Updated: November 2019
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Genericons are vector icons embedded in a webfont designed for aesthetics and signage. But what if you don’t use them. Then they are dead weight.
The WordPress Genericon font adds several HTTP calls and about 60k of page weight. On a Twenty-fifteen theme based website we were building, this was half the Home page weight. We felt compelled to get rid of it. Especially since not a single Genericon symbol was on the website. Bloat!
We wish there existed a Remove Genericons plugin to remedy this problem. None exists – yet. But you can fixed it with some crude surgery. Do two things:
1. Via Cpanel or FTP, delete the contents of the “genericons” folder found in yourwebsitefoldername > wp-content > themes > twentyfifteen > genericons
Open that folder and erase every file and folder. That’s right! Delete them all. You now have an empty genericons folder. Removing the genericon files off your server will save almost 50k of load time. But there is one more thing to do:
2. Since the Genericon files no longer exist, when WordPress requests the information, it produces a single 404 error. That causes a delay and about 12k of unnecessary page weight. To eliminate this badness, open the “Theme Functions (functions.php)” with the Appearance > Editor. Remove the four references to Genericons. Save the file. You’re done.
You can benchmark before-and-after changes using Yslow for Google chrome or go to WebPageTest.org.
A even better way for Genericon removal is using Asset Queue Manager plugin. Read about it.