Autoptimize is a popular free WordPress performance plugin that improves the load time of your website by combining and minifying assets on your website such as CSS and JS files. While you could use the minify tool within a caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache Autoptimize is much easier, and less prone to breakage as it uses a different minify engine than W3.
How Does It Work?
Autoptimize also makes sure to group files by media type in order to prevent your Print CSS from overwriting your regular CSS files (this being said you should just be using the @media for print CSS). You can overwrite this though through their extended API.
It’s actually extremely simple but if things don’t work perfectly out of the box then you are going to need some help.
HTML Optimization: It will compress your on-page HTML by removing comments and white space. Keep in mind that it will ignore inline CSS and JS though.
CSS Optimization: In addition to combining and compressing your CSS files there are many more advanced options to help fine tune your site even more. You can generate data: URLs for your images which turns background images into their base64 equivalent (makes it to where you don’t download the image and saves an HTTP request). You can remove Google fonts as well if you do not need them for your website, as well as aggregate inline CSS, and defer the critical CSS for your website.
If you are using a CDN you can safely set it up through the plugin by providing a URL that the assets will be served from then Autoptimize takes care of the rest.
Autoptimize is a wonderful addition to any webmaster or developer that is looking to improve the performance of their website and while it is a simple to get started tool it can truly do wonders in the hands of someone who learns it inside and out. Through the powerful and expansive API to the CDN integration Autoptimize is a must have tool for any serious website.