In the CMS landscape, WordPress is one of the most used and appreciated, especially for its flexibility and the wide range of plugins available. However, when dealing with multilingual sites, performance can become a critical issue. Many translation plugins, while functional, can have a negative impact on server response times, effectively slowing down page loading speed. This is especially relevant for companies that focus on web performance, such as those that specialize in hosting CMS like WordPress.
Performant Translations Plugin is Available on WordPress.org
After an in-depth performance analysis earlier this year that revealed how translations can affect server response times, WordPress contributors have come up with half a dozen technical solutions to improve performance for around 56 % of sites using translations.
"Performing Translations“, a special project from the WordPress Performance team, is now available as a plugin on WordPress.org.
The WordPress Performance Team is a group of developers, engineers, and enthusiasts dedicated to optimizing the performance of the WordPress platform. The team's main goal is to improve the speed, efficiency, and scalability of WordPress, addressing issues such as server response times, page loading, and resource usage. Collaborating closely with other teams and contributors, the Performance Team proposes technical solutions, develops new tools and plugins, and conducts detailed analyzes to ensure WordPress remains a fast and reliable web platform. They play a crucial role in the evolution of WordPress, helping to keep the CMS competitive in an ever-changing digital marketplace. For more information and to participate in discussions, you can visit WordPress Performance Team website.
The Performant Translations plugin incorporates some of the proposed solutions and speeds up translations by converting .mo files into .php files, thus allowing faster reading and storage in the OPcache.
To better understand what OPCache is, we invite you to this reading: Zend OpCache. How to speed up PHP?
The plugin supports different file formats (.mo, .php and .json) and multiple text domains and localizations uploaded at the same time. Existing .mo files are converted into .php files which are then uploaded by WordPress.
A table included on the plugin detail page shows a significant reduction in page load time when using the plugin, compared to sites with translations that don't use it. The plugin brings the loading times of translated pages closer to those of English (untranslated) pages.
With enough testing and feedback, we hope to eventually integrate this plugin into WordPress core, in the coming weeks and months we will share more testing instructions and continue to improve the plugin. This will also be made available through the Performance Lab.
said Pascal Birchler, a contributor on the Performance team, when announcing the plugin.
Performant Translations is considered a beta testing plugin, but you may test and use in production at your own risk. It does not require any changes to settings or configuration after installation. The plugin can be safely removed after testing, as it essentially cleans up after itself. All generated .php files will be removed from the server once the plugin is deactivated and uninstalled.