Autoptimize - A Powerful Free Optimization Plugin to Speed Up Your Website (Review 2021)

Autoptimize - A Powerful Free Optimization Plugin to Speed Up Your Website (Review 2021)

Sometimes you find that your website is loading slowly and that is really frustrating. However, you can avoid this experience by adding the Autoptimize plugin to your website. Autoptimize is a free plugin to improve the performance and page speed of your WordPress site. 

Getting Started

Autoptimize is a free WordPress optimization plugin. It provides you with many optimization features to improve the performance and page speed of your WordPress site. You can use this plugin 100% for free. Hence, it’s probably one of the best free plugins for website optimization out there.

With over 1 million active installs, Autoptimize is an extremely popular WordPress plugin. It is developed by Frank Goossens, a web technology consultant. Not only working as an ordinary plugin, but Autoptimize also does minifying, aggregation, caching, image optimization, and extra optimizations on WordPress.

What Does Autoptimize Do?

Autoptimize helps you to speed up the loading time of your WordPress site. When you build a website, you will need to create HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files altogether. The more complex the website you build, the more files it compiles. As a result, it slows down your website speed. Other than that, there are many things that slow down your website, such as uncompressed static assets, unminified JavaScript & CSS, non-optimized images, disable browser caching, not using CDN, and many more.

In the Autoptimize plugin, those problems can be fixed. Autoptimize has many optimization features for scripts, JS, CSS files optimization, image optimization, and extra optimizations. Specifically, it minifies, aggregates, caches, and optimizes HTML, CSS, JavaScript, scripts, and styles, injects CSS. Moreover, there are features for inline critical CSS and defer the aggregated full CSS, moves, and defers scripts to the footer. In addition to that, you can optimize and lazy-load images (with support for WebP and AVIF formats), optimize Google Fonts, async non-aggregated JavaScript, remove WordPress core emoji cruft, and more. As such Autoptimize can improve your site’s performance.

We will tell you more about the features of Autoptimize in the following section.

Read more about How to Increase Website Speed and Get a Lightning Fast Website in 2021

How Does Autoptimize Work?

As explained above, there are several things that can slow down your website. To counter those problems, you need to use plugins that optimize your web’s HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files.

In order to optimize website speed, there are mainly 3 settings in the Autoptimize plugin that you can use:

JS, CSS, and HTML settings

  • Optimize JS, CSS, HTML code
  • Aggregate JS and CSS files
  • Aggregate inline JS and CSS
  • Force JavaScript in
  • Add try-catch wrapping
  • Exclude script from Autoptimize
  • Generate data: URIs for image
  • Keep HTML comments
  • CDN (Content Delivery Network) options
  • Cache info
  • Misc options
  • Save aggregated scripts/ CSS as static files
  • Minify excluded CSS and JS files 

Image Optimization

  • Lazy loading 

Extra Optimizations

  • Google fonts
  • Remove emojis
  • Remove query strings from static resources
  • Preconnect to third party domains
  • Preload specific requests
  • Async JS files

You should read this article first to decide which options you need to tick.

What Are the Features of Autoptimize?

In conclusion, here are the Autoptimize main features along with their functions :

Minification

Removal of unnecessary code. This is Autoptimize’s bread and butter.

Aggregation

Combining scripts and files to reduce network requests.

Lazy loading

Image optimization by setting loading of images when visitors scroll into view.

Async/defer

Downloading scripts in the background to optimize page loading.

Browser caching

Caching storing files on a user’s browser intends to reduce the load time of web pages for repeat visitors. Stored files do not need to be fetched or loaded again for a specified period making subsequent site visits faster.

Emoji/cruft removal

Reduces page size and increases page speed.

Google fonts optimization

Speeds up fonts by preloading in the head.

Inline CSS

Inline images using “data URIs” for smaller images to decrease page loading time.

Critical CSS 

A more advanced version of the above targeting above-the-fold content.

Include/exclude files

The options to include or exclude certain files based on ID or class names.

CDN (Content Delivery Network)

Activating CDN which is a server network spread in different regions. This allows you cache content from your site and brings it closer to your client.

Why Do I Need to Use Autoptimize?

The loading speed of a website is so important. The reason is that fast websites have better search engine rankings. The faster it’s loading, the better its traffic and rank on the internet. Furthermore, visitors prefer a fast website to the slow one. They expect websites to load quickly and be responsive to their requests. Therefore, Autoptimize may be your choice to meet that expectation.

With this plugin, you can optimize your JavaScript (JS), CSS, and HTML files and images in one click and say bye to the slow-loading web. 

Moreover, this plugin is suitable for beginners, intermediates, and even power users. For beginners, Autoptimize isn’t hard to set up, but you can do it one step at a time until you are fully comfortable with the whole plugin. Also, the intermediate users are able to use the critical CSS option is great for one-page sites. Even more, one of the real strengths of Autoptimize is that you can combine it with other speed optimization, caching, and CDN plugins like W3 Total Cache, Speed Booster Pack, WP Super Cache, WP Cloudfare Super Page Cache, and KeyCDN’s Cache Enabler.

How to Install Autoptimize?

You can add the free Autoptimize plugin directly through WordPress.

  1. Search the plugin in your dashboard and install it.
  2. Or, if you want the Autoptimize that is specially tailored to your website, you can pay for the Autoptimize Expert Service

How to Use Autoptimize?

Pros

  • Free
  • Simple to use
  • Works automatically
  • Optimized everything on your website (codes, scripts, images, fonts, CDN, etc)

Cons

  • Setting options are quite tricky 
  • Limited critical CSS
  • Lacks in caching features

What Are the Alternatives to Autoptimize?

Besides Autoptimize, there are several website performance optimization tools that you can use:

  • WP Rocket – Premium site optimizer plugin
  • W3 Total Cache – Complete framework for free site speed optimizer
  • WP Super Cache – Simple yet powerful caching tool for site speed optimizer
  • NitroPack – The best site speed tool for beginners
  • Docker Cache – Site speed optimizer plugin with advanced object caching
  • Fast Velocity Minify – HTML, CSS & JS optimization plugin for developers and advanced users
  • LiteSpeed Cache – All-in-one site speed optimizer plugin with exclusive server-level cache

Conclusion

Autoptimize plugin is a good option for you who is looking for a complete website performance booster that is easy to use. With basic features like HTML and CSS optimization and more advanced ones, like CDN integration and the ability to specify preconnect and preload directives, Autoptimize has pretty good features to optimize your WordPress site’s performance. Not only that, but it also includes image optimization and other extra optimizations.

However, we recommend you learn a bit more about its setting options so that you can utilize them to fit your needs. For now, say bye to slow webpage loading with Autoptimize. 

Reference

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