Page speed is crucial for every website. If you don’t have a fast website, then you will lose a lot of traffic and it is bad, right? To make a website faster you need a WordPress cache plugin.
Cache really helps a website to become faster. There are many good free and premium caching plugins but my favorite is Hummingbird that has other great features that many plugins lack.
In this post, I will review this WordPress cache plugin and also explain how to tweak for maximum effect.
How WordPress Cache Works
Caching is not so complicated but it needs a little explanation to know how it works. If you don’t know what it does then you won’t get the effect it should have.
When a visitor goes to your website, page, or post, the request is sent to the server. Then request is sent to a database where all your content is and then it goes to a front-end and the visitor sees a page or a post. And it happens every time someone visits your website.
Exactly here comes the WordPress cache plugin. What cache does is that it creates a static version of your website pages and when a visitor goes to your site, it shows the cached version.
So, it doesn’t need to go to the database, and because of that, the site loads faster. As you see it is really simple but it has other cool options which I will cover in this post.
Website Performance Test
The reason I love Hummingbird is that as soon as you install and activate, it asks you to run a performance test that finds all flows and tells you exactly what you need to tweak and what is good.
It calculates and scores options like page speed, first contentful paint, interactive time, etc. If something is wrong it will guide you with what you should do.
After performance and tweaking, it shows the overall score out of 100. If you have above 85 it means that everything is ok but you can get 100 which is perfect.
This is one of the reasons why I fell in love with Hummingbird caching plugin.
Caching & Gzip Compression
Next is caching and Hummingbird is powerful in this topic. You can activate and tweak page caching, browser caching, gravatar, and RSS caching. You also can choose which pages to cache, set cache intervals, etc.
In browser caching you are able to cache CSS, JS, media, and set expiry dates. Also, you are able to choose different server types – Apache, NGINX, IIS, Cloudflare.
Other than this it has an ability for integrations with Redis. If you want to use it, you can. That is a great option.
File compression really helps your site and with Hummingbird, it is very easy to customize it. With one click you can compress HTML, CSS, and JS. Also, choose server type and between manual and automatic compression options.
Another great and powerful feature of this WordPress cache plugin is the ability to optimize different files like CSS, JS, fonts, etc. Compression greatly helps the page load speed.
But be careful because it can damage your site and they won’t work properly. But don’t worry – if something goes wrong, just go back to basic options and the problem will be solved.
Besides these features, it has other tools. One of them is database cleanup where you can delete unnecessary files from databases like post revisions, drafts, trash, spams, etc.
Also, you can go further and add lazy loads for comments. Also, Hummingbird comes with an uptime monitor but it is included only in premium plans.
Now let me explain how to tweak it to get the maximum experience.
How To Tweak Hummingbird
Now let’s see how to tweak this plugin for better performance. First of all, after the activation run the performance test. After completing the test check what is not working properly and make it right.
Then go to Caching, activate page caching, and select which pages you want to be cached. Also, it is a best practice to enable preload caching and set caching intervals to 30 days. The other two things you want to turn on are mobile cache and comment cache.
Next is browsing cache and it is very simple. Activate and choose 1 year for the expiry time section. That’s it. Same with gravatar and RSS caching, just activate them.
The same goes for Gzip Compression. Just activate and Hummingbird will do the rest. As I said, this is a great and very powerful plugin.
And next, let’s tweak assets. Here you can compress and minify different plugins. And you have basic and advanced options. I personally use basic but you can choose advanced. But always check your site if everything works properly.
Other things you can do is go to Advanced Tools and clean databases and enable lazy loads for comments and here it is. Hummingbird is set for maximum performance. You can always rerun tests and see if something needs improvement.
As you can see Hummingbird is a great tool for website speed and it is an amazing WordPress cache plugin you can get for free.
Just set everything as explained in this post and your website’s speed will improve massively. You can check your website speed here.