How to See Which Plugins Are Slow to Load on Your Website
When developing a WordPress website, you will inevitably need to make use of various plugins to enhance the functionality of your site. While most plugins are harmless, some can slow down your site considerably if not optimised correctly.
To determine which plugins are eating up your site’s performance, you need to set up some testing while developing your site, and then you can simply compare the results to the speed of your site once it is live on the web.
To see which plugins are loading slowly on your site, you can use Google’s Lighthouse tool. This is a free and open source tool that provides extremely useful information about a website’s performance. It measures the time it takes to load various aspects of a website (called “Sitespeed”) including the page speed (i.e. the time it takes to load the page, not the entire site).
A faster page speed will generally translate to a better user experience, so you certainly don’t want to have any plugins slowing down your site’s performance.
Set Up Lighthouse
To begin with, you need to install, and then configure Google’s Lighthouse. This is a free and open source tool that provides extremely useful information about a website’s performance. To install it, visit the Lighthouse website, and then click on the download button to start the download. Once the download is complete, you will need to extract the Zipped folder which you downloaded to your desktop.
Next, you need to navigate to your WordPress dashboard, and then click on the three lines at the top of the page to log in. Once you are logged in, click on Settings from the left-hand side menu, and then navigate to the Developer section. From here, you will need to click on the plugins button to activate the WordPress dashboard’s built-in plugin search bar. Search for Lighthouse in the search bar, and then click on the Install button to install the plugin.
Once the plugin is installed, click on it to open the Settings panel. Here you will need to set up the basic information for your Lighthouse account, and then save the settings. You can now return to your WordPress dashboard, and you should now see a new icon named Lighthouse alongside the other two icons for your WordPress site’s performance. This plugin is now ready to be used.
Use Lighthouse To Check Page Load Times
To begin with, open up a new tab in your browser, and then navigate to the URL of a website you’ve just built. For this example, we will use WooCommerce.com. Once the page is loaded, you should see a small bar at the top of your browser window showing you how much time it took to load that specific web page.
If you want to check the load time of a specific page or block of content on your site, you can use the Lighthouse browser extension. With the Lighthouse extension, you simply need to right-click anywhere on a webpage, and then select the option to check the page’s load time. Alternatively, you can use the Lighthouse console, which is a lighter-weight browser extension. To use the console, click on the three lines at the top of your browser window, and then click on the icon that looks like a keyboard (the second one from the left). This will open a new browser tab, where you can enter the website’s URL and then press enter to begin your test.
The console’s default language is English, so make sure you set your browser’s language to something other than English before you begin your test. Once you are in the console, you will see a list of all the plugins on your WordPress blog. From here, you can simply click on the plugin you want to test, and then press the spacebar to stop recording the results of that test. Then, you can simply copy/paste the URL of the page you are interested in checking into your clipboard, and then return to the WordPress dashboard to compare the results to the actual load time you observed in your browser.
Use Lighthouse To Compare Page Load Times For Different Sites
To compare the load times of different websites, you can use the Lighthouse console to save the results of your tests as a.csv file. Once you are back on the WordPress dashboard, you can use the Google Sheets add-on to compare the.csv files you created earlier. The great thing about the.csv files is that you can simply cut and paste the URLs of the different sites you want to compare, and then press the compare button.
This will show you how much time it takes to load each URL, and then you can simply click on the URLs you want to compare to highlight them in yellow, and then click on the magnifying glass icon to see the results.
Now, you can use the data you collected as a baseline for comparing future results. Using the CSV files is extremely simple, as you simply need to load up the Google Sheets add-on, click on the button that looks like a sheet of paper with a magnifying glass, and then click on the icon for the CSV file you want to use.
You can also use the Lighthouse console to export your test results as an HTML file. This file can then be used to examine the performance of different websites, as it contains all the information the Google Sheets add-on requires. Finally, you can use Lighthouse’s audit log to see when certain plugins were last updated, and whether or not they’re compatible with your WordPress version. This log also contains information about every plugin that was installed on your site during the audit. The information is extremely basic (for example, the version of the plugin and whether or not it is compatible with your WordPress version), so you don’t need to save this information for future use. However, it can be helpful for figuring out which plugins are worth keeping, and which ones you should disable.
In summary, Lighthouse is an extremely useful tool for webmasters and content creators who want to examine the performance of their sites. Setting it up is extremely simple, and the great thing about it is that it can be used to compare the performance of different sites and determine which ones are the slowest. So if you’re looking for a free and open source tool that can help you optimize your website’s performance, then you can’t miss out on Lighthouse.