Swift Performance – Free or Premium solution for Robust WordPress Optimization
5 minutes reading
Did you know that websites with a longer loading time lack on impressing visitors and attracting them to stay and browse the site? Online studies have shown that loading speed of over 3 seconds harms your traffic, SEO, conversion rate, and dramatically increases your bounce rate.
Thankfully, the WordPress community’s vastness gave birth to unique technologies and plugins to increase your site’s speed without editing any code. These plugins are commonly referred to as “cache plugins”, and there are quite a few options out there, which may all prove very potent in your quest for a faster site.
In this post, we will talk about a caching plugin, which is quite intriguing. Аfter personally testing it, we can confidently say that the widespread belief that it is one of the best on the market is on the spot!
Swift Performance Overview
One of the great things about Swift Performace is that it has a Lite version, which is entirely free! If you want to give it a shot, you can start with the free version, and if you like the results, you can upgrade and take the pro version for a spin!
The Lite version includes all the typical features a standard caching plugin comes with, such as the standard caching for static files, CSS, JS, HTML minification, and LazyLoad. You will also encounter a unique functionality in the face of the “Plugin Organizer”. It will let you control your plugins’ behavior on specific pages (backend or frontend) and to disable them when they are not needed.
The Pro version will include powerful niche features, such as Image Optimization, Database Optimizations, and more precise optimization for CSS and JS files powered by an API, which will also reduce the CPU usage on your server. The last-mentioned feature is exceptional for shared hosting servers and could potentially decrease your expenses by eliminating the need for upgrading to a higher and more powerful hosting plan.
To show our readers the most accurate and real results, we have deployed a template from the popular Avada theme that comes very close to what a production website would look and behave like. We will perform the speed test using the performance testing website GTmetrix.
Plugin Installation and Configuration
The installation of Swift Performance is no different than installing any other standard WordPress plugin. In our tutorial on How to install and configure the Swift Performance plugin in WordPress, you will find detailed instructions on the installation process of the free and premium versions of the plugin.
One of the primary advantages of Swift Performance is that it supports two configuration modes – manual and automatic configuration.
The availability of more intuitive and straightforward auto-configuration is a great benefit for users who do not have much experience with website optimization, yet still want to get impressive loading speed results.
Whereas, users who are keed with optimization get the chance to adjust a long list of configuration options and tune the plugin precisely as required for the particular requirements of their website.
Once the plugin is installed and activated, you will be prompted to choose the preferred method.
In the above-mentioned How to install and configure the Swift Performance plugin in WordPress tutorial, we have prepared a comprehensive overview of every single setting the plugin holds and the optimal configuration for ensuring the best possible performance of your website.
Let’s take a little peek on what the plugin configuration holds. It is divided into five separate tabs, containing specific settings related to different aspects of website caching and optimization.
- Dashboard – The “Dashboard” tab is where you can clear or rebuild the cache, check the cache status and pages currently cached, as well as to review the rewrite rules and logs.
- Settings – Under the “Settings” tab, you will find all the optimization settings this plugin offers, and they are quite a few. The page itself is separated into six sections, each targeting a specific area of your site to improve.
- Image Optimizer – Swift Optimizer is one of the few plugins that come with an integrated image optimization tool. The “Image Optimizer” tab is where you can find it and perform optimization to your image files.
- Database Optimizer – As the name suggests, the “Database Optimizer” tab is where you can tune the settings related to the database optimization.
- Plugin Organizer – Under the “Plugin Organizer” tab, you will be able to disable specific plugins on areas on your site where you do not need to load them.
Before Optimization Test
Let’s have some fun now and perform tests after applying the recommended optimization options. The screenshot below shows the site’s speed before the plugin installation and configuration.
The scores are between 70-80% and load speed of around 4 seconds, and TTFB is sitting at about 600 milliseconds.
After Optimization Test
After the installation, you can see the difference right away.
The loading time dropped down twice compared to the initial test, the scores went up, and the TTFB fell to about 80-100 milliseconds!
The benefit of using the Swift Performance plugin is undeniable, and everyone looking to get similar results should definitely try it out.
Interestingly enough, even the free version packs a ton of optimization tweaks, which should appeal more to advanced users as there are few plugins on the market, allowing such fine-tuning capabilities.
Even if you are a complete newcomer to WordPress and optimization in general, but you like the plugin, you can go with one of the presets. We at HostArmada excel at helping our users achieve their goals. We believe that speeding up your website is crucial, and we recommend giving our fully managed hosting solutions a try. We offer free optimization services for our clients’ WordPress websites, and if you wish to use this plugin but do not feel comfortable enough applying the optimal settings on your own, feel free to contact our technical experts over the ticketing system in your Client Area. They will be more than happy to assist you.