CSS or Cascading Style Sheets is a language that helps you to make a web page visually appealing – it controls the fonts, color, layouts, borders, and so on. In short, it is a language that allows you to design the look and feel of your web pages.
What is Minify or Minification?
When developers write code, they follow certain practices that help make it readable and maintainable. Developers typically follow these while writing code:
- Use space, tab, or line breaks to structure the code and make it easier to read and follow.
- Add comments every few lines to explain what the following lines of code or function do to make it easier for them or any other developer to understand it easily.
- Use meaningful variable names to make it easier to reference throughout the code.
Now, while all this is great from a developer’s point of view, they are not necessary for the computer or server to process. This is where Minification comes in.
When you Minify JS or CSS code, you essentially remove all the space between the code, eliminate comments, and replace the meaningful variable names with shorter names – all this is done with the intent that there is less code to parse through and ultimately make the code processing faster. This code optimization will help you speed up a WordPress website.
Related Article: How to Speed Up a WordPress Website
- Minify the code manually
- Use a WordPress plugin to do it for you
- Rely on a CDN to achieve minification
Minify the JS and CSS code manually
This manual process takes time, and I would not recommend this. This is acceptable when working with a few files, but it is not something you can do regularly with many files where the code can change frequently. The right approach would be to use a tool that can do this for you automatically.
If you choose to install and activate the Fast Velocity Minify WordPress plugin, then select the checkbox for the Enable JS and CSS Processing option to get minification working.
WP-Rocket is a premium option, but given all the other speed optimization options available, including caching, image optimization, Database optimization, and lazy loading, it is worth a serious look.
The advantage of this method is that it does not touch any of the files on your WordPress server and keeps them safe from any potential minification issues.
Cloudflare, one of the more popular CDNs in the market, offers a free plan, including the Auto Minify function for JS and CSS.
You may wonder if this is necessary because it just seems to save a couple of hundred bytes. However, the ability to minify files should be seen in the overall context of optimizing the speed of your website, be it on WordPress or any other platform.
By itself, minifying files may deliver some speed improvements, but if you implement all the recommended speed optimization for a WordPress website, it all adds up and can deliver a fast website with quick load times for your users. A page with good load times will also help improve your Core Web Vitals, an important factor in SEO and page ranking driving more visitors to your website.
If you have used another WordPress plugin or an alternative approach, do let us know in the comments section.