Updated: January 2020
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“I’m trying to make my website as fast as possible. I want to learn the best method and technical know how. I already watched WPfaster.org video on udemy. But they use W3 Total Cache plugin. So many technical settings – and difficult.” – Adzalan Yanggang
Surprise! We’ve watched their video, too. We don’t agree with their shady speed philosophy. It cost too much. READ WPFaster review
They recommend W3 Total Cache plugin. It’s not a good choice. Complicated.
We recommend Cache Enabler plugin (20k download file size). And three simple checkbox settings.
What about Swift Performance Plugin? It has so many cool features. It’s a multi-function speed plugin. It’s compressed download file weighs a massive 2.8M zipped – and 7.4M decompressed.
Very heavy plugins usually consume database and RAM resources on the server host. With these specs, we’re not interested in Swift Performance plugin. We prefer using single-function discrete plugins weighing about 4k and loading in under 1 millisecond. With discrete plugins, we do selective plugin activation on a page and post basis. This form of conditional logic significantly improves fine tuning a site.
The main valued functions of Swift Performance plugin:
- Page Cache
- Cache Preloading
- Gzip Compression < This is activated by default on host servers.
- Browser Caching
- Remove Query Strings
- Minify CSS
- Minify JS
- Combine JS/CSS
- Async Execute Combined JS
- Defer JS
- Database Optimizer
- DNS Prefetch
- Plugin Organizer
- AJAX Cache
- Proxy 3rd Party JS
- Inline Small Images
- Google Analytics Bypass
- Heartbeat Control
You can add these features with single-purpose plugins with zero settings (no Wizard needed). Some are only used during maintenance and could be deactivated. But many don’t make a difference in speed at all. Just scores.
The Swift Performance plugin backend has animated advertising! Ugh!
Swift Performance Lite adds 131 milliseconds of site drag to every page and post of a website. Equally, we can install 131 discrete plugin instead. That’s the equivalent of adding the database-intensive Yoast SEO plugin (free version). Paid Yoast is even worse – 240 milliseconds. For the 20 features listed above, it should be a mere 20 milliseconds maximum: 15 percent of Swift Performance sitedrag.
Swift Performance Lite adds 6.2 milliseconds per feature whether it’s used or not.
And last – but not least – Swift Performance Lite plugin nuked the front end of the test site. All we had were gibberish characters. Our guess is this damage was caused by either concatenation in the minification process – or some caching weirdness – or a plugin conflict. Anyway. Not a fun plugin to deal with. We uninstalled it.
So how about using the monthly paid Pegasaas.com speed service? They charge $9 per month.
You can do all this for free – with plugins.
PagePipe’s homepage normal load time is 1.8 seconds according to the Pegasaas test. With their service tweaks, it’s 1.6 seconds. There’s easily that much drift for shared-server TTFB (time to first byte). The Pegasaas service essentially makes no difference – or a theoretical 200-millisecond potential improvement. You can get that gain by simply disabling Google fonts with a setting-less discrete plugin.
On a well-optimized page, minification rarely improves speed – only scores change. And test score are meaningless. Caching and minification are speed band-aids compared to website origin optimization.
‘I got a 100% score on Pingdom, GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed.”
Scores don’t alter SEO page rank or indicate good speed. Concentrate on milliseconds of load time as a better benchmark. Test scores are esoteric tweaks that make no significant speed difference.
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