Setting up the Hummingbird plugin might seem difficult to some bloggers, mainly newcomers. But, believe me, it’s quite easy to set up and manage.
You may have read that before, even a one-second delay could affect your sales and ad revenue drastically. Well, it’s 100% true. In fact, people hate those sites that take several seconds to load.
Searchers want a site that loads quickly and answers their questions.
I’ll show you how to perfectly use Hummingbird to optimize your site’s performance in this post. I request you to put focus on every step so that you won’t make any errors.
Skip this step if you’ve already installed it.
To install Hummingbird, you need to visit the plugin section of your WordPress and search “Hummingbird”
Once you find it, click “Install” and once it’s installed, activate it.
As you can see. At the time of writing this post, it has over 100k active installations and more than 1,000 five-star reviews which indicates how popular this plugin is in the blogging community.
Once the plugin is activated, click on settings to go to its settings section where we’ll set up a few things to optimize our site.
Hummingbird will welcome you with a big pop. Developer will ask you to enable “allow usage data tracking” to improve their plugin performance. I keep it disabled because it may impact site speed. However, it’s totally up to you!
Also, you don’t need to click on the run performance test button. Now, click on the close button to remove the pop-up and begin the setup process.
Menu of Hummingbird
The menu looks like this:
Hummingbird offers some good features, in my opinion, it’s better than W3 Total Cache or Fastest Cache plugin.
(1) Performance Test
With the help of Hummingbird, you can find out the things you need to fix to speed up your website. Once Hummingbird finishes analyzing your website issues, it will suggest you upgrade your plan.
Caching is extremely important to optimize website speed. It is the process of storing copies of files in a cache or temporary storage location to be accessed more quickly.
Page cache can be really beneficial for sites that see a lot of return visitors. Enabling page caching helps to reduce pressure from your server which enhances your site’s loading speed.
Technically, Cached pages are served up as static HTML versions of a page/post in order to avoid possibly time-consuming queries to your database. Cached pages are generated when search engine companies especially Google store a “back-up” version of your page/post which can be served up to a visitor in place of the most recent version of your page.
Page Caching Settings:
Open the screenshot in another tab or download the picture to view it clearly.
- Page Types
Under Page Types, turn on everything.
- Preload caching
Preload caching consumes too many server resources which puts stress on your server and can make your website slow. There is no benefit in enabling to, so keep it disabled.
- Cache Intervals
I kinda like this feature. It automatically clears the cache after the time you’ve time period. It depends on how often you update your site. I normally publish a post once a week that’s why I’ve select 7 days, yours could be different.
Enable Purge Varnish Caching
Varnish is an efficient solution to increase not only your site speed but also your server performance. According to its developer: “It can speed up performance with a factor of 300 – 1000x, depending on your architecture.”
Sadly, OpCache isn’t available for every user. If you’re a Cloudways customer then you can turn OpCache on by visiting the caching section of Cloudways.
Hummingbird does offer some extra settings but most of them are worthless. The only cache on mobile pages and Clear cache on comment posts should be enabled.
Don’t change anything here unless you know what are you doing.
If you find any error, then you can come here and deactivate the page cache.
Save the changes you’ve made!
(3) Gzip Compression
Depending on data size, the compression can lessen file sizes by up to 70%.
In my case, Gzip Compression is working smoothly so I don’t need to do anything here. But, if it is showing some errors to you then please let me know in the comments, I’ll help you fix it, or at least I’ll try my best to help you!
Also, click on Re-Check Status once before updating anything.
(4) Asset Optimization
Once clicked, Hummingbird will run a file check to see what files can be optimized. It may take up to one minute.
Once hummingbird has done analyzing your files, click on Got It!
A new page will be open where you’ll be able to see some compression data. Also, you’ll have three sections, Assets, Tools, and Settings.
Under Assets, there will be two optimization methods, Automatic and Manual.
Manually optimizing assets could take time, and it requires some knowledge. I recommend using Automatic optimization.
Turn On Speedy. It promises better results according to the developer.
Select both CSS files and Java files.
Click on Publish Changes.
This section requires some coding knowledge, so you can skip it. However, if you’re a coder then this could be really beneficial for you because this will result in the content loading quickly, with the styling followed shortly after as per the Hummingbird team.
Leave as is. There is nothing to change or edit.
(5) Advanced Tools
Advance tools contain some of the best features of Hummingbird. It is really important to configure these settings to get the best results.
- URL Query Strings
A query string looks something like this:
It contains “?” or “&” in a URL. Developers normally use query strings to send content values or to separate files from another file.
Sometimes these query stings stop CDN’s from caching which could decrease your site speed.
- WooCommerce Cart Fragments
Enable it if you’re using the WooCommerce plugin.
Emojis can increase page load time. However, you can keep it disabled if you use emojis to make your content engaging.
- Prefetch DNS Requests
Prefetch DNS is the action of resolving a website’s IP address before a user clicks on its link. It tries to solve latency issues linked with DNS resolution (i.e., the time it takes for your site’s domain name to be resolved to an IP address), which can add some seconds to a site’s page load time. It is very useful if you use third-party services.
Thankfully, Hummingbird has already added the most common DNS requests. However, if you want to add a few more then here is the complete list for you added by the developer in github.com – DNS Prefetch Domains Git Hub.
Hummingbird has explained pretty well why you need Preconnect, If you load resources from other domains, using Preconnect can give a faster page loading experience for your users. It tells the browser to set up quick connections before an HTTP request is actually transferred to your server., and includes DNS lookup, TCP handshake, TLS negotiation, etc.
I recommend adding six domains or less than six to Hummingbird’s pre-connect domain list because specifying pre-connect directives for too many domains can result in a performance hit.
Below are some examples:
That’s a pretty good feature. Most Caching plugin doesn’t offer database cleanup. However, the scheduling database cleanup option is only for premium users. That’s a big downside.
Also, Hummingbird doesn’t like WP-Optimize. Hummingbird requests to deactivate Wp-Optimize and that’s really bad because WP-Optimize does a better job in cleaning up databases than Hummingbird.
Nonetheless, let’s see what to delete and what not.
- Database Cleanup
You can’t select or deselect so you need to delete data one by one. Delete everything except draft posts (to delete, click on bin icon).
To schedule database cleanup, you have to buy their premium plan. So, it’s up to you. Btw, WP-Optimize is a better option.
Hummingbird doesn’t provide images lazy loading feature, you have to install the Smush plugin for that. But they do offer comment lazy loading. I don’t like lazy loading on comments, so I’ve kept it off.
Lazy loading comments may improve site speed but it may also frustrate visitors, which could create a bad user experience.
It’s really cool and rare feature. It gives you some really helpful information about your PHP, Server, and WordPress.
You can find out your maximum upload size and post max size, and many more things.
Here you can open a ticket for help. Btw, don’t expect a quick response.
Tracking uptime can be really beneficial, however, this feature is only for premium users. Hummingbird will track your site’s uptime, and if it goes down, it will inform you about it via mail.
Hummingbird offers a 7-day free trial and charges 5$ after that free trial.
Settings aren’t finished yet. I have to say, Hummingbird is packed with so many features which is definitely a good thing.
- Show Cache Button In Admin Area
This could increase the loading time of the admin panel and that could be really frustrating. I have kept it disabled.
- Usage Tracking
Enabling it could increase the loading time of the admin panel.
Again, Hummingbird will push you to upgrade the plan. And, you don’t really need to apply basic config.
Here you can import or export manual settings. It could save so much time. If you know someone who is using Hummingbird then you can ask him to provide you the settings file.
Data & Settings
Here you can control what to do with your settings and data. I recommend leave it as it is.
To know more about what Color Accessibility is, read the guide by w3.org
I have kept it disabled.
Positive And Negative Things About Hummingbird.
I like this plugin, however, there are a few things that is stopping me from using this plugin on my site. Let’s discuss positive points first.
Positive things about Hummingbird
- Easy to set up
- UI is great
- Packed with a lot of good features
- Trusted developer
Negative things about Hummingbird
- Can’t connect a CDN (The biggest reason why I don’t use it)
- Plugin is heavy
- Forces to install smush
- Forces to upgrade the plan
Plugins that Are Better than Hummingbird
- Autoptimize – Read Step By Step Guide
- W Total Cache – Ultimate plugin for beginners – Read Step By Step Guide
- Wp Fastest Cache – Read Step By Step Guide
It’s A Wrap!
I hope this guide was helpful to you!
If you are facing any issues, do let me know in the comments, I’ll try to help you!
Thanks For Reading!