Does Jetpack slow down a WordPress website?
Update: I added more tests below, based on the comments received. This time based on shared hosting by Siteground.
Can we scare off the eight-hundred pound gorilla in the room already? Are we still buying into the myth?
Look, I get it, Jetpack has a love/hate relationship with most because of the past. It’s time to let the past go. I’m not saying you have to use Jetpack on every site to manage your updates, or to collect traffic stats, but can we drop the, “it slows your site down” rhetoric?
Load time overshadowed by function
Yes, adding Jetpack (like any other plugin of it’s feature set) will add more load time to your website, but nowhere near as cringeworthy as some people make it out to be. I’m no speed engineer, but let’s have a look at my crude test setup:
- WordPress 4.6.2
- Sanse blog theme — fastest theme I’ve come across, made by Sami
- Site is hosted on a Siteground dedicated server
- Used GTMetrix.com website, ran all 4 tests from the same location/browser setup.
- Baseline test, no plugins active
- Baseline + Jetpack active; no features enabled
- Baseline + Jetpack active; all features enabled
- Baseline + 3 Popular plugins for gallery, web stats, and share buttons
Baseline: 74.6KB .5s load time 5 requests
Here’s our baseline test results. Again, just running the theme only, no additional plugins. I set the homepage to a single page, with one line of text.
Baseline + Jetpack w/ no features on: 137KB .6s load time 7 requests
Okay, okay, we almost doubled the total page size by adding 2 requests. Which looks to be the stylesheet for Jetpack, and we haven’t turned on any features yet. Yikes.
Baseline + Jetpack with ALL features on: 263KB .8s load time 16 requests
I’ve never turned on ALL of the features of Jetpack — ever.
Like the Math feature? No, never. Anyway, here’s the results of turning all of the features on, just incase you ever found yourself doing so. Which boils down to thirty-three whopping features enabled!
I didn’t turn on the stupid snowflakes — sorry.
So I turned on 33 features and saw the total page size grow 3.5x from the baseline. Nearly 3x more in total requests, and over 50% increase in page load time.
Okay, Jetpack’s looking kinda bloated…but…
Imagine going out and finding 33 plugins to enable what you just did with a single instance to mange? Okay, that might be ridiculous, but what about half of that? Still too much?
Three plugins for three Jetpack features: Gallery, share buttons, and analytics
If you use Jetpack for these three core website features, here’s what you might find by searching the repo for plugins that do the same. I did what most users do, I dropped in the search term and selected from some of the most popular plugins in the repo:
- Gallery https://wordpress.org/plugins/photo-gallery/
- Share buttons https://wordpress.org/plugins/addthis/
- Google Analytics https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-analytics-for-wordpress/
Three plugins for three features – 614KB 1.3s load time 30 requests
We now see a dramatic difference in page speed increase, page size and total requests over the baseline test. That’s twice the loadtime of Jetpack with thirty-three features enabled!
Reminder: this is for only three features that Jetpack provides — if you wanted more, prepare for more load time.
Jetpack speed; it’s relative
Jetpack doesn’t slowdown your website. You might not like Jetpack, but it’s not a bandwidth hog.
For a plugin that does a lot, it’s pretty darned streamlined. When I added the three separate plugins, we saw a much more dramatic increase in load times over Jetpack.
Does Jetpack do everything great? No. It’s a good all-purpose plugin. Other plugins will do their specific jobs better than Jetpack, which is most likely the reason why we saw such a spike on that final test. More features, more code, more overhead (when compared to Jetpack.)
We all good now?
Seems like some folks wanted me to drill down a bit more on testing, specifically from a shared hosting plan. Here it is.
- In this test I used the Siteground Startup shared hosting plan.
- DSL connection testing from Dallas (GTMetrix)
- Jetpack (of course)
GTMetrix Reports for all tests
At the end of the day, I still don’t see Jetpack weighing down a website like some make it out to be.