WordPress Site Performance, Plugins, etc.

Here is a post on WordPress administration. It lists some settings, themes, plugins, and other baseline installation requirements for speed, stability, security, and usefulness.

Note that this JimCaruso.WordPress.com site is hosted at WordPress.com and that this blog post refers to other sites we own or manage with the open source software from WordPress.org

HOSTING: Stable, Fast, and Secure

I use two hosting platforms right now, WP Engine and Pantheon.

I’m also a fan of Drupal, another open source, web content management system (CMS). All our Drupal sites are now at Pantheon.

We try to run all sites in PHP 7.

After making a change to a website, we reset file permissions and flush the website cache.

AKISMET: Blog Post Comment Spam Prevention

Akismet is a plugin from the company behind WordPress (Automattic) that screens each comment on a blog post. It is spam detection for a WordPress website and works well.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

The AMP plugin we use is developed by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.

Google reCAPTCHA 2: Form Submission Spam Prevention

Captcha and Google’s new reCaptcha 2 force validation when a web visitor attempts to submit a form. The latest versions have a check box that says “I’m not a robot” but can also have no visible validation box. Older versions had simple math challenge questions or showed an image with text that the user had to enter into a validation field.

JETPACK: Multi-Tool Plugin from WordPress

Jetpack is a plugin from the company behind WordPress (Automattic) that provides lots of functionality.

Display Speed & Faster Page Loading with EWWW Image Optimizer Cloud or TinyPNG for Image Size Reduction

I am using one of two plugins, EWWW Image Optimizer Cloud or the one from TinyPNG that use lossy compression to reduce the file size of JPEG And PNG images, thereby reducing web page load time and bandwidth requirements for image transfer from your website’s server to the web browser of your website visitor.

MailChimp: Email Service with Great Functionality

We love MailChimp as our go-to email service provider (ESP). We send newsletters the are generated using the content of blog posts. We can also use MailChimp and their transactional email service, Mandrill, to send transactional or triggered emails. I am also using TinyLetter from MailChimp.

SMTP Plugin: Lets Your Website Send Emails Reliably

To send informational and password reset emails directly from the website, we use a transactional email service, such as MailChimp’s Mandrill offering along with an SMTP gateway plugin.

Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Tag Manager

Google Analytics is the default website analytics tools for webmasters. There are open source alternatives, such as Piwik. Google Search Console validates your site with Google and performs some checks.

Google Search Console, a part of Google Webmaster Tools, validates your site with Google and performs some checks. You register how you want your site indexed by Google’s search engine. For example, does the domain name of your site show http:// or https:// (https:// secure sites now rank higher in search results). Does the site resolve to domain.com (non-www) or http://www.domain.com (www)? What is the target country for visitors to your site? Google Search Console also lets you submit a site map of the content you want Google to index.

Google Tag Manager: we intend to use this.

Forms: Gravity Forms, Contact Form 7, and WuFoo

We use all these form providers Gravity Forms, (not free), Contact Form 7 (free), and WuFoo (varies). There are also specialized form providers, for tasks such as a poll, survey, or multi-page surveys, like Survey Monkey or Typeform.

Settings to Double Check

Settings->General->Site Address (URL) = make sure this resolves to the URL you want visitors to visit, such as https://yoursite.com, note the secure Certificate for https

Settings->Reading = uncheck the box, “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”

Settings->Permalinks = best set to “Post name”


Utility Plugin: Search & Replace

Search & Replace plugin: I was in chat with a support guy from WPEngine, who helped me solve an issue where links were created that were not https or were sitename.wpengine.com. Using search and replace, I was able to easily change all the URLs in the WordPress install to https://thecorrectdomain.com. Plus, it had a preview feature that let me see the selection results without making the modification, so I was comfortable to proceed with the database changes. Here is a second option that I have not used but has good reviews, Better Search & Replace.

Display Speed: Above the Fold

There are many tricks to speed page loading for a visitor to your website, one is to load only what is visible to that user, the content “above the fold.” Above the fold refers to newspapers (the paper ones) and how they come folded, so only the masthead and top stories are visible. We are using XXXXXXXX, but have also used a plugin named Above The Fold Optimization.

Web Accessibility

wA11y -The Web Accessibility Toolbox plugin removes barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, websites by people with disabilities. The data show 1 in 5 people have a disability, so you may be excluding 20% of your potential web visitors.


To route email to you@yourdomain.com, we use Google G Suite or a new offering from Amazon Web Services (AWS). This is not a web hosting issue, but it comes up when you get a new domain name. Here are two G Suite referral codes Q393JVDEEYGCDD7 and A3DC43K3HLMNY9D, which expire at year-end 2017.

DNS by AWS Route 53

We’ve moved to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and their Route 53 service for DNS hosting. DNS is the service that points domain names to services like a web site (like https://yourdomain.com) or an email address (like you@domainname.com).

If you have a question or want web hosting simplified, call me, Jim Caruso, at 404.788.0188


Author: jimcaruso

Guy from Earth. Global technology evangelist. Bleeding-edge, early adopter. Writer, marketer, deal-inventor, engineer, manager, executive, and team enabler. Interested in the confluence of publicity and social media, blogging and blog/CMS engines, and everything tech. A proponent of government transparency, liberty, and the Open Web. Dangerously technical. Advocate for good.

3 thoughts on “WordPress Site Performance, Plugins, etc.”

  1. You actually make it seem so easy along with your presentation however I find this matter to be actually one thing that I think I would never understand. It sort of feels too complicated and very vast for me. I’m looking forward for your next submit, I will try to get the dangle of it!

  2. Excellent blog right here! Also your website a lot up very fast! What host are you the usage of? Can I get your affiliate link for your host? I want my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  3. I do consider all the concepts you’ve presented on your post. They are really convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are too brief for novices. Could you please prolong them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

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