A slow-loading website damages your online business one visit at a time.
In fact, as much as 40% of site visitors abandon a website if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds!
Luckily, the WordPress plugin directory offers a vast choice for reducing page load times.
But how do you narrow it down to the tools that will do more good than harm?
From image optimization to database management – we share the eight best plugins to speed up your WordPress site’s page load time and make every visit count.
Decreasing page load time for your WordPress site matters now more than ever.
Page speed has been a ranking factor in Google's search algorithm since 2018. This means slow websites may rank lower in search results, making it harder for potential customers to find them.
Here are the most common culprits WordPress site owners need to challenge to improve their performance:
On average, images can account for anywhere from 50% to 80% of a webpage's total weight. That’s a significant portion that has a big impact on page load time, especially on the hardest Core Web Vital metric – Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). Ultimately, large unoptimized images can take longer to download and display, harming your site’s speed and user experience.
According to Google, a fast-loading website can improve conversion rates by up to 20% and reduce bounce rates to 32%. Caching reduces the amount of data that must be downloaded each time a page is loaded, leading to faster page load times and happier site visitors.
The database is the backbone of any WordPress site. A cluttered or unoptimized database can cause slow query processes, leading to slower performance. Unoptimized SQL queries can contribute for up to 60% of database performance issues, making it a critical aspect of website optimization. Read our guide on how to perform a database cleanup on WordPress.
External scripts, such as ads and social media widgets, can significantly slow down a WordPress site. Optimizing them and speeding up your site by only one second can lead to a 7% conversion boost.
A content delivery network (CDN) is a must-have for any website that operates globally. CDNs distribute content across multiple servers, reducing the load on a single server. According to data from Cloudflare, using a CDN can result in a 60% reduction in page load times, making it an essential tool for website optimization.
A single uncompressed and unminified resource can add hundreds of milliseconds to your site’s loading time, so it’s crucial to ensure that all resources are optimized. Proper compression and minification can reduce the size of these file by up to 50%, leading to faster page load times and a better user experience.
Deferring resources improves web performance by loading certain elements after the main elements have loaded. Lazy loading scripts is a powerful technique that significantly improves website speed, and many WordPress site owners choose.
Now that we’ve established what the most common culprits for slow page load times are, we can move on to the 6 best solutions you can find on WordPress. Plus 2 bonus tools at the end!
Cutting those valuable milliseconds can prove difficult when you aim to tackle all the issues from above at once.
Luckily, you can leverage NitroPack – the all-in-one performance optimization solution that’s as easy to use as it is powerful. Confirmed by 165,000+ active users!
The NitroPack plugin is a fully-automated solution that provides WordPress site owners with all the bells and whistles for optimal page speed and passed Core Web Vitals.
With 35+ optimization features from the get-go, you eliminate the need to install at least 3-4 separate plugins that will bloat your site’s code and result in even worse page loading times:
… and everything else to help you shave off milliseconds on autopilot over the Cloud.
Serve optimized images and resources faster without compromising quality and risking server downtime, no matter how much traffic your site generates. NitroPack is a lightweight tool that doesn’t bloat your site’s code and works on original files only.
If, however, you want to focus on very specific issues only, browse the plugin selection below to find the combo that best fits your case:
ShortPixel Image Optimizer is a popular WordPress plugin focused on image optimization. It helps to reduce the size of images without sacrificing their quality, leading to several benefits for website owners and visitors. From compression to automated optimizations, ShortPixel Image Optimizer promises reductions of up to 90%.
Cache Enabler offers the essentials and spares you other unnecessary addons. It is extremely easy to use and requires minimal configuration to start capturing page contents. It simply generates static HTML files, which are saved on the server’s disk for faster delivery and improved page load times.
Cloudflare is a content delivery network (CDN) and web security company that offers online services to over 30 million websites and web applications worldwide. Its CDN network is made up of over 200 data centers located in more than 100 countries, allowing for fast and efficient content delivery to end-users.
With the Cloudflare CDN, website content is cached and distributed to end-users based on their geographic location, reducing the time it takes for the content to load by an average of 60%. This results in faster website performance, increased user satisfaction, and reduced server load.
a3 Lazy Load is a WordPress plugin that optimizes the loading speed of a website by lazy loading images, videos, and iframes. The plugin only loads these elements when they are visible in the user's viewport, reducing the amount of data that needs to be loaded initially, and improving the overall loading speed of the website.
WP-DBManager provides a set of tools for managing and optimizing the database of a WordPress website. The plugin allows website owners to perform tasks such as repairing, optimizing, backing up, and restoring their database, as well as scheduling automatic backups regularly.
Plugin Organizer provides fine-grained control over which plugins are loaded on which pages and posts of a website. This allows website owners to optimize the performance of their site by only loading the plugins that are needed for specific pages, reducing the number of HTTP requests made by the browser, and increasing the loading speed of the website.
No matter your approach to site speed optimization – manually, with separate plugins, or an all-in-one solution – always remember:
Lora has 7+ years of experience developing in-depth, specialized content for SaaS companies in the CEE region. She has sourced and collaborated with subject-matter experts on site speed optimization for WordPress, Core Web Vitals, and the future of web performance. "If you can't explain it to a 7-year-old, you've not researched it well enough" is Lora's guiding principle when publishing professional insight for complex technical topics.