Top 5 WordPress Optimization Plugins in 2023

One of my Tuts+ tutorials talks about top 10 WordPress optimization tips. Some of the tips in that post mention using caching plugins, compressing CSS and JS, optimizing images, and so on.

In this post, I’ll give you a quick overview of the best plugins you can use to do all of this and more with relative ease.

1. LiteSpeed ​​Cache

LiteSpeed ​​CacheLiteSpeed ​​Cache

LiteSpeed ​​Cache is one of the best if not the best plugin out there for optimizing your website. Don’t let the plugin name fool you. It actually does a lot more than just caching content.

  1. It can minify CSS, JavaScript and HTML that you are using on your website. You can also use it to minify inline and external CSS or JS.
  2. It supports lazy image loading with the ability to use responsive image placeholders when loading images. You can also lazy load iframes.
  3. You can load CSS asynchronously and defer or delay the loading of JavaScript. You can also combine CSS and JS from multiple files into one file to reduce the number of requests.
  4. You can optimize images with lossy and lossless compression. The plugin also provides support for converting images to WebP format.

Some optimization and caching features require tight server integration with the plugin. Therefore, they are only available on servers with LiteSpeed ​​​​installed on the server.

  1. You can set up automatic page caching to load pages much faster. There is also private cache support for logged in users.
  2. Caches are bound to become obsolete after some time. LiteSpeed ​​understands this and lets you schedule the deletion of specific URLs. You can also set some related pages to be automatically deleted based on certain events such as posting.

The only downside to the LiteSpeed ​​cache is that it requires you to spend some time learning what all the options related to website optimization do.

2. W3 total cache

W3 total cacheW3 total cacheW3 total cache

The W3 Total Cache plugin also called W3TC is a web host agnostic WordPress optimization plugin. A huge advantage of using this plugin is that it will work equally well with all types of sharing services such as shared hosting, dedicated hosting or private hosting.

  1. This plugin comes with support for caching mobile version of pages based on user agents. It also works with AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages.
  2. It can compress and minify CSS and JavaScript that are used on your website. You have complete control over minification of CSS, HTML or JavaScript.
  3. You can also cache data for categories, tags, comments or search results both in memory and on disk and on CDN.
  4. There is support for caching database objects and fragments in memory or on disk.
  5. You can also minify inline, embedded, or third-party JavaScript and CSS for optimal performance.
  6. You can defer loading of non-critical CSS and JavaScript to render pages even earlier than usual.

The plugin uses aggressive browser caching to make repeat views much faster. Other optimizations help improve performance on the backend and save bandwidth with minified HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files.

3. Faster WP Cache

Faster WP CacheFaster WP CacheFaster WP Cache

The WP Fastest Cache plugin is another option for people looking to optimize their website. It is easy to set up and uses a number of techniques to improve website performance.

  1. As you may know, generating a web page in WordPress requires some PHP processing and fetching data from the MySQL database. Repeating this process for each page visit will consume CPU cycles that could be used elsewhere. The WP Fastest Cache plugin solves this problem by caching a static HTML version of your WordPress posts.
  2. You can also minify the CSS and HTML used on your website to reduce the total weight of the page. However, you will need to use the premium version to minify JavaScript.
  3. The free version of the plugin also has the ability to combine CSS and JavaScript to reduce the total number of requests made.
  4. Let’s say you don’t want to use the emoji functionality that WordPress offers, you can use this plugin to remove related CSS and JavaScript to speed up the website.

The free version of this plugin is sufficient for basic optimizations, but you will need to use the premium version to access more features.

The premium version offers a dedicated cache for mobiles and widgets. It also allows you to optimize your images by compressing them and converting them to more efficient formats such as WebP. You can also upload your own images with the premium version.

While WP Fastest Cache is a good plugin, I find its free version to be lacking compared to other available options.

4. WP-Optimize cache

WP optimizes cachingWP optimizes cachingWP optimizes caching

The WP-Optimize Cache plugin is a feature-rich WordPress optimization plugin that uses multiple techniques to make sure your website is running at its best.

There are three things that can slow down a WordPress website: lack of proper caching mechanism, clogged database, and non-optimized images. The WP-Optimize Cache plugin solves all these problems for you.

  1. You can set this plugin to clean up the database periodically. This step involves more actions like removing unnecessary data like comments and deleted posts. You can also defragment your MySQL tables to improve query speed.
  2. This plugin also allows you to minify the CSS and JavaScript used on your website. Page weight decreases further when Gzip compression is enabled. You can also combine multiple CSS and JavaScript files to reduce the total number of requests made.
  3. You can also set browser caching options with this plugin so that pages load much faster on repeated views. What if you don’t want to cache some specific parts of your website? You can easily exclude them from the cache using advanced cache exclusion rules.
  4. WP-Optimize Cache also offers amazing image optimization features. You can apply lossy compression on large images to significantly reduce their size. You can perform mass compression on multiple images at once and if you don’t like the result, there is an option to restore the original images. You can also tell the plugin to automatically compress all new images that are uploaded to the website.

Some features like slow loading of images and quick deletion of unused or unwanted images are only available in the premium version of the plugin. The premium version also provides WP-CLI support, multisite support, and advanced scheduling features among other features.

5. Super page cache for Cloudflare

Super cache of pagesSuper cache of pagesSuper cache of pages

Anyone who knows what a CDN is has most likely heard of Cloudflare as well. This Super Page Cache plugin from Cloudflare is incredibly easy to use. All you need to do is provide your Cloudflare account API key. The default settings that come pre-applied in this plugin work perfectly. However, you can also tweak some options if you’re not happy with the results and want to experiment.

Other than LiteSpeed, the caching and optimization plugins we’ve covered so far only offer optimizations at the local server level. This includes minification of JavaScript, CSS and HTML, image compression, etc. These are important things you need to do if you want any website to perform at its best.

However, using the Super Page Cache plugin will help you go further. You can use this plugin to cache static assets like CSS, JavaScript, and images, as well as WordPress-generated HTML for different pages. All of your assets are stored in over 200 different CDN edge locations. This ensures that your website content is served very fast and also reduces the server load of your original website.

This plugin works great in combination with other optimization plugins I mentioned above. You just need to make sure that the page caching feature is disabled on those plugins while all other optimizations work normally. All aspects of page caching will be handled by this plugin.

Final thoughts

If you’re using a web host that has LiteSpeed ​​installed on its servers, you should go ahead and install the LiteSpeed ​​caching plugin without a second thought. This plugin does a great job of optimizing your WordPress website. It will take some time to figure out what all the available options do, but it’s definitely worth it.

If you are using a web host that does not have LiteSpeed ​​installed, I recommend using the WP-Optimize Cache plugin in conjunction with the Super Page Cache plugin for Cloudflare. Using both together will really improve the performance of your website.

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