Speeding up your WordPress blog goes a long way to improve its popularity. As the website loads faster, your visitor enjoys browsing, driving high traffic and generating revenue. While there are many proven ways to boost a site’s performance (a lot of these are explained in the WordPress Optimization for Better Performance and Speed post), in this article we will take a look at some WordPress plugins that allows you to perform critical front-end and back-end optimizations, within the comfort of your WordPress dashboard. In the first section of this article I have listed the well known WordPress caching plugins and my recommendation. The next section has a list of few nice utility type plugins which you might find useful (depending on your situation). Please note that you don’t need to install all of the plugins listed here on your site (Just pick whatever fits your needs).
Top WordPress Caching Plugins
W3 Total Cache
A lot of people still use the WP Super Cache plugin. WP Super Cache is a nice plugin but have you tried the W3 Total Cache plugin yet? If you are using a WordPress caching plugin and you have never tried the W3 Total Cache then you seriously need to give this plugin a go. W3 Total Cache is a relatively newer caching plugin with better performance and the configuration is much easier and cleaner. It works nicely with the WP eStore, WP eMember and the WP Affiliate Platform Plugins too (more details here). W3 Total Cache is the fastest and most complete WordPress performance optimization plugin. Trusted by many popular sites like: mashable.com, smashingmagazine.com, yoast.com…. tipsandtricks-hq.com and others. W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your blog by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download time of your theme and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.
Hyper Cache is a new caching system for WordPress, specifically written for people who have their blogs on low resources hosting provider (CPU and MySQL). It works even with hosting based on Microsoft IIS.
WP-Cache is an efficient WordPress page caching system to make your site much faster and responsive. It works by caching WorPress pages and storing them in a static file for serving future requests directly from the file rather than loading and compiling the whole PHP code and then building the page from the database.
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache plugin generates static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After a HTML file is generated your webserver will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts.
The DB Cache plugin caches every database query with given lifetime. It is much faster than other HTML caching plugins and uses less disk space for caching.
1 Blog Cacher
1 Blog Cacher is a WordPress plugin that caches your pages in order to increase the response speed and minimize the server load. Cached files are stored in HTML files, and organized in directories emulating the URLs (if “safe_mode” is not enabled), so it’s easy to display the content of the files and organize them (for instance deleting the cache for a given entry, for all categories, for all searches, for all posts from a given date, etc.)
Other Useful Site Speed Related Plugins
As you go on installing, using and uninstalling plugins on WordPress, the ‘wp_options’ table becomes bloated. Even some themes use this table to store settings related data. Some of those records don’t get deleted as the plugin/theme is uninstalled. The table continues to grow and contribute to progressively slower load times. The Clean Options plugin gives users an easy and safe way to get a bloated wp_options table down to a manageable size. It’s equipped with many built-in safety features so you don’t accidently delete any data that’s needed for your blog to operate.
Optimize DB lets you speed up your MySQL database, without you needing to learn complicated optimization techniques. This plugin runs the ‘optimize table’ command on your WordPress tables and defragments them. This significantly reduces the query execution time and physical space on disk. Use it to optimize the tables which are updated the most.
CSS Compress is a nice plugin to reduce the size of bloated CSS files. It removes comments as well as white space characters from the CSS (new lines and tabs). It also performs GZIP compression. Using this plugin reduces the CSS for the default “Kubrick” theme from 8 KB to 1.7 KB! It’s also very easy to install and use. If you are using the W3 Total Cache plugin then you shouldn’t need to use a CSS compressor plugin.
Many bloggers have complained about ‘invasion of Diggers’. If one your posts get Digged, it’ll drive a lot of traffic, stretching out your server-load to maximum. Most of this load is caused by high amount of images that are loaded. The Digg Protector plugin will determine if a visitor is from Digg, and if he is then the plugin will serve him a remotely-hosted version of the image, taking the load off your site’s server. Otherwise, the plugin will serve the locally-hosted (on that server) image.
Another handy tool for boosting site performance. PHP Speedy can speed up the download time of your web pages by joining together all the appropriate files and compressing them. The recently released version(0.4.7) requires WordPress 2.6 or higher.
Hopefully you will find some of these plugins useful.