The Jetpack WordPress plugin has seen its share of drama over the years. Some folks argue that it’s a burden on site resources, while others can’t imagine running a website without it.
We’re on the side of endorsing Jetpack, and we’ll explain the arguments below. Not only that, but many experts state that WordPress wouldn’t be remotely popular if it weren’t for Jetpack.
Overall, I understand some of the questions people have about Jetpack WordPress, considering it’s a plugin filled with features that you would assume would cause performance problems. But according to our research, it’s actually the opposite case.
What’s the Main Reason People Have Qualms With the Jetpack WordPress Plugin?
Some developers believe that the WordPress Jetpack plugin slows down sites. The plugin is generally included automatically on a new WordPress installation, so this makes you wonder whether or not Automattic has done the testing to decide what the truth is. I would assume they have most definitely completed tons of tests on Jetpack. But they are also making money off of the plugin, so the results may be biased.
Several publications ran tests prior to me writing this article, and the consensus seems to come out that although requests and page sizes are slightly reduced when removing WordPress Jetpack, the average page load time doesn’t change enough to cause concern.
When a completed a quick test for one of my sites it revealed the GTMetrix Page Load Time with WordPress Jetpack activated.
Then, the evaluation was run with Jetpack deactivated:
As you can see, a little bit changed, but not that much. And in my opinion, the Page Load Time is by far the most important factor to consider when it comes to performance. The decrease in requests and total page size is expected. Yes, I would prefer having a slightly faster loading time, but for all of the features you get with Jetpack, the slowing down is minimal.
Since I’ve completed these tests on many of my own sites (and you can find similar tests with a simple Google search,) I’d argue that you’re not going to have problems with Jetpack weighing down your site.
Strong Arguments for Using Jetpack WordPress on Your Site
The good news about Jetpack is that the “bloating” argument is one of the only reasons people will try to recommend against the plugin.
Seeing as how it’s been disproved several times, we can move onto the primary reasons you should be using Jetpack.
Jetpack Makes Most Aspects of Social Media Easy
One of the main reasons developers enjoy WordPress Jetpack so much is because it minimizes the need to have so many plugins. After all, a bunch of separate plugins are far more likely to open up security holes and slow down your site.
For example, if installing individual plugins for social media sharing, icons and posting, you’d constantly have to worry about whether or not all of those plugins are hurting your site.
However, Jetpack provides a tool called Publicize, a module for automatically sharing your posts and pages to social media accounts. Not only that, but you gain access to social media sharing buttons, allowing your users to come to your site and share a post to a site like Facebook, immediately improving your social reach.
The Jetpack WordPress Plugin Has the Simplest Stats on the Market
One of the first modules you’ll notice when installing Jetpack is the Stats Area. Jetpack has a quick stats graph on the main WordPress dashboard, and you can click through to see more information like best overall days, views today, all-time views, all-time comments and much more.
Although I wouldn’t ever make a site without connecting Google Analytics, the Jetpack stats are the simplest option you can go with. Not only that, but developers are far more likely to explain the Jetpack stats to clients, considering Google Analytics are often far too complicated.
The SEO Tools Aren’t Bad Either
WordPress already has SEO functionality built right in, and a new WordPress installation would benefit from Yoast SEO. However, Jetpack has two key SEO elements that you can’t pass up.
One of them is for creating and submitting a sitemap for search engines to easily index your pages and posts. In the past you would have to make a sitemap yourself or find an extra plugin to do the work for you. With Jetpack it only requires a flip of the switch.
The plugin also offers site verification for verifying your site with Google Search, along with an Enhanced Distribution setting for further expanding the reach of your blog posts.
Jetpack Protects Your Site from Danger and Keeps Your Content Safe
I like talking about security and backup plugins quite a bit. After all, you can never be too safe with your website content. However, many folks don’t realize that security and backup tools are already integrated into your website with Jetpack. This often eliminates the need to add yet another plugin, and you may be able to save some cash depending on whether or not you pay for a full backup and security suite.
Jetpack does a wonderful job of identifying and blocking malicious website attacks. It also explains the number of attacks on your site and when they have been blocked. You can decide to pay for options like Malware scanning and spam protection, both of which I would give serious consideration to. Oh yeah, and the backup service is offered through VaultPress. This is one of my favorite backup plugins, so it’s clear that Automattic saw the same thing.
Keep in mind that plugin updates are an essential part of keeping your security holes filled, considering older versions of plugins often lack security updates that come along later in development. Jetpack actually identifies and warns you when plugins need to be updated, very much improving your on-site security.
Finally, a downtime monitoring tool notifies you whenever your site goes completely down. Strangely, WordPress doesn’t do this automatically, so you often end up getting an email from a customer, or you stumble upon the problem yourself. But who knows how long your site had been down? A simple email from Jetpack solves all of these issues.
It’s Like Having a Fast (And Free) Content Delivery Network
Another free offering from Jetpack WordPress includes fast image optimization. Images slow down your site. There’s no arguing that. However, you typically have to go out and grab multiple paid and free plugins to optimize and deliver the images properly.
Jetpack has a tool called Photon, which serves up images more efficiently. Essentially, you’re given a somewhat watered down CDN, making it so that your images can get sent to different servers in a larger network. Therefore, your customers see the images much faster, and the search engines take notice of this as well.
Is the WordPress Jetpack Plugin Right For You?
From my experience with hundreds of WordPress websites, and the fact that the Jetpack WordPress plugin doesn’t seem to slow down your site at all, I’ll continue energetically recommending Jetpack to everyone who asks.
And if you’re still not convinced, take a look at the dozens of other tools and services offered by Jetpack:
- JSON API
- A related posts module for after your blog posts and pages
- A full comments system
- Options for people to like your content
- Gravatar hovercards
- Single Sign-on site authentication
- Tiled galleries
- A carousel for slideshows
- Extra sidebar widgets
- Custom CSS
- Decide which widgets show up on different pages
- Mobile theme support
- Shortlinks for all pages and posts
- Shortcode embeds
- A contact form
- Post by email
- Custom content types
If you have any questions or thoughts about utilizing Jetpack WordPress for your next project, let us know in the comments section below.