Kill speed sluggards in WordPress core.

KrunchKore

KrunchKore

Extra collection of 8 discrete plugins to strip or disable unneeded and unused baggage. Instruction video included.

WordPress non-features slow down every page and post of your site. Now you can finally remove the slowness and fluff imposed by goofy features added by WordPress committee bureaucracy. Disable them without programming or coding.

These 8 super-lightweight plugins are downloadable from the free WordPress plugin directory. We show you where they are hiding in the 55,000 listing. These fast-loading specialty plugins allow you to choose disconnecting performance-killing non-features and filler of WordPress core. Plus, you’ll learn the fastest way to load your site icon for mobile users. Don’t use the WordPress Customizer feature. It causes bloat.

Improve site origin optimization. Reduce hosting costs with cheaper shared servers and no CDN or server cache fees. The performance goal is two-second page load times or better. Our approach to solving mobile performance problems is unconventional and creative. You can provide speed alternatives for International site-owners and developers who use low-cost, shared hosting without CDN.

WordPress core loads in xxxx milliseconds.
Five times slower than your speed theme.

Shave over 300-milliseconds off global load time.

KrunchKore Bonus kit

A collection of 8 discrete plugins to strip or disable unneeded and unused baggage. Instruction video included. WordPress non-features slow down every page and post of your site. Now you can finally remove the goofy features added by WordPress committee bureaucracy. Disable them without programming or coding. Free when you buy the SuperBundle.

Client Results

“I hired several WordPress ‘speed experts’ before and all failed to achieve decent results. Steve is an expert in his field. His advice helped me understand what was slowing down my website and fix it permanently. My site used to take 5 to 7 seconds to load – and after Steve worked his magic – it now loads in less than 1 second. Thank you!” supboardguide.com Hamburg, Germany

 

Speed Hospital Bundle Cover

Buy the SpeedHospital SuperBundle today and start optimizing websites like a pro.

Buy SuperBundle – $499
Speed-in-a-box business. Recapture your investment fast by selling mobile speed optimization services to your existing clientele. Become a trusted speed expert.

Other SpeedHospital Proceedures

KrunchKore Extra collection of 8 discrete plugins to strip or disable unneeded and unused baggage. Instruction video included. WordPress non-features…

SmooshPix Speed up your pages. If your photograph images weigh 500k to 1M, this is the fastest way to fix…

LongCache We demonstrate a common but little understood speed problem usually labeled as Leverage Browser Caching. Various tests report this…

Instant-jQ Instant-jQ lets you use faster universal cached resources for better speed. WordPress theme developers normally use the resident jQuery…

SpeedSwitch Loading plugins redundantly and globally decreases the speed of your pages. It’s best to deactivate heavy plugins on pages…

SpeedXray WordPress works fine. But you need plugins to add extra features and functionality. Without plugins, WordPress is not-worth-as-much. Plugins…

TourniKit For ages we’ve wanted the ability to switch off FontAwesome icon font. We see it as unnecessary baggage many…

SmooshStatic SmooshStatic automatically resizes huge image uploads. Resizing that is more reasonable for display in browser. Yet still more than…

JavaScript affects the critical rendering path.

OUR MOBILE-SPEED PRESCRIPTION: Designed for code-free mobile speed. Included in both SmooshKit and SpeedHospital SuperBundle.

Instant-jQ

Instant-jQ lets you use faster universal cached resources for better speed. WordPress theme developers normally use the resident jQuery included with WordPress. It reloads fresh every time someone visits your site. This is inefficient.

Before a browser can make a page, it builds the HTML markup. If the browser encounters a CSS script or JavaScript, it must wait for the scripted resource to download. That pause increases latency for page rendering.

JavaScript is a client-side, dynamic-scripting, program language. Web programmers use it to alter displayed page content. JavaScript is one alternative to using server-side PHP scripting language.

Lightweight: 4.2 millisecond load time. 2.1k package size.

jQuery is a big chunk of WordPress code.

jQuery is a free, open-source, cross-platform JavaScript library. It deserves special attention and treatment. This library is used in the creation of dynamic web pages and web applications. WordPress theme developers normally use the resident jQuery included with WordPress. But just because it’s there doesn’t mean it’s “always on.” jQuery activation is optional – such is the case in the GeneratePress v2.0 theme and other fast loading themes. jQuery activation isn’t the default with these speed themes.

Optional WordPress plugins may use jQuery for animation like sliders or other interactive elements. So the theme may not use jQuery but a plugin might. You can know for certain by testing with Pingdom.com or WebPagetest.org.

For example, the GeneratePress theme is fast but if you add a jQuery-activating slider plugin, suddenly all site pages will slow down. It defeats the purpose of using themes that don’t use JavaScript. The same thing will happen if you use the popular Contact Form 7 plugin. JQuery is then loaded globally for every page, not just your Contact page. Other contact forms, like Very Simple Contact Form plugin, do not require jQuery.

One of the bigger benefits of using jQuery is the seamless handling of cross-browser issues. JavaScript usage differs among browsers and can cause difficulty. The authors of jQuery have made JavaScript programming work much easier.

Google’s jQuery is cached in every browser on the planet.

You can change the WordPress code to substitute Google’s CDN hosted jQuery. But there’s an easier way. Just use Instant jQ plugin. It’s a WordPress plugin that loads jQuery from Google’s free Content Distribution Network (CDN). Users geographically far from you can download jQuery faster. The Google version of jQuery is also Gzip compressed and minified for fastest page loading. Yet, even though Google’s CDN servers are fast, it’s still not the biggest motivating gain.

Instant jQ plugin has a failsafe or fallback. If Google jQuery doesn’t respond, the plugin just loads the slower, local WordPress version.

Potential performance benefits for mobile speed.

Using the Google Library CDN eliminates some HTTP requests from your site. This allows more of your local content to downloaded in parallel. It doesn’t make a gigantic difference for users with a modern six-concurrent connection browser. But for those still running older browsers, the difference is noticeable.

The greatest benefit of using Google’s CDN is that your users may not need to download jQuery at all. The chance is high that a user already has these files cached for up to one year.

No matter how well optimized your site is, if you’re using a local WordPress jQuery then it must be downloaded at least once. If forced this way, the user’s browser ignores dozens of identical copies of cached jQuery.

CDN-hosted jQuery references refer to the exact same file. The browser trusts those files are identical and won’t waste time re-requesting the cached file. Thus, the browser uses only a single copy that’s cached on-disk, regardless of which site the CDN references appear on.Google’s CDN serves the jQuery file with headers that cache the file for up to one year. This creates a potent effect of “cross-site caching.”

The most trafficked sites on the Internet already use the Google CDN to serve jQuery. Many users will never have to make a single HTTP request for jQuery. It only needs downloading once before.

Letting Google handle part of your site’s JavaScript footprint free of charge is too good to pass up. It’s an easy optimization because Google CDN has a vast caching advantage.

Note: If your theme and a plugin both use jQuery, your pages may end up with jQuery loaded twice causing even slower pages. The only way to know for certain is to check using Pingdom.com or WebPagetest.org.

Some claim the Instant jQ plugin isn’t a “real” speed fix because it’s small and inconsequential. jQuery by itself is 91KB when it’s minified and further optimized to 33k with Gzip compression. For many, this 33k footprint left by jQuery is insignificant when the average homepage is a heavy 2M to 3M page weight. But if page weight is efficient (around 100k, for example) jQuery weight becomes one-third of the page weight. That’s significant overhead. Plus, do you know how to minify and Gzip your site? If not, this is a easy solution to reduce a 97k load by over 70 percent.

BEFORE

Load time of WordPress resident Gzipped jQuery files before adding Instant jQ plugin. Two files: 97 milliseconds and 55 milliseconds loaded in parallel.

AFTER

Two minified files are loaded when using Instant jQ plugin. One from Google, the other from CloudFlare CDN. There’s a high probability they’re already in the browser cache. Each file loads in 5 milliseconds in parallel with other assets. The page weight is the same but delivery is faster.

Increased parallelism is sometimes argued as an invalid benefit of Google CDN since there’s a WordPress-coding workaround: Just load jQuery in the footer rather than the header. This way pages load scripts faster. For WordPress, it’s done by editing the functions.php header code. But there’s no plugin for this code change. It requires some bravery and skill. We just don’t recommend it – even if it makes the plugin unnecessary.

The genius for this speed strategy is the pervasive ubiquity of the Google CDN address in browser caches. We recommend Instant jQ plugin.

Note: A rebuttal/rant about this approach is explained in the article, “Why Loading Your Own jQuery is Irresponsible” Be sure to read the comments. They explain why “The WordPress Way” isn’t always the right way.

Other SpeedHospital Proceedures

SmooshPix Speed up your pages. If your photograph images weigh 500k to 1M, this is the fastest way to fix…

Instant-jQ Instant-jQ lets you use faster universal cached resources for better speed. WordPress theme developers normally use the resident jQuery…

SmooshStatic SmooshStatic automatically resizes huge image uploads. Resizing that is more reasonable for display in browser. Yet still more than…

KrunchKore Extra collection of 8 discrete plugins to strip or disable unneeded and unused baggage. Instruction video included. WordPress non-features…

LongCache We demonstrate a common but little understood speed problem usually labeled as Leverage Browser Caching. Various tests report this…

TourniKit For ages we’ve wanted the ability to switch off FontAwesome icon font. We see it as unnecessary baggage many…

SpeedXray WordPress works fine. But you need plugins to add extra features and functionality. Without plugins, WordPress is not-worth-as-much. Plugins…

SpeedSwitch Loading plugins redundantly and globally decreases the speed of your pages. It’s best to deactivate heavy plugins on pages…

Optimize images for mobile speed with SmooshStatic plugin.

OUR MOBILE-SPEED PRESCRIPTION: SmooshStatic is a component plugin. It’s part of the SmooshKit image optimization module.

SmooshStatic

SmooshStatic automatically resizes huge image uploads. Resizing that is more reasonable for display in browser. Yet still more than large enough for typical website use. The plugin is configurable with a max width, height and quality. When a contributor uploads an image that is larger than the configured size, SmooshStatic will automatically scale it down to the configured size and replace the original image.

Lightweight 4.2 millisecond load time. 2.1 kilobytes zip folder.

SmooshStatic also provides a bulk-resize feature to selectively resize previously uploaded images to free up disk space – and make backups use fewer server resources. This keeps your server fast.

This plugin is ideal for sites that don’t require hi-resolution original images to be stored. Or semi-skilled site contributors don’t understand how to scale images before uploading.

SmooshStatic plugin is one of our secret weapons for image optimization on client sites. The other plugin we love for cleaning up a poorly optimized image media library is SmooshPix plugin. Both these plugins allow retroactive reprocessing of media library images for speed.

SmooshStatic is not a paid subscription service (API) like other image optimization plugins. For example: 3,000 EWWW plugin’s compressed images cost about 9 dollars – their smallest order size. You pay in advance with prepaid credits.

We don’t sell plugins that cost repeat annual or usage fees. We call that *rent*.

For SmooshStatic plugin, processing is on your host server using WordPress features. Default JPEG quality is 82 to match the WordPress default. This is proven to be the equivalent of a Photoshop compression quality setting of 50. Images with this setting pass the WebPagetest.org criteria for speed optimization.

WordPress has automatic image optimization features. But not for original images, only resized images. If it optimized images upon upload, no optimization plugin would be needed.

SmooshStatic is an automation plugin to resize images in your WordPress media library. It can adjust the dimensions if they are larger than width and height settings. That is a unique feature. Optimization plugins like free Smush (1 million+ active installs) do not resize image automatically. They only change the compression.  And it isn’t lossy compression. It’s lossless. That sounds like a good thing but it’s not. It only compresses images by about 10 percent. Whereas, visually-lossless or lossy compression reduces image weight by 70 percent. Smush plugin is the worst choice for speed.

Activating SmooshStatic plugin doesn’t alter existing archived images. SmooshStatic only resizes images when uploaded. But you can retrofit with a “Bulk Image Resize” feature in the settings. The “Bulk Image Resize” feature allows you to resize all existing images in the media library.

SmooshStatic doesn’t search your file system to find large files. Instead it looks at the “metadata” in the WordPress media library database. To override this behavior, enable deep scanning in the plugin settings.

You can re-name your original image file and add “-noresize” to the filename. For a file name of “photo.jpg,” you can rename it “photo-noresize.jpg.” Then SmooshStatic will ignore it, allowing you to upload the unchanged full-sized image. That will protect an image if needed.

Photos from modern cameras and cellphones are too large for full-size browser display. DSLR camera photos are for high-quality printing. They’re oversized for web page display. They turn your site into a slug for speed.

SmooshStatic allows you to set a size limit. That constrains all uploaded images to a reasonable size. They will still be large enough for typical website needs.

SmooshStatic changes happen immediately upon image upload, but before WordPress processing occurs. WordPress behaves exactly the same as always. If a contributor uploads oversized images, SmooshStatic scales it and replace the original.

SmooshStatic uses a configurable size limit. The default value is large enough to fill a typical web screen without scaling.

Don’t use SmooshStatic for the following:

  • Stock art download sites.
  • Providing high-resolution print images.
  • Storing a high-resolution photo archive.

WordPress onboard image processing – without plugin assistance – includes poor features for resource consumption.

During upload WordPress keeps the original full-size image in the media library. Depending on the original size, WordPress creates up to 4 smaller-sized file copies:

  • Large
  • Medium-Large
  • Medium
  • Thumbnail

These are for embedding on your pages and posts. The original usually sits on the server unused, taking up server disk space. That usually isn’t a big issue. But we’ve seen exceptions. These can make website backup with normal plugin methods impossible if your media library grows too large to handle.

Other SpeedHospital Proceedures

Instant-jQ Instant-jQ lets you use faster universal cached resources for better speed. WordPress theme developers normally use the resident jQuery…

SmooshPix Speed up your pages. If your photograph images weigh 500k to 1M, this is the fastest way to fix…

KrunchKore Extra collection of 8 discrete plugins to strip or disable unneeded and unused baggage. Instruction video included. WordPress non-features…

TourniKit For ages we’ve wanted the ability to switch off FontAwesome icon font. We see it as unnecessary baggage many…

SmooshStatic SmooshStatic automatically resizes huge image uploads. Resizing that is more reasonable for display in browser. Yet still more than…

LongCache We demonstrate a common but little understood speed problem usually labeled as Leverage Browser Caching. Various tests report this…

SpeedXray WordPress works fine. But you need plugins to add extra features and functionality. Without plugins, WordPress is not-worth-as-much. Plugins…

SpeedSwitch Loading plugins redundantly and globally decreases the speed of your pages. It’s best to deactivate heavy plugins on pages…

Convert wrong-format images and create optimum compression.

SmooshPix

Speed up your pages. If your photograph images weigh 500k to 1M, this is the fastest way to fix them. You want skinny lossy formats, not fat lossless images.

Lossy photos are 70 to 80 percent smaller file sizes. Lossy doesn’t mean bad or lousy. Fix your entire media library. There is no loss of visual quality. Unneeded data is removed. Lessen the photo size with unnoticeable removal of information. Use this plugin for media library repair and maintenance.

Lightweight: 2.0 millisecond load time. 8.5k package size.

Image optimization opportunities are small.

Sometimes there’s an opportunity in converting non-transparent PNG images to JPEG format. You can compress JPEGs at a quality between 70 and 82. 82Q is the WordPress default. And it is SmooshPix plugin default, too. It’s the same as a Photoshop compression of 50Q. That “grade” passes the WebPagetest.org criteria of “goodness.” It’s a good benchmark. This will reduce page weight. Page weight reduction isn’t always proportionate to speed improvement. We measure speed in milliseconds.

Convert non-transparent PNGs to JPEGs to the WordPress 82-quality setting default.

Converting non-transparent PNGs to JPEGs (lossy-quality setting of 82) reduces the page weight. This classic error of choosing the wrong image file format is novice. But it happens all the time. PNG to JPEG image optimization changed a 6.5M, 15-second page into a 2.6M, 8.5-second page. Is that good? Hardly! Not when your goal is 2 seconds.

SmooshPix plugin needs cautious use or you can ruin many things. Our advice is: after using the plugin on the media library, disable it. That will prevent any slow down. This is the same thing to do for any plugin that’s used for maintenance. They don’t have to be chugging server resources all the time.

Of the page weight, often 88 percent is images. All sites are image intensive. The average is 55 percent of weight is images. So you’d think, “Let’s optimize images and get better results.”

Does image optimization always make a speed difference? No. The needle mat not move. Image weight becomes transparent and gets a boost from browser parallel loading. Yet, we always do image optimization with SmooshPix and it’s companion plugin SmooshStatic.

Other SpeedHospital Proceedures

SmooshPix Speed up your pages. If your photograph images weigh 500k to 1M, this is the fastest way to fix…

SpeedSwitch Loading plugins redundantly and globally decreases the speed of your pages. It’s best to deactivate heavy plugins on pages…

LongCache We demonstrate a common but little understood speed problem usually labeled as Leverage Browser Caching. Various tests report this…

SmooshStatic SmooshStatic automatically resizes huge image uploads. Resizing that is more reasonable for display in browser. Yet still more than…

KrunchKore Extra collection of 8 discrete plugins to strip or disable unneeded and unused baggage. Instruction video included. WordPress non-features…

SpeedXray WordPress works fine. But you need plugins to add extra features and functionality. Without plugins, WordPress is not-worth-as-much. Plugins…

TourniKit For ages we’ve wanted the ability to switch off FontAwesome icon font. We see it as unnecessary baggage many…

Instant-jQ Instant-jQ lets you use faster universal cached resources for better speed. WordPress theme developers normally use the resident jQuery…

Is there a speed plugin for fixing Pingdom “Leverage Browser Caching” errors?

OUR MOBILE-SPEED PRESCRIPTION: Designed for code-free mobile speed. Included in SpeedRescue and SpeedHospital SuperBundle.

LongCache

We demonstrate a common but little understood speed problem usually labeled as Leverage Browser Caching. Various tests report this fault condition slowing down pages. But they don’t explain much about what it is and how to fix it. It’s pretty simple – and we offer a nice plugin solution.

There are various sites for testing page speed. Our favorite is WebPagetest.org. It’s a popular place so you usually have to wait in line – plus their test is pretty comprehensive adding more delay for results. Our go-to test for faster quick-and-dirty results is Pingdom.com – and after that GTmetrix.com

Lightweight: 0.5 millisecond load time. 6.3k package size.

Here’s a screengrab of a Pingdom test for an optimized site:

The test says there are two “failures” (big red Fs). Those are #1 Minimize request size and #2 Leverage browser caching. That seems like pretty harsh criticism for a page that loads in only 658 milliseconds on cheap, shared GoDaddy hosting. We soon discover the bad review isn’t really warranted. Let’s take a closer look by expanding the “accordion” performance insights:

We almost laugh out loud at the itemization of errors. First, there’s only one URL that doesn’t fit into a single packet causing the first error condition: Minimize request size. And that’s an HTTP request call to Google CDN for a webfont. Completely beyond our control and something Google should care about more than us. Let’s move on and just ignore that single call. But talk about harsh – an “F” (41).

Why speed test scores are bogus READ MORE here:
http://pagepipe.com/online-speed-test-scores-are-especially-useless-for-mobile-speed-improvement/

The second category, Leverage browser caching, says there are 6 errors. Five are image files and the last file is another Google font. Again, we have to ignore the errant Google font.

Note: A simple font solution would be killing (removing) Google fonts and use the native browser fonts in the CSS stack. We could do this with Remove Google Font References plugin. But we feel the fonts add to the page “style.” The pages are pretty fast already and load time is more important than getting a good Pingdom score.

So how do we get rid of this Leverage browser caching problem? They give us a hint with the instructions:

The following cacheable resources have a short freshness lifetime. Specify an expiration at least one week in the future.

What does that mean? They are talking about a web speed trick called far-futures expiration. It is a best-practice for speeding up your website by using Expires or a Cache-Control Header. This is server-side coding that is added in the .htaccess file that resides on your server. There are many tutorials on how to do this manually. But if you are inexperienced at editing these kinds of files via Cpanel or FTP, we have a simpler, automated plugin solution. Read on:

LongCache plugin adds a “far future expiration” date for various file types (like image files) to improve site performance. This is a best practice advocated by the Yahoo Extreme Performance Team. It keeps files and images cached longer. There is also a radio button to enable Gzip – a nice addition. (More about Gzip >)

A first-time visitor to your page causes many HTTP requests, but by using the Expires header those components become cacheable. This avoids unnecessary HTTP requests on subsequent, repeat page views. The web server uses the Expires header in the HTTP response to tell  your visitor’s browser how long a component can be cached (stored).

The Expires response header gives a date when a page component becomes stale.

Using a far future Expires header affects page views only after a user has already visited your site. It has no effect for first-time visitors and the browser’s cache is empty. The impact of this performance improvement depends on how often users return. About half of your users or more could be return visitors.

Your server’s .htaccess file can be appended by using some simple plugin settings:

  1. Enable the LongCache plugin.
  2. Set the expiration to 365 days (yes, 1 year).
  3. Select all of the file types you are using.
  4. Select Gzip compression.
  5. Save.

[pullquote]The plugin doesn’t add page weight to your site. We call this a “weightless” plugin.[/pullquote]

Will you see a speed improvement? It depends. If you didn’t have Gzip already activated on your server, you will see a big improvement. You’ll have a better Pingdom test result. Returning visitors will have a better user experience because images and other assets are already on the browser cache waiting. You’ve paid homage to a theoretical speed improvement. The effort to make it happen is minimal. So why not just do it? We do – always.

Leverage Browser Caching score is now an “A”. The only file that can’t be cached is the webfont from – ahem – thanks, Google.

Other SpeedHospital Proceedures

KrunchKore Extra collection of 8 discrete plugins to strip or disable unneeded and unused baggage. Instruction video included. WordPress non-features…

Instant-jQ Instant-jQ lets you use faster universal cached resources for better speed. WordPress theme developers normally use the resident jQuery…

LongCache We demonstrate a common but little understood speed problem usually labeled as Leverage Browser Caching. Various tests report this…

SmooshStatic SmooshStatic automatically resizes huge image uploads. Resizing that is more reasonable for display in browser. Yet still more than…

SpeedXray WordPress works fine. But you need plugins to add extra features and functionality. Without plugins, WordPress is not-worth-as-much. Plugins…

SmooshPix Speed up your pages. If your photograph images weigh 500k to 1M, this is the fastest way to fix…

TourniKit For ages we’ve wanted the ability to switch off FontAwesome icon font. We see it as unnecessary baggage many…

SpeedSwitch Loading plugins redundantly and globally decreases the speed of your pages. It’s best to deactivate heavy plugins on pages…

Turn off unneeded script requests with TourniKit speed plugin.

OUR MOBILE-SPEED PRESCRIPTION: Designed for code-free mobile speed. Included in both SpeedRescue and SpeedHospital SuperBundle.

TourniKit

For ages we’ve wanted the ability to switch off FontAwesome icon font. We see it as unnecessary baggage many themes include as a feature. In fact, most themes include it now. Sometimes, this 70k+ file is added to page weight just to make a single icon – like the magnifying glass in the search field, or perhaps the hamburger icon for a mobile menu. What a waste!

We learned we could “dequeue” that icon-non-feature in the WordPress functions.php file. But this always proved tedious or broke things. We wanted a faster, safer way to test. We asked our local WordPress meetup if they knew of a plugin that would remove FontAwesome painlessly. No one had any clue.

With TourniKit plugin not only can we dequeue FontAwesome, we can get rid of Google fonts and other heavy assets like unused sliders that have universal page loads.

Description: A tool for experienced frontend performance engineers to take control over the scripts and styles enqueued on their site.

Hey! We are front-end performance engineers! But the plugin doesn’t say, “Font Awesome Remover plugin.”

The word “experienced” in the description is scary. But the damage done by novices can be quickly undone with some built-in safety features.

Once the plugin is activated, browse to any page on the front of your site. An Assets link will appear on the top right of the WordPress admin bar. Click that to view and manage all assets globally.

That’s it “Assets” on the front side of the page. Not the dashboard side. Up there in the top right corner of your screen. Click it to open up the control panel for the plugin.

The plugin control on the front because the assets only get enqueued on the frontend, so the plugin doesn’t really know anything on the backend. That’s why we only show the link on the frontend. But many people don’t understand this link location. It’s not in the admin dashboard. It dequeues assets globally – not per page.

What if I dequeued jQuery (or something I shouldn’t have done) and now my site is broken. Go to the list of plugins in your admin panel. Find TourniKit and click the “Restore Dequeued Assets” link. Nice and easy.

What a beautiful unusual plugin with a lot of hidden speed potential.

Here’s another application example, we recently used TourniKit plugin to de-enqueue the lazy-load-images function of Speed Booster Pack plugin. That was a javascript file called sbp-lazy-load.min.js. It was being loaded globally and adding page weight. We wanted to test the nice other features of Speed Booster Pack plugin – but not the lazy load because it caused site drag. That function was loaded even if it wasn’t selected in the plugin control panel. Weird! Our preference was using a different lazy load plugin which had no site drag at all – a weightless plugin. Piece of cake with TourniKit!

Oh, and it’s *virtually* weightless. Perfect.

Here’s another example: Navigate to a page where you’d like to disable some request that are superfluous. The unwanted request will show up in a speed test waterfall chart. In this case, the plugin Blog Manager Light loaded Twitter scripts. We don’t use twitter. And it loaded a stripped-down Font Awesome icon set that we didn’t need either.

We turned those unneeded requested scripts off with TourniKit plugin.

Click to enlarge. 29 scripts removed from an Elementor site.

 

Other SpeedHospital Proceedures

Instant-jQ Instant-jQ lets you use faster universal cached resources for better speed. WordPress theme developers normally use the resident jQuery…

SmooshStatic SmooshStatic automatically resizes huge image uploads. Resizing that is more reasonable for display in browser. Yet still more than…

SmooshPix Speed up your pages. If your photograph images weigh 500k to 1M, this is the fastest way to fix…

KrunchKore Extra collection of 8 discrete plugins to strip or disable unneeded and unused baggage. Instruction video included. WordPress non-features…

SpeedXray WordPress works fine. But you need plugins to add extra features and functionality. Without plugins, WordPress is not-worth-as-much. Plugins…

TourniKit For ages we’ve wanted the ability to switch off FontAwesome icon font. We see it as unnecessary baggage many…

LongCache We demonstrate a common but little understood speed problem usually labeled as Leverage Browser Caching. Various tests report this…

SpeedSwitch Loading plugins redundantly and globally decreases the speed of your pages. It’s best to deactivate heavy plugins on pages…

Assessing speed overhead with SpeedXray plugin.

OUR MOBILE-SPEED PRESCRIPTION: Designed for code-free mobile speed. Included in SpeedRescue and SpeedHospital SuperBundle.

SpeedXray

WordPress works fine. But you need plugins to add extra features and functionality. Without plugins, WordPress is not-worth-as-much. Plugins give you control over website functions and performance without writing any code. Choosing the right plugins play a big role in your mobile speed success.

It seems as simple as searching for the most popular plugins. Then installing and activating them on your website. The result: an instant functionality upgrade without needing technical knowledge.

The problem is most popular plugins are slow loading. They bog down your site. Often globally, meaning slowing every single page and post. We call that site drag. Other plugins are more forgiving. They don’t suffer from site drag. Instead, they load only where used – or where there’s a shortcode installed. How can you know if a plugin causes site drag? Experimentation. This undocumented gotcha isn’t in read.me files.

Lightweight: 1.4 millisecond load time. 161.3k package size.

The plugin directory is one of WordPress’ great assets. It provides over 55,000 applications extending WordPress. It’s also completely open and free. Any author can contribute. Anyone can download. The plugin auditing process and security analysis are sometimes flaky. Bad plugins happen.

Many plugins have identical functions – but they’re not built the same. Some hog resources. Others are fine quality. You can solve about any WordPress problem with a plugin – or a plugin combination. We do research and experimentation to discover plugins helping mobile WordPress speed. We appreciate alternatives to bloated popular plugins.

WordPress.org used to place a label on plugins not updated in over 2 years. Now they indicate how many update version have been missed instead. This staleness warning may mean the plugin won’t work – or worst case – could break your site. Often, we find old plugins work great. Especially for speed. Even when they aren’t updated for years.

This plugin hasn’t been tested with the latest 3 major releases of WordPress. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

This shelf-life warning, above, scares people from unrealized opportunities. So we still test obsolete plugins. There are many compatible-and-clean 8- or 10-year-old plugins. There are always risks with even the biggest and best – and most popular. These unpredictable gambles include plugins with millions of active installs and recent updates. Even WordPress or Yoast stubs it’s toe. It happens to the peerless.

The Plugin Review team takes down a plugin if it’s becomes vulnerable. But they don’t always notify users when this happens – or tell us to remove a bad plugin. We know this from sad experience.

SpeedXray measures load-time impact expressed in seconds for every plugin you have activated. It helps narrow down plugins causing potential speed issues. SpeedXray doesn’t work with newer PHP version 7+. You need to dial back PHP in your hosts Cpanel to version 5.6.

Description: See which plugins are slowing down your site. This plugin creates a performance report for your site.

After testing, don’t leave it installed. At least, disable it. It’s not needed except when measuring. This keeps your site fast.

There are attempts to prove SpeedXray plugin doesn’t work well – or that it’s results are meaningless. Surprise! We agree. What’s important are the relative results. Not the absolute numbers generated. It’s ranking the worst-offending plugin to the least – with values in seconds. Data is presented in alphabetical order, not in milliseconds. We sort in a spreadsheet. But there’s intuitive data to analyze and we appreciate it. Some say the results are ±30 percent off. Not from our experience. There’s no way to prove accuracy. We don’t care. Our gut says the ranking is correct enough.

SpeedXray is needed for speed assessments. It shows information not represented in any known speed report we’ve found. It’s not crippled when using workarounds for it’s shortcomings (dialing back PHP).

Let’s look at some SpeedXray results for PagePipe.com which loads in under 1 second. We were using the free theme Magazeen-Lite at the time of this test (active installs: 400+, Zip download: 432k). It’s load time is 37 milliseconds according to SpeedXray. Fast! We selected this bare-bones theme because it’s package size was small and light. NOTE: We’re now using the Twenty-seventeen default theme – even though there are newer default themes. Load time is around 20 milliseconds.

We have: 56 free WordPress plugins. What?!

That’s right. 56 are active. 4 are inactive. SpeedXray says they all load in 396 milliseconds. Good enough. We suspect they load faster than that. But as we’ve said; it’s plugin rank that’s important for sorting.

The inactive plugins include:

  • Broken Link Checker (which we run quarterly).
  • UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore (set to run automatically once per week).
  • Replace Image (enabled as needed).
  • Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions (we activate and run once monthly for cleaning).

Most of our inactive plugins are “resource intensive.” That means they hog database and RAM on the host server. If they all were running at once, our generous hosting provider would – with total lack of courtesy – shutdown our site. Our resource overages affect our other 23 shared-host neighbor’s speed. Can’t upset the server neighbors! NOTE: We were finally forced to buy more resources by GoDaddy for RAM overruns.

After installing iThemes Security plugin, we got a GoDaddy email notification. It said our hosting account exceeded its resource limits. We dumped the plugin. Read More.

A few other speed tidbits: Worth-The-Read plugin used to be set active only on posts, not pages. It’s our third heaviest plugin at 39 milliseconds. That’s actually pretty light – but we’re picky. How did we do that? Selective plugin activation. Read more here. [Note: we got rid of this plug at a later date.]

Our heaviest plugin is SS Downloads. We activated this plugin only on “download posts.” There are about 7 or 8 posts with this feature. It has a 120 millisecond load. It’s 30 percent of the total plugin weight. We found selective activation conflicted with the Autoptimize minification plugin. Downloads then produced a 404 error. We tested with another minification plugin substitute, Better WP Minify. The same error occurred. Minification was more important to speed than selective activation of SS Download. That isn’t always the case. But it was this time. Minification often is tricky and nonessential. If we deselected minification on the download posts, it broke the site – a catch-22.

In the end, we deleted the SS Downloads plugin. And we didn’t install a minification plugin.

Pareto principle is still alive! 10 of our heaviest plugins contribute to 80 percent of the cumulative weight (see column 3. The red text indicates the 80 percent cutoff). Roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. In this case, 80 percent of the slowness comes from 20 percent of our “red-heaviest” plugin choices. These slower plugins needing the most scrutiny.

Easy Forms for MailChimp plugin is number four rank at 26.5 milliseconds. The solution: don’t use it on every sidebar. We place a sidebar 3.5k PNG image linking to a signup page. Then we only affect one page. This we sometimes refer to as offloading. But we aren’t offloading to another site or server, just to another page. Update: We now let MailChimp completely handle the signup on their site instead of bogging down ours with their script. They host our designed signup page. So we no longer do onsite page offloading. We do server offloading to MailChimp. Signup page example below:

Offloading MailChimp signup to their server instead of loading PagePipe down.

Here’s the SpeedXray ranking results:

[table]
“Name”,”milliseconds”,”percent”,”cumulative”
Plugin,ms,,Pareto
Astra,36.00,,
core,648.90,,
,,,
Advanced Cron Manager,263.20,24.62%,24.62%
Advanced Ads,71.70,6.71%,31.33%
Seo By Rank Math,65.70,6.15%,37.48%
Site Reviews,61.80,5.78%,43.26%
Shortpixel Image Optimiser,58.00,5.43%,48.69%
Query Monitor,57.00,5.33%,54.02%
WP Asset Clean Up,46.20,4.32%,58.34%
Simple Sitemap,39.10,3.66%,62.00%
Elementor,36.50,3.41%,65.41%
Elementor Pro,36.30,3.40%,68.81%
UpdraftPlus,34.00,3.18%,71.99%
Convert Pro,33.70,3.15%,75.14%
Social Warfare,31.10,2.91%,78.05%
Autoptimize,27.30,2.55%,80.61%
iThemes Security,21.10,1.97%,82.58%
Admin Menu Editor,20.50,1.92%,84.50%
WP Review Pro,17.10,1.60%,86.10%
ThirstyAffiliates Pro,16.30,1.52%,87.62%
Astra Pro,15.50,1.45%,89.07%
Pretty Links Beginner Edition,15.50,1.45%,90.52%
White Label CMS,15.30,1.43%,91.95%
Ultimate Addons for Elementor,15.00,1.40%,93.36%
Formidable Forms,12.40,1.16%,94.52%
ThirstyAffiliates,11.30,1.06%,95.57%
ARVE Advanced Responsive Video Embedder,9.50,0.89%,96.46%
Insert Headers And Footers,8.90,0.83%,97.30%
Auto Terms Of Service And Privacy Policy,6.50,0.61%,97.90%
TablePress,4.90,0.46%,98.36%
HTTP headers to improve web site security,2.70,0.25%,98.62%
Breeze,2.00,0.19%,98.80%
TablePress Extension: Responsive Tables,1.60,0.15%,98.95%
Convert Pro Addon,1.40,0.13%,99.08%
Redirection,1.40,0.13%,99.21%
Sidebar Manager,1.30,0.12%,99.34%
Wordpress Ping Optimizer,1.20,0.11%,99.45%
Astra Hooks,1.10,0.10%,99.55%
GTmetrix for WordPress,1.00,0.09%,99.64%
Simple Embed Code,0.80,0.07%,99.72%
Antispam Bee,0.70,0.07%,99.78%
Cloudflare,0.60,0.06%,99.84%
Cron Logger,0.50,0.05%,99.89%
List category posts,0.50,0.05%,99.93%
Redis Object Cache,0.40,0.04%,99.97%
Leadspring Link Fixer,0.10,0.01%,99.98%
No Self Ping,0.10,0.01%,99.99%
Slate Admin Theme,0.10,0.01%,100.00%
,,,
“Total”,1068.90,,
[/table]
 

PagePipe.com Pingdom results:
340 milliseconds. 10 requests. 108k page weight.

  • Cheap, shared, magnetic GoDaddy hosting.
  • No paid or free CDN – or server caching.
  • No paid plugins or themes. You can do it, too!

The only plugin we’d consider dumping – if we were under duress – is WP Counter (rank: 7, speed: 13 milliseconds). But it makes us feel good and crazy about our work. We can view some simple visitor stats in our dashboard. Look! There you are – visiting us!

We decided to run a test on WebPagetest.org. This produces a homepage worst-case scenario (950 milliseconds). Pingdom being best-case.

It’s not the quantity of plugins – it’s the quality.

Is this homepage beautiful?

No. It’s fast. It focuses on usability. Site goals are the foundation for decision making. We’ll improve branding and expressive aesthetics later. That costs money – and always slows down the page. The page needs to prove itself with results first. Then we’ll formalize the graphics. Or maybe we’ll leave it “as-is.”

How to extract SpeedXRAY data by rolling back PHP 7.x to PHP 5.6 or 5.4

Are delinquent plugin slowing your site speed?

Too many activated plugin slowing your site is a speed myth. The number of plugins isn’t important. It’s not the quantity, but quality that affects speed. Your site can have over 80 plugins – and still load in under 2 seconds. The WordPress average number of active plugins is 25 per website.

Another web speed myth is that popular or paid plugins are the best. It’s often the opposite. Popular plugins usually slow down sites most. Testing reveals the truth.

You can deactivate all plugins and then retest your site speed. If the site loads faster, you know there’s a problem with one or more plugins.

This tedious method then requires activating plugins one at a time for problem discovery. Repeated speed tests are required consuming time and energy.

An alternative method is using the SpeedXray plugin to evaluate plugin load time in milliseconds . This older plugin only works using server-language PHP 5.6. You need to rollback PHP to version 5.6 from newer versions – for example – PHP 7.1 or 7.2.

The SpeedXray Plugin is a more intelligent way to track down resource hogging plugins.

Our goal is ranking the slowest plugins consuming 80 percent of plugin overhead.

This Pareto principle – or 80/20 rule – helps identify the sweet spot for balancing functionality and user experience with the fastest load time.

This technique is also known as value analysis. Slow plugins then are  selectively activated – or substituted with faster alternatives – or eliminated.

Note: Many managed WordPress hosts, such as WP Engine, do not allow site owners C-panel access.

This video tutorial demonstrates a workaround to extract SpeedXray plugin data for ranking individual plugin overhead. This is our method of quantifying performance optimization.

Shown here is GoDaddy  C-panel access. This feature is included with low-cost Linux hosting.

Scroll down to the software section.

Click the select PHP version link.

That opens an area to switch PHP options.

Here it’s currently set to version 7.1.

Roll back the version with the drop down menu to version 5.6. Click the “Set to current” button.

Version 5.6 is the required for SpeedXray. It doesn’t and can’t run on newer PHP versions.

On the site we’re testing, there are 69 active plugins.

We’ll determine which ones cause the most site drag using the Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule. That is where 80 percent of consequences come from 20 percent of the causes.

Go to the SpeedXray plugin in the WordPress dashboard and click the “Scan Now” text link. Then press the “Start Scan” and “Auto Scan”  buttons. Scanning takes about 25 seconds to complete.

When presented, click the “View Results” button.

The SpeedXray plugin produces pie charts representing qualitative results. These displays aren’t very helpful. We want quantified data for benchmark comparisons of potential speed savings.

Click the “Email these result” text link below the pie chart.

A small window pops open labelled Email Report. We’ve never had any success emailing plugin results to ourselves or others.

Instead, with your cursor over the “results” text box, right click and select “Inspect Element” using your browser inspector tool. Or use another equivalent function.

This opens a developer tools window. The code of interest, labeled text area, is highlighted in dark blue. Click in that area. Then double click the code and you’ll see a small format change. The code is still highlighted. Do a keyboard [control-C] and copy this code.

Paste the raw code [control-V] into a standalone text editor. Name and save the file.

Close the email windows.

Deactivate SpeedXray plugin.

Note: Leaving it activated slows your site. Leaving it installed for later reactivation has no speed consequence.

Go to your C-panel and restore the PHP setting to version 7.x.

We analyze the saved data with a spreadsheet program.

When the final sorted results are shown notice which plugins are the heaviest.

#1 – Yoast SEO plugin – that load time has doubled since this test. We say get rid of that slow plugin.

All the heaviest plugins can be substituted of eliminated. Notice WP Rocket is one of the heavier ones. The irony. A speed plugin. Also, WP Disable another speed plugin causes global site drag. Avoid these plugins.

Other SpeedHospital Proceedures

SpeedSwitch Loading plugins redundantly and globally decreases the speed of your pages. It’s best to deactivate heavy plugins on pages…

SmooshPix Speed up your pages. If your photograph images weigh 500k to 1M, this is the fastest way to fix…

TourniKit For ages we’ve wanted the ability to switch off FontAwesome icon font. We see it as unnecessary baggage many…

SpeedXray WordPress works fine. But you need plugins to add extra features and functionality. Without plugins, WordPress is not-worth-as-much. Plugins…

Instant-jQ Instant-jQ lets you use faster universal cached resources for better speed. WordPress theme developers normally use the resident jQuery…

KrunchKore Extra collection of 8 discrete plugins to strip or disable unneeded and unused baggage. Instruction video included. WordPress non-features…

LongCache We demonstrate a common but little understood speed problem usually labeled as Leverage Browser Caching. Various tests report this…

SmooshStatic SmooshStatic automatically resizes huge image uploads. Resizing that is more reasonable for display in browser. Yet still more than…

Selective plugin activation is your secret mobile-speed weapon.

OUR MOBILE-SPEED PRESCRIPTION: Designed for code-free mobile speed. Included in both SpeedRescue and SpeedHospital SuperBundle.

SpeedSwitch

Loading plugins redundantly and globally decreases the speed of your pages. It’s best to deactivate heavy plugins on pages where they’re not needed. JavaScript, CSS files, and SQL queries are then reduced during page load.

A popular WordPress form plugin is installed on over 1 million WordPress websites. The favored culprit is Contact Form 7. It adds 37k page weight to all pages on your website. And a 79.9 millisecond delay. Everywhere. Even when the plugin is only used on one page – such as your contact page – the plugin “globally” slows down all pages. This “global” activation is even more problematic for heavier plugins like Google Maps or social media controls. We call global plugin activation “site drag.”

Lightweight: 2.3 millisecond load time. 13.1k package size.

Other form plugins are lighter and faster. But substitution isn’t the solution or our main concern. What if we absolutely needed to use Contact Form 7 plugin because there is a special addon plugin that gives us more extended utility (And, there are addons!) How can you prevent global loading?

We fix it with a plugin that restricts a heavy plugin to just the pages where it’s needed. SpeedSwitch plugin allows you to selectively activate or deactivate a plugin using the post or page URL, the address of a World Wide Web page.

Other Uses

While our main focus is page-speed improvements, here’s another example of how plugin deselection can help:

We’re using the WP Image Borders plugin (266k compressed download) on a client’s website. It makes it easy to add image borders to pictures on pages or posts – but activation is global. The plugin adds borders to images on all pages.

But we don’t want borders around every image – as in the case of these circular buttons show here – the border ruins the look. So we deselect the border plugin for just that page. Problem solved.

BEFORE: With light-blue border, edges show up as squares.
AFTER: The blue line is removed because the border plugin is deselected for only that page.

Other SpeedHospital Proceedures

SpeedXray WordPress works fine. But you need plugins to add extra features and functionality. Without plugins, WordPress is not-worth-as-much. Plugins…

SmooshStatic SmooshStatic automatically resizes huge image uploads. Resizing that is more reasonable for display in browser. Yet still more than…

TourniKit For ages we’ve wanted the ability to switch off FontAwesome icon font. We see it as unnecessary baggage many…

LongCache We demonstrate a common but little understood speed problem usually labeled as Leverage Browser Caching. Various tests report this…

KrunchKore Extra collection of 8 discrete plugins to strip or disable unneeded and unused baggage. Instruction video included. WordPress non-features…

SpeedSwitch Loading plugins redundantly and globally decreases the speed of your pages. It’s best to deactivate heavy plugins on pages…

SmooshPix Speed up your pages. If your photograph images weigh 500k to 1M, this is the fastest way to fix…

Instant-jQ Instant-jQ lets you use faster universal cached resources for better speed. WordPress theme developers normally use the resident jQuery…