Updated: July 2020
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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.
Green, A+, 100-percent indicators are abstractions. Ephemeral vapor. Vanity metrics.
Did the homepage load faster with PageSpeed Ninja?
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
Where did the PageSpeed Ninja plugin come from?
PageSpeed Ninja originates from Kuneri Ltd. That is a Finnish consulting agency owned by Ugar Kaner.
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.
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