A-list third-party plugins to improve WordPress site speed

Obviously we love our own plugins to help you speed up your WordPress website. But we don’t only use our plugins on our websites. Here are the key third-party plugins we also use for maximum WordPress speed:


This plugin is great for minifying and combining CSS. On non-Chrome browsers, this can give massive speed boosts and it’ll also boost your pagespeed/GT Metrix scores if that’s something you care about.

Autoptimize plugin

WP All Import

For general import jobs, I’ve always found this plugin to be the most scalable. It can run from a real cron job which means you can avoid any timeouts, if you run it manually it uses Ajax to run imports in batches and the drag and drop interface is fantastic. On top of that, they only charge a one-off fee with updates for life.

WP All Import plugin


If you’re building an affiliate store, this plugin is awesome – especially when combined with our External Images plugin. They give you access to pretty much all of the datafeeds from all of the affiliate networks all over the world and make it easy to build an affiliate store quickly.

When combined with External Images, you won’t be importing images and resizing them on your server saving you both CPU and disk space, meaning you can build a million+ product store on small $40 Digital Ocean servers.

Datafeedr website

Redis Object Cache

Redis is a fantastic object cache AND when you enable it, it’ll avoid transients being stored in your wp_options table giving you speed boosts on two fronts. There are a few choices for Redis plugins, but I prefer the one by Till Krüss.

Note: You should follow our stack guide when installing Redis to ensure you set it up in-memory only – i.e. not persisted to disk.

Redis Object Cache plugin

Nginx Cache

If you are using Nginx fastcgi cache, you’ll need a way of clearing the cache easily. This plugin, again by Till Krüss, does just that.

Nginx Cache

Email delivery – Sparkpost

You shouldn’t send emails from your server. It adds load to your server if you do, and it’s highly likely that you won’t configure your server properly to get emails delivered properly. Instead, sign up for one of the free plans from Sparkpost, follow their DNS configuration guide, then install the relevant plugin.

Backups using Updraft Plus

A long time ago, when I was running the AWD website, I went in search of the best-of-breed backup plugin. Far too many plugins presume your database and uploads folder will be tiny. Not so with Updraft Plus. I’ve yet to find a better choice.

Updraft Plus plugin

Ask for other plugin recommendations

If you are looking for plugin recommendations for any other area other than those listed above, ask in the comments section below and I’ll reply here and/or create a specific guide for you.

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Super Speedy Plugins