WordPress speed tip PSA! Don’t use the Redirection plugin if you don’t have to!
I’ve seen it for like the 200th time now this year. New client comes over for speed optimization or webhosting and I see the Redirection plugin. Some of them have redirects in there. Some are just there to log 404’s. UGHHHH…*SHAKING MY HEAD*. Don’t do it like that!
What is the Redirection plugin?
What’s it do and why do people use it so much?
The Redirection plugin is a handy tool that does the following:
- Lets you set up redirects using a graphical interface with handy dropdown selections.
- Reports your 404 page requests (when visitors access unavailable url’s).
So what’s the problem with Redirection plugin?
The “problem” is that way too many people use it when they don’t have to. And that the Redirection plugin redirects users via slow PHP rather than from the server. Install redirection plugins are like putting a [slow] bouncer in front of your webpage checking everyone’s destination URL before you let them in.
- If you need it for redirects, please use htaccess (if you have access to it). Not only redirected visits but ALL website visits will be faster that way.
- If you need it for logging 404’s, please don’t do that. That’s a waste of server resources and website speed. You can check your website 404’s in Google Search Console.
- The Redirection plugin slows down ALL pages on your website, not only the ones getting redirected.
So why do so many people use the Redirection plugin if it’s “bad”?
- Because it’s so easy/simple AND they don’t know how to write redirects in htaccess – Please search Google for the right “htaccess generator” for your needs).
- Because they want to track their 404’s – again, please use Google Search Console. Or if you want, track it for a month if you have many 404’s, then disable after making corrections.
- Because they see everyone else using it – this is faulty logic that leads to horrendous plugins (like Jetpack) ruining WordPress sites everywhere.
- Because they don’t have to htaccess or server-configs (webhost using NGINX) – this is the only valid reason and unfortunate drawback of using NGINX.
What if you STILL want to use a redirect plugin?
- Please listen to me! Try without for a week and see if you really really need it.
- Decide if you really want BOTH the redirect and 404 logging feature. If all you need is the redirect functionality, use Safe Redirect Manager instead. It’s coded by one of the best development teams out there and much leaner IMO than the bloated/consumer-grade ones like Redirection.
What’s the speed savings?
- As much as half a second to one whole second speed gain on slow servers. On faster servers, not much but still noticeable. Try it and see. Just disable your plugin for a moment. If the gain isn’t big enough for you, then ok fine. But do know that having more redirects and 404 logs built up over time will probably slow things down in the future.