If you don’t use SiteGround as your blog hosting provider, you’re likely unaware of the many advantages it offers. Super-fast servers and plenty of storage for a very agreeable price are not the only things you get with a SiteGround hosting subscription. If you run a WordPress blog, you’ll also be able to take advantage of the SG Optimizer plugin.
I’m going to explain what the SG Optimizer plugin is and what I consider it’s major benefits to be. In the process I’ll introduce you to SiteGround and outline why it’s a host I recommend for any new blogger.
An Introduction to SiteGround
I began using SiteGround in July 2019 after switching from HostGator. The principal reason for switching was to improve my page load speeds to satisfy Google’s Mobile-First indexing best practices. This is important since Google now uses the mobile version of your content for indexing and ranking… blogs that load slowly over mobile tend to do less well in Google searches these days.
SiteGround really hit the spot for my page load speeds and delivered some huge efficiencies. Find out more about why I rate SiteGround so highly by clicking the banner image below!
Want to Really See a Difference in Your Page Load Speed?
SiteGround took my mobile page load speed from 77 to 93 in Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool… read how in my SiteGround review.
The SG Optimizer Plugin
As I mentioned in the intro, if you sign up to SiteGround and you’re a WordPress blogger you’ll be able to use SiteGround’s SG Optimizer plugin. It’s a super-powerful plugin that delivers a huge amount of page speed optimizations in all sorts of areas… but if you’re not with SiteGround, sorry but you can’t have it!
SG Optimizer provides a substantial number of optimization areas that focus upon everything you need to fine tune your blog performance. Specifically it gives you 5 optimization areas to boost and check your page speed:
- Environment Optimization
- Frontend Optimization
- Media Optimization
- Performance Test
Supercacher is effectively a function that stores your blog content in SiteGround’s server memory for faster access. It works across three areas;
- Static Cache
- Dynamic Cache
Dynamic caching works on elements that change, such as personalized recommendations based upon user preferences. Again there are potential page speed gains by retaining these elements in server memory rather than checking the server each time they’re required.
SiteGround’s Memcaching technology relates to database queries, API calls and page rendering. There is a time cost involved in querying a database or using an API to build a page. The SG optimizer’s me,mcaching stores query data and objects in memory to prevent the need to run queries.
You can exclude certain pages from the Supercacher for any that change regularly, such as your homepage for example. Additionally, you can purge the entire cache memory with the click of a button, to force a refresh of your entire blog content when you’ve made wholesale updates.
2. Environment Optimization
As the name suggests, SG Optimizer’s Environment Optimization tweaks your server environment settings to:
- Force correct functioning of HTTPs for a secure connection to your blog.
- Permit switching between different versions of PHP running on the server so you can choose the most optimal one.
- Enable and disable GZIP file compression to reduce the file size of key files required to render your pages and make page load faster.
- Select caching for static content in your visitors’ browsers for faster performance.
3. Frontend Optimization
You can see from the image above that Frontent Optimization gives you all sorts of options for controlling “Minification”.
Minification is a process that takes the code required to load your blog content and removes all the elements that are not required to for it to render correctly. So it strips out things such as comments, spaces and other unnecessary elements that add to file size and presents only the code required to build your content.
The server creates minified versions of files for browser requests, which can save an enormous amount of bandwidth when applied across multiple files. this can dramatically improve page load speed and of course improve visitor experience… especially for mobile visitors.
You can configure the SG Optimizer plugin to minify:
4. Media Optimization
This is a super-neat tool to handle media optimizations. It specifically targets images that generally require more bandwidth when a browser requests your content.
You can configure the SG Optimizer plugin to:
- Automtically optimize all new images you add to your WordPress Media Library.
- Run bulk optimization against any image you uploaded to your Media Library prior to moving to SiteGround and installing SG Optimizer.
- Enable “lazy Loading”, that only requests images from the server when they are required (i.e. when they are visible in the browser screen).
Media optimization is one of the areas where most blogs can make huge bandwidth savings, especially in cases where blog owners create large image files with no thought of optimization.
5. Performance Test
The Performance Test uses the Google PageSpeed Insights tool to check how quickly your pages load.
You simply choose the test for mobile or desktop, submit the URL you want to check and click “Analyze”. The SG Optimizer then returns your PSI page speed score along with a summary of the areas you need to examine to make improvements.
It’s a nice addition to SiteGround’s optimization plugin, as it gives you everything in one place. You can activate / deactivate the other SG Optimizer plugin components and then run a test immediately without leaving WordPress.
All in all I’m really happy with the page speed improvements I’ve gained from using SiteGround as my host. The server speed alone makes a huge difference in my overall page load speeds across the SideGains blog.
It’s a super-simple plugin to help you optimize your page load speed in WordPress, but it requires SiteGround hosting to be able to use it.
The SG Optimizer plugin further boosted my page speed when I first migrated to SiteGround: I went from a mobile page load speed of 77 to 93, which is impressive.
It includes lots of options for your server environment and your WordPress blog, for you to activate / deactivate to get the best gains to suit your specific installation.
For me, SiteGround hosting is a massive benefit for my WordPress performance… the SG Optimzer plugin is a big cherry on the top!
That’s it for now!
Have you tried the SG Optimizer plugin? Did you find it made a big difference to your page load speed? Drop me a comment below and let’s compare notes!