Top Four WordPress Site Speed Plugins for 2021

Trish Manrique How-To

Based on our testing at Sortable, there’s little doubt remaining that site speed is a vital metric for successful search engine optimization. The catch is, having the fastest website on the planet doesn’t guarantee that your site will grow or even earn a single dollar, but in general, fast websites fare better on Google’s search results page.

To check your WordPress site’s page speed, try the online Google PageSpeed Insights tool, which should provide you with the most accurate analysis. After you run the test, we want you to pay careful attention to the recommendations.

Some of the suggested optimizations are far easier to execute than others. That’s one benefit of using WordPress page speed plugins — anyone can speed up a website without having to know as much code as a software programmer.

It’s not uncommon for website owners to have difficulty increasing website speed in WordPress. Many factors go into a domain’s speed, and those may have little or nothing to do with the quality of your content. 

But content cannot be successful if visitors to your website have to wait forever to load a single article. In fact, if a page loads too slowly, after a few seconds of waiting, the average internet user clicks the back button on their browser (this is known as a “bounce”).

The fastest way to speed up your site without upgrading your hosting package or paying for a premium content delivery network, is to choose the right WordPress optimization plugin.

1. W3 Total Cache

This page speed plugin has over a million installations, and with good reason! It’s simple to set up if you already have a working knowledge of WordPress, and many of the most critical features come bundled with the base version.

According to its developers, what makes W3 Total Cache better than other free speed plugins is its complete framework. The software does more than merely lazy load images and minifies CSS and JavaScript. You also don’t have to modify your theme to make it work.

Of all free speed optimization plugins available for WordPress, W3 Total Cache has received mostly positive reviews.

2. WP Fastest Cache

This plugin’s cheetah avatar says it all. The developers coded WP Fastest Cache so that you won’t need to customize your .htaccess file manually. It can also block cache for a specific post using a shortcode.

But you’ll need the paid version (which does come at a fair price) to use the best features like combining and minifying HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The biggest downside of this plugin is the cost, where other plugins don’t make you pay for such vital features.

WP Fastest Cache may be one of the most popular speed plugins and has fantastic reviews from its users.

3. Autoptimize

Autoptimize is another plugin that works well for the vast majority of advanced users.The plugin has received good reviews overall. The vast majority of reviews are positive and upbeat. The catch is, Autoptimize isn’t necessarily the best choice for beginners; although, it does have over 1 million installations at the time of this writing.

Another limitation is that the plug-in won’t automatically optimize inline CSS like others. The software essentially does what it says it can do: make its website faster.

4. WP-Optimize

WP-Optimize claims to be built around the world’s fastest web page caching engine. The plugin allows you to clean and optimize your site’s database, compress images, and cache pages to increase site speed.

Like similar plugins, WP-Optimize lets you minify CSS and JavaScript. Interestingly, many of this plugin’s reviews rave about the software’s ability to remove unnecessary data from WordPress’s backend, such as old trash comments and outdated trackbacks and pingbacks.

WP-Optimize integrates with the backup plugin UpdraftPlus and has a feature to automatically compress media files upon upload. In the premium version, you’ll have much more control and flexibility over the plugin’s settings.

As far as site speed plugins go, WP-Optimize is an excellent middle-of-the-road compromise between a plugin that’s too simple for advanced users and one that’s too complex for beginners.

Wrapping it up

All five of these plugins do the job; the difference lies in ease-of-use for beginners and the paid features that advanced web designers need.

Which WordPress speed plugins work well for you? We’d love to hear your thoughts about how well each of these software work for your website.