Optimizing WordPress — Take III

I have written in the past about steps I have taken to optimize WordPress. There are now newer steps to take. Optimizing WordPress addresses the time it takes to render a page, as well as the scores you get via various scoring tools. The goal is to have a fast site, one that displays quickly without error. Unfortunately, that is often at odds with the UI tricks we want to use.

The fastest sites are those that do not load any JavaScript, or use it minimally. This often leads us to use minification programs to minify our JavaScript, to reduce the server load. We also use CDNs to offload our JavaScript. JavaScript is not the only culprit: fonts are as well. By optimizing JavaScript and fonts, we gain increased performance. Limiting both is a big win.

In the past, I have used the following WordPress plugins to help with optimization:

This list has now changed to just the following:

These four plugins do all that I need to do now. I use a CDN for all static resources as well as caching upstream of my services. Fast Velocity Minify has all the capabilities of Better WordPress Minify and the features of Speed Booster Pack (defer, query string removal) that I use. Fast Velocity Minify also optimizes fonts. Granted, my own plugin AAC Scoring does some of this as well. I use AAC Scoring to put most CSS above the fold.

Reducing the number of plugins in use also increases the performance of the site. Fewer filters means faster rendering.

I have found that the developer of Fast Velocity Minify is very responsive to questions and answers as well.

Keeping minification up to date and PHP 7.0–ready is extremely useful. Too many older, well-used plugins are falling behind. This could also lead to security issues further down the road.

I have been looking at the age of some of the plugins as well as compatibility with PHP 7.0 using the following plugins only on my development server:

When I find a plugin that is old, or not compatible, I look into replacements. Some are very difficult to replace with anything newer or even compatible. However, one must find a way as we move toward PHP 7.0.

Optimizing and keeping your code up to date is crucial to a successful WordPress installation.

Edward Haletky

Edward L. Haletky, aka Texiwill, is an author, analyst, developer, technologist, and business owner. Edward owns AstroArch Consulting, Inc., providing virtualization, security, network consulting and development and TVP Strategy where he is also an Analyst. Edward is the Moderator and Host of the Virtualization Security Podcast as well as a guru and moderator for the VMware Communities Forums, providing answers to security and configuration questions. Edward is working on new books on Virtualization.

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