How fast the pages load is a crucial factor in determining the popularity and usability of your website. Though page loading speed is not the only factor here, it is one of the most important factors. It is important because page loading speed is directly related to the user experience of your visitors, and that directly impacts search engine rankings. We all have the experience of waiting forever for a website to load. Sites with lots of images and videos takes longer time to load. For each of these files, a separate HTTP request is needed and thus, the page loads slowly.
Luckily, there’s an easy solution to this problem for WordPress-powered websites. You can use WordPress Lazy Load plugins significantly to improve the page loading speed of media-heavy sites. Lazy loading technology makes the images or other media files to load only when they are in the browser viewport. Therefore, the web pages load much faster, and the users can enjoy a much better user experience from the website. In today’s article, let’s discuss some of the best lazy load plugins for WordPress.
WordPress Lazy Load Plugins
1. BJ Lazy Load
BJ Lazy Load replaces all the images, thumbnails, content iframes and Gravatar images with a placeholder image. The images only gets loaded when the user has scrolled to them, and they are visible in the browser window. The plugin works with text widgets too. By using a simple function, it is also possible to lazy load other iframes and images of your theme.
BJ Lazy Load also optimizes the images for our website. For smaller screen sizes, the images are automatically scaled down. For screens with higher resolution like Apple’s Retina displays, the plugin will serve images with high DPI.
2. jQuery Image Lazy Load WP
Based on the lazy load plugin of jQuery, jQuery Image Lazy Load WP is another widely used lazy load plugin for WordPress. It will delay loading of images that are not visible in the browser window. The plugin will load long pages with large image files a lot faster. It could also help you in reducing the burden on your server. While jQuery Image Lazy Load WP requires WordPress version 2.8 or higher, it supports WordPress 4.0.1 too. The plugin has an active support forum, where you will find answers to the common questions.
3. Advanced lazy load
Advanced lazy load has a mission to speed up WordPress website. It does that by delaying the image loading in the pages. Until the visitor scroll to them, the images outside of the viewport will not be loaded. After you have installed the plugin, the website will load the text first and then only the images that are visible in the viewport.
You will find the plugin menu in Settings -> Advanced lazy load. The page has two options. Pixel, the first option will set the distance between the image and the bottom of the browser. The second option, Fading in duration, sets the fade in duration for the images.
4. Rocket Lazy Load
Rocket Lazy Load is popular for its small size. As it does not use any external library or jQuery plugins, it is a lot lighter than most other lazy load plugins. Without any script or jQuery code, the plugin weighs less than 2 Kb. The plugin displays images only when they are visible in the viewport. Therefore, the number of HTTP requests is reduced, and the loading time of your website improves dramatically. Besides regular images, this WordPress plugin also works with thumbnail images, pictures in the posts, pages or widgets, smilies, avatars etc. There are no configurable options in the plugin. You just install it and you are right to go.
5. WP Images Lazy Loading
By using jQuery lazy loading technique for images, WP Images Lazy Loading will help you in improving both your page loading speed and Google PageSpeed Score. It delays the loading of websites that are not currently visible in the browser window. The images will load when the visitor has scrolled to them. By using the plugin on long pages, you can increase the loading speed dramatically. Besides saving bandwidth, this will also reduce the server load.
6. Image Lazy Load (Unveil.js)
Image Lazy Load is based on unveil.Js jQuery WordPress plugin. The plugin will provide an enormous boost to your website performance as it delays the loading of images that are outside of the browser view port. The pictures will only load if the visitor scrolls to them. Image Lazy Load comes with additional options like custom effects, events, container, data attribute, etc. If you don’t want to use any of these features, leave the essential code only. This will reduce the file size too. It is also possible to use a default placeholder for images, deliver high-quality images for devices with higher screen resolutions.
7. Unveil Lazy Load
Like Image Lazy Load, Unveil Lazy Load plugin is also developed onUnveil.js. The plugin loads images when they are in the viewport only, resulting in a faster loading website and fewer requests to the server. The small size of Unveil.js has allowed Unveil Lazy Load to keep its file size small too. By using data URI scheme technology, the images are embedded in HTML. Therefore, you won’t need to use any dummy image when using this plugin. It works correctly with the latest version of WordPress.
8. Simple Lazyload
Simple Lazy Load plugin will help you in having a faster website and save bandwidth by using lazy loading technique for the images. Initially, all the images are replaced with a placeholder. Then, when the visitor scrolls to any image, that image gets loaded instantly. Like most other lazy load plugins, Simple Lazyload does not require any kind of setup at all. It searches for all the pictures and automatically adds the placeholder to the pictures.
So far, we have discussed WordPress lazy load plugins for images only. But we use other types of media files in our websites too. Let’s take a look at some lazy loading plugins for another kind of contents.
9. WP YouTube Lyte
If your website has a lot of YouTube videos, or you want to apply the lazy loading effect to the YouTube videos of your website, then WP YouTube Lyte could be an excellent choice for you. When using this plugin, the videos look exactly the same as the regular ones. But, the bulky Flash or the HTML5 player is not called until the visitor has clicked on the video. As a result, the download size and the rendering time are reduced significantly. Therefore, whenever you embed YouTube videos in your pages, and you have this plugin activated, the page loading speed will be increased dramatically.
The plugin supports single videos or an entire playlist. When the play button is clicked, the plugin will initiate the embedded player of YouTube. It is also possible to use shortcode to add videos. WP YouTube Lyte has been developed with maximum browser compatibility in mind. It works perfectly in iPad too. The latest version of the plugin has made videos completely responsive. The multi-language plugin is also available in French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Catalan etc.
10. Lazy Widget Loader
Widget is a widely used feature of WordPress websites. While widgets are handy for displaying relevant, additional information, they could slow down your site too. Using a lot of widgets will have a significant impact on your site performance. To prevent this, you should use a lazy load plugin for the widgets like Lazy Widget Loader. This plugin will slow down the loading of widgets, especially the widgets that load external data like AdSense, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
This plugin pauses the loading of widgets when the page is loading. Therefore, the widgets and their contents get loaded after the page content is loaded. It is possible to choose the widgets on which the lazy loading should work. By default, the plugin does not impose itself on any of the widgets. However, it is recommended not to apply lazy load to all the widgets of your website. You should only lazy load to the widgets that involve loading external data.
These were my picks for the best lazy loading plugins for WordPress. While the ultimate website performance depends on various other things, these plugins would be able to help you in improving the situation.
Do you use any WordPress lazy load plugins now? If yes, please share your experience with us and other readers. And if you are new to lazy loading plugins, let us know which plugin you are planning to use and why.