Comparing the best optimization plugins for WordPress

Comparing the best optimization plugins for WordPress

Which of the leading contenders has the best optimization plugins for WordPress?

Optimizing a WordPress site is an essential process that can help speed up your site via caching, image optimization and database optimization. It can also improve performance and help you rank higher in search engines. However, as a customer, which one is the best? When looking for the best optimization plugins for WordPress, there are so many to choose from, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction – with all of them making wild promises to make your site faster than a hammer-time Lewis Hamilton!

In the below review, we will evaluate the performance by analyzing all the the top optimization plugins and show you why WP-Optimize should be your plugin of choice. 

What does ‘caching’ do?

An important part of the optimization process is caching. The term ‘cache’ or ‘caching’ refers to when there is a collection of data that is temporarily stored to allow for quick access upon request. Caching for a WordPress site works so that every time a user visits your site, WordPress will fetch previously viewed and stored information from the file system. By using cache, it allows visitors to skip the time consuming step of loading a site for the first time, as the caching plugin has made a copy of the site and presents this copy to the visitor when they return. 

How much of a difference can optimization make?

As optimization and caching reduces the load on your WordPress hosting servers, it can help make your website run faster. However, the optimization and caching for your site needs to be properly optimized and set up in order to get the most from a optimization plugin and help improve your site’s performance and speed.

If your site offers users a faster and more user friendly experience, it can help encourage users to return again in the future, visit more pages or more likely to make purchases. This in turn helps your user engagement time and reduces bounce rate. All of these factors combined (along with other metrics such as quality of content and how often your site is updated) can help boost your SEO score and drive more traffic to your site from organic search. A faster and more optimized site that includes caching and optimization can gain a significant SEO advantage from search engines such as Google, who prioritize and rank sites higher if a site is proven to be quick and maintains good user interaction. 

There are many WordPress optimization plugins out there that claim to help boost your website’s speed through caching, image optimization and database optimization. But which one is really the best?

How we tested the top optimization plugins

To make this test fair and completely aboveboard, a new, unbiased test site was set up. This test site is a basic WordPress site that contains lots of images and content that provides the simplest way to judge each plugin when evaluating its effects on a site’s speed test results when tested using GTMetrix.com

The test site

A 3GB sized test that has not been optimized or altered in any way to favour one optimization plugin over another. 

An example of the large scale images uploaded to our test site

Results

For the following speed test, we evaluated the 4 leading optimization plugins – WP Fastest Cache, W3 Total Cache, WP-Rocket and WP-Optimize, as well as a test with no optimization in order to have a base-line to evaluate performance.

Page Speed

PageSpeed ranking gives you an indication of whether or not your front-end (what the browser sees) adheres to best practices for optimal speed. The closer to 100, the faster and more optimized your site is.

YSlow

Like PageSpeed, your YSlow ranking can also be used to give you an indication of whether or not your front-end (what the browser sees) adheres to best practices for optimal speed, with 100 being the perfect score.

Page Size

Depending on your styling, your page could potentially be delivering larger/smaller images and hiding/revealing assets or resources. This impacts the load performance, so the small the page size, the quicker it will load.

As can be seen from the combined results, even the worst performing cache plugin can offer big improvements to a WordPress site. Without an optimization plugin, the average site is losing out massively in comparison to those that have been properly optimized.

In the interest of fairness and to ensure that our test wasn’t a one off or fluke, we also had another member of staff independently test the same optimization plugins on a different test site. The results that he presented below, largely mirror those that we also carried out.

Summary

Following our testing and in-depth analysis when looking for the best caching, image and database optimization plugins for WordPress, it is recommended that if you are looking for the most effective and best optimization plugin on the market, you should install WP-Optimize today as it shows the best overall performance figures of any optimization plugin. As can be seen from these results, WP-Optimize recorded the best loading page speed, ‘YSlow’ score and is very close to the top ranking for Page Size. 

WP-Optimize is easy to set-up and use and with just these few optimization techniques, it can help improve your site’s speed greatly. When evaluating WordPress site optimization, it is important to remember that a properly cached site will not only give visitors a better user experience, but can also help your site succeed via improved SEO score, bounce rate and repeat visits.

By using the WP-Optimize all in one optimization plugin, you will get everything you need to employ the latest optimization features for optimizing your WordPress website. 

Get a copy of WP-Optimize today and increase your website speed. Be sure to let us know your feedback in the comment section below.

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Cloning a WordPress site using Updraft Migrator or UpdraftClone

The option to clone a WordPress website has proven to be a hugely popular and useful feature for both Updraft Migrator and UpdraftClone. As such, we have updated our written and video instructions on how to clone a website using these two different packages. 

There are three different ways you can clone a website using either Migrator or UpdraftClone. While these methods are pretty straight forward and intuitive, it never hurts to have a simple walk-through that can guide you through all the steps required to clone a WordPress site in just a few minutes.

There are many reasons why users of Migrator or UpdraftClone would want to use a cloning feature. Maybe you want to use Updraft Migrator to create a clone of your online store; with the intention to use it as the foundation for a whole new store? Or maybe you want to create a clone of your WordPress blog to test out a new theme update before updating on your main site using UpdraftClone? Whatever your reason for cloning a site, we have got you covered. 

Just follow this link for further detailed and up to date written instructions with videos, or check out the videos for UpdraftClone and Updraft Migrator below.

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Updraft adds ability to manually complete Dropbox authentication to avoid security conflicts (UpdraftPlus 1.16.42)

The latest updates for UpdraftPlus 1.16.42 have now been released. This latest update of UpdraftPlus comes with a great new Dropbox feature and a host of tweaks to help improve the usability and performance of UpdraftPlus for all it’s users.

This latest release comes with a new feature that now gives users the added ability to manually complete authentication of Dropbox as your remote storage option. This new feature will allow users to avoid any issues they may have had in the past with security modules or plugins that have broken the authentication flow. 

We hope this new update will help improve the integration of the popular remote storage option of Dropbox for all UpdraftPlus users. The change-log for the latest update is as follows:

1.16.42

  • FEATURE: Added the ability to manually complete authentication with Dropbox (Avoids issues where security modules/plugins break the authentication flow)
  • TWEAK: Replace BlockUI’s deprecated jQuery functions and/or shorthand events with the appropriate method accordingly
  • TWEAK: Replace /2/files/search Dropbox API calls with /2/files/search_v2
  • TWEAK: Replace Labelauty’s deprecated jQuery functions and/or shorthand events with the appropriate method accordingly
  • TWEAK: Fix broken multiple range selection’s highlighters due to the absence of jquery-migrate in the WordPress core on version 5.5
  • TWEAK: Add the latest jQuery UI CSS framework for compatibility with WordPress 5.6 and all ongoing versions of WordPress
  • TWEAK: Add support for PHP 8.0 in UpdraftClone
  • TWEAK: Prevent a couple of PHP coding notices on PHP 8.0
  • TWEAK: Tweak in the backing up of tables to reduce PHP memory use when working with very long row contents
  • TWEAK: Prevent a PHP warning when starting a backup
  • TWEAK: Fix a UI issue in the “send backup to remote site” options

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WP-Optimize passes 1 million active installs

WP-Optimize passes 1 million active installs

Thanks to the support of everyone that downloaded the WP-Optimize plugin, we are thrilled to announce that WP-Optimize has now achieved the massive milestone of 1,000,000 active installs.

This makes WP-Optimize the 52nd most installed WordPress plugin in the world (not including plugins that are pre-installed); a figure that is all the more impressive in such a competitive WordPress market and sector.

While there are several optimization and caching plugins on the market, WP-Optimize is the top ranked when users search for an ‘optimize cache plugin’ and has achieved a 5 star rating. This is a clear declaration of our continued efforts to make the plugin bigger and better and achieving recognition by the WordPress community as the market leading optimization and caching plugin. 

Even during these difficult times, everyone on the WP-Optimize team has continued to work hard to improve the plugin, while still providing support to give users the best possible optimization and caching experience and keeping the plugin up to date with the latest WordPress developments.

From everyone at WP-Optimize, we would like to thank all of our loyal users for getting us to this point. They always say ‘the first million is the hardest’, so a huge ‘thank you’ again and here’s to the next million!

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Test PHP 8.0 on your WordPress site in just a couple of clicks, without the risk of breaking it

Updating the PHP version on your live website risks breaking something you don’t expect.  That’s why it’s best practice to test any PHP update on a test sandbox version of your website.  

We are happy to announce that the latest update for UpdraftPlus makes it very easy. This new update includes the added ability to let you run tests on PHP 8.0 using our UpdraftClone feature. 

Using UpdraftClone, you can now duplicate your site to a sandbox test version using PHP 8.0 when using WordPress 5.6+. 

We have developed this new update as we know that while setting up a new PHP install can be time-consuming and replacing your current one could break your site, UpdraftClone makes it easier to test these new things out in a disposable sandbox – Removing any potential risk to your live site. 

Of course, the beauty of UpdraftClone is it’s easy to test your site in whichever PHP or WordPress version you like.

As well as cloning your existing site, it’s also possible to use UpdraftClone to create instant blank WordPress installs if you want to create new test sites from scratch or test things in your choice of PHP or WordPress version, including PHP 8.0.  

The change-log for other changes in the latest update is as follows:

  • TWEAK: Don’t repeat sending the ‘upload_complete’ command to a remote send destination after it succeeded the first time
  • TWEAK: Update the udrpc library
  • TWEAK: In UpdraftClone, delay the temporary_clone_ready_for_restore signal until the browser connection is closed (preventing a loss of response)

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