Free Lunch Optimizations

Looking at a recent support request which involves issues with an “optimization” plugin, it reminds me of why we assertively recommend to avoid using any generic optimization plugins … like the plague!

From lots of years of experience in providing support for our tools, there are countless cases of issues caused by “optimization plugins”. Experience shows that the bunch rather breaks sites instead of doing real good. Functionality that normally works just fine but doesn’t on a particular site? You can bet that some optimization plugin is involved. Turn it off and things simply work as they should.

Particularly with those suspects, you get what you pay for. These plugins are often bloated with things that you don’t need on your site. Examples include Autoptimize and WP Optimize … just … don’t!

If you want real optimization, that includes:

  • Use appropriate resources, starting with a well-maintained server that provide ample memory and disk space and uses the latest versions of PHP and MySQL to power your WordPress site.
  • Use appropriate caching plugins like those listed under Persistent Cache Plugins.
  • Avoid overloading your site with plugins that you don’t need. Just because something is free doesn’t mean it’s fit to install on your site. 50 active plugins? I think not!
  • Avoid duplicate functionality and features you don’t use nor really need.
  • Get a real human expert to administer and fine-tune your server and database.

Anyhow, free certainly doesn’t mean useless! Just with anything that comes free to someone, someone else is paying for it. A substantial part of our work is to provide and maintain free tools for our users. Take another recent support request where someone simply wants to grant a commission for new customers. All that is needed is already included in the free Affiliates plugin for WordPress.

Bon appétit!


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