No one can deny the fact that user experience and speed is a big deal on the internet. Webmasters are continuously trying to improve website speed, and thereby improve the overall performance of the website. There are many ways in which you can step up website speed, and one of the easiest methods is to remove query strings from static resources.
What is a Query String?
Simply put, a query string is a URL that contains either ‘&’ or ‘?’. It contains a group of keywords added to the base URL by a web browser and it’s created when a user keys in the variables for a database search. Based on the results, the search engine creates a dynamic URL containing the query string. The ‘?’ merely acts as a separator, and does not really form part of the query string.
Why You Should Remove Query Strings?
When you test the speed of your website using tools like Pingdom, GTmetrics, or WebPageTest or Page Speed Tools, you’ll also receive recommendations on how to improve website speed. One of the more common recommendations you’ll come across is to remove query strings from static resources.
Query strings do not fit into the hierarchical path structure. They are too long, and so are of no real use when sending a load of information. Also, query string data is directly visible to the user, and hence can pose a security problem.
You can remove query strings from static resources in many ways. Two of the most common methods are – adding a small piece of code in your functions.php file or by using plugins.
In this post, we’ll check out the plugins that’ll help to remove query strings from static resources.
Plugins To Remove Query Strings From Static Resources
Remove Query Strings From Static Resources
The plugin is easy to install and use. Install the plugin as you would with any other WordPress plugin and hit Activate. Then simply leave the plugin to do its job. Many users report an increase in speed after activating this plugin.
You should also know that the plugin removes the query strings only from the HTML <head> element and any query strings in the body is left as it is. If you wish, you can reach out to the authors for a speed review of your website and a free quote for their services to speed it up.
W3 Total Cache
Many webmasters install and use W3 Total Cache Plugin for caching static resources. If you happen to be one of them, you can prevent creation of query strings by making changes in the settings. Click on Browser Cache under Settings and uncheck the box for Prevent caching of objects after settings change.
W3 Total Cache enjoys over a million downloads and is used by famous names like AT&T and SmashingMagazine. It’s not specific to any hosting service and can work in a wide range of hosting environments. Removing query strings is only a small part of the wide range of features offered by this plugin. It’s main function is to improve overall website performance by carrying out a number of optimization measures, all of which add up to a faster website.
Speed Booster Pack
The Speed Booster Pack plugin is powerful and designed to do many things to boost the speed of your website. It’s easy to use – simply install and activate. A new sub menu item Speed Booster Pack will appear on your Dashboard from where you can modify the options.
In the plugin options page, you’ll also see brief statistics relating to your homepage loading speed. The number of queries processed is displayed in a progress color bar.
WP Performance Score Booster
A simple, free plugin that enjoys 40,000+ downloads, WP Performance Score Booster is designed to improve website performance by browser caching, GZIP compression and removing query strings from static resources. There’s no complicated settings or configuration and you simply have to install, activate and enable the three options.
However, it’s necessary that your hosting provider must enable GZIP compression and the .htaccess file in your root folder must have write permissions.
Comet Cache builds a cache of every page, post and link on your website and stores them intuitively. Fetching these cached pages is faster. Moreover, the plugin displays as an item in the dashboard menu, where you get to configure options as you like. It can recognize when to serve a cached version of the file.
It allows client side caching as well as setting up an automatic expiration time for cache files. The plugin is packed with features to optimize website performance. Even so, you may want to consider the pro version if you need CDN support, HTML compression, Auto-cache engine, automatic updater and more.
Query Strings Remover
Query Strings Remover is a plugin whose main function it is to remove query strings from static resources.
Simply install and activate the plugin, no configuration is necessary. The plugin author advises you to empty your cached resources to actually see improvement in your website speed.
If you prefer a premium plugin to tackle query strings, you can try WP Rocket. It boosts website performance almost immediately on activation. There’ll be no need to deal with complex plugin settings.
The plugin integrates a number of features, all aimed at improving the performance of the website. Not only does the plugin include a self hosted bot that crawls your site and generates cached files, it also packs in a sitemap pre-load feature. Needless to say, the plugin also removes query strings from static resources. Enabling the option to remove query strings in WP Rocket will also encode the version number into the URL. This way, users will always receive the latest version of your file.
Improving the speed and performance of your website is not a one time measure. A whole lot of major and minor tweaks goes into speeding up your website. Removing query strings from static resources is easy to implement and can result in visible improvement in speed. The plugins referred in this post can help you along. Do let us know how they worked for you in the Comments below.