Don’t slow down your site with a broken link checker plugin.

You’ve read it a thousand times.
“Broken Link Checker is the best broken link checker plugin for WordPress.”

Not any more.

Who recommends Broken Link Checker plugin? Why many WordPress blogs do. The popular plugin seems great since with over 700,000 active installations. It does schedule monitoring and testing of all internal and external links on your site. It’s sniffing out broken links. Sometimes, around the clock checking.

This plugin monitors links in your posts, pages, and comments – and detects links that don’t work. If it finds any broken links. Then it notifies you from your WordPress administrator dashboard – and by email. It sounds pretty cool. But, it’s a round-the-clock vigilant sentry. Hyper-vigilant. It’s looking for unreal or inconsequential exaggerated dangers.

And dang, it’s a heavy plugin. The download zip file weighs a massive 1.0 megabytes. That’s an indicator it’s a multipurpose plugin. We don’t like those kind for speed.

Broken Link Checker is often blacklisted on managed WordPress hosting. Why? It works continuously in the background round the clock. Monotonous hitting on the server with repeated database requests. This causes high server resource usage – and overload. The server then slows down and the load time of your pages slow to a crawl. On shared hosting, it slows down everyone else site, too.

Broken links create a bad user experience. Annoyance with delays and disappointment the content is missing. It’s sloppy and diminishes your site credibility. Your site feels abandoned or stale.

So Broken Link Checker is banned on hosts like Presidium, WP Engine, and GoDaddy. They immediately remove or disable the plugin without your permission. Forbidden plugin.

OFFSITE REFERENCE: https://servebolt.com/articles/these-plugins-slow-down-your-wordpress/

The goal of a broken link checker is preventing “404 Page not found” browser errors. A broken link, also known as a dead link, is a link on a web page that no longer exists anymore. Avoiding 404 redirects helps speed up your site. The browser is waiting or hunting for a connection to a non-existent web asset. There are several reasons broken links happen:

  • The external website is offline.
  • Your link is to an old deleted or moved page of a site.
  • Your visitor didn’t type the site URL right.
  • The website’s permalink structure changed.

So what’s a better solution for speed?

First, you don’t need to leave the plugin “on” all the time. Only activate it when doing testing. But most people forget and “leave the lights on.” That wastes resources. What would your Dad say?

But an even better idea is using a lightweight plugin introduced in 2020.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Link Finder

18.6k gzip download file

Compare the file sizes of Broken link Checker 1 megabytes to Link Finder 18.6 kilobytes. Hmm? Which one will be faster? The tiny one or the big fat one? Go ahead. Guess.

Link Finder plugin helps you speed up your website by avoiding redirects. That in theory improves your search engine ranking. SEO benefits are nothing compared to annoying visitors to death. Link Finder is an understandable and lightweight plugin. It helps you find and repair broken links throughout your website.

To not affect the speed of your website, Link Finder does not perform active monitoring. Use it as a regular manual tool to check for broken links. Or after changing permalinks or moving your website to a different domain.

LINK AFTERMATH

Have we tried Link Finder on PagePipe’s 2,000 links? Yes. Twice. We had fixes the first time. But our second experience was a disaster. Our guess is since the link database was so clean, the plugin took off processing like a rocket. We triggered a server resource overrun on GoDaddy servers. And taken offline temporarily. Not cool.

Oops! Shutdown.

Then the site locked up. In the end, the fix to view and edit our blog again was resetting our office router cache. (That’s right – unplug it for 10 seconds). And clear the browser cache. Somehow our IP address became a suspected attacker because of the flurry of activity. Very puzzling. But we know what to do next time.

PageSpeed Ninja plugin easily manipulates vanity metrics.

We’re intrigued.

PageSpeed Ninja plugin claims:

“PageSpeed Ninja is the ultimate WordPress performance plugin. You can make your site load faster on desktop and mobile, fixing Google PageSpeed Insights issues with one click.”

So we did some simple tests on an origin-optimized site. We disabled all the usual discrete plugins for speed. We ran Pingdom.com and WebPagetest.org online performance tests. This page under test loads in under 1 second (on a cheap shared-server with no CDN).

We could care less about bogus Google PageSpeed Insights testing. And we don’t even care about test scores or ratings using any speed test. It’s milliseconds of load time and page weight that we care about. Everything else is esoteric fluff.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/online-speed-test-scores-are-especially-useless-for-mobile-speed-improvement/

Green, A+, 100-percent indicators are abstractions. Ephemeral vapor. Vanity metrics.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/online-speed-test-scores-are-especially-useless-for-mobile-speed-improvement/

Did the homepage load faster with PageSpeed Ninja?

No.

The plugin setting of Ultra broke the site. Images disappeared and CSS lost it’s styling. Typical problems we regularly see from concatenation of files. So we stepped down to the Optimal setting. Pages returned and appeared OK then.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/concatenation-is-the-site-killer-not-minification/

PageSpeed Ninja plugin loaded pages milliseconds slower with both tests. Did test scores improve? A tiny wiggle. Not much.

But? You’re about to say, “Unfair. You didn’t test on Google PageSpeed Insights!”

That’s because this self-proclaimed touchstone is a waste of time. It seems the golden test’s purpose is terrifying WordPress site owners. Showing their sites are inferior garbage. WordPress can’t get good scores on that test. The biased test hates any CMS using jQuery, Ajax, or JavaScript. Pure anxiety producer. Relax. User experience is not about scores.

Results: You can get a passing score on Google PageSpeed Insights. A cool new plugin – but you’ll slow down your site. Is that smart? Really?

Why is a plugin that professes speed improvement so wrong for speed? Well, for starters it weighs 496.4 kilobytes as a zipped folder and – wait for it – 1.5 megabytes decompressed. That’s one chunky speed plugin. Why so fat?

Because it’s a multipurpose plugin. It can’t compete with discrete purpose-built plugins (under 1-millisecond load time for each one). It does everything – and more – recommended by Google. Gobs of features. Do you need to do all that crazy stuff? Of course not. It’s dogmatic decision making. Ludicrous kowtowing to Google’s ivory-tower whims. Google doesn’t even consider these technical parameters in its ranking algorithm.

Speed affects page ranking less than a half percent. That’s right. 0.5 percent potential ranking improvement. You’d do better titling your pages better for SEO. Or rewriting headlines for humans. You heard it here on PagePipe, the unconventional speed technology blog. We create speed and we recommend you quit chasing your tail.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/ignore-googles-200-seo-signals-including-speed-learn-writing-skills-for-good-page-ranking/

Is speed ever important? What’s all the noise about? Well, certainly not speed scores. Speed is about decreasing user wait time, especially on mobile devices. We measure web time in milliseconds. That’s related to user experience or UX. User experience is how people *feel* when they use your website. If pages are slow, they won’t feel good at all. Instead, they feel frustrated and annoyed. Impatient visitors leave. They never see your beautiful web aesthetics – or wonderful product offer.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/does-mobile-speed-reduce-bounce-rate/

Google watches your site metrics over time. They care about what indicates positive user interaction. People hate slow loading pages. We do. Have you ever asked a site user how fast is fast enough? Or how slow is too slow? They don’t know. They do know how fast a paper-page turns on a book. That’s their expectation of how fast web pages should change. It doesn’t take 2 seconds to turn a page.

Cool techno-features sound impressive in the PageSpeed Ninja plugin. But they don’t do much good for real speed. Your 12-second site will pass with a green signal. That should make you feel better. But will it help visitors feel you care about quality – or positive first-impressions?

One thing impressed us. This is the first plugin we’ve seen change a PHP version inside the WordPress dashboard. You don’t have to access Cpanel or any other server settings. Does changing PHP from version 5.6 to 7.3 make a big improvement in speed? Sorry. It doesn’t. Another myth. You’ll feel more web compliant – but negligible speed gain for page load time.

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

Where did the PageSpeed Ninja plugin come from?

PageSpeed Ninja originates from Kuneri Ltd. That is a Finnish consulting agency owned by Ugar Kaner.

Ungar Kaner, CEO

Ugur Kaner is is also Founder and CEO of Hyke, an online platform helping freelancers start and run their businesses. It’s primarily about how to do accounting and taxes for remote workers. Hyke.me claims: “Instant tax savings for freelancers.” It’s estimated Hike.me gets about 4,000 visitors daily. That’s 120,000 visits per month. Nice.

But PageSpeed Ninja offices are in San Francisco USA – not Finland. It appears they’re financed by venture capitalists. If you sign up at https://pagespeed.ninja/, they ask you marketing questions. Not much is available from them yet. They’re interested in discovering what speed problems face website owners. They offer a solution hunting for a problem.

Their plugin only resolves Google PageSpeed Insights test scoring. It is an all-in-one plugin that doesn’t necessarily fix speed measured in milliseconds.

(above) Our test results. No big deal. And no significant changes in scores. Do those scores actually affect Google SEO? Nope. They don’t use score criteria in their algorithmic calculations.