Optimizing our WordPress sites is usually a mandatory step if we want to create something optimal in the browser.
WordPress alone is not the most performant thing. If we don’t pay attention, the result can be a monstrous website with a lot of megabytes in weight. Creating a performant product is hard; we have to design from the first step with performance in mind.
In theory, we can make a fast WordPress theme without a performance plugin, but this not that easy. Usually, we need a plugin to handle the various things that the core WP can’t, and this is where the WP Rocket comes into the picture.
What Makes a Fast WordPress Site?
To see where WP Rocket can help us first, we have to see the whole picture. The performance is present in every part of a web-based project. We have to optimize our media assets, minimize our CSS/JS, reduce our database queries, and so on.
If you want to create a WordPress site, you at least need the following:
- A custom theme without unnecessary bloat. If you write the template (or hire someone to write it), you can determine what to include. Using a multipurpose one from ThemeForest will result in 20.000+ lines of CSS, which from your site use 1% total.
- It helps if you have a plan about the plugin usage. Usually, it is a bad idea to use a ton of 3rd party plugin. They will add a lot of static access and query time.
- You need optimized media assets. On the web, the media (images, videos) are the heaviest stuff. You have to be sure that the pictures you serve are as small as possible (and are in an optimal format).
- You need a fast and reliable hosting. Without a proper hosting solution, we can’t make a performant site. For WordPress, we are recommending A2 Hosting.
- And in the end, we need a plugin to optimize our overall performance. These plugins can’t correct our previous errors. These are helpful for fine-tuning, and if you have the previous steps, they will help you a lot.
What is WP Rocket?
WP Rocket was one of the first commerce WordPress performance optimizer plugin backed by a significant development team. With your license, you get support through detailed documentation (in your admin, too) and tickets. It is an all-in-one optimizer extension with continuous development. You can effortlessly fine-tune your site’s performance settings.
I’m a developer, but for me, simplicity is also a crucial feature. After the activation, we need to turn on some essential features to achieve a performance boost immediately.
You have to know that there aren’t any generic solution here. This plugin can work for me but can cause trouble for you (in different settings combinations). You need to do your homework and read through the documentation to learn what it is all about.
But besides this, I can’t recommend enough. For a single site, it will cost you $49/yr currently. We have an unlimited license, which can be pricey, but for the renewal, we always got a significant discount.
How Wp Rocket Can Help Us?
It can help you in a lot of ways, depending on your situation. I can tell you what features we like the most or use always:
- Set up the cache lifespan. WP Rocket will cache everything. Your pages will be served as static HTML. You can set an automatic purge.
- For the media (image, video, iframe), we use lazyloading.
- We disable WordPress’s emoji functionality.
- We turn on the preloading based on the XML sitemap.
- We schedule automatic database cleanup.
- Cloudflare is a fast and available CDN. We set up the purging through WP Rocket.
- Control the Heartbeat API to less frequent calls.
You can do this in minutes. There can be errors, but for us, it isn’t common.
Is it Worth the Money?
For us, absolutely. For you? I think it will, but first, you have to try it. There isn’t any guarantee, but you can try it for a small price, and you can get a refund if it doesn’t meet your requirements. It helps to do the final optimization step, to combine and compress the various WP assets, to reduce the Heartbeat API, to set up Cloudflare purging, to preload the statics; this is one of our ultimate plugins when we develop WordPress.
For our clients, it results in a faster page load, which leads to a better experience on the user side, which can result in higher conversions.
For our users, it means a better experience, faster load time, and less data consumption.