How To Set Up Hummingbird Plugin Step By Step: Quick Tutorial

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.

Let’s begin!

Installation Process

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.

(2) Caching

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 Caching

Activate It.

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

Disable

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

Enable

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.

  • Integrations

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.

  • Settings

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.

  • Exclusions

Don’t change anything here unless you know what are you doing.

  • Deactivate

If you find any error, then you can come here and deactivate the page cache.

Save the changes you’ve made!

(3) Gzip Compression

Gzip compression uses compression algorithms that run on website files like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and more. When a user requests a post from your website, the algorithm transfers the output back in a compressed format.

Depending on data size, the compression can lessen file sizes by up to 70%.

Hummingbird automatically detects whether the Gzip compression is working or not. If it is working, it will give you a green signal on HTML, Javascript, and CSS.

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

Activate it.

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.

Assets

  • Assets

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.

  • Configurations

Select both CSS files and Java files.

Click on Publish Changes.

Tools

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.

Settings

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.

General

  • URL Query Strings

Enable it.

A query string looks something like this:

 
https://yourwebsite.com/wp-includes/js/wp-embed.min.js?ver=3.5.7

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

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.

  • Preconnect

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:

  1. //fonts.googleapis.com
  2. //fonts.gstatic.com
  3. //www.google-analytics.com
  4. //ajax.googleapis.com
  5. //www.googletagmanager.com
  6. //maps.google.com

Save settings!

Database Cleanup

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).

  • Schedule

To schedule database cleanup, you have to buy their premium plan. So, it’s up to you. Btw, WP-Optimize is a better option.

Lazy Loading

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.

System Information

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.

Plugin Health

Here you can open a ticket for help. Btw, don’t expect a quick response.

(6) Uptime

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.

(7) Settings

Settings aren’t finished yet. I have to say, Hummingbird is packed with so many features which is definitely a good thing.

General

  • 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

Disable.

Enabling it could increase the loading time of the admin panel.

Configs

Again, Hummingbird will push you to upgrade the plan. And, you don’t really need to apply basic config.

Import/Export

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.

Accessibility

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

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!

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Sumit

Sumit is a regular contributor to Hostinggrow.com. He has 6 years of experience in blogging, and he loves football, his favorite player is - Lionel Messi (GOAT), but he has no hate for Ronaldo.

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