WordPress is renowned for its almost limitless ability to add features through plugins. With a plugin repository growing daily, it is tempting to add a massive amount of bells and whistles to your site. Custom themes, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), fancy menus, events management, and state of the art Ecommerce are all available with just a few clicks.
As great as these add-ons are, when combined they can potentially have negative consequences. System performance can degrade to the point where customers have difficulty using the site, and the site may even crash. This is especially true on sites with a very large archive of lengthy blog posts, or a WooCommerce site with several thousand products, each with variations. We have seen WordPress sites become almost crippled by a combination of large amounts of content/products along with dozens of feature-enhancing plugins.
WP Fastest Cache
Thankfully there are plugins out there that will let you have your cake and eat it too. One of the easiest ways to boost site performance is through the use of a caching plugin. There are several out there, each with their own fans. We have found that the best of these is WordPress Fastest Cache. Not only does this plugin cache your site to make it load faster in browsers, it provides tools to make the code on your site more efficient and compressed. Unlike other caching plugins, we have not experienced issues with this interfering with existing plugins. By using a free tool such as Pingdom Speed Test you can quantitatively see the difference in performance after installation.
WordPress Search by Swiftype
As great as WordPress is, one definite area for improvement is the built-in search function. It works fine for small sites with just a few pages of info, but for large, Ecommerce-centric sites it quickly shows its limitations. Not only are the results often unhelpful, but can actually cause site crashes and severe performance issues. This can be alleviated through the use of Swiftype WordPress Search. This high-powered search engine is smart enough to detect misspellings, find sysnonyms, and respond instantly to queries. It is like having a Google-quality search engine for your own site. In addition, it uses caching techniques to make the search process very swift without any performance issues.
While there is no substitute for using quality efficient plugins that work well together, sometimes there is no avoiding creating a monster of a WordPress site. With these two plugins you can tame the beast.