A slow-loading website or webpage is not a pleasurable experience for your visitors. Well, not for anyone. Over 3 seconds of load time, most visitors lose patience and leave. Which means you may lose customers, sales, and revenue — which is also lousy businesses.
Nor do search engines like Google like slow loading websites. It may also be a negative ranking factor. We don’t want that, right.
Nowadays, everything has to go fast. With the vastly growing number of mobile users, (with no patience, me including), your website must load quickly if you want to capture or retain the visitor’s interest.
Are there solutions to help improve the loading time of a WordPress website?
Yes, there is.
Solutions You Should Consider to Speed up a WordPress Website
There are several different solutions to consider to speed up a website. Some valuable and sometimes necessary solutions you should be using to boost the performance are:
Your web hosting should be reliable and fast. The speed also depends on whether you use shared hosting (usually more slow) where multiple websites utilize a single server.
Alternatively, use a dedicated hosting service (an entire server at your service), which can significantly increase the speed of your website.
Some of the best WordPress hosting to choose from are Kinsta, SiteGround, and Flywheel.
Stands for Content Delivery Network. Meaning, your content can be delivered from different geographical locations/servers to distribute content faster to visitors. If you decide to use a CDN service, your website can significantly improve the load time.
Some of the best CDN providers to choose from are StackPath, Cloudflare, and KeyCDN.
WordPress Cache Plugins
This is yet another solution to improve the performance of your website. With a cache plugin, you generate static HTML files to optimize the speed instead of loading heavy PHP pages and scripts.
Some of the best WordPress Cache Plugins to choose from are WP Rocket, WP Super Cache, and W3 Total Cache.
Lazy Loading Plugins
Are other types of plugins that can help you further speed up your site. With Lazy Loading plugins, you can significantly reduce HTTP requests and only display images when they are visible to the visitor. The images load asynchronously, and if the visitor does not scroll, the remaining images do not load.
10 Free Lazy Loading WordPress Plugins
In this article, I focus solely on several valuable free lazy loading plugins you can use to very quickly improve the speed of loading images on your WordPress website and pages.
Also, there are no requirements for any coding skills. Most of the lazy loading plugins in the list are very easy to use. So you don’t need to be a WordPress guru to install and use these plugins.
a3 Lazy Load
a3 Lazy Load is a flexible WordPress plugin to help speed up your sites page load speed. No matter if you have 10 or 1,000 images to display, this plugin only loads images that are visible in the visitor’s browser. The remaining images load as the visitor scrolls down, which means better performance and faster loading time.
a3 Lazy Load supports not only images but also media such as WordPress video Embeds, Youtube, Vimeo, and HTML5 videos. From the a3 Lazy Load admin panel, you have several options for configuration such as – Enable lazy load for images, images in content, images in widgets. Post thumbnails, gravatars, and more. It is also possible to configure settings for videos and iframes.
It is a plugin with various settings that make it possible to make different adjustments for different media types. Furthermore, the plugin also comes with a couple of creative lazy load effects, select, fade-in, or spin if you want to highlight your lazy loading images visually.
The a3 Lazy Load plugin has 100,000+ active installations.
Lazy Load by WP Rocket
Lazy Load by WP Rocket is a very straightforward and easy-to-use WordPress plugin to speed up the loading time of images, iframes, and videos. With a few clicks, you have the plugin installed and configured.
Images are only displayed and loaded when available in the browser. The plugin works with media such as thumbnails, images in a blog post, widget, avatars, and iframes. Furthermore, it is also possible to replace Youtube iframes with preview thumbnails to further speed up the loading time of your website.
With the free Lazy Load by WP Rocket plugin, you can effortless without any coding knowledge speed up your site.
Notice, If you use the WP Rocket premium caching plugin. You already have the lazy loading feature built-in, and then there is no need to use this plugin.
The Lazy Load by WP Rocket plugin has 80,000+ active installations.
Lazy Load is another lightweight WordPress plugin to speed up image loading. The plugin code is written by an amalgamation by WordPress.com VIP team at Automattic, the TechCrunch 2011 Redesign team, and Jake Goldman (10up LLC). Some well-known names and companies behind this plugin.
The Lazy Load plugin uses the jQuery.sonar script by Dave Artz (AOL) to load images. Only images visible in the browser are loaded, additional images are loaded when scrolling.
Also, in this plugin, there are no settings. Install, activate, and the plugin works out of the box. Lazy Load is a simple plugin for those who want the lazy loading feature for images. I only wish there were some options available.
The Lazy Load plugin has 80,000+ active installations.
Lazy Loader is another free WordPress plugin that is easy-to-use to improve the loading time of images and other media formats. The plugin uses the lightweight lazysizes script and supports in addition to images also iFrames, videos, and even audio elements.
Furthermore, you can also use the plugin for background images, scripts, and styles via manual modifications.
It is also possible to configure the Lazy Loader plugin with several options to optimize your website’s best performance. It is also possible manually disable lazy loading for a specific element, disable lazy loading fs or elements with particular CSS classes and more.
The Lazy Loader WordPress plugin is a free option to optimize our website for increased speed easily.
The Lazy Loader plugin has 6,000+ active installations.
Lazy Load Optimizer
Lazy Load Optimizer is a lightweight lazy loading WordPress plugin from Processby. The plugin uses lazysizes which is a high performance and SEO friendly lazy loader script for images. Lazy Load Optimizer supports both images and iframes to speed up your site.
No coding skills are needed to use this plugin. Install the plugin like any other plugin, activate it, and you are ready to rock. Additional settings are not required. However, it is possible to configure the plugins loading effects via the live customizer with options like spinner and fade-in, animation time, and transparent background.
It is an easy to use plugin and only loads elements such as images and iframes when visible in the browser, additional resources load when a visitor scrolls down a page. This way, unnecessary HTTP requests are avoided.
The Lazy Load Optimizer plugin has 5,000+ active installations.
Native Lazyload is a relatively new free WordPress plugin from Google!
There are no settings for the Native Lazyload plugin, install the plugin, activate it, and all your images lazy load for better performance, precisely according to Google’s guidelines.
If you use AMP, which was also recommended by Google, you do not need to use this plugin, because of AMP automatically lazy load images.
The Native Lazyload plugin has 4,000+ active installations.
Speed Up – Lazy Load
Speed Up – Lazy Load is a lightweight (only 5 kb) free lazy loading WordPress plugin to implement the lazy load technology and speed up the appearance of images.
Like several other similar plugins, only images displayed in the browser loads. Additional images on a page are loaded as visitors scroll down, which improve the loading time of images and also save bandwidth.
There are no settings for this plugin, which feels a bit sparse for me. I want at least some options to configure. However, for some users, it can be excellent, because the plugin works out of the box — no options to tick. Install Speed Up – Lazy Load, activate the plugin, and you are set to go.
Speed Up – Lazy Load is a minimalistic, easy-to-use free plugin that you can use to improve the loading time of your images. However, some options would make the plugin even better for all of us geeks who want some control.
The Speed Up – Lazy Load plugin has 2,000+ active installations.
Zedna WP Image Lazy Load
Zedna WP Image Lazy Load is another plugin focusing on lazy loading images. Decreasing page load time is always essential, and it is something that all website owners should try to achieve. With a Zedna WP Image Lazy Load plugin, you can speed up your site by loading your images one by one instead of all images at once. The fewer HTTP requests, the better.
The plugin comes with a couple of options so you can configure the settings according to your needs. You can choose whether you want lazy load iframes, or not, videos, load elements on custom positions, use animations, use PHP lazy load, and more.
As you know by now, I like it when a plugin has some settings, so this plugin fits me perfectly.
Moreover, the plugin also supports WooCommerce, which not all similar plugins do. As an extra feature, optional, it is also possible to modify theme files to be lazy-loaded through PHP lazy load. However, I choose only the lazy load images option to boost the image loading time.
The Zedna WP Image Lazy Load plugin has 1,000+ active installations.
With this plugin and its selectable options, you can quickly speed up the performance of your websites by lazy loading media types such as images, videos, scripts, and more.
The lazysizes plugin has 900+ active installations.
Lazy Load for Images
All images are set to lazy load by default, but it is possible to exclude images not to lazy loading by adding data-lazy = “1” attribute to images. Some key features of the Lazy Load for Images plugin are significantly improve page loading speed, less number of HTTP requests, and SEO friendly.
Lazy loading also works on mobiles, which is perfect for the growing number of mobile users nowadays. So for all of you who want a smooth, easy-to-use, no settings, plugin to lazy loading images, this is a suitable WordPress plugin.
The Lazy Load for Images plugin has 200+ active installations.
Additional Free WordPress Plugins Where Lazy Loading Is Included
- Smush Image Optimization, Compression, and Lazy Load – The Smush Image Optimization plugin from WPMU DEV focuses mostly on optimization to compress, resize images, but also have the lazy load feature included.
- Jetpack by WordPress.com – Jetpack by WordPress.com is a multi-purpose plugin and includes an arsenal of security, performance, and site management features. However, also the opportunity to speed up images with lazy loading for better website performance.
- Autoptimize – With Autoptimize, it is possible to minify, cache scripts and styles, CSS injection to optimize a website. When it comes to image management, you can convert images to WebP and also lazy load images plus much more.
- WP Performance – WP Performance is a plugin with the main focus on cache and performance optimization. However, you can also choose to lazy load images and videos to further speed up the presentation of images.
- Powered Cache – Powered Cache is just as the name suggests a caching and performance WordPress plugin. However, the plugin also comes with built-in extensions, and one of them is Lazy Load, which allows you also to boost the loading time of your images.
- Image Optimizer, Resizer and CDN – Sirv –
Sirv is a plugin for images, performance, and CDN. With this plugin, you can optimize images in the best way and also lazy load your images. Moreover, resize, compress, and serve images from a CDN.
- PageSpeed Ninja – PageSpeed Ninja is a WordPress plugin excellent for performance, and to get your website load faster on all devices. The plugin comes with a lot of speed-boosting features, including lazy loading.
Additional Premium WordPress Plugins Where Lazy Loading Is Included
- WP Rocket – WP Rocket is one of the most popular and used caching plugin out there. It is a premium plugin with tons of valued features, such as page caching, cache preloading, browser caching, and several more features and additionally the Lazyload feature.
- WP-Optimize – Clean, Compress, Cache – WP-Optimize is a free popular plugin most known for database cleaning. However, the plugin has evolved considerably since UpdraftPlus acquired the plugin. Nowadays, there are many more useful features in the free version to optimize and clean your website. However, to lazy loading your images, you have to use the premium version.
- Loading Page with Loading Screen – The Loading Page with Loading Screen plugin is used to add a preloader or loading progress screen with percentage of completion. When ready, the screen disappears. It can be useful in some situations. Lazy Loading is available in the premium version of the Loading Page with Loading Screen plugin.
- WP Speed of Light – WP Speed of Light (great name by the way), focuses solely on speed performance with features like Gzip compression, browser cache, database optimization, and much more. To access the image lazy loading feature, you must upgrade to the pro version.
We all know that speed matters a lot and has a great importance of search engine ranking, reduce bounce rate, improve conversion rate. In fact, the whole online presence of your website nowadays.
Nobody wants to access a slow loading website where the waiting time is an eternity, about 4-5 seconds or longer. The limit is 3 seconds; then, most people leave the site.
There are many opportunities to apply to increase the speed of a website. However, in this article, I have focused mostly on lazy loading of images. As images are one of the most significant factors for a blog post to load slowly.
Unfortunately, many users forget to optimize images and upload images of several MB. When they easily can optimize images with web tools like TinyPNG, or iLoveIMG.
There are also WordPress plugins like Smush Image Optimization, Imagify, EWWW Image Optimizer, Optimus, ShortPixel, and several more plugins to optimize and compress images.
However, to further increase the loading speed of images. I have searched high and low to find the best wallet-friendly and free lazy loading plugins. I am convinced that one of these plugins are going to help you load images in the best lazy way.
Have I missed any lazy loading plugin? Add a comment with a missing plugin, and I add new plugins to the list to continue building the best list available with free lazy loading plugins.
The tools and plugins I have used for this article are as follows:
- DevKinsta – A WordPress development suite made for single and multisite local website creation.
- Local by Flywheel – A local WordPress development tool to test all plugins.
- WP Reset – A great WordPress plugin to reset the database to the default installation.
- URL2PNG – To capture snapshots of websites.
- Canva – To create and design the featured image.
- Pixlr X – To edit and resizing screenshots.