Make Your WordPress Site FLY with Hummingbird

Make Your WordPress Site FLY with Hummingbird

Today we’re excited to introduce you to Hummingbird, our brand new performance and optimization plugin… The hero you didn’t know your website needed.

Lightweight and high-powered, Hummingbird caches, minifies, combines, defers script loading, compresses, and makes your site a lean, mean speed machine.

Since Hummingbird was launched we’ve added sooo much new stuff. Head over to the project page to check out all the new features! Check out Hummingbird

It packs a punch, making optimizations in line with Google PageSpeed Insights and finding new ways to make it load faster, because when it comes to page speed – and especially Google – every millisecond counts.

Hummingbird: WordPress on Speed

We built Hummingbird to give you simple and intuitive tools to get your page speed well and truly cranking.

How many times have you run your site through Google PageSpeed Insights and stared at the results, wondering how exactly to follow up the vague suggestions? Things like “leverage browser caching” or “minify CSS” and even “optimize images.”

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve googled “eliminate render-blocking JavaScript.” Yes, I can see render-blocking JavaScript is a problem on your site, but how do I actually fix it?

We designed Hummingbird in a way that not only directly fixes many of the these issues slowing down your site, but also provides clear and easy to follow instructions on how you can further improve your PageSpeed Insights score, right down to the specific files you need to edit or move to the footer of your site, and even the images you need to compress.

Hummingbird communicates directly with our Performance Service, which we custom built to power The Hub for our members, effectively turning your site into an awesome experimental speed platform. This lets you tweak your configurations and immediately see in-dashboard what effect the updates you make have on your page speed.

Performance Report

Scan your site and get an in-depth report on just how well it’s performing.

Hummingbird examines the same vital components of your website as Google PageSpeed Insights and gives you an overall score out of 100 so you can quickly determine whether you need to make performance improvements to your site.

The performance report also provides scores out of 100 for aspects of your site that you may want to consider fixing, including render blocking resources, server response time, image optimization, and minification.

Hummingbird plugin performance report
Scan your site for a full performance report and recommendations.

When you click “Improve Score” next to any of the recommendations, you will be provided detailed insights into what is slowing down your site and advice on what you need to do to improve your PageSpeed score.

Hummingbird performance recommendations
Get detailed advice on how to fix issues with your site that are slowing it down, including render-block resources.

And when you scroll down further, you’ll see detailed advice on how to improve your site:

Hummingbird performance advice.
Hummingbird performance advice.

Uptime Monitoring

Hummingbird has a trusty sidekick! Monitor keeps an eye on your site around the clock and lets you know the second anything goes wrong, including slow response times, server errors, and pages disappearing.

To activate Monitor, simply enable it from the Hummingbird dashboard. You will then see a full log of your uptime, downtime, outages, average response time (including a handy graph), as well as the last reported time your site was offline.

Hummingbird uptime monitoring
Let Monitor keep an eye on your site and let you know the second it goes offline.

GZIP Compression

Turn on GZIP compression for your HTML, JavaScript, and CSS files and watch your site fly.

You can also select your server type for precise control.

Hummingbird GZIP compression
Compress your files so they load more quickly.

Browser Caching

Turn on browser caching so you can temporarily store your site’s data on your users’ devices, ensuring your content loads super quickly for return visitors.

From the Browser Caching interface in Hummingbird, you can set the number of days you want your content to remain on visitor devices before they have to download it again.


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Hummingbird browser caching
Your site will load more quickly with browser caching switched on.


Choose which specific files you want to minify and combine, and even whether you want to include them in the header or footer of your site, or keep them in the original position. Hummingbird will also let you know how much space you’ve saved reducing your files.

Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of the Minification settings page for a super cool graph illustrating how your files have been combined and minified.

Hummingbird minification
Big things come in small packages. Minify your content and ensure it’s served up super fast.

Image Optimization

If you’re serious about speeding up your site, optimizing your images is an absolute must. Pair Hummingbird with our popular image compression plugin Smush Pro.

Just check out the live stats:

  • 76,266,514,802
    images smushed since we re-launched WP Smush
  • We’ve saved users a total of
    . That’s
    image bytes Google is no longer penalizing websites for
  • We smush images for
    different WordPress sites each day
  • At peak times, we often handle smushing 200+ images per second with no major slowdowns
  • 6.39
    average lossless compression overall (WP Smush Pro average is even higher due to multi-method optimization)
  • On average, Super-Smush (lossy compression) has a real-world compression rate of
    (but we often see it beat lossless by 2-10x as a lot of images coming through from members have been previously compressed).

Hummingbird vs Google PageSpeed Insights

Google loves fast loading pages that display above-the-fold content in an instant. But when you scan your site using the popular service, you’re given a bunch of complicated rules, and somehow you’re always stuck with a page speed rank of about 80 anyway.

So how do you fix it?

In order to show you just what Hummingbird is capable of, we installed the plugin on a site that scored 52/100 and improved it to a ranking of 88/100 in about 5 minutes. Hummingbird also reduced the fold load time from 5.88 seconds to 3.63 seconds (according to Pingdom).

And to make it a fair challenge, we tested a site using Upfront, our fully-featured theme framework. No special performance themes, just 100% the real deal.

Step 1: Install Hummingbird

As with any of our plugins, simply download our WPMU DEV Dashboard plugin to automagically install directly on the site.

Alternatively, you can you can install Hummingbird manually via FTP.

Step 2: Run Your First Performance Scan

This is where things get really interesting. From within Hummingbird’s settings interface, you can run a performance scan of your site. So let’s do that.

Step 3: Read the Results

Each result has a custom recommendation for how to solve the problem and raise your performance. There’s regular tech speak if you like that sort, and then there’s real, helpful advice from Hummingbird on how to fix the problem, along with a button to take you to the appropriate settings area.

Step 4: Take Action

Run through every item in your custom performance report and follow the recommendations laid out. This is where Hummingbird truly stands above the competition, allowing you to check, tweak and recheck from within the plugin interface.

Step 5: Enjoy the Results!

When you’ve run through the list, depending on your hosting configuration and what theme you’re using, you could be all the way up to the elusive 95 Google PageSpeed Insights score. We used Upfront, which apart from being really awesome is also pretty heavy duty. We maxed out at a solid 88 – a solid 70% improvement – in just a few minutes.

Image from Google PageSpeed Insights to prove that Hummingbird isn’t just awesome on its own terms, it’s actually really properly awesome.
Image from Google PageSpeed Insights to prove that Hummingbird isn’t just awesome on its own terms, it’s actually really properly awesome.

Download Hummingbird and see for yourself how our performance and optimization plugin can speed up your site.

Since Hummingbird was launched we’ve added sooo much new stuff. Head over to the project page to check out all the new features! Check out Hummingbird Tags: