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OK, so I know this is a boring, tedious topic, but with websites being penalized by Google search algorithms for being slow and with research showing you lose a ton of visitors for every second your website is slow, it’s a really, really important topic.  So I’ve been spending a ton of time researching the best way to speed up WordPress websites, as they can be notoriously “heavy” and “code-laden”….(they are, after all, complex content management system websites!)…and these are my findings in terms of plugins and tools:

WordPress Performance-Enhancing Plugins

Here are a couple of performance-enhancing plugins I’ve come across and fully recommend.  I’ll definitely be adding to this list as I still want to play around with a CDN.

WP Rocket

This plugin takes care of a bunch of performance enhancing goodies, namely; caching, images loading above the fold first, CSS and JavaScript optimization, minification and concatenation, compression et al.  It’s very easy to install and configure and really makes a difference.  It’s not free and does cost, though; $39 per site is their base package.  But I think it’s worth it to have a superior performing website.  I may upgrade to their Pro version so I can use it on every one of the sites I develop.  Read more about and download WP Rocket at wp-rocket.me.

Imagify

This plugin is created by the same company that developed the WP Rocket plugin mentioned above.  It’s free (yay!) and installs and functions very easily as an image optimizer.  Even though I always resize and save my images for web in Photoshop before uploading them to WordPress, running the Bulk Optimization process saved me 65% on my images.  That simply boggles my mind!  Imagine what it could do for folk who don’t bother with this step at all?!  Read more about and download Imagify at wordpress.org/plugins/imagify.

WordPress Performance Analysis Tools

There are a ton of tools to assist you with analyzing your website’s performance!  These are some that I’ve not only used but fully recommend too.

Google Page Speed Insights

Good old Google!  Who can go wrong with Google’s analysis?  Find out more and use the tool at developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights.

Pingdom

I must admit I’m partial to Pingdom.  It’s a fantastic service that saved my bacon on more than one occasion when I was running the thousands of pages UDC.edu website.  They have a whole host of useful tools for webmasters, but the one most useful for this particular exercise can be found at tools.pingdom.com.  Although Pingdom is a paid service, a very worthwhile one in my opinion, their page speed tool is free.  Yay, we like free! Find out more and use the tool at tools.pingdom.com.

GTMetrix

This is a great tool to analyze page speed using PageSpeed and YSlow scores. Find out more and use the tool at gtmetrix.com.

Orion ManageWP

I am very, very partial to this tool as I use it in my everyday website management!  Again, this is a paid service, but they have a ton of free functions for webmasters.  This is specifically a WordPress management platform that does performance testing, using Page Speed and YSlow scores, in the same way that GTMetrix does, nicely housed in the full website management suite.  Well done ManageWP!  Find out more and use the tool at orion.managewp.com.