6 Lazy Load Plugins to Make Your WordPress Site Faster

Sites with a ton of images can take forever to load. For every image, that’s another HTTP request, and more time your users have to wait in frustration while pages load slowly.

So what’s the solution? Lazy loading. It can significantly speed up image-heavy sites and takes no time at all to enable on your site. Lazy loading forces images to load only when they are “above the fold.” In other words, only images that come into view in a user’s browser will load. So if you have a page featuring 10 Fresh and Free Fullscreen WordPress Themes, only the first few images in the post will load and the others will load as the user scrolls down the page.

To help you get started on lazy loading, I’ve put together a collection of free lazy loading plugins for images, all same-same but different – some with options and settings and some with tiny footprints.

Do you use lazy loading on your site? Has it helped make your site faster? Tell us in the comments below.

  • Lazy Load

    Lazy Load couldn’t be easier to use – just install and activate it and you’re good to go. There are no settings or customizations to tweak. This plugin just works.

    It uses jQuery.sonar to only load an image when it’s visible above fold. You might be interested to know Lazy Load is an amalgamation of code written by the WordPress.com VIP team at Automattic, the TechCrunch 2011 Redesign team, and Jake Goldman from WordPress consultancy 10up.

  • BJ Lazy Load

    BJ Lazy Load allows you to lazy load selected images, including post images and thumbnails, Gravatar images and iFrames, and replace content with a placeholder.

    Unlike Lazy Load, there are some simple settings that allow you to customize how the plugin works, such as choosing a placeholder and skipping images with classes.

    This plugin caters to size optimized images, automatically serves scaled down images in responsive designs, and automatically serving hiDPI images for hiDPI screens (like Apple’s retina display).

  • jQuery Image Lazy Load WP

    Like the name suggests, this plugin adds jQuery lazy loading to images.

    It’s easy to use – just install, activate and images on your site will load as users scroll down the page and image come into view.

    There aren’t any fancy settings. This is, as the plugin author describes, a “quick and dirty” WordPress plugin.

  • Image Lazy Load (Unveil.js)

    This plugin is a lightweight version of Lazy Load (mentioned above), with support for serving high-resolution images to devices with retina displays.

    Image Lazy Load includes similarly lightweight settings, with options for loading images on mobile devices and the number of pixels reached before an image comes into view and loads.

  • Rocket Lazy Load

    This tiny script (less than 2kb!) displays all images in a post or widget, thumbnails, avatars and emoticons as users scroll down your site.

    It doesn’t come with any options or customizations, just install and activate this plugin and let it do it’s thing.

  • Unveil Lazy Load

    Unveil Lazy Load is another lightweight jQuery plugin. It also uses Unveil.js, giving it a footprint of less than 0.5KB.

    This plugin works straight out of the box, lazy loading your images as soon as you install and activate it.

Image credit: 55Laney69.