WordPress has been lagging behind in the performance quesito for many years.
Other platforms specialized in creating websites have managed to be faster, load at a higher speed than those created with WordPress, and that is something that WordPress has been working on in recent months with the design of the official WordPress plugin. Performance Lab.
That plugin is now out of beta as version 1.0, a stable, still experimental plugin that will take care of testing performance improvements before they are released to WordPress Core.
While Wix, Shopify, and Squarespace have been betting on good performance for some time, WordPress sites only achieve ‘good’ Core Web Vitals scores. To match the competition, a dedicated team with a unified approach to website performance was formed in 2021. Performance Lab Plugin is the first product produced by this team.
This plugin will offer publishers the opportunity to test new improvements and features that increase performance, improvements that are being considered for a future version of WordPress core. Testing publishers will get advanced previews of improvements that might be included by default in future versions of WordPress.
It is important to remember that the extension will not always improve speed, make it easier to test for future WordPress core features and performance improvements, but for some cases it can provide a website performance boost from the very first installation.
The plugin currently consists of five individual modules that are related to specific performance improvements, and can be optionally turned on or off:
– WebP Uploads: Create WebP versions of all JPEG images that are uploaded to the WordPress media library.
– WebP Compatibility: This is a status check that tells the publisher if their server supports WebP.
– Lingering Object Cache Health Check – This is a health check module that will suggest a lingering object cache for sites that may need it, particularly sites with large amounts of data.
– Audit autoloaded options: A status check related to auditing the use of autoloaded data, to alert an editor to a potential problem.
This plugin should be run with care, and never on a production website that is heavily relied upon, as it is experimental.