One thing that I learned early on was how important site speed is. A slow website is a very easy way to achieve a high bounce rate, poor rankings, and most of all your visitors hate slow sites too — and, to make matters worse, so does Google. There are a lot of WordPress plugins that only certain sites need. And then there are some plugins that every single WordPress site needs. A caching and performance optimization plugin is exactly what every site needs. Early on I tried a variety of free cache plugins such as W3 Total Cache but through some trial and error I realized it was well worth paying for a dependable plugin — and that plugin was WP Rocket. For $39 it’s simply unbeatable.
So what does WP Rocket actually do?
Here are some of the biggest tweaks that you get:
- Minification – shrinks the size of your site’s code by removing unnecessary content, like whitespace, without changing the code’s functionality.
- Browser Caching
- GZIP Compression
- Combine files – Combines multiple files (like multiple CSS files) into a single file.
- Remove query strings – removes queries strings, like “?ver=1.0”, to improve your GTmetrix score. (Literally, run a gtmetrix report on your site prior to installing WP Rocket then run it again right after, you’ll be amazed by the results)
- Render-blocking CSS/JS – helps you get rid of the famous “Render blocking” warning in Google PageSpeed Insights.
- Lazy Loading – speeds up your site by only loading certain media content once it enters the visitor’s viewport. Essentially, your site won’t load images and/or videos until absolutely needed.
- Easy CDN integrations – helps you connect to CDNs like Cloudflare and origin pull CDNs.
- Database optimizer – Clean your database as a perk of this plugin, rather than having to install a separate plugin
- Defer JS loading
- Disable emojis/embeds
- Combine Google Fonts files
For me it sped up my site by about 50% and removed virtually all of the errors I was getting in my gtmetrix report. It was the most satisfying plugin purchase on my site! Here’s how great it looks when you buy it!
WP Rocket is just one of those basic essentials your site should have. I’m not sure how I could live without it, it’s on the same levels as YOAST SEO, Tasty Recipes, and Tasty Links on my site.