New Hummingbird Update Ushers In Unified Notifications, a Wizard, and More!

New Hummingbird Update Ushers In Unified Notifications, a Wizard, and More!

Our well-loved page speed optimization suite just got even suite-er with a new version release!

Hummingbird is here to make your day brighter. We’ve added a slew of new features and improvements, from a browser cache wizard (which automates the process), to a brand new Notifications dashboard widget―with all of your reports and notifiers combined.

Keep reading to check out all the newness, or jump ahead using these links:

Enough suspense… let’s tear into this package. 😁

True Blue and New

Hummingbird has had Notifications, Performance Reports and state of the art Caching features for some time now, but we’ve upped the ante on all of them.

We’re gonna dive into the details, starting with…

New, More Useful and Unified Notifications Module

Notifications have been revamped, and are more functional than ever.

You can use notifications to automate your workflow, sending reports and notification messages directly to any inbox, and at the schedule of your choosing.

There are four types of Notifications:

  • Performance Test – schedule and send regular performance tests of your site
  • Uptime Reports – send reports of any of your sites’ downtime in a given timeframe
  • Database Cleanup – schedule and send reports for regular cleanups of your database {NEW}
  • Uptime Notifications – instant notification of any downtime to allow for timely action

It used to be that you needed to visit each specific feature to set up or view notifiers. Now they are all grouped in one section, which saves time and effort. And looks spiffy, too!

You can access Notifications two different ways, from the WordPress dashboard main menu:

  • Hummingbird, then scroll down (last module on right)
  • Hummingbird > Notifications
Hummingbird notification module, two ways.
Two options for getting to the Notifications module.

Click on the Manage Notifications button to access settings.

To create a new Notification for any report type, click the plus + icon from the desired notification type row. This will open the scheduling wizard.

Enabling notifications in Hummingbird
Enabling notifications in Hummingbird.

Configuring is fast and easy through the Notifications wizard.

Scheduling options for Performance Tests, Uptime Reports, and Database Cleanup types are identical. You can set the Frequency (daily, weekly, or monthly), the Day, and the Time you’d like the report to run.

Scheduling options for Uptime Notifications is a single setting only, for Threshold. This enables you to trigger email notifications based on the amount of time your site is down (5, 10, or 30 minutes).

Threshold uptime notifications
Choose what Threshold time will trigger email notifications when your site is down.

Note that any recipients for Uptime Notifications will receive an email invitation to subscribe, and must confirm that subscription (via the clickable link) in order to receive them.

Notification confirm subscription
Subscribers who’ve not yet accepted your Uptime invite (pending) will have a stopwatch icon.

For notifications you’ve already set up, you will see a blue Enabled status and a cog icon instead of a plus sign. Click the cog icon to Reconfigure―or Disable―any notification, and simply revise at will using the same wizard you originally set it up through.

Notification configure
Reconfiguring is as easy as a few clicks.

Performance Reports Get a Greenlight for Subsites*

Performance reports have been a part of prior Hummingbird versions. However, now this option is also available in every subsite in multisite installs.

You can schedule regular performance tests of your site and send reports of the data to any recipients you desire. These can be for desktop only, mobile only, or both. You can also specify the test Results you want included in your reports: Score Metrics, Audits, and Historic Field Data.

Sample Performance report delivered via email.

Schedule Database Cleanups, & Get Reports*

This feature will allow you to schedule regular cleanups of your database, and send reports with this information to recipients of your choosing.

The Database Cleanup settings enable you to specify which Tables should be included in your scheduled cleanups and corresponding reports. The options are:

  • Post Revisions
  • Draft Posts
  • Trashed Posts
  • Spam Comments
  • Trashed Comments
  • Expired Transients
  • All Transients

To set up, navigate to the Hummingbird Notifications module. Then from the Database Cleanup row, click on the plus + sign.

From the Scheduling window, select Frequency, Day, and Time, then click the Continue button.

Database cleanup schedule
Choose your desired options in the Scheduling window.

Next is the Recipients window. Add people one at a time―from site users, or invite by email―then click the Add Recipient button after each. Once your recipient list is complete, click the Continue button.

Database cleanup recipients
Add Recipients from site users or email addresses.

Finally we have the Customize window. Check the boxes for the Tables you’d like to include (likewise, uncheck any to exclude), then click the Activate button.

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Database cleanup customize
You get to decide which Tables you’d like to be in the Database Cleanup report.

That’s it! You can view or revise your settings anytime from the Notifications section of the dashboard module in Hummingbird.

Click here for full documentation on Notifications in Hummingbird.

*Reports are available in the Pro version of Hummingbird only.

Browser Caching Setup is a Wiz with This Automation

The new Browser Caching wizard will get you set up properly, and is a cinch to use.

If your site is hosted with WPMU DEV, Browser Caching has already been configured and no further action is needed.

To access the wizard, navigate to Hummingbird > Caching > Browser Caching, then click on the Configure button.

Browser caching wizard
Hummingbird’s Browser Caching wizard makes setup a breeze.

The first step is Choosing Server Type.

Hummingbird will automatically detect the server type used by your site, however you can manually select another option if need be. (If you have CloudFlare integration enabled, the wizard will skip this step.)

Browser cache server type
Server type is automatically detected in the browser caching wizard.

Click the Next button to proceed to step two, Set Expiry Time.

Here you can select All file types or Individual file types, along with more than a dozen incremental time frames ranging from one hour to one year.

Browser cache expiry time
It’s ideal to Set Expiry Time to the longest value possible.

Click the Next button to proceed to step three: Add Rules for your server type.

Browser cache applying rules
If you have enabled CloudFlare integration, the wizard will apply the rules directly to your CF account for this site, and no further action will be required.

On Apache servers, the wizard will attempt to apply the browser caching rules automatically to the .htaccess file.

However, if your .htaccess file is not writable or if the wizard encounters unexpected issues, you’ll be prompted to copy & paste the code generated by the wizard. Once done, click the Check Status button.

If your site is running on any of the below servers (and not hosted by WPMU DEV), Hummingbird cannot automatically configure browser cache, so you will need to set it up manually. Contact your hosting provider if you’re not sure what server your site is running on.

Guidance for setting up other server options, follows:

  • OpenLitespeed – see this OpenLiteSpeed guide
  • Nginx – manually add the required rules to your nginx.conf file, usually located at /etc/nginx/nginx.conf or /usr/local/nginx/nginx.conf
  • IIS7 (or above) – manually add the required rule following this Microsoft guide

At any time during this process, you can go back a step by clicking the Previous button, or click the Quit Setup button to exit the wizard.

Click here for full documentation on Adding Rules in Browser Caching.

WP Ultimo Now Has Page Cache Integration

Hoorah for WP Ultimo users! This new feature is automatic, so you won’t see the settings for it, but rest assured we’ve got you covered.

Hummingbird automatically works behind the scenes to ensure cache is cleared on domain-mapped subsites, as it should be.

One Last Enhancement (Hint: AO)

There is one last enhancement in this version release…

You can now change the file location for Asset Optimization in multisite.

This allows you to choose where Hummingbird should store your modified assets. This is helpful for those who prefer to store assets in custom directories, perhaps due to internal company policies, or in order to change the hummingbird-assets path for whitelabel purposes.

To access this setting, navigate to:

Hummingbird > Asset Optimization > Settings > File Location

Asset optimizations file location
Choose where you want your modified assets to be stored.

If you’re using WPMU DEV’s CDN, this feature is inactive.

Keep Your Site Humming

The new features and improvements in this latest version of Hummingbird continue to make it a must-have tool. 

And, we already have the next set of new features in the works, which as of right now includes:

  • Adding font optimization to automatic mode in asset optimization module
  • Improved UI for manual mode in asset optimization
  • New onboarding wizard
  • Safe Mode in asset optimization
  • many more improvements to asset optimization

We always keep a running list of upcoming features in our roadmap so you can take a peek anytime and see what’s in the pipeline.

The free version of Hummingbird is feature-packed, and definitely worth implementing on your sites. But if you want to really blow your speed out of the water and switch on more premium features, check out Hummingbird Pro.

You will see a vast improvement in load times once you install and activate either version of Hummingbird, and can continue to tweak your settings for optimal performance.

Prepare to fly!

Have you checked out the latest features in Hummingbird? Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

Janette Burhans

Janette Burhans Janette Burhans is a blog writer, WhiP & Roundup contributor, and content creator at WPMU DEV. Her professional career as an author and artist spans over two decades, half of those in the world of WordPress. Her writing has been featured in Glamour magazine, and her personal blog, Platinum Pink. Connect with Janette on Twitter & LinkedIn.