The Descrete & Lightweight Speed Improvement Plugins We Use To Get Load Time and TFFb Lower Plus 98-100 Score on GTMetrix & Google PageSpeed.
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Are you looking for well coded and lightweight plugins for your WordPress speed optimization?
This page got you covered.
Our article is unique in that a lot of the speed improvement plugins shared are super fast plugins that we have tested, did extensive research on, and we use over 90 percent of them on this website and others.
OnlineBusinessConsulting doesn’t go with the herd( if you look at a lot of similar articles they have the same plugins list almost like they copied eachother. And a lot of the plugins some of them listed are bloated and they list them because they will get affiliate commission instead of how good they are) so some of the plugins for speeding up your WP website we will be reviewing are simple and may not be the most popular but they are the real deal.
Popularity doesn’t mean good or the best.
A lot of the WP speed plugins we will be discussing have great retention rate, ever green codes, great reviews, easy to use(most have no setting, just activate and it works), etc.
If you are in a hurry, the best WordPress speed optimization plugins are:
- Plugin Logic
- Plugin Load filter
- Disable Embeds by Pascal Birchler
- Disable Emojis (GDPR friendly) by Ryan Hellyer
- WP Super Cache
- Simple Cache
- LiteSpeed Cache
- WP Remove Query Strings from Static Resources
- Far Future Expiry Header
- Advanced Database Cleaner Pro (premium)
- and more
Note: Some of the plugins may show that they haven’t been updated for awhile but they still work fine without any issue. Some plugins doesn’t need updating because they are ever-green. They are so simple and well coded that they will probably never break. We have been using a lot of these plugins for years now without any issue.
Before Using a Speed Optimization Plugin Do These
Before picking a speed enhancement plugin for your WP website make sure that you do the following:
- Check to see if WordPress has the speed feature. For example, WP already lazy load images so you don’t need to add a plugin for that.
- Use Plugintests and WP Hive to check the memory and speed impact the plugin will have on your website.
- Focus on WordPress plugins that decreases page loading time and ttfb. The most important factors in any website speed optimization success is the actual page load time and time to first byte(ttfb) improvement not some score or green light. Page load time and ttfb is what will save you money with WP web hosting, visitors conversion, and search engine ranking page(SERP) improvement. We are not against scores but they are not important as most people think.
- Some of the plugins might not show any load time changes after activating it but you might see HTTP request decrease and score increase on GTMetric & Google PagesPeed. We told you we are not against higher scores :).
How Did We Picked The Plugins
Before we get to the list read how we picked the plugins.
We take website speed serious because we know why it matter.
This is why we looked at many factors before picking any plugin or tools for speed.
We picked some of the speed optimization plugins by checking their download size by downloading and inspecting the gzip file.
We also used Plugintests.com and WPHive.com to check the download size and speed impact on the pages.
We focused on plugins with zero or one to two WP Options or Tables additions to the Database.
Most of the plugins doesn’t need a setting after activation. We always prefer plug n play plugins for speed purposes.
We looked at speed improvement plugins that do one job instead of doing a lot.
The all in one plugins tend to be badly coded and they make your site slow. Especially, the premium and popular ones. That’s why we do not bother with popularity and rarely use premium plugins with our sites or client sites.
The Best Lightweight WordPress Speed Optimization Plugins: The Free List
Now let’s get to the fun list.
Below are the list of some of the free best speed improvement plugins for your WordPress website that are lightweight.
1. Plugin Load Filter
Plugin Load Filter allows you to selectively deactivate other plugins from loading on some pages.
For example, the popular Contact Form 7 plugin loads on all your website pages which affects your site speed tremendously.
With this WP plugin you can deactivate the contact form 7 plugin from loading on other pages except on the contact page itself.
This is a powerful plugin and gem used by those serious about making a WP site load faster.
Rating: 5 star
Page speed impact: 0.03s
Download size: 75 kb
Retention rate: About 11%( 87k total installs with 9k+ active downloads) as of this writing.
Database addition( Tables & WP Options): None
2. LiteSpeed Cache
LiteSpeed Cache is one of the best WP plugins for caching sites on LiteSpeed servers. Even-though, you can use it with any web host server( we do not recommend it for sites not hosted on the LiteSpeed server), it works best with hosts with LiteSpeed server ( We recommend GreenGeeks or NameHero). With a LiteSpeed server you will be able to unleash extra features such as HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 & QUIC support. HTTP/3 & QUIC can make websites load super fast.
- HTTP/2 Push on servers that support it
- Browser Cache
- Free QUIC.cloud CDN Cache
- DNS Prefetch
- Clean and optimize database
- Image Optimization
- HTML, CSS, JS minify
- Minify inline external CSS/JS
Rating: 5 star
Retention rate: 10% (3 million active install vs 30 million total install as of this writing).
Download size: 780 kb. This is one of the reasons we do not recommend it for sites not hosted on LiteSpeed servers in most cases. 780 kb is a lot of weight for a plugin.
Speed impact: 70 ms
Database addition: 2 tables and over 100 WP options. That’s just a lot of WP options. However, with the HTTP/3 & QUIC support, it might worth it on a LiteSpeed server.
3. Plugin Logic
Plugin Logic is another powerful speed optimization plugin that you can use to do selective activation or deactivation.
This and plugin load filter are two of the top optimization plugins we recommend for speeding up a slow loading WordPress site.
Extremely simple, fast, and no bloat. It shows that it have not been updated for awhile but it still works.
Please read the FAQ section and watch this video for the correct setup.
Rating: 5 star
Page speed impact: 30 ms
Download size: 15 kb
Retention rate: All download is 5000+ with 100+ active. Do not let the low retention deter you. We believe that this is because a lot of people doesn’t know how to set it up correctly. Secondly, some people probably uninstalled it because it haven’t been updated for a while, even though it still work.
Database addition: 1 table and zero WP options
4. Disable Embeds by Pascal Birchler
By disabling embeds it will reduce the HTTP requests that your site have which can lead to better score and some load time shave off in milliseconds.
- Prevent other websites from embedding on your site
- Removes support for embed block in the block editor
- Install, activate and it works(no setting needed)
Rating: 4.8 star
Page speed impact: 110 ms
Download size: 6 kb
Retention rate: 13%( 154k total installs with 20k+ active install) retention as of this writing.
Database Addition: None
5. Unbloater (Free)
Unbloater is a plugin that is used to speed up WordPress admin dashboard and others.
It disables some core WP and other plugins features in the admin area such as the Welcome pop-ups, etc.
- Disable XML-RPC API
- Remove WordPress ‘W’ admin bar item
- Remove admin footer text
- Limit Revision
- Remove jQuery Migrate script
- Remove Emoji Scripts & Style
- Reduce Heartbeat Interval
Rating: 5 star
Page speed impact: 10 ms
Download size: 35 kb
Retention rate: 25% retention( 2k active install and 8k total download as of this writing).
Database Addition: Zero
At OnlineBusinessConsulting, we strongly believe that the above free plugins for speed optimization of WordPress sites is all you need.
With that said, some people just prefer premium plugins for various reasons.
So we will share some you should consider.
Advanced Database Cleaner Pro
I write awesome tech guides such as SEO, WordPress speed, content strategies, digital marketing tools and growth that’s helpful to businesses.
What I write about is from my experience as a former Senior digital & content marketing consultant with a division(FindLaw) of Thomson Reuters and running my own digital publishing & marketing agency for years.
Most of what I write about I have also done some testing and extensive research on..[Read full bio]