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.
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:
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.
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.