Does your website load super fast for your users? If not, here are 18 WordPress plugins that can help speed up your site.
ou put so much work into making your WordPress website, it’d be a shame if one little thing could be its entire undoing.
What’s that thing?
If your website takes longer to load than it took you to read this paragraph, then you’re in trouble.
Luckily, there are WordPress plugins that’ll make your website load so quickly your visitors won’t even notice they’re already using it.
Are you looking for a caching or minifying plugin for WordPress? Or just looking for ways to speed up your WordPress installation?
Either way, I’ve got you covered.
The best WordPress speed enhancing plugins
1) W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is popular speed enhancing plugin. It goes beyond just being a simple caching plugin.
There’s a huge array of options and various caching methods that are supported.
There’s advanced support for CloudFlare and other CDN services.
But, the reality is that because there are so many options, it’s not the easiest to setup. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could break something. That’s why I recommend this plugin to advanced users.
It’s also worth noting that uninstalling this plugin can be tricky – it takes more than the typical deactivating and deleting to get rid of it.
- CDN Support
- Browser caching
- Database caching
- Object caching
- And lots more
2) WP Super Minify
The idea of minifying is to combine JS, HTML and CSS files so that they can be compressed and served to visitors in a way that reduces website loading times.
It’s worth noting that you should be very careful when setting up these types of plugins, in the past I have found that sometimes particular themes and plugins can conflict with this type of plugin.
- Extremely straight forward and easy to use.
3) WP Smush it
WP Smush is based on the Yahoo Smush.it service which is used to optimize images and remove unnecessary bytes from image files.
Most tools use ‘lossy’ formats which degrade quality, but WP Smush uses lossless formats so you won’t be able to notice any difference in quality.
I tried this plugin in the past and found it to be quite buggy.
At the time, it broke all of my image thumbnails but thankfully there’s a plugin called ‘Regenerate Thumbnails’ that fixed the issue on my site within 5 minutes, so no harm done.
It’s worth noting that this happened a long time ago and the plugin is now maintained by WPMU DEV.
- Strips un-used colour from images
- Strips meta data from JPEG’s (this isn’t needed anyway)
- Optimizing JPEG compression
- Integrates with the Smush.it API
- Choose to run existing images through the plugin
4) LazyLoad by WP Rocket
Usually when a visitor hits your website and tries to load a page it will load the entire page.
If it’s a long page with lots of images this can cause your loading times to skyrocket.
The truth is that you don’t actually need the entire page to load at the same time, especially images which usually take the most time to load.
The idea of ‘lazy loading’ is that specific elements are only loaded when they are needed. And that’s what LazyLoad by WP Rocket will do.
One interesting feature is that you can replace your YouTube iFrames with preview thumbnails.
- Replaces post images, post thumbnails, etc.
- YouTube iFrames can be replaced with preview thumbnails
5) WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is one of the most widely used caching plugins available for WordPress. At the time of writing this post it has had over 5.5 million downloads.
It’s straight forward to setup but has some settings for advanced users which can be used to get more out of the plugin.
- Support for multiple caching types (Mod_Rewrite, PHP and Legacy)
- Serve static html files
- Cache preload
- CDN support
6) WP Fastest Cache
WP Fastest Cache is a performance plugin with a focus on caching. It comes with a great set of features, balanced with ease of use.
Some plugins are too basic, others are too advanced – the developer of this plugin has definitely found the middle ground.
Just install, activate and run through the settings. Then hit save and you’re ready to go.
I especially like how easy it is to set cache expiration times for certain URL strings.
And it gets better, because this plugin is used by over 1 million people and receives great reviews on WordPress.org.
- Easy setup
- 1-click to clear cache and/or minified CSS etc
- Minify CSS and HTML
- Set posts/pages to exclude (some like admin area excluded by default)
- Set expiration times for all posts/pages or certain URL strings
- CDN integration
- Premium version available with extra features
7) Cache Enabler
Cache Enabler is a great plugin from the team at KeyCDN.
It’s a light weight caching plugin that you can setup in minutes.
It comes with the option to set cache expiry time, minification setup and a few other options. Other than that, it’s sparce on features but that’s the entire point of this plugin.
If you need to add a content delivery network service, you can use the sister plugin to this called CDN Enabler. Same principle applies – light weight and easy to setup.
- Simple setup
- 1-click to clear cache
- Set cache behaviour (e.g. clearing after new posts)
- Minification feature
- Set post ID’s to exclude from cache
- Set expiration times