If you use WordPress, you’ve most likely heard of Jetpack. It’s a feature-filled WordPress plugin made by Automattic, the folks behind WordPress. Some say Jetpack is bloated and that it slows down your site. Others say you shouldn’t run a WordPress blog or website without it.
Here are the pros and cons of Jetpack–as I see them.
Jetpack Pros and Cons
Does Jetpack Slow Down WordPress?
This would appear to be one of Jetpack’s main disadvantages–that is, the issue of bloat. Does Jetpack really slow down WordPress websites? Let’s find out.
I use Jetpack on this website. So I headed over to GTmetrix and tested out my website’s speed using their website performance tool. I tested my site with Jetpack activated and with Jetpack deactivated.
GTmetrix Test Results with Jetpack Activated
I also tested my website with Jetpack deactivated. Following are the results.
GTmetrix Test Results with Jetpack Deactivated
Requests and page size were slightly reduced. The YSlow score increased. Page load time? Unchanged. Keep in mind that test results vary slightly when re-testing using the GTmetrix performance tool. However, one can see, based on these particular results, that Jetpack doesn’t slow my site down, and if there are any negative performance issues, they are minimal.
It seems fairly obvious that Jetpack is not negatively impacting my site’s speed. So much for all the bad press Jetpack has received for slowing down WordPress websites.
Jetpack’s Photon Module Caches Images Forever
I really love Photon, because it’s essentially a free CDN (content delivery network) for your images, which means they’ll load really fast, all the time.
One thing I don’t particularly like is that even with the Photon module disabled, any image used in Jetpack’s Tiled Galleries module (a module that allow images to be displayed in a beautiful tiled mosaic) is served from the WordPress CDN anyway. What this means is that in order to utilize the Tiled Galleries module, Photon will be used, whether it’s disabled or not.
Photon also caches images “forever” and some folks may find that disturbing. To illustrate, with Photon activated, upload an image with the same filename as an already existing image, thereby overwriting the original image. Your original image should be deleted, right? Wrong.
Even with the original image being overwritten (deleted), it will still display on your site because Photon has it cached under that filename. In order to display the new image, a new filename must be used.
What this means is that deleting an image from your website doesn’t mean you’ve deleted it from wherever it’s stored out in nowhere-land. Your image is still out there. And that irritates some people.
I’ve also had some issues with images not appearing in galleries. Simply re-embedding the image in the page or post usually takes care of the issue, but because of these issues, I’ve disabled Photon on this website.
However, as stated, all my images utilizing the Tiled Galleries module are still being handled by the Photon module. I’m a really big fan of Jetpack’s Tiled Galleries so I’m still using that module for now.
Jetpack has a lot of pros and I don’t have enough finger strength to type them all. So I’ll just talk about the modules I use on this website.
Jetpack Allows for Automatic Posting to Major Social Media Outlets
Publicize allows you to connect your blog to popular social networking sites and automatically share new posts with your friends. You can make a connection for just yourself or for all users on your blog. Publicize allows you to share your posts on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Yahoo!, and LinkedIn.
Phenomenal! Forget sharing your post on all those social media outlets manually. With Jetpack you can just set it and forget it.
Jetpack Makes Sharing with Social Media Sites Easy
With Jetpack you can add sharing buttons for the major social media outlets in your posts and pages. Your site visitors can share your amazing content with the click of a button.
Jetpack Includes an Easy Contact Form
Jetpack includes a customizable, easy-to-set-up contact form. It integrates automatically with Akismet (the most effective and popular anti-spam plugin on the face of the planet) so you don’t have to worry about spam. Customization of your contact form is also allowed. Following is the code I’m using on my own contact form.
type='checkbox' required='1' forces site visitors to place a check in a box. It’s another anti-spam measure (in addition to Akismet).
Jetpack Can Keep You from Having to Create a Child Theme
If you’re simply interested in editing the CSS of your site and not too interested in changing anything else, you don’t really have to have a child theme (although I highly recommend it).
You can simply activate the >Custom CSS module within Jetpack. Then in Appearance–>Edit CSS you can add any custom CSS you’d like. Upon theme updates, all your changes are preserved (which is the point of a child theme).
Jetpack Helps Your Site Get Found
There’s a module that’s not really self-explanatory in Jetpack’s settings. It’s called Enhanced Distribution.
Jetpack will automatically take the great published content from your blog or website and share it instantly with third party services like search engines, increasing your reach and traffic.
Jetpack has Its Own Comment System
Jetpack Comments allows your site visitors to comment via their own Twitter, Facebook or WordPress.com accounts. Not only that, but the comments are styled in a much less obtrusive manner than the typical WordPress comments. I’m not using the Comments module currently on this website, but I may in the near future.
Jetpack Actually Speeds Up Your WordPress Website or Blog
How do they do it? Via a Jetpack module called Photon. It’s like utilizing a CDN, for free, without having to set up anything. Just activate it.
Give your site a boost by loading images in posts from the WordPress.com content delivery network. We cache your images and serve them from our super-fast network, reducing the burden on your Web host with the click of a button.
A free CDN? No confusing setup? What’s not to love?
Note: Since writing this post, I’ve disabled Photon on this website. However, I still use the Tiled Galleries module which serves all images from the WordPress CDN (meaning they’re handled by Photon).
Regardless of some of Photon’s issues, the biggest being that you cannot truly delete your images, I’m still a big fan. Folks that are very protective of their images (photographers, etc.), may want to avoid using the Photon or Tiled Galleries modules.
Jetpack Protects Your WordPress Website
Via a module called Protect, Jetpack will automatically identify and block malicious IPs. Wait a minute? Free brute-force attack prevention with the click of a button? You heard right. You’ll be able to see the blocked malicious login attempts on your website by looking at the bottom of the Jetpack widget in your WordPress website’s dashboard.
Be sure to check out this page on Jetpack’s security features to learn more about what Protect can do for your WordPress website.
Jetpack Includes a Related Posts Module
Tired of looking around for that perfect “related posts” plugin? Most of them are seriously resource-intensive, and, as a result, many of them are not even allowed by web hosts.
Jetpack’s Related Posts module doesn’t affect your site’s performance at all because all the work is done on the WordPress.com servers.
Unlike many other related post plugins, we do all the analysis, processing, and serving from our cloud, so there is no additional load on your server.
Look at the bottom of this post to see Jetpack’s Related Posts in action.
Jetpack Gives You a Free Subscription Service
What? Wait. You mean people can subscribe to my posts? And they can subscribe to specific comment conversations? And it’s free?
Um, yes. That’s what I said.
Activate the Subscriptions module and place the widget in your sidebar or footer. That’s all there is to it. And you can place the subscription code in a page or post as well.
Jetpack Includes Clear, Concise Stats
No more going to Google Analytics and trying to figure out what the #&*! all those numbers mean. With Jetpack you have all your essential stats right on your WordPress dashboard.
For more detailed stats, hover over Jetpack on the left-hand menu and click on Site Stats. For even more detail, click on Summaries (top right of the graph). For yet even more specific stats, click Show Me on your Jetpack Site Stats page.
Jetpack Produces Amazing Image Galleries
Want your images to pop? When activated, the Jetpack Carousel module displays your image galleries in a stunning slideshow. You don’t have to do anything other than activate the module. Simple.
Check out these examples to see the Carousel and Tiled Galleries modules in action.
Jetpack Does a Lot More
Jetpack is capable of much more, but I don’t use all the modules. Additional modules available:
- Beautiful Math
- Custom Content Types
- Extra Sidebar Widgets
- Gravatar Hovercards
- Infinite Scroll
- JSON API
- Mobile Theme
- Post By Email
- Shortcode Embeds
- Single Sign-On
- Site Verification
- Spelling and Grammar
- Widget Visibility
- Data Backups
Why do I trust Jetpack? It’s made by Automattic, the folks behind WordPress.com. That’s why. Those people are WordPress.
It’s full of swell features (free features that typically are not free), is well-coded, is made by the WordPress people themselves, and (did I already say it?) it’s completely free.
What more could you ask for? Get it.
Free Support for Your WordPress Blog or Website
As always, I provide free support for your WordPress blog or website, especially if you purchase your web hosting from Inmotion Hosting.