Who doesn’t hate slow sites?
I don’t think that there’s a sane person out there that doesn’t like wasting their time waiting from a stupid webpage to load and yet many WordPress users forget to take this into account when installing plugins.
And I have to admit that I was one of those people until I read an excellent article on Copyblogger here which showed how some plugins can slow down your site and others can speed it up. Basically, it comes down to the coding but how can you tell if a plugin slows down your site if you know nothing about coding.
That’s why I decided to do a little sleuthing and laboratory testing as it were to pick the best WordPress plugin.
How to determine if it really is the best WordPress plugin or whether it will slow down your site…
- Disabled all of the plugins on your site
- Go to Pingdom Tools, test the speed of your site on each of the three servers (Amsterdam, Dallas and New York) and average the speeds and scores
- Activate each of the plugins in the list below, one by one, and re-test and re-average the speeds
- Finally, determine the drop or increase in speed (in percentages) caused by each plugin
And here’s what I discovered about all of those plugins that claim to be the best WordPress plugin:
As you can see, many popular plugins cause drastic reductions in speed and some seem to increase the speed. However, even though some plugins seem to increase site speed, you should not simply conclude that you can install all of these plugins and increase your site’s speed. Instead, you should, with the exception of W3 Total Cache, take the attitude that installing any plugin will not increase the speed of your site but can slow it down.
Of course, speed isn’t everything when it comes to running a site. You need to implement proper SEO techniques and make it possible for people to share your site socially amongst other things but you should follow these three simple rules when it comes to plugins:
- Only install plugins that you NEED… don’t install them just because you WANT them.
- Always install plugins one by one so that you can see if it has an affect on your site’s speed and operation
- Pop of to Pingdom Tools and test your site’s speed after installing each plugin
If you have any other questions about how to determine whether a plugin really is the best wordpress plugin and whether you should install it on your site, post a comment below and I’ll try to answer it.