OMGF! After bringing CAOS to WordPress, I’m now raising HELL in WP-land. In case you wondered, HELL stands for: Host Everything LocaL.
What is HELL for WordPress!?
In my days as a WordPress Optimization Super Hero I have built tons of mini plugins to fix one problem: remove unnecessary requests. Or, to use more technical terms, dequeue or remove a certain stylesheet or script, and in some cases, where an external file was being loaded: host it locally.
Why is Local Hosting such a Big Deal?
To load a website, the browser connects to the domain entered in the address bar. Then the server connected to that address starts requesting resources to build up the webpage. When it requests resources from other domains (3rd party services) the browser needs to make a round trip to fetch the resource from that external domain.
Plenty of tools have been invented to help speed up the loading of external resources, such as preconnect. But none of these tools can make an external resource load quicker than a local resource. Even with HTTP/2 enabled.
Why? Because the loading speed of the external resource depends on the speed and stability of the 3rd party’s server, and more importantly: the resource can only be loaded after the browser finds that the webpage requests it.
What does this mean for my WordPress site?
Basically all themes and plugins include external scripts or styles. The most common examples being icons, e.g. Font Awesome, and Google Fonts.
It makes sense to include them, too. A theme designer or plugin developer can’t know if your WordPress install is already using e.g. a certain icon pack. So they include it to be sure their theme or plugin will be displayed as intended.
Some of them also include an option to disable external scripts or stylesheets, but sadly most of them don’t.
This means that your theme and some of your plugins are probably loading their own version of the same file twice, or even thrice.
How does HELL for WordPress solve this?
Consider HELL for WordPress a Swiss Army knife for chopping requests. It’s an all-in-one solution to remove any script or stylesheet loaded by your theme and plugins and replace externally hosted files with a locally hosted copy.
If your WordPress installation is e.g. loading duplicate Font Awesome icon packs, you can easily remove one of them from pageload, by entering either their source or handle in the ‘Remove’-section.
Can HELL for WordPress host all 3rd Party files locally?
If a script doesn’t allow local hosting, HELL allows you to add a
preload header to still boost its performance on browser that support it.
Awesome! But it sounds Dangerous.
I didn’t call it HELL for WordPress just because it’s a fun abbreviation — actually I did. But if not handled with care, it can actually be hell. For WordPress (pun intended.)
In other words:
Alright. I’m Excited, but also a little bit Scared.
Completely understandable. Optimizing WordPress is a scary topic for many of us and HELL is no exception.
Truthfully, HELL for WordPress is like your favorite, friendly robot assistant — with the tendency to kill you if you don’t treat it right.