WordPress & Site Building

#331 – Site Speed Nerd Roasts Our Setup

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3 min read
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️Overview

  • What is the best CDN setup?
  • What caching plugins should you never use?
  • What are the best image and database optimization strategies?

In this episode, Gael dives deep into the world of site speed optimization with Brian Jackson, the pro behind the enthusiast site speed plugin, Perfmatters. They’ll chat everything site speed, including hosting solutions, themes, and various tools to improve your sites performance.

A special thanks to our sponsor for this episode – Ahrefs, the all-in-one SEO tool set for everything you need to rank high and get traffic.

Hosting & Page Building

When it comes to hosting, Brian recommends using Kinsta, Cloudways, Rocket.net, and BigScoots.

On the site building side of things, he recommends using GeneratePress and GenerateBlocks, especially given their consistent performance compared to Elementor‘s past technical issues.

Plus, there’s an advantage of sticking close to native WordPress for future compatibility. Brian also anticipates challenges with page builders like Elementor under Google’s new CWV metrics.

Tools like Bricks, a performance-oriented page builder, are also good alternatives to Elementor, but beware of bloating there too.

Caching and Plugins

There are two main setups for caching

  1. The hosts’ cache + Perfmatters for front-end optimizations
  2. Cache plugins like WP Rocket, WP Fastest Cache, Flying Press, etc.

For caching plugins, Brian recommended using WP Rocket, WP Fastest Cache, or Flying Press (despite recent issues with Flying Press that caused performance drops). If you’re using Siteground, he recommended using their Speed Optimizer.

Some plugins offer separate caches for mobile vs desktop caching, which is useful for optimizing device-specific content, but is not always necessary.

Server caching is generally recommended, though its effectiveness varies based on hosting. Object caching is definitely recommended, especially for dynamic sites.

Brian did not recommend using W3 Total Cache, Super Cache or Jetpack because of their issues with bloating, among other issues. And he generally did not recommend combining CSS and Javascript files.

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

There will always be trade-offs between site speed, security, and hosting costs.

Brian recommended using Cloudfare APO, as it offers a balance between speed and security, improves server response times and saves on hosting costs.

He also recommended setting cache length to 30 days for most sites.

Defer vs Delay JavaScript

Delaying JavaScript can significantly improve page speed, though Brian says that ‘defer’ is generally recommended, as it rarely causes issues. While ‘delay’ may be powerful, it can cause issues if not managed properly.

Perfmatters allows both defer and delay options, with exclusions for fine-tuning.

Optimization Strategies

It’s helpful to do testing in incognito mode for a more accurate performance evaluation.

Brian cautioned against over-optimization, and recommended balancing tool scores with actual user experience.

When it comes to image optizimation, Bunny Optimizer, Optimole, ShortPixel, Imagify, EWWW, Perfmatters and Zaraz are all good options, though Brian recommended avoiding Mirage.

On the database optimization side of things, he recommended doing regular cleanups, and clearing transients, drafts, and unnecessary data. It’s also vital to uninstall plugins properly to avoid database bloat.

about the author
Hey I'm Gael, one of the guys behind Authority Hacker. I make a living working from my laptop in various places in the world and I will use this website to teach you how you could do the same.

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