Top 8 WordPress Speed Optimization Plugins – Free and Paid

Updated on January 16, 2023 | By

You have probably heard about the importance of speed on websites. But what exactly does it mean? And how do you optimize your website for speed?

The speed of a website depends on many factors, including running on a good server and most importantly, choosing a plugin with performance features such as caching and CSS/JS optimization.

And for today’s standard, Speed isn’t the only factor for SEO algorithms, with the introduction by Google of the Core Web Vitals. Page Experience becomes as much as important as having a website loading fast.

Take a look below for a list of top plugins to improve your website Pagespeed which is Google’s speed test tool and also fix your Core Web Vitals, the new Page Experience algorithm from Google. Many of these plugins can be used together to maximize results(check compatibility).

1. Wp Rocket

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Leader in the cache performance, it has many new features released to help improve Core Web Vitals, including removing unused CSS and delaying all Javascript but not essential ones by default:

  • Delay Javascript until user interaction
  • Critical CSS
  • Cloudflare integration
  • Database Optimization
  • HTML/CSS/JS minification & compression
  • DNS prefetching, preloading
  • Remove unused CSS
  • Lazyload
  • For CDN, consider Rocket CDN $8/month
  • For Image Optimization + WebP, consider Imagify $10/month

The yearly pricing on Wp Rocket plans are:

  • WP Rocket 1 website license: $59
  • WP Rocket 3 websites license: $119
  • WP Rocket Unlimited website license: $299

2. Cloudflare Automatic Platform Optimization

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Cloudflare currently offers Automatic Platform Optimizations (APO) for $5/month, and it caches the HTML of your WordPress website. This is possible due to Cloudflare Workers that cache dynamic content.

According to Cloudflare, their Automatic Platform Optimization plugin optimized their client’s Web Vitals and Core Web Vitals metrics:

“Automatic Platform Optimization consistently demonstrated better aggregate performance among sites we analyzed in TTFB, First Paint, FCP, and LCP metrics. Even more impressive are improvements on both desktop and phone form factors.”

  • TTFB (Time to First Byte): Improvements of 72%
  • FCP (First Contentful Paint): Improvements of 23%
  • Speed Index: Improvements of 13%

Cloudflare APO is compatible with WP Rocket* and many other plugins, check the compatibility here.

*Cloudflare APO cache needs to be manually purged on every Wp Rocket change.

4. Nitropack

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Nitropack is currently the preferred solution to improve WordPress Pagespeed websites. According to Nitropack, it now powers more than 91.000 websites.

Nitropack has optimization levels that help non-developers to speed up their website and have their Pagespeed score improved instantly, across all pages. One of the downsides of that may be the downgrade resulted in delaying essential files, resulting in Core Web Vitals issues.

Its main features are:

  • Delay JS until user-interaction
  • CDN
  • Critical CSS
  • Cloudflare integration
  • Lazyload + Image Optimization + WebP
  • HTML/CSS/JS minification & compression
  • DNS prefetching, preloading
  • Remove unused CSS (Reduce Unused CSS)

The pricing in 1 year on Nitropack would be as follows:

  • Nitropack 5.000 pageviews/mo limit(1GB max bandwidth), 1 year plan: Free
  • Nitropack 50.000 pageviews/mo limit(25GB max bandwidth), 1 year plan: $210
  • Nitropack 200.000 pageviews/mo limit(100GB max bandwidth), 1 year plan: $510
  • Nitropack 1.000.000 pageviews/mo limit(500GB max bandwidth), 1 year plan: $1760

4. Asset Cleanup

Asset CleanUp Pro

Asset Cleanup is a free plugin with a paid version that aims to help remove unused css and js from your WordPress.

Asset Cleanup Pro has additional features for advanced users whiling to fine-tune their site with specific rules for removing unused CSS and JS.

It offers the removal of CSS/JS everywhere(all pages of the website), and removal of a specific post type, with both options able to add exceptions(where you want to keep loading it). Asset Cleanup offers has a note box where you can write down why you removed that asset from loading.

Asset Cleanup Pro 1-year prices:

  • Asset Cleanup Pro 1 Site License: $49
  • Asset Cleanup Pro 3 Sites License: $79
  • Asset Cleanup Pro Unlimited Sites License: $149

5. Perfmatters

Perfmatters The 1 Web Performance Plugin for WordPress

Perfmatters can be used to maximize the power of caching plugins such as Nitropack and Wp Rocket(Don’t enable overlapping features such as lazyload). It has a Script Manager and allows the removal of unused Javascript or CSS.

It also offers other WordPress improvements, such as remove unused dashicons CSS.

The price of 1-year plan on Asset Cleanup Pro is as follows:

  • Perfmatters 1 Site License: $25
  • Perfmatters 3 Sites License: $55
  • Perfmatters Unlimited Sites License: $125

6. Jetpack Boost

Jetpack Boost

Jetpack Boost can complement websites that use the hosting proprietary speed optimization plugins or compatible performance plugins with no overlapping features.

It’s currently the only plugin offering a free critical css feature. It also provides lazyload and defers non-essential Javascript(both features might overlap with other plugin features).

Jetpack Boost is offered freely by Jetpack, with no need to have a wordpress.com linked account.

7. Wp Optimize

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Wp Optimize is a plugin alternative to free cache plugins, and also a strong competitor for paid WordPress performance and cache plugins.

On the free version, Wp Optimize offers unique features that directly improve the Pagespeed such as loading css asynchronously and better Google fonts/Font Awesome loading, alongside so popular as CSS/JS minification, combination, and others.

It also offers Mobile-specific cache, Database Optimization, and Image Optimization which are features most seen on paid cache/performance plugins, on the free version.

Wp Optimize Premium main features:

  • Run CSS Asynchronously
  • Lazyload
  • Cloudflare integration
  • Database Optimization
  • Image Optimization
  • CDN Integration (Partial)
  • For Delay JS until user interaction, use Flying Scripts
  • For Critical CSS, use Jetpack Boost

Some remaining features of Wp optimize Premium are Multisite support, Multilingual and multi-currency compatible caching, Geolocation, and tax country for WooCommerce stores.

The pricing (1-year) on Wp Optimize would be as follows:

8. Autoptimize

Autoptimize is a free plugin offering a range of optimization features including basic and advanced features:

  • Minify Javascript and CSS.
  • Compress and Combine Javascript and CSS.
  • Cache.
  • Preload and preconnect.
  • Lazyload
  • HTML/CSS/JS minification & compression
  • DNS prefetching, preloading

Get your WordPress Core Web Vitals Optimized!

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