Updated: December 2019
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We admit there are times we find new plugins and think we know their function – only to find out later what they’re really good for. This is one of them.
It’s just that the plugin author didn’t know how to explain or market the plugin the way we were thinking. They had a clever solution without our real-world problem mentioned. We didn’t recognize the plugin’s potential to solve our problems until later – by accident.
That’s called poor market positioning strategy from bad product naming. It happens all of the time with good plugins that are given geeky names. For example, a favorite for speed is Plugin Logic. It’s almost impossible to find in the plugin directory. Lost in the ocean of 55,000+ plugins. It’s so good but only has 100 active installs. So sad.
For ages we’ve wanted the ability to switch off FontAwesome icon font. We see it as unnecessary baggage many themes include as a feature. In fact, most themes include it now. Sometimes, this 70k+ file is added to page weight just to make a single icon – like the magnifying glass in the search field, or perhaps the hamburger icon for a mobile menu. What a waste!
We learned we could “dequeue” that icon-non-feature in the WordPress functions.php file. But this always proved tedious or broke things. We wanted a faster, safer way to test. We asked our local WordPress meetup if they knew of a plugin that would remove FontAwesome painlessly. No one had any clue.
We found the answer while testing for plugins to remove the annoying Google PageSpeed error message:
We found “Asset Queue Manager” plugin. It doesn’t really help much with solving that Google PageSpeed error message. But what a gem, once we understood what it could really do. Not only can we dequeue FontAwesome, we can get rid of Google fonts and other heavy assets like unused sliders that have universal page loads.
Asset Queue Manager
101k compressed, 1,000 installs.
Description: A tool for experienced frontend performance engineers to take control over the scripts and styles enqueued on their site.
Hey! We are front-end performance engineers! But that name threw us. It didn’t say, “Font Awesome Remover plugin.”
The word “experienced” in the description is scary. But the damage done by novices can be quickly undone with some safety features the authors built-in.
Once the plugin is activated, browse to any page on the front of your site. An Assets link will appear on the top right of the WordPress admin bar. Click that to view and manage all assets globally.
The plugin author explains he put it on the front because the assets only get enqueued on the frontend, so the plugin doesn’t really know anything on the backend. That’s why he decided to only show the link on the frontend. But many people don’t understand this link location. It’s not in the admin dashboard. It dequeues assets globally – not per page.
What if I dequeued jQuery (or something I shouldn’t have done) and now my site is broken. Go to the list of plugins in your admin panel. Find the Asset Queue Manager and click the “Restore Dequeued Assets” link. Nice and easy.
What a beautiful misunderstood plugin with a lot of hidden speed potential.
Oh, and it’s *virtually* weightless and completely free. Perfect.
Here’s another example: Navigate to a page where you’d like to disable some request that are superfluous. The unwanted request will show up in a speed test waterfall chart. In this case, the plugin Blog Manager Light loaded Twitter scripts. We don’t use twitter. And it loaded a stripped-down Font Awesome icon set that we didn’t need either.