Speed Up Your Child Site using the WP Performance Plugin

Options are important when it comes to having plugin options to easily improve the front-end load times of your child sites. It’s also worth knowing which ones work well. One such option is a plugin called WP Performance.

After the plugin has been installed and activated, it will add a new admin menu called;

WP Performance

Plugin tab for settings are broken down as;

CACHE
CSS
JAVASCRIPT
IMAGES
DATABASE
CDN
SETTINGS
ADD-ONS

In the cache settings, you can set cache to automatically clear. If your site does not have content which only changes daily, then setting clear cache after 24 hours will be fine. You can also set when the WP Performance cache to be automatically cleared. This would work well in the following situations: if you wanted to clear the cache after a post or page is updated, published, or when the WP Performance settings are changed.

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In the CSS settings tab, you can set CSS to load using async, as well as which CSS files will be minified. If you set CSS to load using async, wait for the critical CSS to be generated. Otherwise, you will notice issues of unstyled CSS with flash on the site for a short amount of time. This is called the flash of unstyled content (FOUC).

Next, in the JavaScript settings, you can set JavaScript to be minified, loaded inline, combined or disabled. Minified JavaScript can be loaded using async. Minified JavaScript can also be disabled for logged-in users on the site.

Within the image settings, you can set images on the site to be lazy-loaded, which will reduce the number of requests on load. Lazy loading can be disabled for mobile devices. Also, specific images and containers (e.g., the home page slider) can be excluded from being lazy-loaded. The container would be ID or class of the name of that container. You can also exclude images from being lazy-loaded by URL.

The database settings will show trashed posts, draft posts, post revisions, expired transients, and unused scheduled tasks. All these database entries can be automatically cleared by settings (e.g., how often you would like those to be cleared, daily or weekly).

Within the CDN settings, you can set the URL of the static files (images, CSS, and JS files), then set the CDN hostname. Specific files can be excluded from the CDN.

If you are using Varnish or Cloudflare, from the Add-ons tab those can both be enabled. When the Cloudflare add-on is enabled, an extra Cloudflare tab for those settings will be added and show. The Cloudflare settings work the same as the official Cloudflare plugin, in that you will need to enter the Cloudflare email address used for the domain, the Cloudflare API key, and a number of Cloudflare settings can be enabled in Cloudflare directly from the settings.

WP Performance plugin will write out any settings related to caching and browser caching into a .htaccess file, which will work fine if you are using Apache on your server. If you are using LEMP stack and NGNIX, the plugin will create the correct rewrites for the ngnix.conf file.

WP Performance also includes support for WP-CLI in the form of these commands which can be run for site cleanup;

wp wpp flush – Clear the cache
wp wpp disable – Temporarily disable WP Performance
wp wpp enable – Enable WP Performance
wp wpp cleanup – Run all database cleanups
wp wpp cleanup trash – Run trash cleanup
wp wpp cleanup spam – Run spam cleanup
wp wpp cleanup revisions – Run revisions cleanup
wp wpp cleanup drafts – Run drafts cleanup
wp wpp cleanup transients – Run transients cleanup
wp wpp cleanup cron – Run cron tasks cleanup

WP Performance is a feature-complete plugin and compares to using Autoptimize, Async JavaScript, WP Optimize and Cache Enabler. The difference in WP Performance is it provides all those features in one plugin, versus using four plugins for the same tasks.

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