It’s really easy to end up with a slow WordPress site if you are not a developer and used the many shortcut ways to create a good looking site. Maybe you bought a bloated theme, used a page builder, and then installed 30+ plugins on top of it and now you are sitting at an F score in GTMetrix. It happens, I get it.
Fortunately, WordPress developers have also created many tools to help you get out of that slowness rut that you created and they made them specifically for the non-developers out there. These are what I consider to be the holy trinity of easy-to-use plugins to help you actually get your WordPress site running faster and scoring higher without needing a developer or much technical knowledge.
WP Compress is an adaptive image service. This means that it is serving images on the fly from a lightning-fast CDN to your site. The images it serves will be custom sized to fit the exact dimensions needed and compressed to minimize file size. It will even change the image file type to a next-gen webp format if the user’s browser can support it to further minimize the filesize. This leaves you with fast-loading, perfectly scaled images at a minimum filesize.
Many clients that come to me with slow sites have “serve scaled images” or “optimize images” listed in their GTMetrix scans. These issues are especially detrimental to a website’s performance on mobile devices where small filesize is even more important than ever. Adaptive image services offer a quick and easy solution to these issues and with WP Compress, you can get their on-demand service for life with a one-time purchase instead of having to pay a monthly subscription.
This specific adaptive image service is on my list for non-developers because of how simple it is to set up and get all of the benefits that it offers. Once you install the plugin and add your license key, it has started working. This has a setup time of under a minute and you are off and running since the auto-pilot mode is on by default. After that, you are free to change the compression level to what you think looks best while knowing that the original images are always preserved if you want to change your mind.
The number of settings is limited so it doesn’t get too confusing if you want to make any changes. Also, if you ever think that a specific picture looks too weird compressed for some reason, you can exclude it from being compressed on a picture by picture basis by editing the image’s settings in the media library.Try WP Compress
Honorable Mention: ShortPixel Adaptive Images
ShortPixel is a favorite of mine as well, but it didn’t take the top slot on this list because it does not have as simple of a setup process. If you are open to having a little more control over settings and configurations though, this would be a great option.
WP Rocket is the closest thing I have found to a jack of all trades for WordPress caching and speed without a recurring cost. It covers about 80% of all of the recommended optimizations that the pagespeed testing tools point out. This ability to cover a huge amount of optimizations all within one single plugin is what puts WP Rocket on this list for me.
If you compare it to the number of other plugins you would need to install and configure, then you’ll see that it’s a huge time and cost saver on its own. While this is by no means as quick and easy as setting up WP Compress, they did manage to organize the interface in a way that was well organized and easily digestible. It also offers links to more in-depth explanations of every setting if you ever aren’t sure what something is going to do.
It covers caching, CSS and JS optimization, critical CSS, cache preloading, lazy-loading, database optimization, CDN integration, heartbeat control, and image optimization and is a one-time cost. For any non-developer, it’s an easy way to cover the majority of your speed needs without needing super technical knowledge.Try WP Rocket
NitroPack / Ezoic Site Speed Accelerator
NitroPack and Ezoic’s Site Speed Accelerator are a new breed of standalone speed services that work on a subscription basis. While they are more expensive than using the other options, they are also single tools that significantly speed up WordPress with extremely simple setups.
These are not tools that will work for every site, but they can seem like a miracle worker under the right conditions. Money-back guarantees and trial periods from these tools allow you to test them out for your specific website configuration first without the risk, so try them out. A standard blog setup will work perfectly fine with either tool, but if you get too far into the world of customization, you may see some things not showing up as intended. There are some minor configurations options to mess around with, but some may still find that it just isn’t a good fit. For those that get the full benefits, your pagespeed scores will be amazing!
Ezoic is an innovative platform that is more than just a speed service. I know them primarily through their ad network optimization service, which helped boost the revenue of one of our ad-driven websites 3x. They have a whole suite of other tools as well though to help optimize and monetize your site in different ways.
You can sign up for a free trial and see how well it works with your site. They guarantee an 80+ score on mobile, so you can expect some really great results. It’s easy to implement with WordPress and has a couple of integration options to work with. I like Ezoic for any blogs that are monetizing their site with an ad network. It’s a perfect pairing of a great ad network tool and speed service in one spot. Assuming good site traffic, your ad revenue should easily cover the monthly fee and have plenty left over.Try Ezoic
NitroPack has a free testing tool where you can see how much your pagespeed score would be improved using their service. They also have a free tier plan, which can be used for testing on your live site. The free tier may even work for your site long-term if you have a really small site, but you will have to be sporting a badge on the bottom of your site. Most will need to be on a paid tier, but if it works well it will work really well.
The below graph clearly illustrates the amazing difference that NitroPack can make. The yellow areas are using NitroPack along with ShortPixel AI, but this client used up all of their free tier page optimizations so they started experimenting with other options. As you can see, the NitroPack service maintained the fastest page load and whittles the total page size and requests down to almost a bare minimum.
Clearly NitroPack can offer significant benefits, but it comes at a monthly price if you want to avoid the free tier limitations and required footer badge. WP Rocket and an adaptive images service come as close as they can at a much better value, but I’ve found nothing that makes such a drastic difference as immediately as the speed services from NitroPack and Ezoic.Try NitroPack
Now that we’ve gone over my choice speed tools for non-developers, it’s up to you to implement them. You can use NitroPack or Ezoic on their own to cover everything, or you can use WP Rocket and WP Compress together or on their own. If you want some additional options to speed up WordPress, you can check out how I optimized this WordPress site to get a 100 pagespeed score.
If you have your own go-to speed recommendations for non-developers, please share in the comments below.