No one can deny the fact that user experience and speed are a big deal on the Internet. Webmasters are continuously trying to improve the speed and the overall performance of websites. There are many ways to step up website speed, and one of the easiest methods is to remove query strings from static resources.
What Is a Query String?
Simply put, a query string is a URL that contains either “&” or “?.” It contains a group of keywords added to the base URL by a web browser, and it’s created when a user keys in the variables for a database search. Based on the results, the search engine creates a dynamic URL containing the query string. The “?” merely acts as a separator and does not really form part of the query string.
Why You Should Remove Query Strings
When you test the speed of your website using tools like Pingdom, GTmetrix, WebPagetest, or Page Speed tools, you’ll also receive recommendations on how to improve your website’s speed. One of the more common recommendations you’ll come across is to remove query strings from static resources.
Query strings do not fit into the hierarchical path structure. They are too long, and so are of no real use when sending a load of information. Also, query string data are directly visible to the user and can hence pose a security problem.
You can remove query strings from static resources in many ways. Two of the most common methods are by adding a small piece of code in your functions.php file or by using plugins.
In this post, we’ll check out the plugins that’ll help to remove query strings from static resources.
Plugins to Remove Query Strings from Static Resources
Remove Query Strings from Static Resources
The plugin is easy to install and use. Install the plugin as you would with any other WordPress plugin and activate it. Then, simply leave the plugin to do its job. Many users report an increase in speed after activating this plugin.
You should also know that the plugin removes the query strings only from the HTML <head> element, and any query strings in the body are left as they are. If you wish, you can reach out to the authors for a speed review of your website and a free quote for their services to speed it up.More info / Download
W3 Total Cache
Many webmasters install and use W3 Total Cache for caching static resources. If you happen to be one of them, you can prevent the creation of query strings by making changes in the settings. Click on Browser Cache under Settings, and uncheck the box for Prevent caching of objects after settings change.
W3 Total Cache enjoys over a million downloads and is used by famous names like AT&T and SmashingMagazine. It is not specific to any hosting service and can work in a wide range of hosting environments. Removing query strings is only a small part of the wide range of features offered by this plugin. Its main function is to improve overall website performance by carrying out a number of optimization measures, all of which add up to a faster website.More info / Download
Speed Booster Pack
The Speed Booster Pack plugin is powerful and designed to do many things to boost the speed of your website. It’s easy to use—simply install and activate. A new sub menu item, Speed Booster Pack, will appear on your dashboard from where you can modify the options.
In the plugin options page, you’ll also see brief statistics related to your homepage loading speed. The number of queries processed is displayed in a progress color bar.
WP Performance Score Booster
A simple free plugin, WP Performance Score Booster is designed to improve website performance by browser caching, GZIP compression, and removal of query strings from static resources. There are no complicated settings or configuration, and you simply have to install, activate, and enable the three options.
However, it’s necessary that your hosting provider must enable gzip compression, and the .htaccess file in your root folder must have write permissions.More info / Download
Comet Cache builds a cache of every page, post, and link on your website and stores them intuitively. Fetching these cached pages is faster. Moreover, the plugin displays as an item in the dashboard menu, where you get to configure options as you like. It can recognize when to serve a cached version of the file.
It allows client side caching as well as setting up an automatic expiration time for cache files. The plugin is packed with features to optimize website performance. Even so, you may want to consider the pro version if you need CDN support, HTML compression, an auto-cache engine, an automatic updater, and more.More info / Download
Query Strings Remover
Query Strings Remover is a plugin whose main function is to remove query strings from static resources.
Simply install and activate the plugin. No configuration is necessary. The plugin author advises you to empty your cached resources to actually see improvement in your website speed.More info / Download
If you prefer a premium plugin to tackle query strings, you can try WP Rocket. It boosts website performance almost immediately on activation. There’ll be no need to deal with complex plugin settings.
The plugin integrates a number of features, all aimed at improving the performance of the website. Not only does the plugin include a self-hosted bot that crawls your site and generates cached files. It also packs in a sitemap preload feature. Needless to say, the plugin also removes query strings from static resources. Enabling the option to remove query strings in WP Rocket will encode the version number into the URL. This way, users will always receive the latest version of your file.More info / Purchase
Improving the speed and performance of your website is not a one-time measure. A whole lot of major and minor tweaks go into speeding up your website. Removing query strings from static resources is easy to implement and can result in visible improvement in speed. The plugins referred in this post can help you along. Do let us know how they worked for you in the Comments section below.