Yesterday evening I was having a spliff with a friend of mine who is also into SEO stuff. We were talking about WordPress CMS, plugins we usually use, optimization, etc. When we got into caching, I was especially excited explaining to him how I managed to get a score of 95+ on Google PageSpeed Insight. He was quite surprised as he never managed to get a score of more than 85.
I told him about a great caching plugin I use on all my sites I build. That's WP Rocket.
It's an amazing caching plugin, very user-friendly. Basically, you just install it, click activate and that's it. For most of us, the default settings are good to go. No tinkering, tweaking, testing, nothing. Just set and forget.
Of course, you can manage to speed up your site also with free plugins like WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache. But whenever I used them in the past, I always had to take time to set it up properly, to get the results I wanted. I always missed the simplicity of setting it up. And even though I tried different caching settings, I never managed to get even near to the score of 95 on Google PageSpeed Insight.
Anyway, in the middle of the debate about WP Rocket plugin, of course, I wanted to show him the PageSpeed results. And then I embarrassed myself. 😂
The results were:
I was like "WTF, no way! 🤔". When I last checked it was like 95+ all the time. What's wrong with my site? At least Google PageSpeed Insight has become very good at showing you, what is causing a slowdown and advising you how to properly fix the problems.
The biggest (if not the only) problem was actually a Contact Form 7 plugin. As soon as I disabled the plugin, run the PageSpeed test again, the score was back to normal 95+.
But it was not the Contact Form 7 itself causing this slowdown. The root of this mess was the ReCaptcha, free spam protection service from Google, which is integrated inside Contact Form 7. As soon as you insert Site Key and Secret Key, this part of plugin activates and the problems begin.
Then I tried to clear the keys, activated the plugin again and the problem was solved.
That's because of how the ReCaptcha v3 actually works. It is activated through all the pages on your site, tracking visitors behavior. Then the algorithm decides whether you are a real human or a nasty bot.
This means it is useless to disable it on other pages. This solution is of no use. You either downgrade Contact Form 7 to a version where it used v2 version of ReCaptcha or just not to use ReCaptcha at all. I'm not a big fan of having outdated plugins on my site, it's not safe at all. So I decided not to use ReCaptcha for now.
And the results were back to normal 🙂
For now, I just use without ReCaptcha enabled. I will see how well Akismet will perform and I'll go from there. Some say we should get rid of CF7 for good and use Ninja Forms instead. I'll see...
And as I mentioned my favorite caching plugin WP Rocket, this is how the results look like without having it installed:
I hope this info helps anyone who is struggling to overcome this issue.
Personally, I just don't get why Google don't exclude these scripts out of algorithms calculating page speed on PageSpeed Insight tool. On one hand, Google tries to encourage us to get the best page speed results (It has also become one of the ranking factors). But on the other hand, their own anti-spam service slows it down. Strange world we live in. 😀
Take care. 🙂