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speed up wordpress blog There are many websites out there that teach you how to optimize and speed up WordPress blog for faster response times and prepare it for the Digg effect. Today, I will spare you the details and will not go through all those things again. Instead, I am going to recommend to you a WordPress plugin that can quickly and easily speed up your WordPress site and improve your blog’s response time without too much effort on your side.

PHP Speedy is a WordPress plugin that cleans up and compresses your code so that it can load faster. There are few technical configurations that you need to make, but it is definitely manageable, even when you don’t have any coding knowledge

The details…

There are many factors that can cause your WordPress blog to slow down. One of them is having too many javascript and CSS files in your site that choke up your bandwidth. This often happens when you installed too many plugins, or placed too many advertisements on your site. The more javascript/CSS files you have, the more HTTP requests that your site has to make and the longer it take for the page to load.

What PHP Speedy does is:

  • Consolidates all the javascript and CSS and combines them all into two files, one for the javascript code and another for CSS (only applies for those files listed in the <head> tag). This includes all the javascript and CSS file introduced by any of the other plugins.
  • Minifies and compresses the combined file and saves it to the cache.
  • Removes all the javascript and CSS link in the <head> tag and serves the combined file from the cache to the readers.

With PHP Speedy, your site now makes less HTTP requests and serve a smaller compressed version of the file to your reader. I have used it on my site together with the SuperCache plugin. The result has been impressive. I am able to shave three seconds off the loading time, and that is a whopping 40% improvement.

Installing and configuring PHP Speedy

The PHP Speedy plugin is not found in the WordPress plugins repository, so you have to download it from the developer’s site.

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Install the plugin just like any other plugins.

On the plugin setting page, there are several options that you can configure.

Javascript libraries

This is the part where it lists down all the Javascript libraries used by the WordPress software. Although it is unchecked by default, it is wise to check them all and let PHP Speedy handle them.

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Ignore list

If you have javascript or CSS files that you don’t want PHP Speedy to handle, here is where you list them all down.

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Minify Options

This is the part where you specify whether PHP Speedy should minify your file. As before, it is better to choose Yes for all.

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I would strongly recommend you to use the htaccess or the WP-SuperCache plugin to activate the compression function for your server.


Expires header

The Expires header informs the server that the content is still fresh and the clients (browsers) should load the files directly from the cache. There is no need to retrieve the files again from the database.


Some limitations

While PHP Speedy is very useful, there are some issues that it cannot solve:

  • If you are using external javascript of CSS files, there is no way that PHP Speedy can handle them.
  • It does not support javascripts that use the document.write feature. In such cases, it is better to include that particular javascript in the ignore list.
  • PHP Speedy only sets the expiration for your CSS and JS files. It doesn’t (yet) handle the images, which would further reduce the site’s loading time.
  • If you are using @import syntax in your CSS file, PHP Speedy won’t be able to support it.

If you can live with the above limitations, then I am sure PHP Speedy will be very handy to you.

What other plugins do you use to improve the performance and speed up WordPress blog?

  1. insurance
    January 18, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    This is an awesome plugin, and I have had amazing results when combining this and hyper cache and aa apache cache plugins. No hacks necessary and they all work awesomely out of the box. For some reason php speedy fixes all the errors I got when I used them alone. Best plugin period.

  2. sunnybear
    September 17, 2009 at 6:29 am

    There is more powerful WordPress plugin - Web Optimizer, - that do all the PHP Speedy actions and even more. Simple and fast install, dozens of options, time-proven techniques - all in one package.

    • Ramkumar
      January 12, 2010 at 5:45 am

      Web optimizer conflicts with wp-super cache. i tried it and had to remove it. Also weboptimizer comes with a limitation. You got to pay inorder to get its complete feature set.

  3. Pallab
    September 5, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Couldn't get it to work. My blog looked all screwed up with it.

  4. teentoplinks
    March 25, 2009 at 7:37 am

    Teentop links directory, link exchange, add url, add link

  5. Vladimir
    January 26, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Here are two PHP speedy hacks for even better results.

    • Damien Oh
      January 27, 2009 at 8:20 pm

      Cool! Thanks for sharing. They are useful 'hacks'.

    January 26, 2009 at 6:32 am

    This plugin is very useful, but it has some conflict with WP-SuperCache plugin. When I used it, the WP-SuperCache plugin didn't gzip page (although I checked the boxes). I found a solution in the WP Support forum, it worked for sometimes, but sometimes it didn't :(.

    And at last, I think, the work did by PHP Speedy maybe take your server load heavier than not using it. So I don't use it now.

    PS: If you want to put the JS at the bottom, CSS at the top, you have to "hack" to the source code, PHP Speedy will work better.

  7. Susan
    January 24, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Quite interesting of a plugin. I'll have to do more research! :)

  8. Raju
    January 24, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    successfully installed the plugin, can't see major difference yet, will observe for few days and let you all know

    • Damien Oh
      January 24, 2009 at 9:52 pm

      You may want to install Firebug and Yslow to test your site loading metric.

  9. Vadim P.
    January 24, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Thanks a bunch, very useful plugin.

  10. Rahul
    January 24, 2009 at 4:43 am

    Thanks for this tip. I've got it bookmarked and will check it out.

  11. Raju
    January 24, 2009 at 12:21 am

    Thanks Damien, I will try it out then

  12. Raju
    January 23, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    sounds great, but it still looks risky to install this plugin. What if it screws up the js & css? Does it take a backup before compressing/merging/whatever it does? How about uninstalling?

    • Damien Oh
      January 23, 2009 at 7:08 pm

      If it screws up the js & CSS, all you have to do is to include that particular js or CSS file in the ignore list, or to deactivate the plugin altogether. It won't hurt your code a bit.

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