After a lot of research (a few months!) I managed to implement an efficient way to do it. Version 1.9.0 contains an experimental option to remove any Google Fonts that are enqueued in your WordPress blog.
But, for those where it doesn’t work, or for those that want to have full control, I provided an alternative: a complete guide on how to remove Google Fonts from your WordPress Theme.
Why should I Remove Google Fonts?
Your motivation to remove the externally hosted Google Fonts from your blog may differ. It might be a design or programming choice, but in most cases the reason is site optimization. External requests slow down your site’s loading speed. That’s why it’s a smart choice to move external files to your own server and host them locally. Even Google says so.
The same goes for Google Fonts. But moving them to your server can be quite an exhausting process, especially if you’re using a lot of different fonts, weights and styles. To make this process easier, I created OMGF. A WordPress plugin which downloads the fonts and automatically generates a stylesheet for them.
After configuring OMGF, the remaining step is to remove the external requests to the Google Fonts API. This can be done in three ways, the easiest way (using OMGF’ new experimental feature, the easy way (using Autoptimize), or the hard way (by creating a Child Theme). Today, we’re going to dive into all of them.
Easiest Method: remove Google Fonts using OMGF (Pro)
From version 1.9.0 OMGF automatically removes Google Fonts from WordPress. Under OMGF’s settings (Optimize Google Fonts):
- Click Detection Settings
- Set Google Fonts Processing to Remove only
- Save changes
If OMGF’s Google Fonts removal feature isn’t working for your theme, then your theme is using unconventional methods (or Web Font Loader) to load Google Fonts. Upgrade to OMGF Pro, which supports automatic detection for both.
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Easy: Automatically remove Google Fonts using Autoptimize
Another easy way is to use Autoptimize.
A WordPress plugin which I’ve mentioned several times, due its incredible optimization capacities. Simply put, if you want to achieve a high score on Google Pagespeed, Autoptimize’s the way to go. One of its options is — guess what? — it removes Google Fonts..
Assuming you’ve already installed Autoptimize from the WordPress Plugin Directory, go to its settings page (Settings > Autoptimize) and:
- Click on the ‘Extra‘-tab,
- Select ‘remove Google Fonts‘ from the Google Fonts options menu,
- Click ‘Save‘.
As promised, that was easy, right?
Now, if for some reason you don’t like easy, and you skipped reading this entire chapter, because it was too short and boring for you. Keep reading. Now we’re gonna get down and dirty.
Hard: Manually remove Fonts from WordPress using a Child Theme
This option is mostly convenient, if you’re already running all sorts of custom optimizations on your site, preventing you to install Autoptimize. In mostly all other cases, I seriously suggest you step back to the previous chapter.
The hard way to remove Google Fonts from your WordPress theme involves creating a child theme. You’ll also need a basic understanding of PHP and Bash.
If these words mean nothing to you, you might want to consider hiring me (€ 99,-) to do it for you.
Before contuing, make sure you’ve created a child theme for your theme following the steps from the WordPress documentation. After you’ve activated and verified it’s working, continue.
The steps are the same for every theme, the function name’s will just differ.
Find out which function loads the Fonts
Google Fonts are loaded from an URL looking similar to this:
So the smartest way to find out the name of the function loading the fonts is to look for it using a terminal command called
grep "googleapis\|gstatic" * -r will return a list of all files containing the word ‘
googleapis‘ or ‘
gstatic‘. Make sure to trigger this command inside your theme’s folder.
Dequeueing the stylesheet
grep should return one file. Open that file using your favourite IDE (such as PHPStorm or Notepad++) and locate the function containing the Google Fonts URL.
The URL is probably wrapped inside a function called
wp_register_style. What we need from this function is the value of the first parameter, called the ‘handle’. This is what we’ll use to ‘dequeue’ the fonts in our Child Theme’s
E.g. in my theme (Sparkling) the fonts are enqueued as follows:
So I’ll be using the handle ‘
sparkling-fonts‘ to dequeue it in my child theme.
We can do this by adding the following code to the Child Theme’s functions.php:
When activating the child theme (make sure you’ve enqueued the parent’s theme styles, etc. as described in the WP dev-docs!) you’ll see that the function loading the Google Fonts isn’t triggered anymore.
Hosting Google Fonts from your own server can be beneficial to the speed of your WordPress blog, that’s why it is recommed to remove the externally hosted Google Fonts from your WordPress theme. There are many ways to remove Google Fonts from your WordPress theme. In this post I’ve described the easiest way (using OMGF or another plugin) and provided a (harder) alternative (using a Child Theme) for those longing for more flexibility.