Jetpack Pros and Cons – Should You Use It?

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

Jetpack 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

jetpack pros and cons - GTmetrix speed test

I also tested my website with Jetpack deactivated. Following are the results.

GTmetrix Test Results with Jetpack Deactivated

Jetpack Pros - GTmetrix performance score

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 Pros

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

Enter Publicize.

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.

The code  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.

The subscription code can be modified slightly. Following is the code I use for my subscriptions form on this page.

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.

site stats WordPress Jetpack

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.

In addition to the Jetpack Carousel module, there’s Jetpack’s Tiled Galleries module, which works perfectly in tandem with Carousel.

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:

  1. Beautiful Math
  2. Custom Content Types
  3. Extra Sidebar Widgets
  4. Gravatar Hovercards
  5. Infinite Scroll
  6. JSON API
  7. Likes
  8. Manage
  9. Markdown
  10. Mobile Theme
  11. Monitor
  12. Notifications
  13. Omnisearch
  14. Post By Email
  15. Shortcode Embeds
  16. Single Sign-On
  17. Site Verification
  18. Sitemaps
  19. Spelling and Grammar
  20. VideoPress
  21. Widget Visibility
  22. 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.

Check out what I offer for free.

29 Comments


  1. I followed your guide for optimize database reduce some db size. But couldn’t stop myself from commenting on jetpack. 😀
    Jetback is useful but not in most cases, first its huge, takes resources to run on hosting server. Moreover even if you turn their options off, it takes some server resources.
    I finally removed from my site, to reduce load on server and page.

    Thanks for your all posts Eric.

    Reply

    1. Glad to hear you found something useful here! 😉 I hear what you’re saying about Jetpack, but I find that the benefits far outweigh the supposed extra load. My site’s load time is virtually unaffected (as shown by the graphics in the article). Where else can you find a free CDN, free brute force protection, a spell checker, a contact form, free automatic posting to social media accounts, free subscription service . . . all created by a company like Automattic? Anyway, I really appreciate the comment. Best of luck to you in your endeavors.

      Reply

  2. Hi Eric,
    You didnt mentioned one very important thing about Photon.
    I was just send email to Jatpack support:
    Dear jetpack friends,
    Last week I was install jatpack on my site.
    Few days ago I was notice that I have about 10% visits less than usually.
    Then I was find out that some of my very good positioned photos was desapeared from google search results. Google was “de-index” this photos ant that was resulted with less redirected visitors to my site.
    I was find out that “Photon” is storing photos on another server, url of photo is changed and that was the reason why my photos was desapeared from google search resuts.
    I turned off Photon.
    So, I have 2 questions:
    1. Users of Photon know that using Photon can seriously damge their image SEO? I mean, using Photon, there is no any image SEO becouse user dont have any photo on his website server.
    2. Is there any another Jetpack tool that, also, somehow can damage my web site?
    Thank you!

    So…using Photon there is no any posibility that google user find your web site clicking on image in google search results becouse your images cant be indexed by google.
    I think this is a BIG handicap and jatpack should warn photon users about this.
    Thank you for your time 😉

    Reply

    1. Mario, thanks for your comment. I think you may be right. I have turned off Photon on this website as well. I am still using Tiled Galleries, as I have not found a free alternative that does what Tiled Galleries does. At least I have not found one that works well. And Tiled Galleries, by default, uses Photon as well even if you have it disabled in Jetpack’s settings. I did a search for some images I have in some of Jetpack’s Tiled Galleries today and even though I’m searching for the exact alternative text phrase, the images are not coming up in Google’s image search results. I have not found a reasonable conversation about this from the folks at Jetpack and will push a bit to see what I can find out.

      I have an email in to the folks over at Automattic as we speak. I have addressed these issues, as well as the issue of Photon users having their images cached “forever” on Photon’s servers. I have also asked them about the related posts plugin and whether or not that hurts SEO. I will let you know when and how they respond.

      All that aside, Jetpack is still worth it in my opinion. I love the site stats, the spell check, the site subscriptions, the automatic sharing of posts, the “edit CSS” module, the ability to show different widgets on different pages, related posts (although some folks think this damages SEO as well), the protect module (free brute force protection), etc. Thanks again for your comment.

      Reply

  3. I really want to believe that Jetpack is worth using because it would make my life as a WordPress site builder and manager a lot easier. Unfortunately, it has caused more headaches for me than anything else.

    I have one client in particular who is dying to have Jetpack on his newest website. I built and have maintained his other website for three years. He doesn’t use that one as much anymore, so we have left Jetpack on it. His most-wanted features are subscriptions and easy-to-use stats.

    Unfortunately, Jetpack doesn’t provide a way for me to filter out referral spam from the stats, so he’s looking at inaccurate information. The actual hits vs spam hits are two very different numbers. What’s the point in looking at stats at all if they aren’t accurate? Referral spam is an incredibly common and increasing problem.

    This, along with the photo issue listed above, the bloat, the incompatibility with many of the themes and plugins I use on sites, and an overall dislike of having modules automatically activated… leaves me having this conversation with him over and over and over again. It’s just not in his best interest – based on the goals he has set for his new site – to use Jetpack.

    I’m surprised more people aren’t feeling uneasy about simply handing the keys over to one company and letting them handle so many major functions of their site. Jetpack’s team is knowledgeable and trustworthy, but it only takes one break in the dam, you know?

    I feel like maybe Jetpack is a decent solution for people who don’t know much about running a WordPress site and need an easy way to get acquainted. It isn’t ideal for things like SEO, compatibility, speed, or accurate stats, so it can’t really be a serious contender unfortunately.

    Thanks for your analysis!

    Reply

    1. Hi Charles, I agree with much of what you’re saying.

      Referral spam is a common problem with stats in general. Obviously that can be filtered out with a more advanced tool like Google Analytics.

      I disagree with the whole issue of bloat. My site loads almost as fast with Jetpack activated as it does with Jetpack deactivated (see the graphics at the beginning of this article). There are modules that do affect site load time more than others (Gravatar Hovercards, for example). Those modules I leave turned off.

      Having modules automatically activated is annoying, yes, but easily fixed and well worth the 30 seconds it takes to have the benefits Jetpack offers.

      I haven’t had trouble with compatibility issues. Can you give me some specific examples?

      Another thing to consider is that I help folks get started with WordPress. Many are folks who are not computer literate at all and who want to build their website by themselves. In that case, Jetpack is an excellent way to go because it takes a lot of the headaches of running WordPress out of the equation.

      I use Jetpack on all my sites and as an experienced WordPress user, I think Jetpack is well worth it.

      I am not happy with Photon, however, and I’m currently writing an article about that. Why do images using Photon not appear in Google’s search results? I’m also on the fence about the Related Posts module (does it hurt SEO?), although there is nothing else out there that I know of that works as well and as easily. Additionally, I use the Related Posts module on a site that gets a lot of traffic and has excellent rankings in Google which gives me some confidence that it doesn’t negatively affect SEO.

      However, just for the subscriptions module alone, I think Jetpack is worth it. And for a general (albeit not accurate) view of stats, it’s nice. Also, Publicize, Sharing, Enhanced Distribution, Protect, Widget Visibility, extra widgets, Carousel, etc. — these are all amazing features and well worth the cost (free). And to have a team like Automattic behind Jetpack, well, it should offer some peace of mind that the plugin will be updated and that potential issues will be resolved quickly.

      I still highly recommend Jetpack, especially to do-it-yourselfers that don’t know a lot about WordPress or websites.

      Reply

  4. I loved JetPack for a longer while on my blog. But I had to remove it due to privacy issues. It is because the Akismet functions that are not compatible to the German laws. And without Akismet, JetPack is not worth to stay on my page, because:

    – due to German law there are big privacy issues with the social sharing, and so also with the automatice publicize
    – Email subscription is realized with MailChimp, so WordPress subscription is not required
    – I can’t remember since when I use the simple lightbox plugin with beautiful gallery and lightbox functions, so the tiled gallery from JetPack is also not required
    – Stats are realised with WP Power Stats which is not tracking as far as I know and Google Analytics with customized code for German law, JetPack Statistics cannot be setup to do not track and work with German law, as far as I know

    And so on. There are not enough functions for me to use JetPack, except I _want_ to collide with German law. I know there was a so-called “German edition” of JetPack which was customized to work with the laws here in this restricted country. But the last update is lightyears away.

    It’s a pity that in Germany the laws restrict us webmasters in this way, so that we cannot use JetPack without having nervous nights. So I realized a lot of functions with a list of plugins. I hope that the times will change. And maybe I think about using JetPack again.

    Cheers, Henning

    Reply

  5. Jetpack can slow down a good dedicated server.

    The correct way to use jetpack is disable all functions and then enable them one by one only if you need them.

    WordPress being a turtle I still think that having many of my needed functions in only one plugin like Jetpack is better than using 1 different plugin for each function.

    Thank you for your post.

    Reply

    1. thanks for the comment. I totally agree with you about just using the modules needed.

      Reply

  6. I have 3 website. 2 with jetpack & genesis child theme. Another with 2016 theme & without jetpack. 2 jetpack sites are slow, especially the admin area. The 1 without jetpack is really loading fast. Just a co-incidence? I really love to use Jetpack 🙁

    Reply

    1. I’d like to think it’s coincidence because I really love Jetpack. But one way to find out for sure is to deactivate it and see if your problems cease. Let me know.

      Reply

  7. It would be interesting at least for me, how many that complain about slower response times with Jetpack are using a shared hosting environment VS those on VPS VS those on cloud servers from the likes of Digital Ocean. I honestly don’t see/feel a huge difference between using/not using jetpack. I’m using the low end Digital Ocean account and have 3 WordPress sites running on it. Seems fine to me. Just curious.

    Reply

    1. Yes, I’d be curious as well. I haven’t noticed much of a slow-down at all but I’m running this site on a VPS with Inmotion.

      Reply

  8. I just installed my paid theme and deleted jet pack. If I use optin monster subscription with or without WordPress subscription box on my theme and use WP default comments.. what do I need it for?
    PS what comment system are you using here?
    Thanks

    Reply

    1. I use Jetpack for a lot of things. Site stats (in addition to Google Analytics – it’s just a quick view of my traffic for the day), Sharing (easy sharing buttons for posts/pages), Publicize (auto posting to social media sites when I write a post), Subscriptions, Protect (another layer of security for my site), Tiled Galleries (displays my pictures in a cool way – check out my About page), Caruosel (allows for a nice slideshow of my galleries), Extra Sidebar widgets (allows different and unique widgets), Widget Visibility (allows display of different widgets on different pages), Custom CSS (a pseudo-child theme – I can make changes to the CSS that aren’t wiped out when I update my theme) and Contact Form (integrated with Akismet). Those are the features I use. I’m using the basic comments that come with this theme. One more thing – the subscriptions allows folks to subscribe to your comment conversations as well . . . which is a nice touch.

      Reply

      1. Interesting; my site has social buttons already for sharing incorporated ( sociallyviral)
        I did receive akismit notice about brute forced security after deleting jet pack saying to get jet pack!
        Also: you said sidebar widgets on jet pack. My theme has incorporated unlimited sidebars…. is that same thing? Also
        do all themes have built in contact form?
        Thanks

        Reply

        1. Extra sidebar widgets are just that – extra widgets that allow different functionality. Like a gallery widget. And no, you have to set up a contact form unless you’re using WordPress.com. There are a lot of good plugins available for contact forms.

          Reply

          1. Why using another contact form plugin when Jetpack does it perfectly ? It seems that some people do not understand that the more useless plugins you use the more you site will slow down and the more you have chances to meet problems !


  9. I tested it using plugin p3 profiler in my localhost. Here it takes 0.371s to load, while wp core takes 0.592s and theme takes 0.294s. Seems like a beast to me

    Reply

    1. Real-world tests mean more to me than the P3 results. Run a test, with only the modules you need activated, then run another test with Jetpack disabled as I did in my post. In some of my tests, my site was actually faster with Jetpack enabled. Use a site like GT Metrix for your tests. And disable some of the worst offending modules, like Gravatar Hovercards, etc. And then tell me which plugin(s) you’re going to use to replicate the functionality provided by Jetpack (a free CDN for your images, subscriptions for posts AND comments, automatic publishing to your social media sites, sharing buttons, enhanced distribution, site stats, brute force protection, tiled galleries, custom CSS to avoid creating a child theme for basic CSS mods, etc.). And then when you install ALL those plugins to do ALL those things, tell me how P3 likes those plugins and their combined effect in the P3 results.

      Reply

      1. I understand what you meant, but my test was done without any modules activated. So the expected behavior was zero impact since all modules are deactivated right? But no, it wasn’t like that. There should be a conditional check before loading all the files and libraries to find out if any modules is actually used or not in any page. Without that, there will be performance effect always (since jetpack basic php files are executed anyway).

        Now if i start activating modules, the performance effect will be more, almost same as using alternative plugin for that. But using alternative plugin means i can avoid the initial performance effect which Jetpack was making when all modules are disabled. So that’s an advantage of dumping jetpack for alternative plugins.

        Now about GTMatrix or other speed test sites, it just gives you the total load time. There is another factor to consider, SERVER. If you put the same website in different hostings (one is in shared hosting and another is in siteground premium hosting), you’ll get different results. That’s because Premium Hostings gives you more RAM so it can process the php files quicker. Jetpack itself loads a lot of php files even without any modules activated, this could be a factor when using shared hosting.

        If GTMatrix gives you good result with Jetpack, then my guess is it’ll give you better result with alternative plugins, specially in shared hosting.

        Yes Jetpack comes with many basic features, but you can get these things done using alternative free plugins too. The only good side i see in Jetpack is, free CDN. Yes if you need free CDN, use Jetpack. But if you are capable of using alternative CDN, my recommendation is, NEVER USE JETPACK.

        Reply

        1. I respectfully disagree. I have posted real-world results in this article. Let’s see your real-world results (not p3). Check my site’s load time. If it’s unacceptable, then fine. Post it. But let’s be reasonable. My site loads fast. I just did a test on GTMetrix. 1.4 seconds. I’m fine with that. fast load time with jetpack enabled - GT Metrix

          Reply

  10. I have jetpack installed on my site and users are complaining that every time they comment they get an email telling them they subscribed to comments. Do you have that problem? I checked my settings and can’t seem to find a way for a user to subscribe to comments without getting emailed each time.

    Reply

    1. The whole point of subscribing to a comment conversation is that you get emailed when anyone comments. So yes, every time someone posts a comment on a comment conversation that you’re subscribed to, you will get an email. That is expected behavior. For example, if you subscribe to this comment conversation, then whenever anyone responds to any comment on this post, you will receive an email telling you that more has been added to the conversation.

      Reply

      1. So I checked the subscribe to comments in this thread. I got an email asking me to confirm. I didn’t confirm. So even though I checked the box, I did not know you had replied until I logged on to check it. (thank you, btw, for helping me with this!) My users are saying they understand the first time they check the box they have the double opt-in. But they would like to be able to just check the box to subscribe to comments and not get an email that they have to click through each time thereafter.

        Reply

        1. Yes, in order for the subscription to be active, you must confirm by clicking the link in the email that is sent to you. I don’t believe Jetpack has a way to turn double opt-in off. If you use a more full-featured subscription service like MailChimp or something like that, then there is an option to turn double opt-in off. However, it is wise to leave it on.

          With single opt-in, new subscribers sign up and are instantly subscribed, even if they input an invalid email address (typo or purposeful). Single opt-in can clog your email list with invalid email addresses and possibly even cause you to get spam complaints from subscribers who forgot that they signed up in the first place! You will get fake emails if you opt to use (pun intended) single opt-in. Not only that, if you offer free content for a subscription, someone can input a fake email address just to be able to access your free content.

          With double opt-in, you get protection against fake subscribers, scam emails and spambots. You also have assurance that your list contains only valid emails, confirmation that your subscribers want to hear from you, and a record of the subscriber’s consent, not to mention you’ll have lower unsubscribe rates. There really is no reason to use single opt-in (my opinion).

          Reply

  11. Tough JetPack comes with tons of features. It slows down the site and often I am getting 500 Internal Error due to this plugin.

    Reply

    1. Sorry to hear about that. Are you sure Jetpack is causing the error? My site doesn’t suffer from those problems.

      Reply

  12. I”d love to have the experience you have. I connected jetpack to my website and it virtually made the site sit in the purgatory of never moving to another page, the spinner staring silently at me. As soon as I removed and deleted the Jetpack, my site started working normally again. I did want to use it, but sadly my experience (already a slow loading site) had to remove the monster.

    Reply

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