Optimization is an umbrella terms used in WordPress world. It covers all topics starting from adding meta description for search engines to speed up your site for users. Besides caching and SEO, there are not many plugins available to address other optimization options for WordPress. Perfmatters is the premium WordPress plugin that targets to address fine-tune the loading time. In this article, we will explain the features and pricing details of Perfmatters plugins so that you can decide whether it will fit your needs.
Perfmatters WordPress Optimization Plugin
Perfmatters is a premium only plugin and is not available in WordPress free plugin repository. You have to purchase the plugin from third-party developer’s website and upload it on your site. Brain Jackson who is the former Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Kinsta hosting is the developer of this plugin. So, your investment in this plugin will be a safe bet as the developer is a renowned person.
Unlike pure caching or SEO plugins, this plugin has a different approach towards optimization.
The plugin will cost you $24.95 for single site license and available for 3 sites license (for $54.95) and unlimited license ($124.95). You will get one year free support and updates and 30 days money back guarantee under all these plans.
Note that purchasing the plugin will setup an automatic renewal payment agreement. If you do not want to renew after a year, you need to manually stop the automatic payment from your account by cancelling the subscription. However, we few $24.95 per year is a nominal fee for a premium plugin in WordPress world. So, you can continue the auto renewal if you like the plugin’s features. In addition, there is always a 10% discount available on Perfmatters plugin which you can make use of while purchasing.
Downloading and Installing Perfmatters Plugin
After finishing your purchase, you can download the plugin’s file from your account. You will receive the account password in your email inbox, using that you login to your account anytime and view the license and download the item. Log into your account and click on “View Details and Downloads” link.
This will show you the purchase confirmation details. Note down the license key and click “Download Plugin” button to get the latest copy of the plugin.
Now, login to your WordPress admin panel and navigate to “Plugins > Add New” section. Click “Upload Plugin” button and upload the “perfmatters.zip” plugin file that you have downloaded above. The file size is less than 350KB and hence it will take just few seconds to install the plugin on your site.
Activating Perfmatters Plugin
The plugin will work after installing without license key activation. However, you need to link the site and license key in order to updates. You can do this using one of the following two ways:
- Go to “Settings > Perfmatters” section in your WordPress admin panel and save the license key under “License” tab.
- Go to your Perfmatters account on their website and click on “View Licenses” link after logging in under “Account” section. On the next screen, click on “Manage Sites” link and add your site as shown below.
You can anytime deactivate the license on domain and activate with another domain. Once you activate the license key, you will start receiving auto-updates for the plugin. Therefore, you can update the next version when available right from your WordPress admin panel’s plugins section.
Features of Perfmatters Plugin
The plugin has super simple settings with Options, Tools and License tabs. As mentioned, the license section is only used for activating license key. Therefore, we will explain the remaining two sections in details.
This is the primary section of the plugin contains multiple tabs where you can configure the usage.
Under this section, you can disable almost all unnecessary overheads in your site. Generally, WordPress loads multiple meta tags to include feed other details in the header. You can simply disable them with Perfmatters plugin to optimize the code on each page of your site. Some of the popular overheads you can remove are emoji, embeds, XMLRPC, jQuery Migrate, WordPress version, feeds, comment author links, heartbeat API, REST API and limit revision/autosave intervals.
In addition, you can change the default WordPress login URL to custom URL and disable the default one. Though this is not related to optimization, it can help to protect your site from brute force attacks.
- For deferring, you can include jQuery and exclude specific files if that breaks your site.
- Similarly, for delaying, you can mention the file name one per line to delay them on load and trigger only when there is a user interaction. The timeout mentioned will trigger the delayed scripts with that specified time even though there is no user interaction.
Under “Code” section, you can insert sitewide code in header, footer and in body of your site. For example, you can insert Google Analytics tracking code in the header section to load on all the pages of your site.
Proactively connecting external domains used on your site will improve the loading speed of page as well as connected hyperlinks. You can do preloading of fonts/CSS files, preconnect third-party domains like Google Fonts/YouTube and DNS prefetch domains to speed up the DNS resolution process. In addition, you can turn on “Enable Insta Page” option to prefetch hyperlinked URLs on hover or touch.
Lazy loading is the feature to delay loading of images till the time of its visibility. For example, you need not load the images available on the bottom of the page on initial page load. Those images can be loaded only when user scrolls and reach the bottom portion of the page. You can lazy load images, iframes, videos and YouTube video thumbnails to improve the speed score.
Any external resources loading on your site will directly impact the page loading speed. Especially Using external fonts like Google Fonts will delay the text loading till the time browser completes downloading of all font files. There are multiple ways to optimize this with Perfmatters.
- You can completely disable all Google Fonts on your site.
- Add swap parameter so that browser will use the default fonts and swap after downloading Google Fonts files.
- Host Google Fonts locally on your server or from CDN server.
CDNs like Cloudflare offer integration through DNS nameserver change. However, you need to create CNAME record and rewrite the source URL for using many other CDNs. Under this section, you can enable CDN rewrite with your CDN URL, include directories and exclude file extensions.
The “Tools” section contains two parts – plugin settings and database cleanup. Under “Plugin” tab, you can enable clean uninstall to delete all files installed by the plugin when you delete the plugin from your site. In addition, you can enable accessibility mode, set purge options and import/export settings as JSON file. With these options, you can easily delete the plugin from one site and move to other by exporting and importing the entire plugin’s settings. Remember, in this process you need to deactivate the license key and activate on another domain when you have single site license.
The primary purpose of Perfmatters is to cleanup unnecessary items in WordPress installation. In addition to cleaning up files and tags, it also offers an option to cleanup your database. You can delete revisions, auto-drafts, deleted posts/comments, spam comments, unused transients and optimize database tables. Instead of manually cleaning up these stuffs, you can schedule this activity as daily/weekly/monthly as per your need.
Using Script Manager in Perfmatters Plugin
Script Manager helps to selectively enable or disable plugins, CSS and JS files on per post basis. Using this you can fix remove unused CSS and JS issues in Google PageSpeed Insights tool. First enable Script Manager option under “Perfmatters > Options > General > Assets > Assets” section. Now edit any existing post or page and click “Script Manager” from the top admin bar. Alternatively, you can hover over any post or page on the index page and click “Script Manager” link to open it. You will see three sections in the sidebar – Script Manager, Global View and Settings.
The “Settings” section allows you to include archives in the selection, display dependencies for each script, use in test mode only for administrator and enable MU mode.
MU Mode will install a Must-Use (MU) plugin and provides more control for managing resources with Script Manager.
Under “Script Manager” section, you can see all the resources loaded in the current page grouped by plugins, themes and miscellaneous. You can check and disable all unnecessary JS and CSS files loaded on the page. The best example is a Contact Form 7 plugin which is generally required only on the contact page. However, the plugin will load a script and CSS file on all the pages as you can insert a contact form block anywhere on the site.
What you can do is to disable the Contact Form 7 CSS and JS everywhere and save your changes to disable the plugin files everywhere on your site. You can edit the pages where you have contact form and enable the plugin on “Current URL” location.
You can also use the exceptions with regex, users and based on devices. For example, you may have a membership plugin that offers a feature only for logged in users on mobiles. In this case, you can use mobile device and logged in users options to only load the files where you need them.
“Global View” section shows all the items you have disabled sitewide. With this you can get an overall idea of the disabled items along with the location of where you have disabled.
After finishing your setup click on “Close Script Manager” on the top bar to close it. Unfortunately, the plugin will show you the published post on the same windows thus coming out of WordPress admin panel. Though you will be still logged in, you have to go back in the browser or type the admin URL in the browser to go into the admin panel again. We hope in future the developer will make the changes that after closing script manager, it will open the published post in a new window.
Per Page Setup
The plugin will add a meta box in the post editor that you can use to disable certain options on per post basis. You can disable defer JS, lazy loading and instant page (prefetch) features using this meta box. Note that if you have not enabled these features then the meta box will not be available in the editor.
Many users get confused with the purpose of Perfmatters plugin. As you can see, it is an optimization plugin focusing on disabling overheads in WordPress and does work like preloading, lazy loading and font optimization. You can also enable CDN rewrite and host Google Analytics locally to speed up your site. however, it does neither caching nor typical SEO stuffs like adding meta tags. Therefore, you need to combine Perfmatters with caching plugins like WP Rocket and SEO plugins like Yoast SEO. Hope, now you understood the plugin’s features, pricing and how to setup to improve page loading speed.