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How to Use GTMetrix Plugin to Improve WordPress Site Performance

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How to Use GTMetrix Plugin to Improve WordPress Site Performance

GTMetrix is one of the tools that we have found ourselves using more and more to get detailed reports about our site’s performance. It is a free tool that analyzes your page’s speed performance using Google Page Speed and YSlow. GTMetrix then generates scores for your pages and offers actionable recommendations on how to fix them. In this article, we will show you how to use GTMetrix plugin to improve your WordPress site performance.

Although the title of this article says GTMetrix plugin, you don’t always have to use it. The advantage of using the GTMetrix WordPress plugin is that it allows you to run analyses right from your WordPress dashboard. It also lets you schedule reports on daily, weekly, or monthly basis. It allows you to receive alerts about the status of your site from within the WordPress admin. Having that said, it DOES require you to register for a free GTMetrix account. Your free account API is limited to a certain number of requests per day.

For those who don’t want to use a plugin, you can always use their web based version by simply going to the GTMetrix website. Alternatively, you can also add the GTMetrix Bookmarklet in your Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Internet Explorer browsers.

Video Tutorial

If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, then continue reading.

Now we have all that covered, how can GTMetrix help you improve your WordPress site performance? Well, in their detailed report, they tell you exactly what needs fixing. Check out this example report:

GTMetrix Report

If you notice, that the same site has two separate grades. 95% A from Google Page Speed, and 87% B from YSlow. If your YSlow score is lower, it probably means that the YSlow system is not smart enough. They can’t always detect your CDN. You have to go in your user settings to define the CDNs vs. Google automatically detects it. As you can see in the report breakdown, it shows all the things you need to work on based on the priority level. In our case, it was Optimizing Images. The best part is when you click on the tab, it tells you exactly which image needs to be optimized, and how much size you can reduce. Most importantly, it allows you to preview the optimized version of the image. All you have to do is right click on the optimized image, and save it. GTMetrix is doing the work for you.

That’s just one of the examples. Each tab has a little “What does this mean?” icon. If you click on that, it will tell you in full details what each of the items mean.

GTMetrix What Does This Mean Icon

This tool is a gem for those who are looking to optimize their sites. Instead of downloading the YSlow extension, or going to Google Webmaster Tools to get Google Page Speed score, you can simply do it all through GTMetrix. More importantly, they even have a GTMetrix WordPress plugin.

What are your thoughts on GTMetrix? Have you been using it for your sites? Let us know in the comments.

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. Christopher Ohlsen says:

    Nice post about GTmetrix. I agree with that GTmetrix is awesome (paraphrasing) with one caveat… Though I could probably somehow fix my issue within account settings. Here it is; it doesn’t seem to be recognizing maxcdn. My site is much much faster since I began using maxcdn. I definitely am using cdn but it says that I’m not… Not sure why this is but it even shows the netdna url in the links under the tab that says I’m not using CDN. Also, my Yslow score is slighly higher in the firefox & chrome Yslow addons which do recognize maxcdn… Still, it is an awesome site that I have been able to use to increase my page load speeds significantly.

    • Editorial Staff says:

      When using custom CDNs like MaxCDN, these providers do not recognize them by default. You have to edit your browser settings to let them know that the netdna URL is actually a CDN. So in short these tools are a good reference point, but not entirely perfect when it comes to detecting CDN.

  2. Matthew says:

    Hey, GTMetrix provides optimized versions of the images on my site that I can save and use to replace my original, unoptimized images. Though, I have a few thousand images on my website and saving each optimized image, in order to replace all of my original images, take a really long time.
    What exactly does GTMetrix use to provide me with a list of reoptimized and compressed images?
    I tried the plugin for wordpress, but sadly GTMetrix still tells me that I can compress some of my images by up to 50% or so.
    I have even emailed them, but no reply. I am already using a CDN, but it’s just not as fast as I need.

  3. M Copinger says:

    Thanks for letting us know of this plugin, i have been using it for about a week now not knowing they have a plugin. great article and continue such a good job

  4. Matej Latin says:

    I don’t see a point using a plugin while you can use the Pingdom tools. It’s not you’re going to test this every day…

  5. leena says:

    Hello, these are some of the useful tips that i am unaware of mostly. I will try if I can make to do this kind of task. Thanks for shearing.

  6. Ivan Lim says:

    Loving this tool… good point about YSlow not picking up CDNs helps explains some of the differing speed reports.

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