The Need for Speed

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According to Google, “Fast and optimized pages lead to higher visitor engagement, retention, and conversions.”

If your website is excruciatingly slow, not only will the search engines penalize you, but your visitors will click the back button on their browser faster than a Budweiser disappears at a NASCAR race.

Unfortunately, among the many advantages of using WordPress for your business website, speed is not one of them. That is, unless you know how to supercharge your website with page caching and other tools available to you.

Below is a checklist of all the things you can do to speed up your WordPress website:

  • Page Caching
  • GZIP Compression
  • Browser Caching
  • Cache Preloading
  • Google Fonts Optimization
  • Minification / Concatenation
  • LazyLoad Images
  • Image Optimization
  • Content Delivery Network
  • Defer JavaScript Loading
  • DNS Prefetching
  • Mobile Detection

There are some free plugins that can do some of these things, like Hyper CacheWP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache. I’ve used all of them at some point in time, but they are difficult to configure properly. I’ve also found that if they are not configured properly, they can actually slow down your website. In addition, I had to install various other plugins to do most of the things in the list above that were not included in the three plugins mentioned above.

Then, I found WP Rocket. It does everything I listed in the bullets points above, except a content delivery network and configuration is easy. It’s not free, but it’s well worth the money.

After researching this plugin extensively, I decided to give it a try on a few of the over 100 websites I manage. I tested the page speed against WP Super Cache which was what I had installed on these sites. It took me less than five minutes to configure WP Rocket on each site and the speed increased from 30% to over 100% on them. I have since purchased a Developer’s license and installed WP Rocket on every site I manage and/or host.

Update – November 2020

This website as well as the websites I host have all been migrated to Rocket.net, a managed WordPress hosting company that does all of the things in my list above without the use of any plugins. It’s all server-based, which is a much better way to do it. Not everyone can afford to host at Rocket.net, but if you’re serious about page speed as well as security, it’s a great choice.


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