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9 Must-Have Speed Optimization Plugins Compared - 2021

Last modified: October 12, 2021

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We’ve known for a long time that site speed is an important ranking factor with Google. Google’s job is to make their users happy and they update their algorithm based upon the data they see from people using their search engine.

And what they see is a lot of people leaving websites that take a long time to load. 57% of visitors will leave your website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Most will never return.

Some of the issues slowing down your website can easily be fixed with a plugin. Check out our list of the most helpful plugins to make your site faster today.

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# Name Image
1
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache
More Info
2
W3 Total Cache
w3
More Info
3
WP Smush
smush
More Info
4
WP Rocket
wp rocket
More Info
5
Perfmatters
Perfmatters
More Info
6
NitroPack
Nitropack
More Info
7
WP Super Minify
super minify
More Info
8
WP-Optimize
WP-Optimize
More Info
9
Query Monitor
query monitor
More Info

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WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache

What is caching and why does it matter?

It is temporarily stored data. The purpose is to allow WordPress to skip steps in the loading process by having often requested pages ready to load. Essentially, it stops WordPress from loading a page every time it’s requested because there is already a “copy on file”.

This process reduces load time and makes your website faster.

WP Super Cache is one of the best free caching plugins there is. Not only is it free, but it’s easy to use and there are a ton of basic tutorials on YouTube. It has over 2 million installs and is frequently updated.

W3 Total Cache

w3

This free plugin is similar to WP Super Cache. However, it is a bit more advanced.

Just like Super Cache, it allows for CDN integration and features to set up all caching, gzip compression, and some minification.

W3 Total Cache is used by businesses like AT&T as well as professional WordPress sites like WP Beginner.

If you’re a WordPress expert who builds sites for high ticket affiliate marketing, this is the perfect Cache plugin for you.

WP Smush

smush

Google is now implementing its core web vitals update into its ranking factors. One of the biggest hurdles you’ll face, if your website is slow, is going to be optimizing your images so they load faster.

WP Smush has you covered. This is a free plugin that is updated multiple times a year.

What does it do?

It reduces the overall size of your images without sacrificing quality. You can smush up to 50 images at a time. One of the coolest features is a detection program that locates images that are too big and slowing down your website and it “smushes” them.

WP Smush has over a million downloads and plays nice with other optimizer tools like WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache.

NitroPack

Nitropack

NitroPack is a freemium plugin that focuses on speed. Its sole purpose in this world is to make your website as fast as possible.

It accomplishes this goal using many of the same methods WP Rocket uses. Its features include:

  • Caching – Pretty much any time of caching you want, this plugin is doing it
  • Image Optimization – Compression, lazy loading, and preemptive sizing
  • Built-in global CDN
  • Its own speed algorithm
  • Code minification
  • Tech support

Nitropack

NitroPack is a solid choice, but there are some cons to this plugin. The free version only covers you if you have a site with less than 5,000 views a month. On top of that, you are forced to use a “powered by” badge in the footer of your website.

powered by

The pricing isn’t bad. They charge by pageviews. The most expensive plan is for a website with one million page views and is just under $150.00 a year. However, this only covers one website.

WP Super Minify

super minify

This plugin combines and compresses code. The idea is that doing so will help to reduce load times.

Super Minify is a great free plugin to use to accomplish this goal. However, if you have a premium plugin like WP Rocket, you won’t need this one.

The biggest issue with free minification plugins is they don’t always play nice with various WordPress themes.

WP-Optimize

WP-Optimize

WP-Optimize is a solid choice as far as free plugins go. It cleans up databases and optimizes them so they run smoother, decreasing your load times.

You can also schedule automatic cleanups to get rid of spam comments and trashed content so you don’t have to do everything by hand.

Like many of the plugins on this list, it also offers caching and image compression features. While the plugin is free, they do offer a premium plan that’s reasonable so you can have access to technical support. The cheapest option is $49 a year with the unlimited version being $199.00.

Query Monitor

query monitor

Sometimes plugins slow you down. Sometimes they just underperform. But how do you know which ones are doing more harm than good?

There’s a plugin for that.

query monitor

Query Monitor finds problems and helps you fix them. It works by telling you what the problems are and which plugins are causing the issues. Something as small as deleting a plugin can fix some site speed problems.

Must-Have Speed Optimization Plugins – Wrapping It Up

No matter how you want to spin it, you need at least one of the must-have speed optimization plugins on our list. You likely need more than one.

Website speed has been a ranking factor for years, but the core vitals update made it even more important. When it comes to plugins, less is more, as too many have the potential to have a reverse effect and slow your site down.

Using free plugins is fine if they’re updated, but stale plugins look attractive to hackers. If you notice your plugin hasn’t had an update in a while, it might be time to find something new.

Thanks for hanging out and reading the post. If you enjoyed it, check out this post of the 10 best WordPress rich snippet plugins.

 

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