Top Plugins To Improve Your WordPress Blogs Performance

Running WordPress on a shared hosting might keep your costs down but it can mean your website can become unresponsive as your visitor levels grow.  When this happens, you have two options, upgrade your website to a shared or dedicated server plan, or, try to limit the number of resources your website consumes by caching as much as possible.

In today’s guide, I’m going to cover some must have performance based plug-ins:

CloudFlare

CloudFlare is a CDN.  If you’ve never come across the term CDN, think they store your images, CSS and javascript on servers hosted all around the world, so when someone visits your site, your page will be loads quicker as the data doesn’t have as far to travel.

The plug-in is available here.

One thing you need to know when you install this plug-in and continue development on your website.  You will need to set CloudFlare to development mode else your CSS files etc.. will be cached and will never update when you change them. This is very annoying!

Hyper Cache Extended

Hyper Cache Extended caches all PHP queries on disk to prevent the processor having to repeatedly rebuild the page for each page request.

You can get a hold of the plug-in here, http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/hyper-cache-extended/. After you have allow it to start working properly, open your wp-config.php file in your websroot and find the line that contains:

define ('WPLANG', '');

Directly underneath it add this line:

define("WP_CACHE", true);

EWWW Image Optimizer

Image optimisation is key to improve your website page load time and reduce your server load.  I used to use ‘Wp.Smush It’ but it stopped working for a while.  As an alternative, I found a new plug-in and I haven’t looked back since.

You can download the plugin here.  After you install the plug-in in your Media tab, you will see Image Optimisation options.  The most useful one when you first install it, is the bulk optimize option, that will retrospectively reduce your current images.

Better WordPress Minify

Reducing the number of network requests your web page makes is a key aspect of making your web pages load quickly.  If you use a WordPress theme, you might not be able to prevent this without customising the theme. This option is a bit rubbish, as it means you can’t upgrade in the future.  Instead, you can install Better WordPress Minify. Better WordPress Minify will minimise all your Javascript and CSS into two single files automatically.

The plug-in can be downloaded here.

WPBase-Cache

WPBase-Cache uses varnish, nginx or php-fpm stack with php-apc to cache your pages. I’ve always used this plug-in with Varnish. Varnish Cache is an HTTP reverse proxy that sits in front of your web server and caches your websites content. Varnish Cache is very quick and it will dramatically speed up the rate at which your webages get delivered.

The other good thing about this plug-in is that it comes with ‘db-cache-reloaded-fix’ installed. This will also cache your database queries.

You can download the plugin from, here.

Jon D Jones

Software Architect, Programmer and Technologist Jon Jones is founder and CEO of London-based tech firm Digital Prompt. He has been working in the field for nearly a decade, specializing in new technologies and technical solution research in the web business. A passionate blogger by heart , speaker & consultant from England.. always on the hunt for the next challenge

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