[Hummingbird Pro] Performance / Hummingbird

I'm sending this as mostly feedback, I'm not sure if there's anything you can to do help. I'm a little disappointed that the "fixes" for things are turning out to be ads for your services. I've typically been getting around an 80 to 85 performance score on the sites I've been setting up the last few months, and this new one (which has much less page content on the home page than the others) came in under 50. The first "fix" suggested linked to your hosting service, talking about server performance. Other fixes talked about doing things I'd already done, like enabling browser and page caching. I ran the audit 10 minutes later, and now got a 74. I'm guessing that the score is largely affected by the network connection/speed, which of course has many potential factors. So far I'm finding Hummingbird to be the most frustrating and unclear tool. For example, under the section that talks about how I should eliminate render blocking resources, it lists a bunch of your CDN urls. Compared to plugins like Smush, this seems to require much more knowledge and invested time relative to other caching tools.

  • Adam Czajczyk
    • Support Gorilla

    Hello Nathan Lyle

    I hope you’re well today and thank you for our feedback!

    The Performance Test is based on industry-standard Google PageSpeed. In fact, it’s built upon its API so the test results are… from Google. This also applies to recommendations. There’s a different “structure” of how the data is presented to you, it’s more integrated to the plugin itself and targeted towards WordPress but in general, try comparing that with Google PageSpeed and results would be the same.

    We do suggest using our plugins/tools because we sincerely believe they are the best tools for the job. But if you say the way it’s presented/recommended is unclear and too “advertisy” (yeah, I guess I just made up a word, but I’m sure you know what I mean) then that’s a strong signal for us to actually re-think it.

    The ultimate goal is to help you make your site faster and better and that’s exactly what we want for you. Given the fact that if you use our hosting (up to 3 sites) or recommended plugins (like e.g. Smush) you don’t pay anything extra to your current Membership, I think it’s a fair deal…

    However, like I said, feedback of that kind is very valuable for us and I’ve already forwarded it to our managers and designers. I’m absolutely sure that’s something that will cause a serious internal discussion. If there’s a way to make things better, we certainly are all for it!

    As for the specific recommendations that you’re receiving. It’s worth noting that performance test is and can only be based on some “patterns” or, to say it in a different way, some “statistic data” collected over the years. It does measure certain factors (like times of loading certain assets or checks the way they are loaded) but ultimately this is all “processed” based on the “common rules/patterns”.

    Furthermore, let me stick for a moment with those “render blocking resources”. Yes, sometimes even WPMU DEV CDN resources (so optimized assets pushed to WPMU DEV CDN by Hummingbird) are reported and yes – it’s because they are actually blocking. However, often that can be further minimized by “fine-tuning” Asset Optimization configuration but also it’s usually a “bargain” – it’s not always possible to fully solve that without causing some (bigger or smaller) damage to the site. Test does not know (and have no way of knowing) whether “more optimization” of such resources will break the site or not – it only sees that it’s “render blocking”. So such optimization is often sort of an exchange, like “five render blocking resources instead of fifteen” (that’s just example, not taken from your site).

    I’ll be more than happy to take a look at these recommendations and check the site configuration in relation to them if you only want me to. If yes, please enable support access to the site so I could take a closer look and I’ll be glad to do this. To enable support access, please go to the “WPMU DEV -> Support -> Support Access” and click on “Grant support access” button there, then let me know here (as I won’t be automatically notified).

    Meanwhile, I’ve passed your feedback on to our managers and designers :slight_smile:

    Best regards,


  • Nathan Lyle
    • Flash Drive

    Thanks for the quick reply… I don’t know who the typical WPMUDEV client/customer is, but for myself I’m a web designer/developer who also provides hosting and domain services for my clients. I have a dedicated server that I use for my clients – the main reason for which is to make sure I can minimize headaches. (When I first started it was a hundred different hosting environments for a hundred different clients and a lot of time was spent with subpar support and different setups.) In any case, the main thing for me that stuck out was that for the plugin to suggest a fix that meant using more of your service made me think of the old conspiracy line about anti-virus software putting out malware in order to create a market. It’s a perceived conflict of interest. I really don’t want to make a bigger deal about it than it is, I’m just a bit skittish as it seems like my big favorites keep going through changes that end up being less than great on the client end. (Freshbooks was the biggest recent example.) Given that you guys have recently gone through a major change in direction, I think that made me a little more sensitive this particular thing. It’s not the end of the world though. :slight_smile:

    I do get that there’s trade offs… I actually often try to calm a client when they use one of the speed tools out there and get a “bad” score. I’ve done the tail chasing before where you hit a point of diminishing returns on what can be done. I think in this case what stood out to me was that the site was smaller than some others that seemed to do much better. I couldn’t figure out why this particular site was doing so poorly in comparison. (I know the “Smart Slider” plugin used on the home page is not the sleekest slideshow plugin, but I tried the test even with that disabled and it only improved a couple of points.) I did go ahead and grant support access so you could peek at it if you wanted to… it’s for universitycommons.org.

  • Predrag Dubajic
    • Support

    Hi Nathan,

    Apologies for the long delay here, we’ve been a bit short staffed for last couple of days and we’re doing our best now to pick up on everything.

    As Adam mentioned we use Google Page Speed Insights API and the results will be based on that and the suggestions will of course only show if there are reports that Google returns.

    I checked your site with Google Insights and can see that the server response time and asset optimization are two biggest impacts on your site, they are in total affecting the load speed for 4 seconds and that is going to have a lot of impact on the final score.

    I would suggest starting with Asset Optimization, because even though you don’t have a lot of content on the site there are a lot of resources being loaded and optimizing them should help you with getting a much better score.

    Support access, unfortunately, expired in the meantime so I couldn’t check your settings but if you can grant it again I can have a look at rest of your settings and see if there are any other improvements that could be done.

    Best regards,


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