All in one speed and delivery solutions for Wordpress?

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I am building a new wordpress site (I know. Dont at me) and this time I want to do it right. Its managing the tools that increase the speed and performance of my site. There are three elements - as far as I understand it:
  1. Caching plugins - I use three different caching plugins: WP Rocket, Fastest Cache, and WP Super Cache. I also use other plugins to keep the site fast - like database plugins. Which one works the best? Which ones can replace other plugins I use (like an all-in-one speed plugin)? I want to use as few plugins as possible to reduce the chances of a plugin breaking the site or slowing it down which happens alot.
  2. CDN - The idea is that if you can put your data on other servers closer to the end user, you can speed up delivery time for your end user and that makes your site better in the eyes of the Internet gods. But every time I have used Cloudflare I would get errors like the one below or not see any improvements. Is there a better free option out there?
  3. Image hosting and delivery - From what I understand, big, heavy images slow down websites more than almost anything else. And I like to use a lot of images. So I need to find one free (or cheap) solution for optimizing my images (converting to lossy webp automatically) and hosting them somewhere faster.
So what all in one speed and delivery solutions do you all use for wordpress?
 
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RE: 1. I use WP Rocket only, and I feel it does pretty much everything I need in terms of caching. What exactly do you need the other two plugins for (just curious)?

About point 3: You could host them on Amazon S3. There's a few plugins (can't recommend one, because I haven't used them myself) that automatically put all newly uploaded images on a Amazon S3 Bucket, which is quite cheap and fast. I think you can probably connect this to Amazon Cloudfront or any other CDN as well.
 

Ryuzaki

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I'm not going to @ you, bro. Here's what I'd think of as the elements of speed:
  1. Theme designed with speed in mind.
  2. Server configuration (PHP 7.3+, HTTP/2, fast TTFB, Gzip, etc.)
  3. Server Caching + Browser Caching
  4. CDN (a big fat maybe on this one, often makes a site slower)
  5. Image optimization (delivery maybe on huge sites) & lazy loading
If you can nail those 5 things, you'll get pretty far in the speed game.

I like WP Super Cache because I'm not trying to build up a ton of annual subscriptions, but WP Rocket seems good to me. Definitely use their lazy loading for images. Be careful with iFrames, it can mess up ads. I don't recommend concatenating CSS and JS files if you're on HTTP/2, but do minify them regardless. I don't minify HTML simply because the gains are small and I don't like seeing the source code all scrambled up.

For things like Database Optimization, WP-Optimize is good. You can install it, use it, uninstall it (or disable it). Once every 3 months or 6 months would be fine.

Images is going to be your biggest speed changer. Make sure you're not loading gigantic images only to show them as tiny. And you definitely need to run them through an optimizer. I recommend Kraken.io and their API, and their Wordpress plugin that makes it all work.

Hosting your images on another server like Amazon or any CDN can help reduce bandwidth issues and CPU and RAM load, but I've not seen that as remotely necessary, even hitting 4,000 live users on the site. I think this would add complexity to your infrastructure (and especially cost with a CDN) that's not needed at the start or probably for years if it's an SEO project.

I don't know of any All in One options to do all of this, and if one existed I'd not use it. They're usually the jack of all trades and master of none. I think the real key, as you've pointed out, is to use as few as possible and make sure they're trusted, constantly updated, and their livelihoods depend on keeping it that way.
 

CCarter

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I don't see why you would need both a CDN AND another place to host the images. If you use a CDN, I don't recommend it, but if you do - the images get cached onto the CDN so there is no speed issue.

One thing I notice is a lot of you guys use very bad hosting companies. The TTFB is pretty much the only speed indicator that Google takes seriously and when you see above half-a-second you are being penalized for speed. I recommend Linode.com, but whatever you go with make sure the TTFB is fast even with a Hello World single page HTML to test.
 

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@Ryuzaki and @CCarter Why don't you guys recommend using a CDN? I was under the impression that it would improve site speed, and pretty significantly if you have image heavy posts.
 

CCarter

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I can only go off my own experience but your hosting has to be absolutely garbage for your image heavy site to take a long time to load. Even a Linode $5 a month server can handle websites getting 10,000+ visitors a day.

For example Linode's plans are available here: Linode Pricing


The above are the standard plans, the $5 plan is above it.

Now the only thing that matters is the "Network Out" - on the $5 plan you are getting 1000 Mbps (125 MB/s). A single user landing on your page with a decent connection should be able to load your whole site within less than 1 sec.

Really think about how large images have to be to slowdown 125 MB per second? Even if your images are 1 MB each, and you've got 100 on the site - in theory your users should be more than okay download all that within seconds.

But you got bigger problems if a single page load comes out to 125 MBs in size, most browser will crash long before that due to the data. Even a 10 MB in size page is extremely heavy - But let's say your site is "image heavy" - what's heavy? 12.5 MBs is extremely large, but that's 1/10th of 125 MBs.

Why in the world can't your server send that information to the user? Even at max 2-3 seconds, that's the potential for 375 MBs of data coming at the user. Web pages aren't that big. The problem comes with the latency - the time it takes to travel through the internet pipes, get to each node, and the ISP servers, and whatever traffic jams is going on there. So a user a "okay" ISP should still see your site with 4-10 seconds.

You can reduce the latency by having your host located near your users - basically if you are serving USA customers, your server should be in the USA (Google takes this into account). UK customers your hosting should be in the UK. At the very least have your hosting on the same continent as the majority of your users.

USA server serving users in India is going to have a hell of a problem and will then need a CDN, cause the amount of internet pipes that each data packet has to go through increases expotentially - remember these pieces of data aren't going into outerspace, they are traveling through the ocean floor to get to people. So to avoid ocean travel - make sure your hosting is in the country you are targeting, that reduces latency a ton. But if you are targeting "everyone" and users all over the world then yeah go for the CDN route, but in terms of "needing it" - it's honestly not necessary unless you are some mega operation that has international users.

The CDN acts as a new latency point - but if you got a SAAS, you sort of can't use a CDN and have to locate servers in regions near your customers and do the logistics yourself.

Great hosting companies are already on the backbone of the internet that's why they can offer extremely fast "Network Out" speeds. So back to Linode doing the $10 a month plan, that's 250 MB/s per second flying at the user. If your website is 12.5 MBs - that website is coming at them very fast.

But some of you guys want to use janky setups like "Amazon S3 bucket" + "cheap hosting" + "CDN" + "12 different caching plugins" + "not speed optimized http server settings" + "non gzip setup server" + "bla bla bla". Jebus, yeah then in that scenario you need a CDN and 12 Hail Marys to get your data to your end user

All of that can be solved if you simply put the hosting on a already fast hosting server setup. When you do that plus couple that with a speed optimized server setup AND then speed optimizing your website setup - they are two different things you are pretty much a rocket ship. The only latency problem is the user at the end of day and their ISP.

So I just don't bother with CDNs unless I know I am trying to target an international audience and the operation is mostly going to be content that doesn't change throughout the data. With a SAAS that's not possible cause the data is custom for each user, and just unecessary.

So as an analogy adding a CDN is like adding Turbo to a Honda Civic car - sure sounds great and all but you can just buy a BMW which is engineered with Turbo I4, or Twin Turbo V6s or V8s or V10s - ya know.

I can take the BMWs and race supercars - the likilhood of that Honda civic even keeping up is slim-to-none since it wasn't designed from the ground of for that. The only difference in the hosting versus hosting battle and the Honda vs BMW comparison is the hosting packages cost the same.

As far as KnownHost.com - the only information I could gather about their network speeds was from here: VPS vs Dedicated port speed

Their VPS (virtual private servers) are speed limited to 100 Mbps - read that very carefully - that is a SMALL b.

100 Mbps = 12.5 MB/s.

The lowest priced VPS is $28 per month.

At Linode you get 125 MB/s for $5 a month.

That's 10x faster for 5.6x less in cost.

All you have to do is read the Network speed situations to figure out which hosting company is the best.

Here is the caveat though - Linode sells you servers, versus Knownhost that has the whole managed situation going on - so cPanel, and maximum MYSQL databases and all that fun stuff. Linode pretty much is bare bone and you have to know how to run servers and update them and maintain them yourself.

Linode does have a "managed" option for your setups so that's a potential route to go. But if you are the "click a button in cpanel to get something to work" type of person then your trade off is a slower hosting and data to your users.


I guess it comes down to this - if you REALLY need a CDN you should probably already have a server guy on staff that can make your setup fast. Cause if you are doing 10,000 visitors a day - I assume you are making profits otherwise WTF.
 
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I used to have a CDN it made my site slower. Unless your hosting is garbage I wouldn't bother.
 
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Based on the feedback I am
1. Going to use Shortpixel to optimize my images. I compared this plugin to Kraken and Shortpixel integrates into my system a little better than Kraken right now.
2. I am going to give WP Rocket another try. I love WP Supercache too, but Rocket handles lazy loading for images in addition to caching.
3. I am going to ignore CDNs for now. I mentioned a CDN because GTMetrix Yslow score keeps dinging me for not having a CDN. So should I just ignore that?

Be careful with iFrames, it can mess up ads.
Thats exactly why I stopped using WP Rocket. My ad revenue went from about $80 per day to $3. Any suggestion on how to configure those settings?

All you have to do is read the Network speed situations to figure out which hosting company is the best.
Thank you for the insight. I saw Knownhost suggested in a thread from a few years back and I jumped on because they have great support, cpanel, and I dont know how to manage servers. And since the site is nascent I cant afford a server guy just yet.
 

Ryuzaki

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Thats exactly why I stopped using WP Rocket. My ad revenue went from about $80 per day to $3. Any suggestion on how to configure those settings?
They have a free "Lazy Load by WP Rocket" that I use with WP Super Cache and it has options like this:



I can't say for sure if the premium WP Rocket has these settings but I can't imagine why their free one would be more advanced than the paid one. That's what you're looking for though.

Edit: I found a screencap on the net. It looks or looked like this, should help:

 
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I went from sub 10 to 30 on my largest pages, just using WP Rocket and Imagify. Which is still horrible, but equally horrible as the average, at least not worse.

The major problem remains the theme css and jquery, so I'd really recommend starting out with a basic theme. It's a major pain to try to work around one of these big themes now and it is also too much work to move to a lightweight theme.
 
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@bernard check out this post I made here - https://www.buildersociety.com/threads/day-27-page-speed-optimization.1288/#post-47507 - it might be of use to you re css and js.

Also, funny this thread was updated. Over the weekend I came across some ads for this service on Reddit - https://www.ezoic.com/google-speed-score-site-speed-accelerator/

You need to use their nameservers, Cloudflare or run their WP plugin to use this service and they say best results will be from the first two. At the moment it seems the service is still tied up with their display ads solution which I don't want to use so I won't be checking this out further.

I think it is probably a more user friendly way of achieving what I talked about in my cross linked post above, and possibly a bit more. Certainly worth checking out if you run Ezoic ads already.