New feature – Purge or clear the cache from the page or post edit screen
Purging single pages directly from the post or pages screen allows changes to be reflected in real time for visitors. It’s also more efficient, particularly for large websites where purging the entire cache can be resource intensive and time-consuming.
New feature – Preload single pages for visitors
Preloading involves populating the cache with data even before it is requested.
With this new feature, performance of specific high-traffic pages can also be optimized by preloading them into the cache, reducing load time and giving users a smoother experience.
Additional updates include
The most recent update also includes a number of useful tweaks to enhance functionality and user experience, including better debugging and logging, and improvements to some cron job-related tasks.
For a full list of tweaks and fixes, please see the changelog below:
= 3.3.0 – 31/Jan/2024 =
* FEATURE: Premium – Ability to preload and purge caches from individual post/page
WooCommerce is a popular e-commerce platform for WordPress. It offers great functionality but also has its challenges. Our team found a problem with WooCommerce’s performance, and we created a ‘power tweak’ feature that fixes it. This feature is one of two power tweaks available in our plugin. It makes your website more efficient by optimizing a WooCommerce database query.
What is the issue with WooCommerce?
We’ve found that WooCommerce has a critical performance issue related to one of its database queries. The query lies within a function called ‘get_total_spent’, used to calculate the total amount of money spent by a customer. The query makes a calculation using several double left-joins on the post and post meta tables for lookups. This process is inefficient, as MySQL must scan a large number of rows with each new order. On a typical site, this could involve scanning over 80% of the rows in the post meta table. In one case study, MySQL had to scan over 13,000,000 rows, significantly impacting performance and user experience.
As developers, we’ve learned that finding our own solution is often the best way to get things done. So, we engineered this feature to confront the WooCommerce query dilemma head-on. We suggested that WooCommerce use two simpler SQL queries instead of that one complicated query. However, in the absence of changes from WooCommerce, we’ve taken the initiative.
WP-Optimize has a feature called ‘power tweak’. It replaces the problematic double left-join query in WooCommerce with two shorter, more efficient queries. This enhancement is crucial for sites with high volumes of orders.
To learn more and stay updated, check out our Github thread where our lead developer and founder, David Anderson, discusses this issue.
The free version of WP-Optimize significantly enhances your site’s performance. It simplifies complex tasks like image compression, database cleanup, and caching, making them accessible – even to those who aren’t tech-savvy. This ensures that your e-commerce site runs smoothly, providing a better experience for your visitors.
Our power tweak features are just two of the many features of premium. Other benefits include: even faster page loading speeds, tools to clean up your media library by removing unused images and image sizes, premium support, and so much more.
The latest version of WP-Optimize is now compatible with even more of your favorite plugins. For both the free and premium versions of WP-Optimize we’ve improved compatibility with:
Custom Permalinks is now compatible with our cache feature. With caching, users who visit your site are served local, static copies of your site’s files leading to huge improvements in page loading times for a faster, more efficient website.
The following improvements apply to WP-Optimize Premium:
WP-Optimize Premium now correctly detects banner images within Elementor and is able to optimize them effectively.
YITH Point of Sales is now also compatible with WP-Optimize Premium. Plugin point-of-sales pages are able to function correctly.
Lazy Loading can now be enabled with Smart Slider 3 without disrupting how images are displayed.
Finally, we’ve made a number of fixes that apply to both the free and premium versions of WP-Optimize:
Users were previously seeing a PHP warning or non-fatal error when converting to WebP where race conditions occurred. This was caused by the same script being executed twice, and has now been resolved.
Database responsiveness has been improved; exceptionally large databases can now be processed more effectively.
If WP Optimize is uninstalled, files and settings created by the plugin are automatically removed or reverted.
For a full list of tweaks and fixes, please see below:
* FIX: HTML minify should not remove title tag added by AIOSEO
* FIX: Premium – Fetching unused images data is incorrect when previous task queue is not properly unlocked
* TWEAK: Premium – Prevent conflicts between the minify feature and the YITH Point of Sale for WooCommerce plugin
* TWEAK: Premium – Compatibility issue with Smart Slider 3
Fast, efficient website optimization
WP-Optimize helps you to boost the performance of your WordPress website. It will shrink your database size, compress large images, clean up spam and unapproved comments, report on database tables with overhead and wasted space, and cache your site. The result is a leaner, faster, more organized website. Our Premium version includes enhanced functionality such as multisite support, sophisticated scheduling options, and is compatible with campaign tracking queries like UTM tags. If you think WP-Optimize could be the right solution for your website, you can learn more
In February and March 2023, we released various features, fixes and tweaks, the most significant of which offers even more optimization opportunities for existing and new customers alike.
Compress image sizes by up to 34%
WP-Optimize 3.2.13 brought new features to users, specifically the ability to convert images in the media library to the WebP format.
This feature was first introduced in 2022 however only new or uncompressed images could previously be converted. Release 3.2.13 means already compressed images can be further compressed with the WebP image format.
It helps speed up your site by cleaning the database, compressing images and caching your site. Optimized websites means higher rankings in Google, a better user experience and therefore improved engagement with your website or business.
You can get a 10% discount for doing so right now, and up until 5 April so it’s a good time to consider giving your WordPress website a turbo boost.
Premium is loaded with added features like Lazy Load where images and videos load gradually as they become visible to the user. This allows a page to load much faster compared to the simultaneous loading of all web parts, without affecting the user experience.
Load webpages faster, identify orphaned images and get premium support.
Get more advanced options too, like the ability to optimize your site using the WP-CLI. Premium is compatible with WordPress multisite, WooCommerce and various other add-ons, including multilingual and multi-currency WordPress plugins.
On Friday 26 August, Gilo Varghese, founder of Flying Proxy, a CDN, tweeted the following allegation about WP Optimize: https://twitter.com/GijoVarghese_/status/1563097754322501632 . We were not contacted directly but learned of it a few days later when we were asked by a WordPress news site to comment.
In short, the allegation is that WP-Optimize are deliberately deceiving its users by appearing to use page speed tools like GTMetrix to be faster than sites actually are, and are doing this secretly for the purpose of making WP-Optimize look better.
Varghese then proceeded to respond to users who responded to his Tweet to ‘plug’ his company, Flying Press, which is a competitor to WP-Optimize, with a competing plugin product:
The tweet was widely circulated, and resulted in a WP Tavern article yesterday on the allegations. This was a UK public holiday, when many of our team were away and we didn’t have time to fully investigate the allegations. We were given a few hours before publication to respond, but at that time our main WP Optimize developer was already, in his time zone, asleep.
The team at UpdraftPlus (owners of WP-Optimize) investigated today and found the allegations to be completely false. The truth is actually the reverse – it is the allegations which have been presented deceptively, missing out obvious and key facts.
The most fundamental is that feature used to construct the claim clearly says in the user interface “…if you would like to exclude scripts from page speed tests”. The allegation by contrast implies this is hidden only in the code.
Secondly, the advanced setting used in the allegation is a valid feature, useful to find out whether the essential JS/CSS files are actually slowing down the web page or not. i.e. It has a proper use. This feature is by default, turned ‘off’ and only enabled by advanced users who know what they’re doing.
Joe Miles, a manager at UpdraftPlus said “the claim is the plugin is being deceptive, but it’s actually an explained setting in advanced settings which a site owner would have to decide to use, which have been used to falsely claim that WP-Optimize is manipulating things. The setting is a valid tool for testing. So UpdraftPlus will not be removing it and we’ve asked for the false accusations to be deleted.”
Peter Wilkinson from Divi Engine who developed Divi Nitro, (a speed performance plugin which is not affiliated with WP-Optimize, but actually a competitor), investigated the claims and said “Initially I was shocked at the news and as a competitor, thought it was bad practice to be deceiving customers.”
“To “cheat” the tools, you need to manually add the JS files you want to asynchronous load to a setting that clearly has the label “Use this if you have a completely independent script or would like to exclude scripts from page speed tests (PageSpeed Insights, GTMetrix…)”
Wilkinson made this very clear video to show how the untrue allegations have been unfairly presented in a way that misleads people:
“It just goes to show that you should not believe everything you read or hear. Test everything to make sure it is the truth.” Wilkinson added.
“In my view, Gijo Varghese has used deception to promote Flying Pages and Flying Press.”
Adam Lowe, President of PeakPerformanceDigital.com who was initially quoted in WP-Tavern as asking UpdraftPlus “how are we supposed to continue trusting your company with my clients’ backups when you use these deceptive and fraudulent practices?” replied today in support of WP-Optimize. He said:
Meanwhile, Andrew Palmer of WP Plugins Plus, tweeted that he believed the original claims to be false:
Summary: Gijo achieved the result that he did by using a clearly labelled expert feature with explained possible use cases to do something else. He then presented this as the normal but dishonestly hidden result of using WP-Optimize. This should never have been made a news story. We do not encourage anyone to try to “game” PageSpeed scores, and Gijo’s allegations that this is our secret intention that people would do so is unworthy, and we hope he will do the honourable thing and retract it. If any other users are puzzled by anything else in WP-Optimize, we hope that instead of stirring outrage on Twitter, they will ask us about it in a support channel.
Having engaging, clear and fast loading images on your WordPress site is one of the most effective ways to draw a user/customer in. There is a reason that car dealerships spend so much time making sure that the new models are spotless and sparkling. The visual impact of a product can often be the make or break decision between success and failure. Online showrooms are no different, plus there is the added complication of how an image can impact your loading speed. It is a well used and famous metric, that a user will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. If a website does take more than 3 seconds to load, then there is a good chance that the images you have on your site are part of that reason.
So as a WordPress site owner, what can you do to ensure that the images you have on your site are both appealing to users and allow your site to load quickly. Your initial instinct might just be to shrink the image down from a 1800×1400 size image to 300×200 size image. This would be the wrong course of action to take, as while your image file size might now be a lot smaller, the quality of the image and user experience has suffered as a result. If you have a car showroom sales website for example, customers will want to get a really good look at the car and be able to see all the features and detail. By making the image so much smaller, any detailed inspection of the car is now impossible – leaving the potential customer frustrated and looking elsewhere.
So what are your options? Thankfully, there are dozens of different image file options you can choose from, ranging from the high quality, but large file size BMP, the tried and tested JPEG, to the new and widely unknown WebP format. Along with choosing the right format, it is important to remember that regardless of what format you choose, you can additionally reduce the image file size by employing a process via WP-Optimize known as “compression”.
Site speed is one of the top 10 most important factors Google bots crawling your website observe when they are ranking your site in the search results. Having poor loading speed can badly impact on the ranking of your site and can easily take your site from the first page, to failing to be indexed by Google. Google is very strict on how they rank sites in their search algorithm and if they find that the site offers a poor user experience due to slow loading times, they might not even go through the trouble of even crawling it and making it discoverable via Google search.
Which image format should you choose?
As high quality images are so important for any modern WordPress website, you need to know which format to use, how they affect the performance of your site and how to get the best out of your file selection.
The two most popular image file formats for websites are PNG and JPEG/JPG. According to w3techs, more than 70% of all websites use these file types. Around 30% of sites use SVG and 22% use GIF.
This is where image file types would come into play as the type of file you use to upload your images play an important role. As there are so many different file types, we will go through the most popular ones and their pros and cons down below:
Before we jump into the type of file we need to understand some concepts before, like what a raster and a bitmap image are? What is compression? What is the difference between a lossy and lossless compression?
Compression – Lossy Vs Lossless
Both of the compression types are aimed at reducing the file size, but it’s what they remove that really matters. In Lossy compression; important data that is relevant to the quality of the image is removed. This can be reflected in the image being pixelated in some cases as your computer can have trouble reconstructing the image.
In lossless compression, irrelevant data that is present in the image (such as metadata) is reduced, which helps reduce the file size. The image quality is not affected at all in this process.
Raster Vs Vector
The most commonly used image file types are typically raster-based. This means that they have a fixed RGB color value associated with every pixel and all of those pixels are combined and used to create a whole image.
Examples of such file formats include jpg, png, and gif.
Alternatively, a vector image is created using shapes and lines that can be scaled infinitely without them ever being pixelated. The vectors are created using mathematical formulas that allow users to change the values, while not affecting the quality of the image.
Now that we have gone over the basics of the images, we can now look at the details of the different file types.
This is a digital image format that contains compressed image data. With a 10:1 compression ratio, JPEG images are used as they are very compact. JPEG format contains important image details and is the most popular image format for sharing photos and other images on the internet. The small file size of JPEG images can also let users store thousands of images (for example on an art site) without the need for extra storage space on your site.
JPEG is a lossy compression file type that works well for photos, but it is recommended that you use another format when working graphics, such as PNG.
A JPEG image file example. You can see that the detail and quality has been maintained when uploading.
PNG is a popular bitmap image format and is short for “Portable Graphics Format”. This format was created as an alternative to Graphics Interchange Format (GIF). PNG has some great features like containing 24-bit RGB color palettes, greyscale images and displaying transparent backgrounds. A lossless data compression method is also used in PNG images when working on high quality images or graphics. PNG images are also frequently used in Image editing as they can give the user more control and options on the image over traditional JPEG format.
PNG also uses a lossless compression algorithm, which means this format can retain more data than JPG. When using a PNG image file, users can also save these images with a transparent background. By using this format, users have the option of working with layered images that can show a clear background (for example – just the flowers in the image below and not the background wall), enabling users to add the image to other images without the need to cut it out and remove the existing background – as you would have to with a JPEG image. This is one of the main reasons why it is the preferred choice for graphics like diagrams and illustrations. PNGs are known to be more popular for users working with graphics, rather than uploading standard photos.
A PNG image maintains high quality, while also allowing you to have more control over the image
You probably know the term “GIF” best from the countless short clips you are sent on messaging apps. GIF stands for “Graphics Interchange Format” and is mostly used to support animation without audio
Unlike JPEG and PNG, GIFs are used in a more niche case and are not typically used for static images (although this is possible). If you use a GIF on your WordPress site, it is most likely in order to show you visitors a simple animation or process. GIFs have a limited color range and are best used for simple graphics. They use lossless compression and tend to be smaller than JPGs. It is generally recommended that you only use GIFs sparingly in your site, as they can increase loading times (given the file size) and are limited to 256 colours.
An example of a GIF image. The quality of the original image has been greatly reduced in order to produce the animation.
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is a web-friendly vector file format. As opposed to pixel-based raster image files like JPEGs, vector files store images via mathematical formulas based on points and lines on a grid. This means that vector files like SVG can be significantly resized without losing any of their quality, which makes them ideal for logos and complex online graphics.
Vectors are best only for simple graphics, shapes, and illustrations. SVGs are a good choice for logos, especially if you need your logo to be responsive and are supported by most browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Opera.
An example of the sunflowers in a SVG format that you would use for a logo.
BITMAP is now considered an outdated image format. BMP loads the images in a lossless image format which can result in huge file sizes due to the lack of compression. Considering the importance of loading speed and how site creators want to keep the image sizes to a minimum (not to mention the popularity of SVG and JPEG formats), this format has become largely unused for online images.
The original quality of the image is maintained when uploading in the BMP format, but the file size will badly slow down your site and is not recommended.
This image format was created by Google in 2010 and is starting to prove popular with people who upload lots of images to their site as it has several advantages over JPEG and PNG, such as having better lossy and lossless compression performance.
WebP also typically uploads in smaller file sizes than JPEG or PNG formats given its improved compression performance and will take up less space on your site – allowing it to load faster. While it isn’t supported by all browsers, it is supported by all the most popular browsers – including Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Opera.
Though not as well known as JPEG and PNG, WebP could prove to be the image format of choice in the future.
There are many types of image formats that can be used on your WordPress site, but it is important to evaluate the purpose of the image. If your site is for a wedding photographer for example, you will want to maintain high quality images that still load quickly and are user friendly (JPEG). However, if you are selling images in an online poster store, then you will want to maintain as much detail and image information as possible (PNG).
As a general rule of thumb, if you are just uploading standard images for your online store, blog, portfolio, social media or social media site – then it is recommended that you upload you images in a standard JPEG format and then use WP-Optimize to further compress your images
However, should you wish to future-proof your images and improve your loading speed as much as possible, then WebP can offer superior lossy and lossless compression, while still maintaining high levels of details. Whatever you decide, remember to always compress your images using WP-Optimize for the market leading compression.