NitroPack Review: WordPress Site Speed Optimization

You should be concerned about site speed optimization if you have a website.

Page speed has a significant impact on the user experience of your site – there’s a lot of evidence associating slow site speed with increased bounce rates, lower conversion rates, and overall dissatisfied users.

But, to be honest, you probably don’t need evidence to illustrate my argument because you already know how aggravating a slow-loading website can be, right?

Furthermore, as part of Google’s new Page Experience upgrade, Core Web Vitals metrics like Largest Contentful Paint are now used as a search engine ranking criteria, thus poor page performance can hurt your site’s SEO.

So, site speed is crucial but it is, however, complex.

Caching, JavaScript optimization, CSS optimization, HTML optimization, content delivery networks (CDN), image optimization, prefetching, compression, and so on are all options.

NitroPack is a simple plugin that allows you to execute nearly any speed optimization method your site requires in one place.

All you have to do on WordPress is install the NitroPack plugin, click a few buttons, and your site will benefit from caching, a content delivery network (CDN), CSS/JavaScript optimization, and more.

We’ll take a hands-on look at NitroPack in our hands-on NitroPack review, which will include the following:

  • A glimpse at the interface and a tutorial on NitroPack.
  • Features
  • Thoughts on if the improvements made by NitroPack are “real”?
  • NitroPack performance tests before and after.
  • Pricing.

NitroPack Review: What Does It Do?

NitroPack is a WordPress speed improvement plugin that does everything.

One of the most interesting aspects of NitroPack is that it truly is all-in-one.

This is a relatively uncommon occurrence. WP Rocket, for example, is a powerful page speed plugin in and of itself, but you’ll still need to use it in conjunction with an image optimization solution, a CDN, and a few other modifications.

There’s no need to assemble a “stack” of performance-enhancing software when you use NitroPack. Everything is taken care of by it. The following are some of the highlights:

Caching – including browser caching, smart page caching with preloading, and smart cache clearing.

CDN- An integrated CDN with more than 70 global endpoints, Gzip/Brotli compression, and more.

CSS optimization incorporating the Largest Contentful Paint statistic, as well as handling above-the-fold important CSS to improve initial load times.

JavaScript optimization — to minimize initial load speeds, you can defer scripts and otherwise optimize all of your site’s JavaScript. NitroPack also has a unique approach of taking scripts off the main CPU thread and postponing them till the user interacts with them – more on that later.

Image optimization it can compress/resize photos and convert them to WebP automatically. There’s also a new adaptive scaling function that allows you to give consumers alternative images based on their screen sizes.

HTML optimization, including advanced features such as DNS connection for critical resources.

NitroPack’s “proprietary resource loader” is one of its distinguishing features. The concept/benefit of NitroPack is a little complicated, but the main idea is that it optimizes how your site loads (particularly its JavaScript) so that all of the individual files load in the best possible way for the user.

Generally, if you enable this feature, it will try to load only the files needed to show the above-the-fold content and then wait until a user interacts with your site before loading the remainder. You can significantly reduce the initial load time of your site, including the Largest Contentful Paint measure, by doing so.

How does NitroPack speed up your website?

So now you know that NitroPack can significantly enhance the page load times of your website. So, how does it accomplish this?

The most distinctive aspect of NitroPack is that it provides an all-in-one solution for optimizing your website. Rather than putting together a patchwork of WordPress performance plugins, you can simply install NitroPack and call it a day.

Here are a few of the most important ways it uses to speed up your site.

1. Caching

NitroPack offers several caching solutions to boost performance and reduce server load. Page caching and browser caching are the two most common:

  • Page caching – stores a page’s static HTML version so that your server doesn’t have to run PHP every time someone visits it.
  • Browser caching – caches certain static resources on a visitor’s local computer so they don’t have to download them every time they visit a page.

NitroPack also offers clever features like cache invalidation and preloading, which help you ensure that cached copies of your content are served to as many users as possible.

You can also choose to exclude certain content/resources from being cached if necessary. If you run an eCommerce store, you’ll need to exclude your cart and checkout pages.

2. Content delivery network  (CDN)

A CDN reduces the time it takes for your site to load globally by caching static resources on a worldwide network of computers (called edge locations). When someone visits your site, they can get those materials from the nearest edge location instead of having to travel to your actual server.

NitroPack’s CDN is powered by Amazon CloudFront and is integrated into the service automatically.

3. Image optimization

Finding ways to reduce the size of images, which account for around half of the file size of the average webpage, is a terrific way to speed things up. NitroPack optimizes your photos automatically, including converting them to the faster WebP format and loading them gradually.

4. Optimization of the code

NitroPack comes with a variety of options to help you improve your website’s code. This includes not only the size of your site’s code but also how it loads.

To begin with, NitroPack can automatically generate critical CSS for each unique layout and then defer loading non-critical CSS, allowing content to appear more rapidly (and also boost your PageSpeed Insights scores).

It can also postpone render-blocking JavaScript, which has the same benefits as delaying CSS (and is something PageSpeed Insights always yells at you about).

Finally, there are some minor tweaks such as DNS prefetching and font rendering optimization.

How to Use NitroPack?

One of NitroPack’s biggest advantages, aside from its complete site speed optimization tools, is its ease of setup.

Thanks to several preset optimization options, you can practically be up and running with a completely optimized site in minutes. Let’s have a look at how to use it.

  1. Add Your Website

To begin, go to the NitroPack dashboard and add your website. Then, using a connector tool, you may link your NitroPack account to your website. For WordPress, this entails downloading and installing the NitroPack plugin from WordPress.org.

  1. Choose Your Optimization Mode

Now it’s time to select your optimization mode. This is one of the favorite aspects of NitroPack because that is what makes it so easy.

NitroPack allows you to choose a preset configuration based on your needs rather than messing with a variety of different options like you’d have to do with most plugins. You can still fiddle if you’re a more sophisticated user.

This option is available in both the WordPress and NitroPack dashboards.

There are 5 distinct modes to select from, but We believe most people will like Strong because it provides a decent combination of performance benefits while still keeping the function of your site.

Many people prefer Ludicrous mode since it improves your PageSpeed scores and Core Web Vitals the most. However, We advise caution when using this mode because the way it delays JavaScript may cause issues with some functionality on your site.

Ludicrous mode, for example, may create strange behavior in your mobile menu if it relies on JavaScript. If you have CSS-based menus, on the other hand, this may not be an issue.

So, go ahead and experiment with Ludicrous mode at first, but be prepared to switch to Strong mode if you run into any problems.

For many users, this is the end of the road. You can forget about the performance after you’ve chosen your configuration mode since NitroPack will take care of the rest.

  1. Play around with it (For Advanced Users)

NitroPack also provides sophisticated users with a plethora of tweaking possibilities. You can specify which pages, scripts, cookies, resources, query parameters, and other items should be excluded.

You also get some cool features like the ability to optimize ad scripts, clean the cache through webhook (for added fun, combine this with WP Webhooks), and conduct other complex actions.

Is There Such a Thing as “Blackhat SEO” Using NitroPack?

If you look around for other NitroPack reviews, you may come across claims that NitroPack is a “blackhat SEO” program that deceives Google into thinking your site loads rapidly when it doesn’t.

So, what exactly is going on here?

The solution is a little more technical, but We believe it’s apparent that NitroPack isn’t doing anything wrong.

The disparity between lab speed test data and real “field” speed test data appears to be the key issue here:

Lab Data (Synthetic)- Simulated performance data obtained by a speed test tool is referred to as lab data (synthetic).

Field Data – information about your site’s actual performance as seen by real people. If your site has enough traffic, you may get this information via the Chrome User Experience Report, which is available in PageSpeed Insights.

Field data is what matters in the real world (and for Google’s Page Experience SEO algorithm upgrade), but most put emphasis on lab data and “scores” instead because they’re much easier to acquire.

Because NitroPack’s patented resource loader works in Ludicrous mode by relocating processes off the main thread and delaying JavaScript execution, your site will appear “abnormally” fast in some lab speed test instruments (because many tools can’t detect the off-thread activities).

And we understand what folks are saying here — a site that uses NitroPack and Ludicrous mode will appear “suspiciously” fast in some performance testing programs.

The main question is whether you believe NitroPack is doing this on purpose to “cheat” Google or if it’s just a natural side effect of how their resource loader works and improves your site.

Generally, We believe that NitroPack is the real deal and that this is more of a problem with the way some speed test programs function than with NitroPack attempting to trick the system.

This is why:

First and foremost, NitroPack isn’t trying to hide anything because they advise NitroPack users to look at real-world user performance data rather than relying just on lab data.

Furthermore, NitroPack is trying to integrate real-time field data into the NitroPack dashboard. When you look at the real field data, you’ll notice that NitroPack improves both the lab data and the real field data significantly.

The real-world data will not be deceived. So, if NitroPack were aiming to deceive people, they wouldn’t advise their consumers to focus on real-world data rather than lab data.

Why does blackhat make no sense here?

To begin with, page speed is still a minor ranking consideration, so “tricking” Google into thinking your site is quick will not propel you higher in the ranks. Site speed, according to Google, is more of a “tiebreaker” amongst similarly related sites than anything that will increase your ranks on its own.

That is, going from two seconds to one second isn’t going to make a difference – two seconds is already quick enough to win Google’s tiebreaker.

Aside from that, we don’t think the SEO charges are true, given how many popular sites utilize NitroPack and still rank well.

Lastly, if you’re concerned, you can use Google Search Console’s URL Inspection tool to view how your site looks with NitroPack when Google crawls it. If you do that, you’ll notice that Google recognizes the complete content of your page just as it would without NitroPack.

That is, according to Google’s crawl tool, there is no difference in the content of your site.

What is NitroPack Pricing?

NitroPack offers a limited free plan that is suitable for small websites, however, it does feature a NitroPack logo in the footer.

Paid plans begin at $17.50 per month for annual billing and $21 per month for month-to-month billing.

These costs are per-site, however multisite and agency plans are available by contacting the sales team.

Wrapping up!

NitroPack is an intriguing tool for improving website speed. It contains a wide range of features that are appropriate for a variety of website sizes and scopes.

It’s very simple and easy to set up for non-technical users, and the default settings are sufficient for visible results.

Furthermore, the application provides sophisticated users with additional customization choices, giving website owners the best of both worlds.

NitroPack, when compared to other common optimization tactics, offers various advanced optimization choices and is worth a try if you want to speed up your site. And the fact that it’s free makes it easy to get started.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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