WP Rocket Review & Tutorial 2020: How we decreased loading times with 49%
WP Rocket is only available as a premium plugin. This can make it difficult to know if it’s the best solution for your needs. In this article, we’ll look at WP Rocket, see how easy it is to use, and see what it can do to help you decide if it’s the right plugin for your website.
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Table of Contents
- 1 WP Rocket Settings and Features
- 2 WP Rocket and Divi
- 3 WP Rocket and SiteGround
- 4 WP Rocket Before and After Tests
- 5 Price
- 6 Documentation
- 7 Ending Thoughts
WP Rocket Settings and Features
WP Rocket starts caching your website as soon as you activate it. The main features are enabled by default. It doesn’t require a lot of setup and there are no complex settings. I recommend activating a few more features to get the best results possible. If you want to make adjustments or activate features, go to the dashboard menu under Settings and enable the features you want. Here’s a look at the menu and settings.
The Media tab adds features for lazy loading, disabling emojis, disabling WordPress embeds, and enabling WebP caching. Rather than loading every image on the page at once, only the images that will be visible to the reader. As the reader scrolls, the next set of images are loaded. Lazy Loading is done with JS.
You can enable lazy loading for images and videos independently. If you enable lazy loading for video, you’re given another option to replace YouTube iFrames with a preview image. This will greatly improve your loading time if you have a lot of YouTube videos on the page.
Preloading generates the cache starting with links on your homepage. It’s triggered automatically when you update your content. You can also trigger it manually.
Prefetch DNS Requests allows you to specify external hosts to prefecth from in order to make external files load faster.
- Normal – lossless with no visible change in quality.
- Aggressive – highly optimizes images with no significant loss in quality.
- Ultra – applies all available optimizations for maximum compression level.
Once the optimization is completed you’ll see the results. In my case, I chose Ultra, which optimized 180 images and saved 71%. The files started at 21.7MB and were reduced to 6.3MB.
WP Rocket and Divi
The lazy loading feature displaces slider images. You’ll need to disable lazy loading for any page using the slider module. This can be solved by adding some code to your child theme.
Masonry Post List
The Masonry list of posts doesn’t show up when you’re minifying JS. This can be solved by excluding a line of code from your builder script.
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Older Versions of Divi
WP Rocket and SiteGround
SiteGround offers multiple ways to improve your website’s performance. Their hosting provides caching on the server-side with their SG Optimizer WordPress plugin and their SuperCacher plugin that includes Varnish and Memcached support.
Of course, websites can be optimized further by utilizing browser caching. To improve caching and website speed even further, SiteGround has partnered with makers of WP Rocket to provide optimization for WordPress websites.
If you’re already using SG Optimizer and SuperCacher the results of adding WP Rocket could be small, but it’s still worth adding WP Rocket. WP Rocket does improve your cache and it adds a lot of features that are not available with the SG Optimizer such as Heartbeat API control, tracking of third-party scripts, and more. It works with all three levels of SiteGround’s caching, so they work together well.
WP Rocket has been extensively tested with SiteGround’s servers and they’ve added SuperCacher support. The SG Optimizer detects WP Rocket and disables its own duplicated features automatically. If you delete WP Rocket, your dynamic cache is automatically purged.
WP Rocket Before and After Tests
I’m using WP Rocket on a test site with the Divi builder and a single page that’s built with the landing page from the Digital Marketing layout pack. It includes several full-screen sections with graphics, testimonials, blurbs, embedded video, CTAs, opt-in form, social media buttons, etc.
For my WP Rocket settings, I’ve enabled all of the optimizations with the exception of adding a CDN. I’ve enabled image optimization separately in order to show results with and without the image compression add-on.
Also, keep in mind that the amount of speed improvement will vary depending on the types of pages and content your website has, plugins, hosting, etc. WP Rocket’s tests resulted in a 57% improvement. The results will vary.
I’m testing the site using GTmetrix. Here’s a look at the site before and after I activate WP Rocket. I’ve tested the site multiple times within the same time-frame in order to get the best average.
- PageSpeed score = D (67%)
- YSlow score = B (80%)
- Fully Loaded Time = 4.9s
- Total Page Size = 2.31MB
- Requests = 53
- PageSpeed Score = B (82%)
- YSlow score = A (91%)
- Fully Loaded Time = 2.8s
- Total Page Size = 669KB
- Requests = 17
The PageSpeed and YSlow scores have improved dramatically. The fully loaded time has reduced by almost half, the total page size has reduced by 72%. The number of requests has reduced by 68%. PageSpeed recommends serving scaled images. YSlow recommends using a CDN and adding expires headers.
After Compressing Images
- PageSpeed Score = B (87%)
- YSlow score = A (91%)
- Fully Loaded Time = 2.4s
- Total Page Size = 560KB
- Requests = 17
The PageSpeed score has noticeably improved. The YSlow score has remained the same. The fully loaded time is .4s faster. The total page size is 109KB lower. The number of requests has remained the same. PageSpeed recommends serving scaled images, which is now a score of 10 instead of 0. YSlow recommends using a CDN and adding expiry headers.
- PageSpeed score from D (67%) to B (87%)
- YSlow score from B (80%) to A (91%)
- Fully Loaded Time from 4.9 seconds to 2.4
- Total Page Size from 2.31MB to 560KB
- Requests from 53 to 17
The fully loaded time was reduced by 49% and the total page size was reduced by 76%. This is an impressive improvement that will see a major impact on the server load and the page-loading time, which will help reduce the bounce rate.
- Single site – $49
- 3 sites – $99
- Unlimited sites – $249
I found WP Rocket to be among the easiest to use of all the cache plugins I’ve tried. It was highly intuitive and I never needed to check the tutorials or documentation, but I’m glad that it does have a lot of help available if I wanted it. The results of my test site were impressive; taking the load time down by half and reducing the page size by 76%. If you’re interested in a cache plugin that’s easy to use, expandable, and offers excellent results, WP Rocket is worth a look.
Have you tried WP Rocket? Tell us about your experience in the comments.