Are you tired of taking the oars out? Tired of blowing on your screen? Tired of pedaling in semolina?
In short, you are fed up that your WordPress site is dragginglike this little snail who showed his face after the last rain?
I understand you. To fix this, you probably know WP Rocket (aff link). However, a less experienced, but very greedy plugin (it grows visibly), can also help you out of the doldrums. Her name ? Jetpack Boost.
This extension spreads an enticing promise: improve the performance and SEO of your site in a very simple way.
I don’t know about you, but I’m interested. As I wanted to see more clearly, I put on my serial tester suit and fiddled with this new plugin.
Discover my detailed opinion and my conclusions without further delay.
Originally written in September 2021, this article was last updated in September 2022.
What is Jetpack Boost?
Since writing the first version of this article and updating it, the plugin has grown exponentially. Its number of active installations has increased 10 times, from 10,000 to more than 100,000.
Not bad at all for an extension whose version 1.0 has been available since September 2021. In addition, user feedback is very good: Jetpack Boost records an overall rating ofstars.
Jetpack Boost = Jetpack… or not at all?
On the backstage side, you should know that Jetpack Boost is developed and maintained by the creators of Jetpack, understand the house of Automattic. The latter is the company that contributes most to WordPress.org. I tell you more about it in this videoBesides.
If Jetpack Boost is intimately linked to Jetpack, the two extensions each have their own operation. This means that Jetpack Boost doesn’t need Jetpack to work, and vice versa.
As the plugin FAQ on the official directory very clearly details:
Jetpack Boost is a separate expansion from Jetpack and will always remain so.
Nauris Pukis, engineer at Automattic and who works on Jetpack Boost, abounded in this direction in an article from the specialized blog WP Tavern.
It stated the following: “We want Jetpack Boost to have a life of its own, to be performance-focused and accessible to everyone, including people who don’t want to use the main Jetpack plugin. »
The Jetpack extension doesn’t really speak to you, or maybe you want to learn more about it? WPMarmite has what you need: a detailed review of this ultra-popular, but also controversial plugin. And if you’re a video fan, don’t worry: we also have gear in store, just below :
Jetpack Boost and the core concept of Core Web Vitals
If Jetpack Boost promises you to improve the performance of your site, it also puts the package on two other elements, at the level of its communication, as well on its description present on the official directory, as on the presentation page dedicated to the plugin.
According to him, it would also be beneficial to improve your “essential web signals” and, by extension, your natural referencing (SEO).
Don’t panic if this supposed gibberish still doesn’t tell you too much, I’ll explain it all to you. Let’s start with the “Essential Web Signals”, called Core Web Vitalsin English.
This is a set of signals that Google considers important in evaluating the user experience experienced by an Internet user on a web page.
- loading speed, specifically the time it takes for a page to display its largest visible element. In the jargon, we speak of Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) ;
- Interactivity, which measures the responsiveness of a web page (ex: the time elapsed between the moment a visitor clicks on a link and the page loads). Here we are talking about First Input Delay (FID) ;
- Visual stability (Cumulative Layout Shift, CLS). There shouldn’t be too many element changes on your page as it loads.
Since September 2021, the “ Core Web Vitals » are taken into account by the Google algorithmwithin an update called “Page Experience”.
Concretely, this means that Essential Web Signals are now used by Google to rank a page in its search results.
However, as SEO specialist Olivier Andrieu put it on his blog, “the effects of this update will be very small on the results”.
In summary, don’t worry too much about the Core Web Vitals, but take the opportunity to take care of the loading time of your pages, which is very important for the user experience. For this, Jetpack Boost should give you a significant helping hand. 😉
And SEO, in all this?
By improving your page load times, Jetpack Boost claims you will also improve your SEO.
By helping you to speed up the loading speed of your pages, let’s rather say that Jetpack Boost will indirectly help you not to penalize your natural referencing.
If a page of your site is displayed faster, for example, you will have more chances of limit your bounce ratewhich is a bad signal sent to Google.
I hope everything is clearer for you. Now follow me: I show you how to install Jetpack Boost.
Jetpack Boost talks about “simple installation process”. I spoil, before moving on: indeed, everything is easy and takes place in 2 stages.
Step 1: Install and activate the extension
To get started, go to the menu Extensions > Add on your administration interface. Add and then activate Jetpack Boost.
Step 2: Link Jetpack Boost to a WordPress.com account
Now you need to link Jetpack Boost to a WordPress.com account to get access to performance scores and more.
Click the green button “Get Started” (To start up) :
I already have a WordPress.com account, so logging in is automatic and quick. If this is not your case, the extension will guide you through the creation process.
When everything is good, you will have access to a brief settings page containing the performance score of your site, and 3 modules to activate/deactivate of your choice.
Discover them in detail in the next section.
A simple and clean interface
Jetpack Boost offers a clear and precise settings interface, mainly because its options are not legion.
It can be divided into 3 parts:
An overall performance score (overall score). It’s sort of an average between your performance score on mobile and desktop screen.
For this, Jetpack Boost is based on scores from PageSpeed Insights, one of the performance measurement tools offered by Google.
The extension assigns you a rating in the form of a letter. I get a C, which is still very average. So I have my work cut out, especially on the mobile version of my WordPress site!
Three modules to improve performance. The user can activate/deactivate each module with one click, as is already the case with Jetpack, for example.
There is nothing else to configure, which makes life easier for the user.
Let’s now look at the modules, which are the heart of this extension.
Zoom on each module
In order for Jetpack Boost to help you improve the loading time of your pages, you will need to activate one or more of its modules.
In detail, here is what they do:
optimize CSS loading (Optimize CSS Loading). This module uses a technique called Critical CSS. It consists of extracting the CSS code corresponding to the part of the site visible without scrolling (we say “above the fold”in English).
This makes the page display faster (no need to load the whole CSS file), especially on mobile;
load images offline (Lazy Image Loading). the lazy loadliterally lazy loading, allows your page images to load only when the visitor scrolls down the page.
Jetpack Boost clarifies that this “makes your site faster and saves bandwidth for your host and your customers”.
Jetpack Boost also offers a paid option that automates the implementation of the Critical CSS technique to optimize the loading of your site’s CSS code. For your information, this service is billed at €9.95/month the first year (€18.95/month from the second year). A very substantial investment to take advantage of a single feature, however effective it may be.
Each time you activate or deactivate a module, you can refresh the page by clicking on the small link “Refresh”to have Jetpack Boost calculate your new score.
As for the refresh of the module devoted to the optimization of CSS loading, Jetpack Boost specifies that this can “take more time”, “depending on the size of your site “.
Stopwatch in support, the maneuver lasted 3 minutes for me. It gave me time to sip a lemonade, at least…
To find out if Jetpack Boost really boosted my page loading speed, I decided to put it to work by running it through a series of tests.
Performance test with Jetpack Boost
So, is Jetpack Boost really effective? You’ll have to wait a little longer to find out.
To begin, let’s recontextualize. For the purposes of this article, I activated Jetpack Boost on my professional website, which also serves as my lab. This site is hosted on a shared o2switch server (aff link).
It has about fifteen pages and articles, and my Media Library contains 102 items.
Besides, I use 29 extensions (including 26 active at the time of the test) and the Beaver Builder page builder. We are therefore not on a fresh installation, as you can see.
Testing with Pingdom Tools
First, I used the Pingdom Tools toolin order to have a global and general vision of the performance of my homepage.
Here are the results, before activating the Jetpack Boost modules:
Once the three modules were activated, it gave this:
We can see a small improvement in performance between the two situations (before/after):
- the loading time is almost identical ;
- the weight of the page has decreased, as has the number of requests.
Testing with PageSpeed Insights
To obtain even more precise and specific results in relation to the Core Web VitalsI then chose to use PageSpeed Insights.
This tool, offered by Google, offers detailed information on Essential Web Signals.
Here are the results without any of the Jetpack Boost modules being activated, for the “computer” version of my site:
And now, look what it looks like after activating the three Jetpack Boost modules:
Here again, we can see an improvement: the overall performance score went from 92 to 97.
If we go into the detail of “Essential web signals”, we can see that:
- the Largest Contentful Paint improved from 1.3s to 1.1s ;
- the Cumulative Layout Shift changed from 0.002s to 0.003s.
Above all, all the signals have turned green. It’s not visible here, but I also noticed an improvement in my score on mobile, from 58 to 68.
In conclusion, we can therefore say that Jetpack Boost had a positive impact on the performance of my site.
The above results provide a first overview, but cannot be considered as a final and definitive judgement. You may have different data at home, depending on your hosting, or the plugins you use. While performance rating services are useful, you shouldn’t focus on that either, but rather on “the actual loading time of your site” and “the impression of fluidity”, as detailed in this article.
Jetpack Boost and other performance extensions
At the moment, as you have seen, Jetpack Boost is an efficient plugin but limited in terms of options.
The Automattic team knows this very well. On the official directory, it also indicates “working hard to add new features and improvements to Jetpack Boost”.
It is therefore difficult to honestly compare it to other extensions on the market.
However, as a webmaster who wants to boost your page load speed, you might want to know how Jetpack Boost compares to the competition.
Concretely, there are several solutions to improve the performance of a site. For example, there are extensions for:
And then there are cache extensions. The cache is a system that consists in keeping in memory the pages of your site already loaded, in order to be able to offer them to your visitors more quickly, thereafter.
From the point of view of ease of use and the options offered, WP Rocket (aff link) is the one that WPMarmite finds the most efficient.
More than a caching plugin, WP Rocket offers multiple options to boost the performance of your site, globally :
- HTML code minification;
In this, it is perhaps the extension that comes closest to what Jetpack Boost offers at the moment.
Between the two, there is no comparison: WP Rocket is much more powerful, no hesitation on that (on the other hand, it is not free and offered from 47 €/year).
But once again, I insist, the comparison is to be taken with (big) tweezers.
Jetpack Boost may be nipping at his ankles in a few months, because Automattic has ambitions to make his baby one hell of a glutton.. In any case, it is programmed to evolve.
As Pukis told WP Tavern, “There are so many things we want to do. Starting with simple modules that bundle other typical optimization techniques (like concatenation, minification, etc.), to more advanced ideas like performance tracking, smart performance suggestions, and more. »
To see if the promises are kept. Since the launch of the extension, the main features are still the same, and I haven’t seen any major changes to the extension.
Jetpack Boost can work seamlessly with a cache extension. On the other hand, be careful: if the plugins you are using (the cache plugin and Jetpack Boost) have similar options, do not activate them at the same time. Jetpack Boost specifies that this could create “unexpected problems”.
Jetpack Boost Final Opinion
Throughout this article, you have learned about the Jetpack Boost extension. Brand new in the circuit, it is interesting on several levels:
- it fulfills its basic promise: to improve the performance of your website ;
- it is free (apart from an additional paid option which has no major interest to be used alone, in my opinion);
- it is super easy to set up.
Download the Jetpack Boost extension:
Its ease of use makes it a tool of choice for beginners who do not want to bother with technique.
And that is a real asset because many plugins intended to improve performance are often complex to configure. Take a look at W3 Total Cache and its infinite settings page, and you’ll understand…
On the other hand, Jetpack Boost currently offers very few options. This is, in my opinion, its main limitation..
If you want an all-in-one extension capable of optimizing the loading speed of your site from A to Z, WP Rocket (aff link) is for example much more appropriate at the time of this writing.
On your side, what do you think of Jetpack Boost? Give us your opinion by posting a comment just below. 👇