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The Complete Website Speed Course

Chapter 5: Plugins

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An Easy Way To Add Functionality

Plugins are a really easy way to add additional functionality to your WordPress website. The downside is that sometimes they can cause conflicts, critical errors, and sometimes even tank your site speed!

Plugin Recommendations

Many people use page builders to create beautiful websites in a fraction of the time of traditional developers, with far less code. Page builders are great at saving you a ton of time, but they can lead to really slow loading times on your website pages if you aren’t careful.

Safe Plugins

WP Bakery: When used in combination with Salient, this is a very powerful page builder, used on this website.

Plugins To Avoid

Elementor: This page builder is pretty popular, however, it got the worst score out of all the page builders I’ve tested for mobile devices. Elementor’s score for desktop devices were pretty on par with the other page builders.
Avada: Another best selling theme. But, it loads all the CSS and JavaScript for all the elements in it’s library on each of your pages, instead of only loading the CSS and JavaScript for the elements you’re actually using.

Some type of contact form is needed on almost every site. They’re a convenient way for customers to get in touch with you, and allows you to respond to them on your own time.

Safe Plugins

Gravity Forms: Another popular contact form plugin, but it’s better for site speed than contact form 7. The code for Gravity Forms are only loaded on the pages where there actually are forms.

Plugins To Avoid

Contact Form 7: This is one of the most popular plugins, but it’s not good for site speed. The code for Contact Form 7 is loaded on every single page of your site, even if a form isn’t being used on that page.

A lot of image optimization plugins will optimize your images for you, but they’ll usually end up slowing down your site in other ways. Making minimal, and sometimes even negative impacts on your site speed.

Safe Plugins

Don’t use a plugin at all. Optimize your images manually before you upload them to your website.

Plugins To Avoid

EWWW Image Optimizer

Website security is incredibly important, but it can slow down your site if you pick the wrong security plugins. A lot of security plugins have extra bloat that you won’t actually use.

Safe Plugins

Jetpack: Some people blame Jetpack for their slow sites. But, from real world tests, it’s usually your hosting provider that is slowing down your site, not Jetpack.

Plugins To Avoid

WordFence: This is a popular security plugin, but some of the settings can slow you down. Check these two settings to make sure it’s not impacting your performance:

  • Go to “Basic Options”, uncheck Enable Live Traffic View, unless your regularly use that feature.
  • Go to “Scans to include”, uncheck Scan images, binary, and other files as if they were executable.

Some users have found that if their site is still slow after looking at these settings, deleting then reinstalling the plugin will solve the issue.

iThemes Security: A popular security plugin.

SEO is important for every website. SEO plugins will load on every page of your website, so you need to be sure to pick the right one, so you don’t slow things down.

Safe Plugins

Yoast SEO: You will need to optimize some of the settings for site speed, you can read a guide for how to do that here.

Plugins To Avoid