On this side of the world spring is blossoming: what better way to celebrate the blooming season than a brand-new WP Rocket version? ?
Today we’re introducing the latest major version of our plugin: 3.3 is here, and it includes magic features and new enhanced compatibilities! ?✨
Most of the new features will work under-the-hood, so don’t worry if you don’t see big changes in the plugin’s interface: rest reassured they’ll be silently working to make your site faster, and boost its performance!
Implementing Staggered Releases
This was the first time we ran a staggered release for a major version.
On April 1st we started rolling out 3.3 for a small random sample of customers (10% of them); we slowly increased the sample day after day, until we reached our full customer base on April the 9th.
The primary goal of this method was adding an extra level of safety to our release: we wanted to be able to identify unexpected issues before making the new version available to 100% of our customers.
That’s why some of you were able to update to 3.3 before the rest of our customers. ?
Let’s now see the new features in detail.
An Expanded LazyLoad Experience
Until now, WP Rocket was able to only defer the loading of standard images on your site, such as those found within <img> tags. All images added in posts, widgets etc., were (and still are!) LazyLoaded automatically.
From WP Rocket 3.3, our Lazyload will be applied on the template_redirect hook: in plain English, this means that our LazyLoad will be able to optimize more images and, at the same time, will encounter fewer conflicts.
Other enhancement to this new process is that our LazyLoad will now apply to certain background images and images on <picture> elements! ?
WP Rocket will automatically LazyLoad background images that are found in the HTML of your page using this markup:
<div style=”background-image: url(image.jpg)”>
The <div> element can have other attributes or classes, and it will still work.
When LazyLoaded, the element will be transformed into:
<div data-bg=”url(image.jpg)” class=”rocket-lazyload” style=””>
Let’s see the transformation in a more graphic way.
This is an example of a background image markup that will be LazyLoaded:
When LazyLoad is applied, the markup becomes:
This is common markup used by popular page builders. Generally speaking, background images will be automatically LazyLoaded when using:
- Divi – using a parallax background image on a section;
- Avada – using a background image on a section.
The automatic LazyLoad will also work on images added with the <picture> element, including WebP images inserted this way.
On the other hand, if the background image is added another way, such as in a CSS file, or inline CSS <style> tag, LazyLoad won’t work at this time.
Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning that most of the code for LazyLoad now lives in the separate Rocket LazyLoad Common library. This is used as a dependency, for both WP Rocket and our standalone plugin.
WP Rocket Is Now Compatible With Pressable
Expanding hosting compatibilities is a big part of the work we’re constantly doing to improve our plugin. Ideally, we’d love that everyone with a WordPress site could be able to benefit from WP Rocket, and on any hosting environment!
That’s why we’re particularly proud to announce that WP Rocket 3.3 includes a new hosting compatibility: if your site is hosted on Pressable, this is your time to celebrate! ?
How does Pressable compatibility work?
Since Pressable already includes its caching system, WP Rocket’s page caching feature will be automatically disabled to prevent conflict with Pressable’s caching.
All our other optimization features such as LazyLoad, CSS/JS minification, concatenation, deferred loading of files, etc. will be available.
What Happened With The NGINX FastCGI Cache Add-On
Over the past few weeks, you may have encountered our Facebook and Twitter posts promoting the incoming 3.3 version.
Some of those posts mentioned the new NGINX FastCGI Cache Add-on: this was a feature we’d been working on for a few weeks, and it was meant to synchronize cache clearing of WP Rocket and NGINX FastCGI cache, similar to what we already do with Varnish.
Because of the staggered release mentioned above, we were able to receive very useful feedback from the portion of customers that was already using the feature.
We finally realized that the NGINX Add-On performance wasn’t offering the value we expect from WP Rocket features: that’s why, in the end, we decided it was in the best interest of our customers to remove it.
Complete Overview Of Other Enhancements And Bug Fixes
WP Rocket 3.3 also contains a number of other enhancements, bug fixes, and a revamp of some core architecture to accommodate for new features: a ton of groundwork that will silently improve your site’s performance!
To discover all the details, read our changelog.
If you’re already one of our amazing customers, have you considered joining our Beta Program? That’s the group to join if you want to get an exclusive view and test our new features before the official release!
Just opt-in to be a Beta tester from your WP Rocket dashboard: when we have new features to test out, we’ll drop you a line via email!
We also host a Facebook community for WP Rocket users, where people share tips & tricks about our plugin and web performance best practices. Join today to share your success stories as well as product feedback!