WordPress Releases a New Performance Plugin

WordPress has announced the release of a plugin called Performance Lab Plugin. It was developed by the WordPress Performance team which is designed to help speed up WordPress sites. The plugin gives publishers the opportunity to make use of the new improvements now before being included in the core of WordPress.

The WordPress Performance team consisting of WordPress Core developers developed the plugin to receive feedback on new features developed to be included in a future version of WordPress Core.

wordpress performance team

wordpress performance team Created in November 2021 with the aim of coordinating performance improvements within WordPress Core. The team is made up of WordPress developers, with some of the team members being developers from Google and Yoast.

From their initial meetings they compiled a list of demonstration projects to work on, and this plugin, called the Performance Lab plugin, is one of the results for the demonstration team.

performance lab plugin

The Performance Lab plugin provides access to improvements to WordPress that are designed to help publishers speed up their websites and diagnose issues that can slow down their websites.

The plugin itself is designed in a modular fashion so that publishers can pick and choose which improvements they want to use.

The new features in the plugin are intended to eventually make it into future releases of WordPress.

WordPress hopes that by releasing these new features early through a plugin they can receive feedback on any potential issues.

New features are normally released as separate plugins.

WordPress decided to group all the new performance features into a single plugin that would allow publishers to pick and choose which new features to enable from a central location within the same plugin.

Performance Lab Plugin Module

The new Performance Lab plugin has four modules.

There are four plugin modules:

  • webp upload
    Converts newly uploaded JPEG files to the fast WebP format. Functionality is dependent on server support for WebP.
  • webp support
    It’s a site health module that checks to see if the server supports WebP and shows a warning if WebP is not supported.
  • persistent object cache health check
    A site health check module that may suggest the use of object caching. Object caching is a way to speed up the time it takes for a site to respond, helps reduce database load and speeds up the website for site visitors.
  • audit attached assets (experimental)
    Provides audit of CSS and JavaScript files attached to the home page. It helps in identifying unnecessary CSS and JavaScript files that can slow down a website.

Is the attached property module experimental?

The Audit Encoded Assets module is labeled as Experimental. The developers chose to label it as experimental because improvements would be made to the module itself.

The developers discussed this with a developer Pay attention to a discussion in the official Github page,

“To clarify, it’s not that there’s a problem with the module, it’s more about that it doesn’t feel polished yet, hence marking as “experimental” for this first release – because It sees more refinements over time, so we could then mark it as non-experimental.”

that later chase For this reason it is labeled as experimental:

“Actually it won’t break anyone’s site, but IMO the main point for marking it as experimental is that it’s still in an earlier stage of development than other modules.

…for example we have not fully defined what the limits should be, and the approach to collecting assets is not yet reliable for some environments.

An example of the kind of improvements this one module needs to do is to make it more useful by identifying which plugins or themes are inflating a website with unnecessary CSS and JavaScript files.

Should you download the plugin?

The plugin download page states that the plugin has been tested and should be fine to use on a live production site.

While at least three modules are not labeled experimental and all of them are considered stable and likely will not break a site, the main purpose of the plugin is to provide publishers with an opportunity to provide feedback about modules before that they integrate directly into WordPress core.

In terms of stability, the official plugin page notes:

“…unless a module is explicitly marked as “experimental”, it has been tested and installed to the extent that it should be fine to use in production.”

In terms of guarantees, it also says:

“Still, like every plugin, you are doing so at your own risk.”

Best practice for WordPress websites is to first add new plugins to a staging site and test it before updating the main website.

Another best practice is to save a backup of the website before installing the plugin. In case the plugin conflicts with another plugin or theme unexpectedly, a backup will make it easier to restore the website to its original version.

The plugin offers obvious benefits that can help speed up your website. But it is provided by the WordPress performance team as a way to get feedback on brand new improvements that will eventually make it into WordPress core.

WordPress provides a Performance Lab Plugin Support Forum And a GitHub repository Where feedback can be given to WordPress.


Read Official WordPress Announcement

Performance Lab Plugin has been released

Visit the Performance Lab Plugin Download Page

demonstration lab

Visit the Official Performance Lab GitHub Page

Performance Lab 1.0.0-beta.1

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