12 Unconventional Speed Tips #9723

Your site is doing great. We appreciate your proactive stance on speed. Providing the best user experience is web hospitality – especially for mobile users.

The last report page contains real-time browser timer results. Numbers are in milliseconds and compared to what Pingdom reports. The numbers match pretty well. That’s a good sign of a healthy site.

Notice your slowest pages are also your most trafficked pages. You may be shoehorning too much into these pages. Think about it as you move forwards.

We’ve got suggestions to make your site faster. And more speed experiments to do in the staging area. But it’s time to present a little speed strategy. Since your site is doing well, you have the luxury of cherry-picking suggestions you want us to put in place. Feedback is welcome.

No big surprises since we’ve talked about some of these ideas already.

You have 31 active plugins.

The average number is 25. But we’ve found if we install 50 substitutes (double), sites go faster. Speed has nothing to do with the number of plugins. Our goal isn’t to go crazy installing plugins. Every plugin causes at least 1-millisecond delay – often globally. “Site drag” is what we call global plugin activation on all pages and posts. Plugins don’t publish these specs. The biggest culprits for site drag are popular and premium plugins and themes. Go figure. Paying to slow down your site?

This plugin report is a brain dump.
There is no hierarchy of importance or value to my list of suggestions. I’m going down the plugin list alphabetically. You decide the ones you like most.

Akismet Anti-Spam
We’ve discussed this. It’s a paid plugin. $60 per year. In 8 years, you will recapture our site tuning fee. Think about it. One plugin ROI. Nice.

We recommend substituting the free Antispam Bee plugin. It has over a half million active installs. It’s a straight forward no-nonsense plugin. But what we like even better is disabling comments completely. Some site owners don’t realize this is a possibility. It’s a relief when they can offload comments on social media. Or get rid of them completely. https://wordpress.org/plugins/antispam-bee/

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/anti-spam-disable-comments-with-a-plugin-and-get-rid-of-akismet-too/ password: pagepipe

Contact Form 7

This is a heavy plugin causing site drag – even when the shortcode isn’t used on any page of your site. It isn’t the heaviest form plugin but it’s one of them. Instead of making you get rid of it in shame, let’s keep it and use selective activation.

Selective activation limits plugin functions to only relevant pages. Sweet. We don’t have to slow the entire site. We use our fork of an obscure plugin called “Plugin Logic.” The PagePipe branded plugin is SpeedSwitch. We sell it as part of a speed kit. For you, free. How generous. No expiration.

In theory, we should selectively activate the same URLs for the Contact Form 7 Salesforce Pro plugin. But you tell us. Is it used on other pages?


We’ve never seen a chat plugin that doesn’t slow down pages big time. This is our first encounter with Drift. It’s on our list but we’ve never tested it. We do have data from others who have (see link below). Some site owners confess they only put chat on the site to appear cool and trendy. They then dump it when they find out the speed cost. If you’re making money with it, fine. Keep it.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/dumping-livechat-for-speed/


We use Elementor when we have the luxury of server headroom (aka expensive hosting). Kinsta has the headroom because of its good TTFB. Be conscious using the pro version doubles the plugin load time. Some people buy it. Install it. And then never use its features. Paying for it every year. We write about Elementor a lot. People think we’re haters. We don’t hate Elementor. We hate the designers who abuse it.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/how-elementor-page-builder-affects-mobile-page-speed/

Skim it. Or don’t. Are we recommending removing Elementor? Not for a minute.

We’ve removed pagebuilders during speed site rebuilds. Be aware Gutenberg block editor soon will be a pagebuilder – and much faster than Elementor. How much faster? We guess 300 to 500 milliseconds faster depending upon the complexity of the site build. Why faster? Because Gutenberg is part of core.

Enable Media Replace

We like this plugin. We use it on PagePipe. We like the ShortPixel company. Their people are nice. Keep this plugin deactivated until needed for maintenance or media repair work. That’s how we use it. It slows down the site while not doing anything. The same as leaving the light on in the attic.

The same goes for disabling the following 5 other maintenance-related plugins: Health Check & Troubleshooting, Media Cleaner, ShortPixel Image Optimizer (yes!), WordPress importer, and WP-Sweep. Turn them on only when you need them.

ShortPixel Image Optimizer

We have no complaints here but I’ve attached a PDF (CRUSH.ME) about image optimization. We prefer Imsanity free plugin. But only because it never costs anything. And is local-server compression instead of a remote API.

Essential Addons for Elementor

Any plugin labeled “essential” immediately arouses contempt. We know what that word means – a multi-function boat anchor. So check you’re leveraging it. If not, find workarounds. We’ve experimented with it. We don’t recommend it. Is it worth trying to get rid of? Usually.

Wordfence Security

We already talked about this plugin. And why it’s already deactivated.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/is-there-any-lightweight-firewall-plugin-substitute-for-wordfence-security-plugin/

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/free-discrete-plugins-replace-bloated-security-plugins/

The plugins in these articles are the ones we can install for you. Fast plugins we use on all our sites.

WP Rocket

We love their blog about speed. They speak the truth – except about specsmanship of their products. We always remove their plugin and install freebies instead. Why? To save money. Lower annual overhead. The results are the same. And believe it or not, WP Rocket adds a small amount 40-milliseconds globally to site drag. What? Does a speed plugin do that? We could install 40 discreet plugins. OK. We’re showing off now.


WP SEO Structured Data Schema
Schema is great for the Library of Congress and universities with massive databases. For normal websites, there is no proven SEO benefit. So why waste a plugin slot. Your call.

Yoast SEO Premium

We can’t talk about Yoast SEO without foaming at the mouth.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/autodescription-seo-plugin-and-mobile-speed/

Plugin Changes

1. Removed 4 plugins

  • Accelerated Mobile Pages
  • AMP
  • Wordfence Security
  • WP SEO Structured Data Schema

2. Deactivated plugins: use only for maintenance

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/dont-slow-down-your-site-with-a-broken-link-checker-plugin/

    • Broken Link Checker
    • Enable Media Replace
    • Health Check & Troubleshooting
    • Media Cleaner
    • Salient Core
    • WordPress Importer
    • WP-Sweep
    • Yoast Duplicate Post

3. Installed security plugins

    • Limit Login Attempts Reloaded

setting: Maximum 9 allowed retries

    • Block Bad Queries (BBQ)

No settings needed.

    • Email Address Encoder

Selected: Hide notices and promotions for all users

NOTE: Your page designers can now safely publish:

info [at] domainname [dot] com

as clickable email address and make it a link. It will be automatically encoded on the fly and hidden from SPAM BOTS.

(located in footer and on contact and download pages)

4. Installed, tested and removed SpeedSwitch plugin

  • Selectively activated Contact Form 7 plugins
  • Contact Form 7 Salesforce Pro
  • Contact Form 7
  • Contact Form Entries
  • Redirection for Contact Form 7

That caused form failure. Removed the SpeedSwitch plugin. Restored.

Tested the form. And received download.
Then unsubscribed from MailChimp list.

5. Cleared WP Rocket Cache and server cache.

6. Removed phantom plugin Worker by GoDaddy with Kinsta help.

Change in TTFB

Kinsta TTFB (server overhead) was slower in the final test by 154 milliseconds average. Peaking at 748 milliseconds TTFB. A unencumbered TTFB test was done with an HTML file (no core, no theme, no plugins). The result was a weightless TTFB of 497 milliseconds. We consider this average to mediocre.

On average anything with a TTFB under 100 ms is fantastic. Anything between 200 – 500 ms is standard and anything between 500 ms and 1 s is less than ideal. Anything greater than 1 s should likely be investigated further. Jan 28, 2020” – KeyCDN

11 Strange Speed Tips #2847

1. The host server is the biggest speed problem. It has a TTFB (server delay) of 1-second average. This prohibits a reliable subsecond page load.

2. Moving to a faster server on another host is the solutions to improve TTFB.
There is no plugin or site solution for poor TTFB.

3. Plugin surgery will reduce speed about 500 milliseconds.

4. Changing the theme would save an additional 50 milliseconds. Not a
justifiable enough gain. Theme changes aren’t included in Plugin Surgery.

5. Image optimization will produce additional speed gains. But how much is
unknown at this time. Guesstimating: 200 – 300 milliseconds. These gains for
mobile users would be important.

6. Deleting Goggle fonts could improve performance by 300 milliseconds. I can do this with a plugin. Playfair serif font presently falls back to helvetica, arial, sans-serif. It would be better as: Georgia, serif.

7. The ShortPixel CDN is not helping speed.

Mojo Marketplace
Jetpack Teach how to do favicon
XML SiteMap
OptinMonster unused
Akismet – unuses
One-click Demo Imports
Yoast SEO
Diff Navigation Page And Post
Google Analytics For WordPress

Media File Renamer
WP Featherlight
Really Simple SSL ???

Imsanity 2000px wide, 82 Q
Run PNG to JPG
Use Lazy Load in Autoptimize
Lazy Load for Video
Teach how to do favicon
XML SiteMap
CAOS UA-117755087-2
Remove Comments
Replace Simple Custom CSS with Simple CSS
Remove Google Fonts References – watch Sans-serif custom code
Schema plugin
Cache Enabler ???
Disable Embeds
Disable Emojis (GDPR friendly)
Far Future Expiration Plugin
WP Remove Query Strings From Static Resources
WP jQuery Plus

Block Bad Queries (BBQ)
Disable XML-RPC
Email Address Encoder
Limit Login Attempts Reloaded
UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore

LTI SEO Lightweight Meta Description Editor

27 Odd Speed Tips #4927

TTFB is 2280 milliseconds (includes 500-millisecond SSL handshaking delays).
Canvas theme is 500.4 milliseconds.
WP Core is 201 milliseconds.
Plugins are 663 milliseconds.
This is a way to access potential opportunities for improvement.

We learn the overhead (site drag) is 3.649 seconds. That means without any
content, images, video, recaptcha, or ads etc, the fastest your pages can
possibly load is around 3.6 seconds. Our goal is 2 seconds or 2,000

The average speed for the top-ten pages (actually 11 pages) is 6.355 as
measured with WebPagetest.org. With a range of 5 to 10 seconds.


All plugins listed are free. If you approve these 8 changes, please email the
word “Approved.” And I’ll make the changes within 24 hours.

1. Install and setup LazyLoad for Video plugin. Adding this speeds up YouTube videos — but will not help videos hosted elsewhere. Video usually adds 500 milliseconds per video. Some pages under test have many videos. So this is an instant win for improvement.

2. Deselect Recaptcha in the Contact Form 7 plugin. It adds 500 to 1000 millisecond delays to all pages and post. It should not be used.

3. Remove Akismet which costs $5 per month on sites with ads or affiliate links. Replace it with Anti-spam Bee, a free plugin.4. Run free PNG to JPG convert plugin on the media library. Transparent PNGs are not touched. Almost 4,000 images will be processed.

5. Replace Smush with free Imsanity plugin and run it retroactively on the
media library. This will resize any big images and optimize them to WordPress
default 82 quality.

6. There are other sundry WordPress unused features that can be turned off or on with plugins: including Far Futures Expiration, Gzip compression of code, emojis.

7. Substitute Cache Enabler plugin instead of WP Fastest Cache.

8. Substitute Autoptimize plugin. It is breaking your site CSS styling file. I
would use Better WordPress Minify plugin. After tests, we’ll decide if we should keep minification or not. It’s not important.


These you can hire someone to fix or you can fix them yourself.

1. Remove Elementor. It’s causing 131 ms site drag and is only beneficial on
one page. Keep Thrive.

2. Host Wistia videos on YouTube.

3. Repair two 404-error delays from Google Tag manager. This may require
Google intervention. Not sure. Out of my skill set.

4. Consider doing backups less frequently with Updraft Plus.

5. Migrate away from HostGator to hosting with better TTFB. When clients have money, we place them on Pressidium. We are not an affiliate. Otherwise, we use  cheap GoDaddy hosting. Also no affiliation.

6. Change your theme. That is not part of plugin surgery. Use a free default
theme if possible for speed.

7. Optimize animated GIF images with an online compressor and replace them. This will reduce them from around 1.3M to 700k in page weight.8. I don’t recommend changing email service providers. It might save 200 ms
site drag. Ads are much worse. We need ads to make money. So leave email

9. Again, removing the SEO plugin would be beneficial but it’s not super
significant at this point.

23 Weirdo Speed Tips #9745

1. Remove the Beaver Builder theme and plugin. Replace those with Astra (free version) and Elementor pagebuilder (also free version).
(400,000 active Astra installations).


2. Remove Gutenberg block editor with the free Classic Editor plugin.

3. Keep Tawk.To chat functions.

4. Substitute the Gravity Forms plugin with free Contact Form 7. Create a central signup page with footer image link (offloading global page slowdowns). Selectively activate the form plugin for that page only.

5. Substitute Google Captcha reCaptcha features with the free Contact Form 7 Honeypot plugin to prevent robot spam on signup forms.

6. Disable Yoast SEO plugin.

7. Replace WP Smush plugin with free Imsanity plugin and make settings for
best image optimization and automation of future and present media library

8. Change non-transparent PNGs in the media library to JPEG format with 82
quality setting. Minimum setting to pass WebPagetest.org optmization tests.

9. Remove Akismet AntiSpam plugin. Not needed with Disable Comments plugin activated.

10. Remove Stylish Cost Calculator plugin.

11. Remove Multiple Themes plugin. No longer needed.

12. Substitute WP Fastest Cache plugin with free Cache Enabler plugin – if
beneficial and needed after optimization.

13. Disable Email Address Encoder setting to prevent false warnings.

14. Disable the following unneeded WordPress core functions:

  • a. oEmbed
  • b. emojis
  • c. XML-RPC
  • d. Gutenberg block editor and related requests.
  • e. Remove Query Strings.

15. Replace Google fonts with a mobile-system font stack for speed.

16. Selectively activate Lazy load for YouTube video on page.

17. Optimize the favicon (site icon).

18. Remove Font Awesome icons and replace with PNG image files. Remove
any Font Awesome residue.

19. Replace TrustPilot slider with a static evergreen image.

20. Replace Google Maps on Contact page with a static image link to Google
Maps page (offloading).

21. Replace Fun Statistics animation with static PNG image.

22. Install free Far Future Expiration Plugin set expiry to 1 year.

23. Install free Lazy Load by WP Rocket plugin.

24. All phone numbers are tappable mobile links.


1. CTA Buttons are #e48a42 (muted orange) with rollover #85c145 (lime green).
Fix “Get 1,000 Text Messages for $1!” to match. Keep button in Navigation blue
#0b7dc1 with light blue rollover #2c95d4.

2. We will retroactively optimize the WordPress media library. Maximum image
dimensions will be 2000 x 2000 pixels with a JPEG quality compression setting of 82. Transparent PNGs will be left untouched.


Just want to clarify before we start chasing butterflies:
Want a 100 score on Google PageSpeed Insights?

We don’t consider Google PageSpeed Insights a valid test of website quality. Scores are not as important as actual speed in milliseconds. Speed is a user experience factor. Google doesn’t use PageSpeed Insight criteria for mobile-first ranking. The irony.

We specifically mention this as unacceptable in our terms of Plugin Surgery on:


“We do NOT use speed scores in our evaluations. Scores are a vanity
metrics trap. What matters are measurements of:

  • load time in milliseconds
  • number of requests
  • page weight file size in kilobytes

Our favored test is WebPagetest.org (sponsored on the low-down by Google).
And Pingdom.com speed test for quick, best-case scenarios.”


“Will my page speed scores improve?
Most likely. But … that isn’t our goal. It’s not about scores – but milliseconds of load time improvement. We also work hard to reduce page weight. This is important for mobile users especially.”

We only use WebPagetest.org test benchmarks as evidence of improvement.
WebPagetest is also owned by Google after they began funding the project. This is the test used by professional site optimizers (aka performance engineers).

Our goal is under 2-second page load times.

So it may sound snobbish but that’s how we do it.

Are you onboard with this methodology and measurement? We don’t want
buyer’s remorse because the needle didn’t move on scores.

5 Weirdest Speed Tips #17219

Total theoretical speed overhead for this site is 3.78 seconds (3780ms). That is without images or scripts.

This is based on the sum of server Time to First Byte (TTFB), WordPress core, SSL handshaking, Astra Pro theme, Elementor pagebuilder, Gravity form plugin and all other remaining plugins.

GOAL: Remove 1780 milliseconds of site drag.
The theoretical speed is also the actual speed measured for the homepage (3.78s).
Some Top10 pages are a little faster (best-case 2.8 seconds). See attached results.
But worst-case is 4.2 seconds for the About page.

Core 116 ms load time
Astra + Pro 184ms
TTFB 286ms
SSL 78ms
Elementor 262.7
These features and plugins can’t be selectively deactivated. They total 927ms. Half the budget. That leaves 1 second to load the remaining assets.

The worst plugin offender is Gravity Forms (and it’s 5 plugins). Those consume up to 2.4 seconds of speed overhead. See attached numbers. We recommend eliminating this plugin with substitution or selective activation. Is Gravity
Forms needed on all pages? If not, which URLs need this plugin? We’d like to develop a speed strategy to isolate this speed problem or offload it to a single page. What is the business goal with this plugin?

The next biggest offenders consume 680ms total:

  • SFWD LMS 315.80
  • Uncanny LearnDash Toolkit 136.60
  • GamiPress 103.40
  • WP All Export 62.50
  • AppPresser 61.70

Can any of these plugins be eliminated or confined to specific URLs?

Image optimization produces some speed gain. It’s not as significant as focusing on the Gravity Forms plugin problem. Regardless, we recommend optimizing the media library. This is included in tha plugin surgery service once approved. There are many large PNG images used for photographs on this site. This is not efficient. Compressed and resized JPEG images are much faster loading. We need email approval from you before we optimize the media library.

There are other plugins we recommend and install as part of our speed service: Remove  Emoji, remove embeds, and Far Futures Expiration. Also Lazy Loading plugin if this isn’t already implemented in Elementor. Also are you using Google Analytics? We can load GA 300-milliseconds faster than other methods.

The next step is deciding the best solution for the form problem. Also optimizing the media library and installing speed booster plugins.

5 Weirder Speed Tips #1852


1. Maps offloading

2. Contact offloading

Note: This may allow not using the popup plugin causing JS conflicts.


1. Theme produces too many thumbnails 4X the size of library. Makes backup and restore difficult. Days not hours. See list below*

2. Used “Exclude Image Thumbnails From UpdraftPlus Backups” and ”

Regenerate Thumbnails” to make transfer of clone site. Took two days of babysitting to get it done.

3. Automating optimization with plugins did not yield satisfactory results. Humans have to intercede and find bad images. Example: Comparison of /home/nonns-menomonee-falls-map-1.2sec.jpg loading on home page. Size before: 243k After: 82k. That was without resizing physical dimensions. Scaling to 674px wide: 33k.


1. The ENFOLD theme kills TTFB even after transfer to a fast shared server. 800 to 1000 ms TTFB. Server overhead. Even with Contact Form 7, BackupBuddy, and All-in-One SEO Pack disabled. Attachments: front-end illustration of scripts comparison two sites. Moving to another host willnot cure the TTFB problem. It is baked-in by design.

*Thumbnail Sizes List

Normally, there would be 4 WordPress default image sizes created: original, large, medium, and thumbnail. Every time an image is uploaded these are placed on the server. Server space is not the issue. Resource consumption during backup and restore is a present and future problem.

These are all the theme thumbnail sizes that are currently registered:

thumbnail: 80×80 pixels (cropped to fit)

medium: 300×300 pixels (proportionally resized to fit inside dimensions)

medium_large: 768×0 pixels (proportionally resized to fit inside dimensions)

large: 1030×1030 pixels (proportionally resized to fit inside dimensions)

1536×1536: 1536×1536 pixels (proportionally resized to fit inside dimensions)

2048×2048: 2048×2048 pixels (proportionally resized to fit inside dimensions)

widget: 36×36 pixels (cropped to fit)

square: 180×180 pixels (cropped to fit)

featured: 1500×430 pixels (cropped to fit)

featured_large: 1500×630 pixels (cropped to fit)

extra_large: 1500×1500 pixels (proportionally resized to fit inside dimensions)

portfolio: 495×400 pixels (cropped to fit)

portfolio_small: 260×185 pixels (cropped to fit)

gallery: 845×684 pixels (cropped to fit)

magazine: 710×375 pixels (cropped to fit)

masonry: 705×705 pixels (proportionally resized to fit inside dimensions)

entry_with_sidebar: 845×321 pixels (cropped to fit)

entry_without_sidebar: 1210×423 pixels (cropped to fit)

2. Reduction Used “Exclude Image Thumbnails From UpdraftPlus Backups” and “Regenerate Thumbnails” plugins to make transfer of clone site. Took two days of babysitting to get it done.

3. Automating optimization with plugins didn’t yield satisfactory results. Humans have to intercede to find and repair bad images.

Example: Comparison of map.jpg loading on home page. Size before: 243k. After > 82k. That was without resizing physical dimensions. Scaling to 674px wide > 33k.

18 More Weird Speed Tips #3582

1. Optimize the media library by converting non-transparent PNG images into compressed JPEG format. Quality setting 82 WordPress default.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/quality-82-image-compression-change-for-wordpress/

2. Another alternative to OptinMonster for the exit intent functionality.


I do not install this or make settings as part of Plugin Surgery fees. But there’s a free solution. See if it will work for what you need to do. PDF SIGN.ME reference.

3. I’ve made Facebook recommendations in a email. It usually is about deciding how to make Facebook work at a minimum value level for profits. Removal is the best! There is no effective trick to speed up Facebook requests.

4. There is a way to deactivate Cloudflare CDN temporarily in WP Rocket plugin if I need it. “Development Mode” I will advise you before and if I do use it.

5. You are using PHP 7.0.33. That’s good.

6. You are using comments on posts. We do not recommend Akismet. See attached PDF CONTACT.ME for explanation. Installing Anti-Spam Bee plugin is preferred.

7. You have 3 broken links. But Broken Link Checker should not be left activated. Use it only during maintenance. It hits heavy on the server.

8. Activate the following on Autoptimize plugin: emoji removal, query strings removal.

9. Don’t use Lato font but substitute a mobile system font stack or even websafe fonts like Arial. Normally, we disable the Google fonts with a plugin. But that won’t work in your case because of theme and Customizer settings. Your team will need to implement this if you choose.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/should-i-disable-font-awesome-and-google-fonts-for-improved-speed/

10. Lazy loading videos and minification should be activated in WP Rocket instead of Autoptimize. If you chose to keep WP Rocket then Autoptimize is redundant and should be eliminated. We can substitute WP Rocket by substituting free plugins. It gets rid of renewal fees and 150 milliseconds of site drag (global slowdowns). Your call. See attachment PDF BLAST.ME.

11. Normally, I recommend getting rid of free Cloudflare. But that is a business decision you must make. I don’t know what value it provides you.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/cloudflare-doesnt-guarantee-consistent-load-times/

12. I recommend removal of Yoast SEO plugin. See attached PDF SEARCH.ME. That is hard for many site owners because they are afraid it may help even though they have no evidence. We would add some plugins to compensate for features removed as explained in the PDF SEARCH.ME.

13. I recommend selectively activating Captcha and Contact Form 7 so it only loads on the Contact page instead of globally. Attachment PDF CONTACT.ME.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/how-google-no-captcha-captcha-slows-down-your-mobile-site/

14. Sliders are slow and heavy. If it can’t be eliminated, then the next best thing is selectively activating it only on the pages where it is used.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/what-slider-is-the-fastest-loading/

15. You use a static image of a Google Map on the homepage. That would be good practice on the contact page, too.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/google-maps-and-mobile-wordpress-speed/

16. Isolate MailChimp overhead to only the signup page with selective activation. You’re doing things right for speed with a gateway signup page. Now we just need to switch off global loading.

17. Since Gutenberg block editor isn’t being used 2 request can be eliminated using Asset Queue Manager plugin.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/get-rid-of-slow-block-editor-residue-after-disabling-gutenberg-with-plugins/

18. If other speed opportunities are discovered during the work, I will advise you if I find anything.

7 Weird Speed Tips #4757

Pingdom to frankfurt 3040.0 milliseconds 1.1M page weight 63 requests

WPT.org default settings 4087.0 milliseconds 1M page weight 57/62 requests 1.605 TTFB

We use unconventional practices with the P3 Plugin Performance Profiler by GoDaddy. This helps us get approximate load times for each plugin and rank them from slowest to fastest.

REFERENCE: P3 Plugin Performance Profiler and mobile WordPress speed.



After sorting the extracted data, we see what “nails” stick out. We then focus on hammering back in the worst cases. This is a management by exception technique and application of the Pareto law (the 80/20 rule). 80% of site drag come from 20% of the causes. The biggest chunk of plugin site drag comes from only a few slow inefficient plugins.


Site drag is globally loading a plugin on every page and post of your site even if the plugin isn’t used. This doesn’t appear in a speed test waterfall. It’s masked inside the HTML load time.

The goal is using value-analysis decision-making techniques. We borrow value analysis from industrial manufacturing process. It’s a way to build quality and efficiency into products. In our case, it’s helps us optimize web performance.

We highlight the worst problems in RED in the following table. We can then calculate the estimated speed overhead. In this case, it’s 4.5 seconds overhead.

Other speed data is from online tests. Scores do NOT matter. Only time in milliseconds count. Scores are not used by search engines to rank your pages.

Our performance budget is a 2,000 millisecond load (2 seconds).


The first problem is plain. The server has a Time to First Byte of 2,124 milliseconds. This information is from the online test at http://bytecheck.com/

Server overhead consumed our entire budget!

We take the average of six consecutive samples. HTTPS/SSL handshaking delay is a separate problem. That extra delay is an unchangeable 500 milliseconds.

It would seem impossible. But we host our store on BlueHost, too. And can get under 2-seconds (barely). (We also hosts our blog on GoDaddy. Yes. A split site trick).

What’s the difference? BlueHost’s TTFB fluctuates – but generally it’s around 1 to 1.5 seconds. That means the page must load in under the remaining 500 milliseconds budgeted. We can do that.

Additionally, we’re lucky. We aren’t sharing our server with other domains. That’s right, we pay less and get special treatment. Why? We have no clue.

You’re sharing with 16 other domains. None of them are high-traffic porn sites. We test this using:


We have no logical explanation of why your server TTFB is slower. The solutions include:

1) Ask your host to move you onto a different server (but not ours!) – and see if it improves. Tell them you’ll have to move if they can’t get you on a faster server with better TTFB. They may say, “Pay us more and will fix it. But some hosts are eager to please. You should try this first.

2) Change hosts and migrate the site. That means you’d have two accounts. That increases annual monetary outlay by $70 most likely. Not good. But needed.


Changing your theme will make no significant difference in speed. The X-Child Theme loads in 125 milliseconds. If you were to change to a faster theme, it might load in 30 to 50 milliseconds.


25 percent of speed consumption is from two plugins: The two worst offenders are:

1) Cornerstone paid pagebuilder (811 milliseconds).

Elementor (free version) page builder is faster: about 41 milliseconds. But only when used in the hands of professionals. Novices add unneeded features and slow things down.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/how-elementor-page-builder-affects-mobile-page-speed/

2) Yoast SEO (198 milliseconds).

We do NOT think Yoast SEO plugin makes any difference in page ranking. Nor do any other SEO plugin. The plugin indicates if your site is Google compliant. That has no guarantees or promises. Irrelevant activity. There’s no documentation establishing these plugins improve page ranking more than alternatives. You’d get better improvement for SEO by improving site content or user experience.

We also recommend reading this plugin article:

Faster and free alternatives to popular OptinMonster or SumoMe WordPress plugins.




You’re loading a Vimeo video on your homepage. We recommend lazy loading it with a plugin:

REFERENCE: Lazy load images and video for mobile speed.


We recommend changing to Elementor. And using a theme like GeneratePress with fast-loading mobile system fonts.

REFERENCE: WordPress dream theme for mobile speed: GeneratePress 2.0.


You can also cut: jQuery overhead, Font Awesome site drag, and Emojis.

There are faster ways to load Google Analytics. We don’t recommend heavy W3 Total Cache. We use other methods using lightweight plugin substitutes. Those load in about 3 milliseconds equal results.

Number one is the server. Any other work would be futile until that’s resolved.

23 Weird Speed Tips #3768

1. Themify Ultra is a heavy theme. It loads in about 250 milliseconds. One reason for it’s slowness is the built-in pagebuilder. But other pagebuilders are worse, like Divi is a 1-second load time. Changing the theme would be painful $$$. If we were building today fresh, we’d use something else. But that is not a goal or realistic.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/how-elementor-page-builder-affects-mobile-page-speed/

2. The website is using Open Sans Google Fonts which produces 5 requests per page. If is removed with a plugin, the theme fallback is a default serif font. This is odd. It should be a sans-serif in the CSS font stack but it’s not. You can set fonts in the Customizer. The theme option to use is “Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif.” We don’t do this as part of plugin surgery.

3. There is site drag caused by Font Awesome. It appears to not be used in the shopping cart icon or mobile hamburger menu icon. The social media icons are the Font Awesome culprit. An alternative solution is using Lightweight Social Icons plugin which doesn’t use Font Awesome. This would save on speed. How much we don’t know exactly. But we try to never use Font Awesome because of global loading.

We’ve changed out 50 icons on websites with PNG images to avoid FA. You could replace FA icons on with 70 PNGs and still load faster than Font Awesome. Font Awesome is “fake graphics for web developers.” Faddish and trendy. It will go away eventually. You don’t have to do this – but we do it in extreme cases on site rebuilds.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/should-i-disable-font-awesome-and-google-fonts-for-improved-speed/

4. You have a MailChimp signup on your homepage. Our recommendation is having the signup form on a separate page with an image link – or even better offsite at MailChimp. This we call inter-site offloading. It keeps the API off of critical pages. We do this regularly on rebuilds but it is your call. This is atune up and not a rebuild. The value question is: “How many MailChimp email signups do you get from the homepage each month?” The server wait probably slows loads by 300 to 500 milliseconds.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/speed-up-mailchimp-for-fastest-loading-wordpress/

5. If you are not using Gutenberg block editor, it should be disabled with a plugin. Then we can dequeue (turnoff) the scripts and styles called block library and block style which load on every page. This is small potatoes but everything helps.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/get-rid-of-slow-block-editor-residue-after-disabling-gutenberg-with-plugins/

6. Far Futures Expiry plugin should be added.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/fixing-pingdom-leverage-browser-caching-errors/

7. WooCommerce is enabling jQuery Ajax scripting on every page causing a 766 millisecond load-time delay. There is no way to disable this or selectively deactivate it. What pages have eCommerce on them? For PagePipe, we split the site into a blog and store for speed.
Item 2 in the attached report “WooComa” describes how we fix this. Also our philosophy on how old and how many plugins are acceptable is in this free PDF.

8. Broken Link Checker plugin is a banned/blacklisted plugin by most hosts. This is because it causes severe delays and slows down shared servers. You have 843 broken links reported. Gak! We recommend disabling the plugin and only enabling it when you do maintenance. Don’t leave the lights “on.” NOTE: This plugin may break your site when viewed on an Apple iPad.

9. Essential Grid plugin is used on 567 posts. There are lighter responsive grid plugins. But conversion would be done by hand. Ugly and $$$ again. Lightweight Grid Columns plugin loads in 8 milliseconds instead of Essential Grid plugin 83 milliseconds. We approve of responsive column plugins to eliminate pagebuilders. But here you are using both. This is mysterious.

10. Something odd from somewhere is asking you to enable Monster Insights frontend style. This is a very heavy and slow plugin. Are you planning on using it?

11. We recommend scaling all images to a maximum of 1000px wide instead of 1918px. And setting the JPEG compression to the WordPress default of 82. Originals that are uploaded do not receive this compression only resized images do. Many people don’t realize this. We will retroactively automate the optimization of your media library. We recommend using Imsanity plugin and leaving it active for any future uploaded images.

You’re serving big images that are mathematically reduced in the browser. This is being done by the theme. It’s not good practice and is the reason the “Featured Shoots” page loads so slowly even with caching. Large images are poor for mobile user experience. A compromise must be negotiated.

We are unsure if image file size reduction will reduce the page speed significantly on this “Featured Shoots” page or not. It has to be tested. If not, then the alternative is described at the link below on how to create thumbnails for speed.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/how-to-optimize-images-for-mobile-speed-with-imsanity-plugin/

12. Autoptimize settings need to be corrected. These include enabling:
a. optimize HTML code.
b. Lazy-load images.
c. Remove emojis.
d. Remove query strings from static resources.

13. Get rid of Yoast SEO plugin if possible. How to do this and why is explained in the attached PDF: SEARCH.ME.pdf. We do not recommend using SEO plugins.

14. Do you use Search and Replace a lot? We recommend deactivating it except when needed for maintenance.

15. Fast Velocity Minify plugin is unnecessary and should be removed. It is redundant to Autoptimize plugin.

16. We’re uncertain how and why you’re using Google Sitemap Generator (XML sitemaps) plugin. XML sitemaps are an option in Yoast SEO plugin. But even better is Simple WP Sitemap plugin which loads in 1.3 milliseconds.

17. Why two form plugins? WP Forms and Contact Form 7 should be redundant. We would selectively activate the form plugin only on the pages where used. We’d need your help in identifying those pages.
Attachment PDF: CONTACT.ME.pdf
REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/selective-plugin-deactivation/

18. Do you use YouTube or Vimeo videos anywhere on the site?
REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/lazy-loading-and-infinite-scrolling-for-faster-loading-pages/

19. Autoptimize is also a caching plugin. So there is caching plugin redundancy. We recommend removing the slow SiteGround Optimizer plugin.

20. You are using PHP version 5.6.4. In theory, upgrading to PHP 7.x will speed up your site. We can test for PHP compatibility if you’d like before you make the switch. You’d need to contact your host provider or make changes via Cpanel.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/php-version-7-ate-my-wordpress-website/

21. We recommend using CAOS plugin for speeding up Google Analytics.
REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/how-does-google-analytics-affect-mobile-page-speed/

22. We recommend Simple CSS plugin in the Customizer to protect custom code. You have 81 lines of code that are uprotected.
REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/remove-wordpress-child-themes-for-mobile-speed/

23. If you are not using Updraft Plus, it should be removed. It causes 26 milliseconds of site drag.