[WPMU DEV Dashboard] Hummingbird breaking sites

Hi guys, this is more feedback than anything else.

Traditionally, before WPMU we were using CometCache Pro for caching which is a really awesome plugin.

But seeing as we subscribe to WPMU, we figured that we may as well check out Hummingbird. Initially we found it really good and it did a great job of caching and speeding up the site.

However we found over more and more sites, that it was breaking the styling on the site and often displaying a non-styled page. Unfortunately, this was not always obvious to us as we had locally cached pages, or were logged into the site already – or we were just on a homepage, or not incognito.

But we started getting complaints form our SEO team, or worse the customer, and we started noticing that this was happening on a multitude of sites (we had over 50 websites running it at the time). It was quite apparent immediately that there was an issue with the cache. Clearing the cache fixed it initially, but even as soon as the next round of caching it was broken again.

We have had to remove Hummingbird and stick CometCache Pro back on all the sites, as it affected more than half of them that we noticed, so made the exec decision to remove it asap to prevent further unhappy clients.

A few things to note: We were running the latest versions of plugins and the WP installation. The sites varied a lot between each other – some had a few plugins, some had quite a few. The main plugins we generally use on all sites are Advanced Custom Forms Pro, Gravity Forms Pro, Yoast, WPU Dev, WP Smush Pro, Defender Pro. Then some others depending on what is required. I've always believed less is best when it comes to plugins, so I don't like to overload them.

Anyway, I'll leave that as food for thought. If it was 1 or 2 sites, I probably wouldn't have bothered to write this, but 25 affected sites (or more), it becomes an epidemic.

Hope you guys have an idea, and maybe we can look forward to a more robust version in the future.

Thanks guys


  • James Morris
    • WordPress Enthusiast

    Hello Rik

    I’m terribly sorry to hear of the inconvenience you’ve experienced with Hummingbird. Based on experience with members, I would venture to say the symptoms you are seeing are related to the Minification module. This module is one of the more powerful and aggressive features of Hummingbird. If not configured correctly, it can easily cause the symptoms you have described.

    It’s because of this that we put a special section in our Help Docs just for this plugin. https://premium.wpmudev.org/docs/wpmu-dev-plugins/hummingbird/#chapter-4

    The main thing to remember with the Minification module is it’s not a one-click and done tool. It takes a bit of work to use it properly. But, when used properly, the gains in performance that can be achieved are quite significant. This isn’t so much a limitation of Hummingbird as it is of how CSS and JavaScript works. Some assets can be combined, deferred, compressed or relocated. Some can’t. This depends greatly on what is installed on the site and what additional code or directives have been defined.

    The rule of thumb I tell every member I help with this issue is change one setting at a time and test, test, test and test some more. While this is a good bit of work, the end results are well worth it. It’s not uncommon to score 96 or higher on Google PageSpeed with a properly configured site using Hummingbird.

    For example, on my personal blog, which has a massive header and numerous remote GitHub requests, I’m currently scoring 94 / 100 on Desktop thanks to Hummingbird. :slight_smile:

    I hope you will give the above documentation and my response some thought and perhaps give Hummingbird another try in a controlled environment where you can test it out thoroughly over a period of time. I think if you invest a bit of time in learning it well, you will find it is a fantastic solution.

    That being said, we greatly appreciate your feedback and this will be passed on to our developers. We always encourage our member to share their honest and open thoughts with us about our products and services. Thank you! :slight_smile:

    Best regards,

    James Morris

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