Efficient WordPress performance plugin is “must have” if you are running a WordPress website. No matter if you are running a blog, a portfolio, a business website, or an e-commerce store, speed is essential.
Fast-loading websites bring a better conversion rate, user engagement, and low bounce rate. Even if your website has great content, if its loading speed is slow, it is going to end up ranking low on search engines.
Slow loading times can have a negative effect on how your visitors interact with your site. Studies have shown that for every extra second a visitor has to wait for a page to load, they’re less likely to stick around on your website.
Search engines like Google use loading times to decide where to list sites in their results. So if you’d like to improve the search engine optimization (SEO) of your WordPress website, a plugin like WP Speed of Light can help.
Even if you feel your website is loading quickly, there’s a good chance those times can be improved.
WordPress Performance Plugin – WP Speed of Light Review
WP Speed of Light is a freemium WordPress optimization plugin developed by the JoomUnited team. I have already written about their WP Table Manager plugin so if you are interested, be sure to check the review.
As one of many useful products in the library of tools from JoomUnited, WP Speed of Light has been created to help you optimize your WordPress website.
The goal of this tool is to improve the loading times and performance of your site. WP Speed of Light comes in two versions. A free version and paid in the form of a pro add-on.
The free version consists of speed optimization features that can reduce the loading time of your WordPress website. Premium add-on of WP Speed of Light supports more options for even deeper optimization.
Speed of Light Free vs Pro Comparison
WP Speed of Light is a free core plugin (you can also find it on WordPress.org repository) that also offers a premium add-on with even more performance optimizations.
The free version of the plugin handles:
- Page caching
- Selective or global cache by the device
- File grouping
- GZIP compression
- Remove query strings
- Browser cache
- Database optimization
- CDN integration
- In-dashboard performance reports, both for page load times and database queries
And if you upgrade to the Pro version, you’ll also get:
- Image compression – either 1 GB or 3 GB of usage depending on the plan
- Google Fonts optimization – group all fonts as a single file
- Cache preloading
- Visual file exclusion for minification and grouping
- DNS preloading
- Automatic database cleanup
- More advanced cache exclusion rules, including wildcard and user role exclusions
- Image lazy loading with page exclusion
- Cleanup CDN data: Cloudflare, KeyCDN, MaxCDN, Varnish, Siteground cache
- Possibility to disable Emojis
- Possibility to remove Gravatar
- Possibility to load scripts in the footer
- Disable cache per WordPress user role
- Page caching exclusion using PHP rules
- Custom support for configuration
NOTE: For the purpose of this WP Speed of Light plugin review I did also have PRO addon installed and activated on test site so that you can see all features this tool offers.
WP Speed of Light WordPress Performance Plugin Features
After installing the plugin, the setup wizard takes care of everything for you, in just a few clicks. However, more advanced users can bypass the wizard and access controls through the plugin dashboard.
So whether you’re an experienced user or you prefer a plug-n-play solution, this plugin will satisfy both “professionals and amateurs.”
If you choose Continue to Environment Check, the wizard checks important aspects of your website to identify any issues that might be affecting site performance.
Any issues are flagged with a warning message and a helpful note in the form of a bell is shown explaining the potential problem.
The next step in the setup process gives you the option of letting the plugin configure your site for the best results. Alternatively, you can take a more involved role in optimizing your WordPress website with the plugin.
Performance optimization can be tricky for casual users, so it’s nice that you can just click a button and it is ready if you want. If you click Beginner in optimization option, you’re pretty much done.
WP Speed Of Light will then take you to dashboard area where you can see a basic summary of what’s going on with your website.
If you do decide to take the advanced option and configure the plugin yourself, you can choose to enable aspects of the plugin such as the cache and minification.
Your WordPress website should be optimized to load faster than before simply by letting the plugin configure itself.
On successfully installing and activating WP Speed of Light, a new menu will be added to your website dashboard called WP Speed of Light, and it consists of three sub-menus. Those are Dashboard, Speed optimization, and Speed analysis.
The dashboard of the plugin gives a complete overview of the speed performance of your website.
It will do so through various indicators such as cache activation, database cleanup, database queries, website loading time, group resources, and resources minification among others.
From the plugin dashboard, you can record the current loading time measurements of your website. You can also access other tools that will allow you to optimize your WordPress website.
You do need to generate an API key to run the speed tests on your website. Through the dashboard, you can easily choose which page on your site to test, such as the homepage or one of the inner pages.
The most recent test results are kept, making it easy for you to compare loading times after you’ve made changes via the plugin.
Speed analysis section is about monitoring the speed performance of your site than actually configuring the settings to improve the speed.
Here you can monitor specific page queries and run page load tests using WebPageTest API. To run speed tests, you need free WebPagetest API key. You can run up to 200 test per day on the same domain with a single API key.
The speed tests check First load, Second load, Loading time, First-byte delay, Start render, Caching, Gzip activation, and Image compression. The database testing will determine if you have performance issues regarding database queries. Select a page of the website and run the test.
The Speed optimization section is the place to configure the tools that speed up WordPress. It consists of several sections. Those are Speedup, WordPress, Group and Minify, Advanced, Image Compression, Database Cleanup, CDN Integration, Configuration, and System Check.
Here you can configure and activate the cache system on your WordPress website. You can set cache cleanup on saving the content, remove query strings, and add expire headers to reduce the loading time of the website.
Advanced optimization enables you to set up DNS prefetching and cache preloading.
- Activate the cache system – preloading common page elements and database queries
- Clean each – automatically cleanup the cache stored each x minutes and generate a new version
- Cache for desktop/handheld devices – serve the cache for a desktop to all devices by default
- Add expire headers – gives instruction to the browser whether it should request a specific file from the server or whether they should grab it from the browser’s cache
- Cache external script – cache external resources
- Never cache – remove specific URLs from the cache
PRO ADDON ONLY
- Cleanup on saves – clean cache automatically when saving a WordPress content like the post, page, etc.
- Image lazy loading – load only images when it’s visible in the by the user (on scroll)
Under WordPress section of speed optimization, you can find options to remove query strings, disable REST API and disable RSS feed (RSS feeds allow users to subscribe to your blog posts using an RSS feed reader).
PRO ADDON ONLY
- Remove emojis – by default emojis load on every single page of your site. If you don’t use them, this is unnecessary
- Disable Gravatars – disable gravatars avatars and use only local avatars from your media
#Group and Minify
Minification refers to the process of removing unnecessary or redundant data without affecting how the resource is processed by the browser. Here you can enable settings like HTML minification, CSS minification, JS minification, Group CSS, and Group JS.
PRO ADDON ONLY
- Group font and Google fonts – group local fonts and Google fonts in a single file to be served faster
- Exclude inline script – exclude inline script from minification
- Move scripts to footer – move all minified scripts to footer
The features from the Advanced tab are only included in the PRO addon plugin.
Here you can find settings for:
1. Cache Preloading – the cache preloading is the process of generating a first version of the page cache automatically, so the first user that comes to the page after a cache cleanup won’t have to wait for the cache generation.
2. DNS Prefetching – the DNS prefetching will pre-load DNS information on external domain links. For example, if your website is frequently referring to an external domain in hyperlinks, pre-fetching the DNS of this domain will load the page of this domain faster when a user clicks on it.
With PRO addon you will be able to use image compression. Image Recycle is used for this purpose. I have reviewed Image Recycle before so if you are interested check the review.
Depending on which plan you use you will have either 1 GB or 3 GB image compression quota. The more expensive plan includes an image compression quota of 3 GB (1 year $44). Whereas with the lower priced option, your quota is just 1 GB (6 months $34).
There are several tools available to clean up the WordPress database in WP Speed of Light plugin.
You can choose to Clean all post revisions, Clean all auto drafted content, Remove all trashed content, Remove comments from trash & spam, Remove trackbacks and pingbacks, and Remove transient options.
PRO ADDON ONLY
- Automatic cleanup – activate the automatic database cleanup
- Cleanup each – define the automatic cleanup frequency
- Remove duplicated post, comment, user, and term meta from the database
- Optimize database tables
Here you can activate and set CDN if you are using one. If you are using PRO addon, you will have an option for automatic cache cleanup if you are using Siteground, KeyCDN, Varnish, MaxCDN, or CloudFlare cache.
Under Configuration, you have three submenus. Those are General Settings, Import/Export, and Translation Tool.
Under General Settings there are options like Display clean cache in the top toolbar, Disable optimization for admin users and if you have PRO addon Disable optimization for specified user roles.
Under Import/Export you can import or export the WP Speed of Light configuration through websites.
Under Translation Tool menu you can translate plugin options to your language.
WP Speed of Light Pricing Options
As mentioned previously WP Speed of Light is a freemium plugin. That means you can install the limited free version of WP Speed of Light or opt for the fully-featured paid version.
You can purchase the Pro add-on on the following plans:
- Pro add-on with six months of access to support and plugin updates $34.
- Pro add-on with 12 months of access to support and plugin updates $44.
The more expensive plan also includes an image compression quota of 3 GB. Whereas with the lower priced option, your quota is just 1 GB.
If you plan on using the image optimization features of WP Speed of Light, this is something to take into consideration. With both options, you can use the plugin on as many websites as you like without any extra payments required.
WP Speed of Light Review Final Thoughts
This is a set-and-forget WordPress performance plugin that only takes a few clicks to get up and running. Thanks to the configuration options of the plugin, you can go for an automatic set of options using the quick setup wizard.
Or you can work your way through each setting individually, deciding which features to enable.
It’s fair to say that if you’re not currently using any type of WordPress optimization plugin, such as a caching tool, then you will benefit from installing WP Speed of Light on your site.
Even if you are using a similar type of plugin, you could compare it with WP Speed of Light to see which one delivers the best results. Considering the core WP Speed of Light plugin is free to use, it’s well worth trying it on your website to see what impact it has.
By optimizing database functions such as post revision, cleaning spam comments, trashbacks, and trashed content, and auto-drafting content, WP Speed of Light can reduce the loading time of your WordPress website drastically.
With the help of features like periodic cache cleaning cache and content saving, the free version of WP Speed of Light provides complete optimization of the speed of your WordPress website.
If your website contains heavier content, premium add-on of WP Speed of Light can help you speed up the loading of heavy files on your website.
With features like cache preloading, WP Speed of Light eliminates the time required for generating cache for visitors after their first visit to your website. The pro add-on also enables image compression up to 1 GB or 3 GB of usage.
All these features contribute to reducing the loading time to a great extent. Apart from a wide range of technical features of WP Speed of Light, it is extremely easy to use, even for beginners.
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