In this WP Rocket review I am going to tell you why this WordPress plugin is the best choice for speeding up the loading time of your blog or web page.
You need to know that the loading speed of your web page or blog matters for search engine optimization (SEO), that is the reason why I recommend CloudWays for your hosting solution and, for the theme of your blog, The Schema Theme.
But at one point the loading time of your blog or website will increase, and the reason is simple: you are creating good quality content that includes text, videos and photos.
Basic concepts you must know for this WP Rocket review
Before I go deeper into this WP Rocket review, let me explain to you some basic concepts.
How does a web page load?
I will not tell you all the technical details, just the basic.
The loading of a web page has four steps:
- The request starts when you make a click.
- The page and its resources (files) are downloaded in your browser.
- Your browser uses the page resources to build the page.
- Finally, your browser renders the page that you will see.
Ok, let me explain this to you with a little more information.
The ideal loading path
For example, if you are looking for information about a specific topic you go to Google and search for that information.
When you find a web page with the information you are looking for, you click on that page. It’s in that exact moment when you make a request to the hosting server of that web page.
Let’s say that you click on that link of the graphic:
What is going to happen is that in the exact moment that you click the link, the hosting server of that blog or web page will send the files to your browser so your browser can build the page you want to read.
The ideal path is this:
I am telling you that this is the ideal path because in an ideal world every file of your blog or web page is in your hosting service, but that is not true.
The real loading path
Why is this not true? The reason is that not everything is in your hosting provider. Example: if you insert a video of YouTube in your blog, that video is not hosted on your server, that video is on Google’s server.
So, when you click to get the information of that web page or blog, besides the information that is coming to your browser from the server, the code of that YouTube video is calling Google’s server for the video.
If you are using a plugin in your WordPress blog or web page to use Google’s fonts, that plugin is using a code to call Google’s server so you can use the fonts.
The same thing is going to happen if you are using the Google Analytics code and Facebook’s pixel code because both codes are going to call their respective server when you click on that page.
When you click on a page, your browser will receive information from at least 3 different servers so you can read the information you are looking for.
Then the reality is this:
Please, you have to imagine for a moment all the files that are downloaded to your browser so you can read one post or one web page.
What would happen if the server sends you unoptimized photos? Those photos won’t go to your browser quickly and the loading time will be slow.
What about your blog or website?
The same thing could happen with your blog or web page.
The more videos and photos you include in your post, the loading time of your blog will increase.
The photos in your blog
First let me explain to you, in this WP Rocket review, about the photos.
If you are not careful with your photos, you can hurt the loading time of your blog. Why? Because you need to upload photos onto your blog only after they have been optimized.
A good tip is to export your photos in PNG. I use Canva and after you do your design, you can download the photo already optimized in PNG.
Before I tell you how to optimize your photos for faster loading, let me show you another important concept in this WP Rocket review.
It is not a good idea to host the videos of your blog on your hosting server. First, you are using the space of your hosting services, more videos use more space, and at one point you won’t have space for your blog. Second, you will have slow loading times.
The best idea is to host your videos on YouTube and then insert the code in your post.
Well, that is the best idea up to a point, because the code can hurt your loading times.
The best way to explain what an iframe is, is to show you the code:
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/Wa-1sd-MPuo” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>
That is the code that YouTube gives you to insert in your blog when you want to share a video with your readers.
As you can see, the code starts and ends with the iframe.
What is the iframe?
An iframe is a HTML code that lets you embed an independent HTML document into the current document.
This iframe code works this way: when someone clicks on your post and you have a video of YouTube, the iframe code will call the YouTube server so your reader can watch the video.
The time it takes for the video to load for your reader can affect the loading time of your blog.
I will explain to you how to “fix” this loading time later in this post.
But now I have just two more concepts that I want to share with you.
Expires headers and cache
These two concepts are very important for you and are linked.
Both concepts are almost new for me, I had to learn both concepts when I was improving the loading times of my blog.
Let me tell you this. There will be a time when you will be obsessed with the loading time of your blog and one common destination for all bloggers to test the loading time is GT Metrix.
When I was testing the loading time of my blog the one recommendation that always appeared was: add expires headers.
What are expires headers?
After investigating, I found that expires headers work this way: when you click on a web page the expires headers will tell the browser whether they should request a specific file from the server or whether they should grab it from the browser’s cache.
To be clearer, I will now explain to you what a cache is.
What is a cache?
A cache is when your browser keeps the data of a web page so the next time you visit that web page the loading time will be faster because your browser already has the important files for that web page.
So caching is reusing data from previous requests to speed up subsequent requests.
As you can see, expires headers and caching work together to help you with the loading time of your blog or web page in WordPress.
You may think: to have a faster loading time for my blog or web page in WordPress I have to optimize the photos, the videos and to add expires headers and caching, how can I do that?
This WP Rocket review will answer that question.
WP Rocket helped me with all the optimization of the loading time for my blog.
Let’s start the WP Rocket review with a simple question:
What is WP Rocket?
WP Rocket is a caching plugin and also a performance optimization tool that will help you improve the loading speed of your WordPress site. Trust me, you can install and configure WP Rocket in less than 3 minutes.
Now is the time to tell you that in this WP Rocket review I will show you my exact configuration that helps me get this loading time for my blog.
Let’s start this WP Rocket review
First, let me answer this common question about WP Rocket:
Is WP Rocket free?
Sadly, no. WP Rocket is not free, but it is worth the investment.
This is the pricing of WP Rocket:
You need to know that the renewal, after one year, has a 30% discount.
Installation of WP Rocket
Let me show you, in this WP Rocket review, how easy it is to install this plugin in your WordPress blog.
After you select the price you are going to pay, click on Buy WP Rocket and you will have to fill in the data request and click on Place Order.
Then, you will get an email with your password and after that another email with the link to your dashboard.
On your dashboard you will have the link to download WP Rocket (a ZIP file).
Once you have the ZIP File, you have to upload it in the plugins section of your WordPress blog or web page.
Once you install it, WP Rocket will automatically do the caching of your blog or website and give you a good automatic configuration.
You will see an immediate improvement in the loading time of your blog or website.
My personal setting for WP Rocket
Ok, it is time to show you, in this WP Rocket review, the configuration of this powerful plugin that I use in my blog.
The cache configuration
Remember, this plugin will automatically do the caching of your blog, but you have the option to also enable the caching for mobile visitors. This is my configuration for the cache section.
You only need to check the enable caching for mobile devices box, if your theme is responsive.
The other option, separate cache files for mobile devices, is only in case you have a theme for desktop and another theme for mobile devices.
The enable caching for logged in WordPress users is only in case your users have to log in to read the content of your blog.
Remember that I talked to you about expired headers?
Well, let me tell you that WP Rocket put the expired headers code in the header section of your blog automatically, so you don’t have to worry about that.
File optimization settings
But before showing you my configuration of this part, let me show you some random CSS code:
background: -webkit-linear-gradient(left, #CE5937 0%, #1C6EA4 50%, #C59237 100%);
background: linear-gradient(to right, #CE5937 0%, #1C6EA4 50%, #C59237 100%);
When developers write code they write in lines to maintain an order and in case something happens, they can understand anyone’s code.
Well, that is good for humans but machines don’t care about keeping an order, machines just read the codes.
background:#CE5937;background:-moz-linear-gradient(left,#CE5937 0%,#1C6EA450%,#C59237 100%);background:-webkit-linear-gradient(left#CE5937 0%, #1C6EA4 50%,#C59237 100%);background:linear-gradient(toright,#CE5937 0%,#1C6EA4 50%, #C59237 100%);
With that little change, the loading times will improve. The reason: for machines it is more efficient to read one line of code than several lines of code.
And also that little change reduces the HTTP requests. Fewer requests are better for your blog.
CSS files optimization
I checked all the options to have a better optimization for the CSS files.
I don’t recommend checking the Optimize CSS delivery box because that option can crush your blog or website or the files of your website or blog can load very oddly.
If you are an advanced web developer, you can test that option.
There is one more check to do in this part.
These are the scripts to delay that you are gonna paste in that box:
You just need to copy and paste and your loading time will improve.
I wanted to highlight in this WP Rocket review that I showed you that this plugin is a powerful tool.
The Media Settings
Before I show you my settings in this part, you need to know what Lazy Load is.
Let’s say that for example your post has 30 photos and when your reader clicks on your post your server automatically has to send the 30 photos. What WP Rocket does is to prevent that and tell your server the exact moment the reader will need to see a photo.
It’s the same with the iframe code that I talked to you about before. If you embedded a YouTube video in your post, WP Rocket will only ping the YouTube server when your reader clicks on the video, not before.
With those actions you will have a faster loading time.
Now I will show you my configuration:
My recommendation for you is to disable Emoji, that is one less HTTP request.
Leave the Disable WordPress embeds unchecked, the reason is that many WordPress themes work using WordPress embeds.
The last option is about photo optimization. My recommendation is to use the plugin Imagify. This plugin belongs to the same company of WP Rocket, the best part is that Imagify has a free version, so please use it and you will notice the difference.
WebP is a new photo format that Google recommends. What Imagify does is to transform the PNG or JPEG photos to WebP and that makes Google happy.
I want to share with you a simple way of understanding preload.
Preload for me is like when WP Rocket takes a screenshot of the basic files of your blog or webpage, for the next time your reader returns to your webpage. That happens in the cache of your browser.
I am using Yoast SEO now, so it is good to have the sitemap preloading.
I haven’t checked enable link preloading because it is a new option in WP Rocket, and I haven’t tested it in detail.
Ok, what I am going to show you is a little complicated.
To prefetch DNS requests, you depend on third-party applications like Google. I am prefetching some URLs under my own risk of crushing my blog, but until now I haven’t had problems.
If you want, add this list to your blog or webpage.
Though please ask a developer you trust first:
Next are Advance Rules, but I have touched on nothing in that part.
So let’s continue with the database.
This section will let you clean your database of unused resources. My configuration is like this:
Check Revisions because you can save many revisions on one post, so it is better to clean all the past revisions once your post is online.
Leave unchecked Auto Drafts, the reason is that you never know when your computer can fail.
For Trashed Posts, Spam Comments, and Trashed Comments, check all these options.
Be careful with automatic cleanup, I am using this option because my hosting does an automatic backup of my blog every day.
If you are currently using a CDN in your blog, you have to check this option; it is a very powerful option.
Right now I am using Bunny CDN, that is why I have this option checked.
In 2013, WordPress introduced the Heartbeat API that allows your browser to connect directly to the server.
This is helpful because, for example, when you are writing a post the Heartbeat API allows autosaves.
But this continued communication between the browser and the server can be harmful if it is not controlled.
Why? Because every call to the browser results in CPU utilization and if your blog is in a shared hosting you can be penalized.
WP Rocket allows you to control the Heartbeat API with just one click.
This is my configuration:
Like I told you before, if you insert the Google Analytics code or the Facebook pixel code, it means there will be a call to other servers.
WP Rocket prevents that with these ADD ONS.
Version 3.7 of WP Rocket by default also prevents calls to servers if you have installed the Google Analytics code and the Facebook pixel code using the Google Tag Manager.
That is all in this WP Rocket review, but I have to say that there is a con.
You can crash your blog or website using WP Rocket.
WP Rocket is a powerful tool to optimize the loading time of your site but for that the code has to be touched and that is dangerous.
What I’ve showed you is my personal configuration and all the checks have been tested many times before this post.
Is WP Rocket worth it?
Yes. WP Rocket is a good invesment to reduce the loading time of your site.
I hope you liked this WP Rocket review.
You can visit this post for further reading: How to start a blog to know a brilliant strategy to start a blog in the cloud.
A good complement for WP Rocket is Perfmatters. Read this review: Perfmatters review. Make your WordPress site even faster