As you already know all my websites are hosted with SiteGround and it is the hosting that I always recommend for performance, support and also for the extras and improvements they bring to any WordPress website.
Among these extras, some really important features for WordPress sites are:
- Specific server optimizations for WordPress sites.
- 3 levels of server caching: NGINX Direct Delivery, Dynamic Cache and Memcached
- Full, one-click restorable daily backups
- WordPress site-specific security rules and firewalls
- Their own easy to use and effective security plugin(available for any hosting)
- Own premium optimizations plugin totally free, that WAS only available on sites hosted by SiteGround
And yes, I say “WAS only available on SiteGround hosted sites” because since version 220.127.116.11 you can now install the SG Optimizer premium optimizations plugin for free on your WordPress website, regardless of which hosting company it is hosted with.
Exactly, from now on you can install the SG Optimizer plugin on your WordPress website, no matter if it is hosted on SiteGround or not. You can have a free optimization plugin with features that are usually only offered by paid optimization plugins.
You install it like any other WordPress plugin, activate it and that’s it.
You will have a new menu in the WordPress administration, with all the optimization tools of SG Optimizer.
Let’s see what optimizations the plugin offers, indicating those that are available on any hosting or only on sites hosted on SiteGround, because some of the optimizations, depending on server systems, will only be available on SiteGround, but they are the least, most of the optimizations you can take advantage of them on any hosting.
And don’t worry that it will be difficult to configure, the whole plugin is very easy to use, designed for all types of users, with or without technical knowledge.
With version 18.104.22.168 SiteGround has not only introduced the improvement that it can be used on any hosting, it has also added enhancements to existing features and some new ones:
- NEW – Plugin available for non SiteGround hosted users.
- NEW – File-based full page caching
- NEW – File-based full page cache for logged in users
- NEW – Preload cache (requires FB cache)
- NEW – Compression level settings for individual images
- Code reprogramming and general improvements
- Improved HTML minimization
- Improved deferred loading exclusions
- Improved automatic emptying of custom content types
- Improved cache exclusion for wp-json URLs
- Improved option to test cache on URLs
- Improved CloudFlare detection
- Improved WooCommerce email verification support
- Improved WP-CLI support
After testing these changes on several of my sites where I still kept WP Rocket to optimize some aspects that the previous versions of SG Optimizer did not solve well, I have ended up uninstalling WP Rocket, also here at WPHelp, as I now get better times and more optimized pages just with the tools of the SG Optimizer plugin.
Problems with hosting companies
Although in principle the SG Optimizer plugin can be used on any hosting, you may encounter some problems with some hosting companies.
Here are the ones that I know of or that you have informed me about, and the solution…
SG Optimizer and GoDaddy
If you have tried to install the SG Optimizer plugin on a GoDaddy hosting you will have found that it won’t let you, that it blocks its installation, just like it does with a lot of other plugins blocked on GoDaddy.
In this case, it’s probably just that it won’t let you install it because prior to version 7.0 SG Optimizer could not be installed on other hostings, and now you can.
My recommendation is that you contact GoDaddy and inform them that this has changed and that there is no security or performance (negative) reason for them to block the installation of the plugin, and that they can remove it from their list of blocked plugins.
Why do GoDaddy and some other hosting companies block the installation of WordPress plugins?
This will not only happen with GoDaddy. There are other hosting companies that, for various reasons, block the installation of various plugins, almost always security and optimization (cache, etc.).
This is usually because their hosting plans are oriented to user profiles with little knowledge and they prefer to block access to certain plugins to avoid configuration errors or possible incompatibilities that would generate more work for their support teams.
Other times it is simply because they prefer to have very closed hosting plans, with basic but secure configurations that, again, generate as few problems and support requests as possible.
This is the way it is.
What is SG Optimizer missing?
Yes, this optimization plugin is one of(if not “the”) the best we have available. And you can see it easily changing your optimization plugin with this one and seeing the differences in tests.
But despite this, in my opinion, SG Optimizer still lacks a setting to be perfect: Adding missing dimensions of images. This setting does have WP Rocket but in my tests, overall, on no occasion did WP Rocket manage to outperform in scores and main web metrics the results with SG Optimizer, even being on a hosting that did not take advantage of SiteGround’s caching systems, nor the automatic image optimization or the conversion to WebP.
Of course, testing can vary depending on the type of website and page being analyzed, and in each case you’ll need to adjust different parameters of the optimization plugin tools, adding exclusions, etc. But it’s great to have a free optimization plugin as powerful as SG Optimizer and with so many tools that are usually paid.
And if you want to have all the full features, including their own servers, then I recommend you to host your websites on SiteGround.