PagePipe’s favorite collection of hard-to-find plugins. Chapter One.

WordPress Mobile Speed

Updated: November 2019


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★★★★★
Complete Analytics Optimization Suite (CAOS)
Active installs: 10,000+
Zip file size: 7k

REFERENCE: How does Google Analytics affect mobile speed?


★★★★★
Far Future Expiry Header
Active installs: 20,000+
Zip file size: 7k

This plugin appeared abandoned but it’s author returned and updated it recently. While this isn’t always necessary, it’s a good sign the plugin is “fresh.” We’ve used it for years.

This plugin will add a “far future expiration” date for various file types (like image files) to improve site performance. This is a best practice advocated by the Yahoo Extreme Performance Team. It keeps files and images cached longer. There is also a radio button to enable Gzip – a nice addition. (More about Gzip >)

REFERENCE: Is there a speed plugin for fixing Pingdom “Leverage Browser Caching” errors?


★★★★★
Holler Box – WordPress Popup Plugin for eCommerce
Active installs: 1,000+
Zip file size: 122k

This small plugin uses only 3 calls (HTTP requests). 2.8k, 3.6k, and 3.8k loaded in parallel. That’s about 10k. Estimated load time: less than 40 milliseconds. But not on every page – only where it’s used (selective activation). Holler Box is a nice, lightweight plugin built correctly for mobile speed.

Holler Box (112k download) does all the essential OptinMonster functions for free – plus some – and doesn’t weigh a ton. Hollarbox is lightweight and loads fast.

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


★★★★★
WP jQuery Plus
Active installs: 4,000+
Zip file size: 3k

Almost every browser on the planet already has Google’s jQuery CDN address loaded in cache.

You can change the WordPress code to substitute Google’s CDN hosted jQuery. But there’s an easier way. Just use WP jQuery Plus. It’s a WordPress plugin that loads jQuery from Google’s free Content Distribution Network (CDN). Users geographically far from you can download jQuery faster. The Google version of jQuery is also Gzip compressed and minified for fastest page loading. Yet, even though Google’s CDN servers are fast, it’s still not the biggest motivating gain.

REFERENCE: The fastest jQuery is the one you never have to load.


“Additional CSS” customization code often (usually?) disappears when changing themes and sometimes when updating. It depends upon the theme author’s diligence. Preservation isn’t built into core as one might suppose.

Adding a child theme to preserve custom CSS code generates an extra HTTP request. Our workaround (and there are others) is to use Tom Usbourne’s free “Simple CSS” plugin. It appears alongside the normal Additional CSS feature in the WordPress Customizer. This plugin doesn’t create an extra call (like a child theme) but still protects the code.

★★★★★
Simple CSS
Active installs: 80,000+
Zip file size: 136k

REFERENCE: Remove WordPress child themes for mobile speed.


★★★★★
Email Address Encoder
Active installs: 100,000+
Zip file size: 5k

REFERENCE: HTTPS / SSL and it’s negative impact on mobile speed.

★★★★★
Disable Embeds
Active installs: 10,000+
Zip file size: 3k

REFERENCE: oEmbed removal for mobile WordPress speed fanatics.


★★★★★
PNG to JPG plugin
Active installs: 2,000+
Zip file size: 10k

Description: Convert PNG images to JPG, free up web space and speed up your webpages:

  • Set quality of converted JPG.
  • Auto convert on upload.
  • Auto convert on upload only when PNG has no transparency.
  • Convert existing PNG image to JPG.
  • Bulk convert existing PNG images to JPG.

REFERENCE: WPFaster.com: 10 speed changes for $1,985. Do them yourself with free plugins.


★★★★★
P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)
Active installs: 100,000+
Zip file size: 183k

Description: See which plugins are slowing down your site. This plugin creates a performance report for your site.

At this point, we smile. Over 100,000 sites made a bad assumption. They left this plugin active in the name of speed improvement. Ironically, the plugin slows every page and post by 12.7 milliseconds – even when sitting there. Oops!

WordPress plugins are PHP code. Various blogs and forums claim PHPv7 breaks the P3 plugin. The only plugin it tests is then itself. Our cheap, shared hosting is a techno-laggard (paradoxically, GoDaddy). They are still running PHPv5.4 as the default. Is that why they haven’t updated the plugin yet? For our speed demonstration, this may be helpful. But PHPv7 makes WordPress load so much faster – around a third the original v5.4 load time. Super fast. In theory, a 2-second page might load in 660 milliseconds. Beautiful! Many hosts have already adopted PHPv7. GoDaddy finally did mid-2017. We moved the version up a notch to version 7.1 in Cpanel on GoDaddy – a small speed boost.

P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) causes 12.7 milliseconds of site drag. So we recalculate the results without this number messing things up. After testing, don’t leave it installed. At least, disable it. But we always remove it.

REFERENCE: P3 Plugin Performance Profiler and mobile WordPress speed.


★★★★★
Simple Basic Contact Form
Active installs: 9,000+
Zip file size: 261k

*All forms require placing a shortcode on your contact page.

REFERENCE: Contact Form 7 plugin slows down page speed for your entire website. Not just your contact page.


★★★★★
Date/Time Now Button
Active installs:
2,000+
Zip download size:
29k

REFERENCE: Evergreen Content: Expired dates diminish site credibility.


★★★★
Autodescription (aka The SEO Framework)
Active installs:
50,000+
Zip download size:
351k

Autodescription plugin doesn’t do grotesque slow downs like Yoast SEO (from 150 to 240 milliseconds site drag). All SEO plugins consume ever-growing database resources. The plugin authors don’t tell you about that hidden liability.

Do we think SEO tricks alter ranking or increase click thru? We’re unconvinced. It doesn’t move the needle. But site owners desire feeling in control of the uncontrollable page rank and clickthrough.

REFERENCE: Autodescription SEO plugin and mobile speed.


★★★★★
Lazy Load by WP Rocket
Active installs:
10,000+
Zip download size:
92k

What we like most: No JavaScript library such as jQuery is used and the script weight is 1k to 6k. Fast. And, it defers about 500k video page weight on heavy pages.

Go to Settings > LazyLoad and check the 3 boxes to activate. This will then lazy load:

REFERENCE: Lazy load images and video for mobile speed.


★★★★★
Deactivate XML-RPC Service
Active installs: Fewer than 10
Zip file size: 26k

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/the-best-lightweight-plugin-for-deactivating-xml-rpc-to-improve-wordpress-security/


TWO PLUGINS WORK IN TANDEM

★★★★
Simple Content Adder
Active installs: 30+
Zip file size: 1.2M

★★★★★
WP Image Refresh
Active installs: 700+
Zip file size: 823k

The two suggested plugins are free, obscure, and esoteric. We’ve experimented with various plugins. This combination works best for us.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/image-rotation-using-plugins-for-site-efficiency/


★★★★★
Disable Comments
Active installs: 1+ million
Zip file size: 82k

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


★★★★★
Plugin Logic
Active installs: 100+
Zip file size: 15k

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/selective-plugin-deactivation/


★★★★★
Peanut Butter Bar (smooth version)
Active installs: 600+
Zip file size: 39k

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/top-hello-bar-knockoff-plugins-for-speed/


★★★★★
Remove Query Strings
Active installs: 10,000+
Zip file size: 12k

These plugins are super lightweight and benign. You may see millisecond improvements. There’s no reason not to install one for speed.

The bottomline is: removing query strings does no harm – but the only benefit most likely is an improved test score – not speed. Of course, the question is, “Why do speed tests insist it be done?” It’s ivory tower idealism.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/how-to-remove-query-strings-from-static-resources-with-a-wordpress-plugin/

Godspeed-

Steve Teare
performance engineer

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Other Related Resources

If you’re new here, start with our best primer speed articles.
If you’re ready to give your WordPress site wings, here are powerful tools to speed up your site.
Learn how the most popular plugins and ideas waste your time – and hurt web speed. Includes important tips for mobile speed without coding.

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