free and premium WordPress plugins together to get the job done.
If you are serious about your website’s performance and you are also generating considerable amount of revenue from advertising and product sales, you should definitely invest in something premium.
Hummingbird WordPress Plugin
Hummingbird is a powerful WordPress optimization plugin with a lot of serious features. You can easily compress files, defer CSS and JS files, lazy loading, CSS and JS magnification and of course, caching.
You’d be glad to learn that Hummingbird is built by one of the most reputable WordPress businesses out there, WPMU Dev. You don’t have to worry about future updates and upgrade.
ShortPixel Image Optimizer
If you don’t actually need a fully-fledged optimization plugin and just a plugin to compress and optimize images, pdf and other static multimedia files, ShortPixel Image Optimizer is a promising option to work with.
It’s a free plugin that gives you enough features to compress and optimize all your images for better SEO and performance.
If you don’t like resizing images prior to uploading them on WordPress, using ShortPixel will help you in reducing the page load times drastically.
WP Fastest Cache
WP Fastest Cache is a simple caching plugin that does caching and caching alone. You don’t get to tweak the lazy load features and many other features that you’d find in others listed in this article.
But, if it is just minification, you can go ahead and install this plugin without thinking twice.
Jetpack is build by Automattic. In many web hosting platforms, when you install WordPress, you’ll see Jetpack installed by default. Jetpack comes with both free and premium plans.
On top of speed optimization, you can use Jetpack as a CDN for your images, create backups, secure your website and fight spam.
So, it is a master plugin that offers a range of solutions to tackle all sorts of performance and security-related issues.
EWWW Image Optimizer
Don’t know any Photoshop experts and have no budget to spend on a graphic designer to design, resize and optimize your blog images? Well, you can still use EWWW Image Optimizer to reduce the file size of your images drastically without losing the quality.
EWWW let’s you compress images in bulk. Which means that you can still optimize old images uploaded on your WordPress blog and improve the overall speed of your website.
Although EWWW is a free plugin, you will have to upgrade to the premium plan if you plan on compressing a lot more images at once.
That said, for a normal website or a blog with a few images, the free version should suffice.
WP Cloudflare Super Page Cache
CloudFlare offers free CDN and firewall for WordPress users. Super Page Cache will help you in integrating this free CDN to your WordPress website easily. All the caching and other optimization take place at the CloudFlare end.
So, you don’t have to tweak any settings inside your WordPress panel.
I don’t have to tell you how much of a positive impact can a CDN have on your website. Especially, when you are starting out as a blogger with a cheap web hosting platform, the last thing you’d want is to get your account suspended for overusing shared resources.
CDN takes some load off your servers and makes sure that all the static resources are delivered to the customers.
So, if you are using a shared hosting platform, get started with this plugin right away.
Advanced Database Cleaner
Advanced Database Cleaner helps you in removing unwanted stored data from your database. This can help you in speeding things up in the front-end and the back-end of the website. Especially, if you host your website on a shared WordPress hosting,
For an optimization plugin, this one is a very light plugin that you can easily install on a shared hosting without thinking twice.
Before removing these data, deactivate your caching plugin and create a full back up of your website.
I came to learn about Breeze when I switched from Digital Ocean to CloudWays. It’s a simple yet very effective caching plugin that works well with Cloudways hosting platform.
If you have a Cloudways account, you will find this plugin installed by default in your WordPress.
You get a few options such as minification, combining and Gzip compression, browser compression and database cleanup panel.
I don’t like heavy-duty caching plugins and processes. So, I prefer using Breeze as it only comes packed with the most important options to adjust.
PageSpeed Ninja scans your website and displays Google PageSpeed Insights issues. You can resolve all these issues with just a single click. You don’t have to manually work all the settings and configure them to get the best out of the plugin.
So, you will save a lot of time when setting this up.
Some key features include minifying HTML, JS and CSS, combining files, lazy loading, Gzip compression, differing images and other files.
It’s a powerful plugin that can help you in bringing down the page load speed to somewhere around 2-3 seconds if you have a lot of heavy-duty UI elements, plugins, and Google fonts on your website.
Kraken.io Image Optimizer
Kraken.io is another great image compressor. It hasn’t been updated for a very long time. So, use it with caution and only when you can’t make use of any other frequently updated image compressing plugins.
The only reason why I’ve included this plugin in this list is the fact that it can also compress GIFs and animated GIFs. If you want to use a plugin that will reduce the file size of your high-quality images without compromising on the quality, go with Kraken.
Again, this plugin hasn’t been updated for a while. So, use it with caution.
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is a no-nonsense optimization WordPress plugin that takes care of all the optimization with just a few button clicks. You are not going to get as many features when you compare this plugin with W3 Total Cache. But, if you run a simple blog with a few plugins and a light-weight WordPress theme, you can go with WP Super Cache and forget about everything else.
UPDATE: Some articles suggest that using WP Super Cache might slow down your WordPress website in some cases. Please read the documentation and consult with your hosting provider before installing and working with this plugin.
Autoptimize makes WordPress optimization simple and intuitive. You don’t have to manually configure and walk through a tedious process but you’ll still be able to reduce the page load time of your website using lazy loading, file compression, minifying, Google fonts load tweaking and more.
It’s one of the few free plugins that could blow even some premium plugins out of the water.
You can also use other optimization plugins such as Speed Booster Pack and KeyCDN’s Cache Enabler with this plugin to extend the functionality of caching and other optimization features.
Fast Velocity Minify
Fast Velocity Minify offers almost all the features and options that you get with W3 Total Cache. The only downside is the single page where they dump all the information and options.
For experts, it’s not a big deal but it would eventually overwhelm beginners and non-techies.
This plugin doesn’t have page caching option but it shouldn’t make any difference. Just like W3 Total Cache, you can easily integrate a CDN, exclude specific files from getting minified or compressed, remove unwanted header tags, remove emjoi and HTML minification.
In my opinion, these settings are more than enough to speed up any WordPress website. If you are already spending money on CDNs, you should get a premium plugin such as WP Rocket to conduct these tasks as you are a more serious WordPress user.
Looking at the reviews and customer ratings, you can tell that Fast Velocity Minify is a promising WordPress Optimization plugin.
WP Performance Score Booster
Whenever I do client work, I have noticed that installing WP Performance Score Booster has not only shown me the performance score of the website but also helped me in optimizing the performance by old-school minification and caching settings.
If you got overwhelmed by the dashboard of W3 Total Cache, you will fall in love with WP Performance Score Booster’s dashboard.
I would recommend this plugin to anyone who loves simplicity and want to work with a plugin that takes care of ground-level compression, minification without breaking a sweat.
Asset CleanUp: Page Speed Booster
But, you are trapped as the theme or the plugins don’t let you unload these resources. Either you’ll have to deregister them in your functions.php file or hire someone to remove these files from loading on the front-end of the website.
Well, Asset CleanUp let’s you do that without touching a piece of code.
It’s a freemium plugin but you don’t need the premium version unless you want to carry out some advanced level of optimization.
Install this plugin and unload, disable and remove unnecessary theme, plugins and WordPress core features. This will improve the performance drastically.
Should I install multiple plugins?
No, I believe installing a single optimization plugin with all the necessary features is all you need to speed up your website. The most plugins you install, the slower your website and admin dashboard gets.
Do you need a CDN with these plugins?
No, you don’t need any CDN to speed up your website. But, if you host a large blog with hundreds of blog posts and multimedia images, you may want to start thinking about a good CDN for your website.
Conclusion: WordPress Optimization Plugins
So, now you have a list of the top WordPress optimization plugins and I have also answered some questions that I used to have when I started out as a WordPress developers and user.
Get started with any of these WordPress plugins and speed up your website without spending money on expensive optimization services and servers.
Google’s continuously demoting slow websites. No matter how powerful your servers and web hosting plans are, you’ll still need some some level of optimize to deliver content and multiple with blazing fast speed.
That’s where these plugins come into play.
One more tip, if you can, get a CDN to go with your optimization plugin. It will not only improve the overall performance of your website but it will also reduce the load on your servers.
So, there’s no point in not using any optimization plugin.
Which one of these plugins are you planning on installing?
Drop your comments in the comment section below.