This usage document provides an overview of how to use the Hub 2.0 to monitor, optimize, and improve WordPress speed with scans, recommendations, caching, Gzip compression, Asset Optimization, and other performance features included in Hummingbird Pro.

If you haven’t set up your WPMU DEV account yet, visit the Hub page, where you can explore the features, see pricing packages, and start a free trial.

Already a member? Visit your Hub dashboard to get started.

7.1 Getting Started

Link to chapter 1

To access the Performance section of your site from the Hub 2.0 My Sites page, click on the site you would like to manage and click the Performance tab in the site manager menu.

This will open the Performance settings and options available in Hub 2.0.

Hub 2.0 Performance tab overview

If you haven’t set up Hummingbird Pro on your site, click the Activate button to start tracking and managing your Performance in the Hub. This will install and activate Hummingbird Pro on your website and begin a Performance scan looking for areas to improve your site’s performance.

The Performance tabs include:

  • Dashboard
  • Settings
  • Documentation

Click on the tabs to navigate settings and sort available updates and actions available for your website.

7.2 Performance Dashboard Overview

Link to chapter 2

The Performance Dashboard Overview is an overview of available Performance settings, configurations, and quick links for managing and improving website speed and efficiency.

Performance modules in the Hub include:

  • Performance Testing, Results, and Recommendations
  • Gzip Compression
  • Caching
  • Asset Optimization

This chapter covers the available performance settings and configuration options in each of the modules.

7.3 Score Metrics

Link to chapter 3

The performance score is calculated based on the following metrics:

  • Speed Index – An index measured in milliseconds which represents the average time it takes for the above the fold content to become visible. The index also takes into account the progressive loading of your content, which means the sooner the content starts to render, the better your speed index. Note that this metric is highly dependent on the device and screen size being used to view the site. Learn more

  • First Contentful Paint – The period between clicking a link from another site (like a search engine) until the browser renders the first bit of content (text, an image, a canvas element or anything visual) from your website. This is an important milestone for visitors because it provides feedback that the page has started loading. If your FCP is perceived as ‘slow’ to new visitors, they may not wait long enough for the page to load and will bounce. Learn more

  • First Meaningful Paint – Identifies the time required for the primary content — the content you want your visitors to engage with first — to become visible. The sooner the primary content is visible, the sooner your visitors perceive your page as useful. Primary content differs from page to page. For example, on Twitter, the primary content is the first tweet, while on a news site it’s likely the title and featured image. Learn more

  • First CPU Idle – The time when ‘most’ elements on your page can respond to user interactions such as clicking a button or typing text into an input field. This provides feedback to your visitors that they can start interacting with your page. Learn more

  • Time to Interactive – The amount of time it takes for your page to become fully interactive, which requires: 1) the useful content of a page is visible, and 2) the page responds to user interactions within 50ms. In layman’s terms, it’s the time it takes for a user to be able to scroll the page, click a button or type text into an input field without the page lagging. Learn more.
NOTE:

Site performance and efficiency are covered extensively on the WPMU DEV blog. Click the learn more links to read relevant posts or for more technical information, visit Hummingbird Pro documents.

7.3.1 Audits

Link to chapter 3

Audit results provide a breakdown, analysis, and recommendation to improve the performance score.

The Hummingbird Pro Audit has three parts:

  • Opportunities – Areas for improvement with suggestions on how to improve the page’s performance
  • Diagnostic – Information about how a page follows web development best practices
  • Passed – Audits that your page performed well with

The Hub notes how many actions are available for each area of the audit. Clicking on Opportunities, Diagnostics, or Passed opens your results and recommendations in the WordPress Dashboard with configuration options for improving speed.

Clicking on the Settings icon (three dots next to the performance test) provides quick links to run a new test, view the full report, ignore warnings, and display options.

7.3.2 Historic Field Data

Link to chapter 3

This report compiles information about how a particular URL has performed over time and represents anonymized performance data from users in the real-world on a variety of devices and network conditions.

NOTE:

Hummingbird Pro pulls historic data from the Chrome User Experience Report, which collects data over time. Depending on a site’s activity, it can take months to accumulate sufficient data to generate a report.

7.4 Gzip Compression

Link to chapter 4

Gzip compresses webpages and stylesheets before sending them to your visitors’ browsers. The Gzip Compression section in the Hub lets you know if Gzip compression is enabled. Hummingbird can compress:

  • HTML
  • JavaScript
  • CSS

Clicking on the Settings icon provides a quick link to Gzip configuration options from the WordPress Dashboard.

For more information about Gzip configuration options, visit the Gzip Compression section in the Hummingbird usage docs.

7.5 Cache Settings

Link to chapter 5

The cache section of the Hub lists status, recommendations, and provides quick links to settings in the Hub.

Clicking on the Settings icon (three dots next to the cache title) provides a quick link to Cache configuration options in the WordPress Dashboard and the option to clear your cache.

Browser Cache

Browser Caching stores temporary data on your visitors’ devices so that they don’t have to download assets twice. The Hub lists:

  • Asset Types – File types being cached including JavaScript, CSS, media, and images
  • Recommended
  • Expiry – Hummingbird Pro recommended time for storing files before refreshing</li
  • Current Expiry – How long assets are stored before refreshing

Clicking on the Settings icon provides a quick link to your Browser Cache configuration options in the WordPress Dashboard and the option to clear browser cache.

For more information about configuring Browser Cache, visit the Browser Cache section in the Hummingbird usage docs.

Page Caching

Page caching stores static HTML copies of your pages and posts. These static files are then served to visitors, reducing the processing load on the server and dramatically speeding up your page load time. It’s probably the best performance feature ever.

The Hub shows you if Page Cache is active. Clicking on the Page Cache option opens the configuration settings in the WordPress Dashboard.

For more information about Page Cache, visit the Hummingbird docs.

Gravatar

Store local copies of the avatars used in comments and in your theme. You can control how often you want the cache purged depending on how your website is set up.

The Hub shows you if the Gravatar cache is active. Clicking the Gravatar option opens the configuration settings in the WordPress Dashboard.

For more information about Gravatar Cache, visit the Hummingbird docs.

RSS Cache

By default, WordPress will cache your RSS feeds to reduce the load on your server – which is a great feature. Hummingbird gives you control over the expiry time, or you can disable it altogether.

The Hub shows you if the RSS Cache is active. Clicking the RSS option opens the configuration settings in the WordPress Dashboard.

For more information about RSS Cache, visit the Hummingbird docs.

7.5.1 Clear Cache

Link to chapter 5

After making changes to your site it is recommended you clear any activate caches to refresh your assets and content. Click the Clear Cache asset button to open a module where you can select to clear:

  • Page Caching
  • Browser Caching
  • Gravatar Caching
  • Asset Caching

To clear your cache, click on one or more of the cache types you would like to clear and click the save button. Click cancel to close without saving

Deactivate

Clicking the Deactivate button will disable Hummingbird Pro on your website and turn off performance tracking in the Hub.

7.6 Asset Optimization

Link to chapter 6

Asset Optimization compresses, combines, and positions your assets to improve your page load speed.

The Hub notes the number of available files for optimization, total savings from compressed files, total savings percentage, and a break down of savings by file type.

Clicking on the Settings icon provides a quick link to the Hummingbird Asset Optimization module in the WordPress Dashboard, the ability to clear your cache when testing, and Deactivate for turning off the Asset Optimization feature.

For more information about Asset Optimization settings, visit the Asset Optimization section in the Hummingbird usage docs.

7.7 Performance Settings Tab

Link to chapter 7

The Settings tab links you to options for tailored optimization reports delivered to your inbox so you don’t have to worry about checking in.

The available Performance reports include:

  • Performance Testing – Hummingbird Pro automatically runs performance scans of your website and email you results, Daily, Weekly, or Monthly. Choose to send your Mobile results, Desktop results, or both.
  • Uptime Report – This report includes response time data and any downtime logs in the selected period. For more information on Uptime reports, visit the Uptime section of the Hummingbird documentation.Clicking on a report gives you the option to open the configuration settings from the website’s WordPress admin dashboard.

7.8 Performance Support

Link to chapter 8

Need help managing or setting up Humming Pro or Performance in the Hub 2.0? WPMU DEV members have access to 24/7 live support.