Turn off unneeded script requests with TourniKit speed plugin.

OUR MOBILE-SPEED PRESCRIPTION: Designed for code-free mobile speed. Included in Geek and Pro bundles.

TourniKit

For ages we’ve wanted the ability to switch off Font Awesome 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 Font Awesome painlessly. No one had any clue.

With TourniKit plugin not only can we dequeue Font Awesome, 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…

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

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

KrunchKore Extra collection of 11 discrete plugins to strip or disable unneeded and unused baggage. This rescue kit includes an…

SmooshKit Do your photograph images weigh 200k to 1M or more? You want skinny lossy formats, not fat lossless images….

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

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

Selective plugin activation is your secret mobile-speed weapon.

OUR MOBILE-SPEED PRESCRIPTION: Designed for code-free mobile speed. Included in Geek and Pro bundles.

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 than Contact Form 7. 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 SpeedHospital Proceedures

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…

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 Font Awesome icon font. We see it as unnecessary baggage…

SmooshKit Do your photograph images weigh 200k to 1M or more? You want skinny lossy formats, not fat lossless images….

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

KrunchKore Extra collection of 11 discrete plugins to strip or disable unneeded and unused baggage. This rescue kit includes an…

SpeedXray plugin overhead assessment.

OUR MOBILE-SPEED PRESCRIPTION: Designed for code-free mobile speed. Included in Geek and Pro bundles.

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.

 

A process for assessing which plugins hurt speed the most.

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.

Scary WordPress directory notification: 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 is a process to assess load-time impact for every plugin you have activated. It helps narrow down plugins causing potential speed issues.

Description: See which plugins are slowing down your site. Our process helps you create a performance report for your site.

What’s important are relative results. Not the absolute numbers generated. It’s ranking the worst-offending plugin to the least. There’s intuitive data to analyze and we appreciate it. There’s no way to prove accuracy. We don’t care. Our gut says the plugin ranking is correct enough.

SpeedXray is needed for speed assessments. It shows information not represented in any known speed report we’ve found.

PagePipe has 52 free WordPress plugins. What?!

That’s right. 52 are active. It’s quality – not quantity – that slows down a website. (The average WordPress site uses 25 plugins.)

The deactivated plugins include:

  • Link Finder (which we run quarterly to check broken links. It’s is heavy on server usage).
  • Better Search and Replace (as needed also a database intensive plugin).
  • Find Posts Using Attachment (as needed).
  • UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore (set to run automatically once per week).
  • Enable Media Replace (enabled as needed).
  • Regenerate Thumbnails (we use it when restoring a backup) because we use Exclude Image Thumbnails From UpdraftPlus Backups plugin to keep the media library slim. This creates faster backups and reduced consumption of server assets during backup .
  • Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions (we activate and run once quarterly 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 or throttle our site. Our resource overages affect our other 23 shared-host neighbor’s speed. Can’t upset the server neighbors!

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.

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 need the most scrutiny.

Here’s the SpeedXray ranking results:

[table]
,Plugin,kilobytes,percent,Pareto,selective
,,,,,activation
1,UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore,26400.00,46.09%,46.09%,***
2,LiteSpeed Cache,7100.00,12.40%,58.48%,
3,Redirection,5300.00,9.25%,67.74%,
4,Simple Content Adder,3300.00,5.76%,73.50%,
5,Blog Manager Light,2700.00,4.71%,78.21%,***
6,Advanced Ads,2000.00,3.49%,81.70%,***
7,Lazy Load for Videos,1100.00,1.92%,83.62%,***
8,Limit Login Attempts Reloaded,1000.00,1.75%,85.37%,
9,Hide Dashboard Notifications,993.00,1.73%,87.10%,
10,Watu Quiz,877.30,1.53%,88.63%,***
11,Autoptimize,775.70,1.35%,89.99%,
12,Really Simple SSL,717.10,1.25%,91.24%,
13,Disable Comments,563.20,0.98%,92.22%,
14,rocket-lazy-load,543.20,0.95%,93.17%,
15,Simple CSS,437.70,0.76%,93.94%,
16,Plugin Toggle,423.00,0.74%,94.67%,
17,Simple Pull Quote,349.00,0.61%,95.28%,
18,WP Image Borders,292.10,0.51%,95.79%,***
19,Easy Publisher,273.00,0.48%,96.27%,
20,Similar Posts,265.60,0.46%,96.73%,
21,Category Sticky Post,253.00,0.44%,97.18%,
22,CAOS,186.40,0.33%,97.50%,
23,Imsanity,182.50,0.32%,97.82%,
24,Easy Table,151.40,0.26%,98.08%,
25,WP Post Hide,146.50,0.26%,98.34%,
26,Asset Queue Manager,138.90,0.24%,98.58%,
27,BBQ Firewall,119.60,0.21%,98.79%,
28,Simple Drop Cap,101.00,0.18%,98.97%,
29,ToTop Link,90.10,0.16%,99.12%,
30,amr shortcode any widget,66.80,0.12%,99.24%,
31,Classic Editor,61.20,0.11%,99.35%,
32,Admin Post Navigation,53.00,0.09%,99.44%,
33,SpeedSwitch,52.70,0.09%,99.53%,
34,Email Address Encoder,40.50,0.07%,99.60%,
35,Date/Time Now Button,34.10,0.06%,99.66%,
36,Quotes,22.20,0.04%,99.70%,
37,Far Future Expiration Plugin,21.80,0.04%,99.74%,
38,Disable Emojis (GDPR friendly),20.40,0.04%,99.78%,
39,Change Table Prefix,19.00,0.03%,99.81%,
40,More Plugin Info,18.60,0.03%,99.84%,
41,Hierarchical HTML Sitemap,18.40,0.03%,99.87%,
42,WP Counter,14.30,0.02%,99.90%,
43,Display PHP Version,13.70,0.02%,99.92%,
44,Current Year and Copyright Shortcodes,8.00,0.01%,99.94%,
45,Disable Embeds,8.00,0.01%,99.95%,
46,WP Author Date and Meta Remover ,8.00,0.01%,99.96%,
47,All 404 Pages Redirect to Homepage,7.00,0.01%,99.98%,
48,BleuT FavIcon,4.30,0.01%,99.98%,
49,Instant-jQ,3.80,0.01%,99.99%,
50,Restore Image Title,2.60,0.00%,99.99%,
51,Exclude Image Thumbnails From UpdraftPlus Backups,2.30,0.00%,100.00%,
52,Widon’t,0.67,0.00%,100.00%,
,,,,,
,TOTAL,57280.67,,,
,,,,,
,Twenty seventeen theme,2000.00,,,
[/table]

PagePipe.com Pingdom to SF, USA results:
710 milliseconds. 21 requests. 910k page weight.


PagePipe.com Pingdom to London results:
1.4 seconds. 21 requests. 910k page weight.


PagePipe.com Pingdom to Frankfurt, Germany results:
1.25 seconds. 21 requests. 910k page weight.


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

PagePipe.com WPT.org to WV, USA results:
1.213 seconds. 13 requests. 153k page weight.


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

  • Cheap, shared hosting.
  • No paid or free CDN.
  • No paid plugins or themes. You can do it, too!

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.”

Are delinquent plugins 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.

The SpeedXray process 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.

We analyze the data with an open-source spreadsheet program.

The heaviest plugins can be substituted of eliminated. Avoid these plugins.

SpeedXray process and plugins are included free when you purchase SpeedHosptial.

Other SpeedHospital Proceedures

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…

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

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…

SmooshKit Do your photograph images weigh 200k to 1M or more? You want skinny lossy formats, not fat lossless images….

KrunchKore Extra collection of 11 discrete plugins to strip or disable unneeded and unused baggage. This rescue kit includes an…

JavaScript affects the critical rendering path.

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

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

SmooshKit Do your photograph images weigh 200k to 1M or more? You want skinny lossy formats, not fat lossless images….

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

KrunchKore Extra collection of 11 discrete plugins to strip or disable unneeded and unused baggage. This rescue kit includes an…

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

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…

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

OUR MOBILE-SPEED PRESCRIPTION: Designed for code-free mobile speed. Included in Geek and Pro bundles.

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 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 – a red “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.

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

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

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

SmooshKit Do your photograph images weigh 200k to 1M or more? You want skinny lossy formats, not fat lossless images….

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…

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

KrunchKore Extra collection of 11 discrete plugins to strip or disable unneeded and unused baggage. This rescue kit includes an…

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