NitroPack Review 2020: The Plugin That Makes Your Website Load Lightning Fast
NitroPack is a performance optimization tool that improves site speed. It works on different aspects of your website to boost its Google PageSpeed score. Moreover, it is compatible with a wide range of platforms, including WordPress and Magento. The best part is that you don’t have to be a seasoned web programmer to use NitroPack since it is extremely easy to use.
NitroPack delivers on its promise of being a Google-PageSpeed focussed performance optimization tool. The combination of CDN delivery, lazy loading, code minification, and cache invalidation significantly improves site speed. The only catch is that it isn’t compatible with other caching software and plugins.
NitroPack’s flexible and beginner-friendly membership plans start at $0 per month. Even the paid subscription can cost you as little as $19 per month (billed yearly). This makes it more affordable than other speed optimization software. NitroPack also comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee.
NitroPack doesn’t require you to be well-versed with coding. It works in the background and takes care of all the technical stuff. It is also very easy to install and configure.
NitroPack’s tech support team works round the clock to resolve your queries and monitor your website. You can reach out to them any time using the live chat feature. However, it would’ve been nicer if there was a way to contact them via email or phone.
What makes a good website? Is a visually stunning layout enough to lure website visitors and convert them into paying customers? Most website owners and bloggers will agree that there is more to a website than design and layout. Site speed is an extremely crucial aspect that dictates the fate of your website.
Your website can’t yield desired results unless it can grab a user’s attention as soon as they visit a web page. A slow-loading website drives your potential customers away and results in a higher bounce rate. This, in turn, adversely affects your website’s search engine ranking and organic traffic. Various factors, such as heavy image files and uncompressed code can slow down your website.
If you have been trying your hands at blogging or web programming, you have likely come across NitroPack. It is a feature-rich optimization tool that works on various aspects of your website to improve its speed. In this blog, we will take a look at what NitroPack offers and whether it lives up to the hype.
What is NitroPack?
NitroPack was initially developed as a downloadable plugin in 2012. It was meant to work as a caching solution for e-commerce websites. Slowly, it evolved into a robust and reliable cloud-based speed optimization tool.
One of the major highlights of NitroPack is that it uses Amazon CloudFront, a secure and high-speed content delivery network (CDN). It lets your website use a globally-connected network of proxy servers to cache large multimedia files and other assets. This, in turn, reduces the loading time of your website.
What makes NitroPack more lucrative is the simple and hassle-free installation process. All you have to do is sign-up on the website and download the tool. Thereafter, you can install it on your website using a few easy steps. NitroPack is compatible with a wide range of platforms such as WordPress, OpenCart, WooCommerce, Magento, etc.
NitroPack offers different flexible membership plans starting from $0 and going up to $159 per month (billed yearly). The membership can be canceled at any time and comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee. This makes it easier for novice bloggers to get the hang of the tool before they decide to invest their money. You can also contact their support team for a tailor-made enterprise plan.
Before we delve deeper into the key features of NitroPack, let us take a quick look at its pros and cons.
NitroPack’s features are lucrative enough to compel you to buy a membership plan. However, there are a few factors you should consider before taking the plunge.
Things to Consider Before Using NitroPack
The right performance optimization tool increases site speed, improves bounce rate, and helps drive conversions. However, you should ensure that it doesn’t affect other aspects of your website, such as layout and ad revenue. Therefore, it is crucial to select a tool that will help you achieve all the desired goals from your website.
While NitroPack works well for standard WordPress websites, it can remove certain features from custom-coded websites. Moreover, if you use Google AdSense to monetize your blog, NitroPack may even minify ad scripts. This will disable Google AdSense for your blog and affect your revenue. If your website is frequently updated, NitroPack may take time to display new changes.
These are the factors you should take into account before buying NitroPack. It is a good choice for a simple blog or a niche affiliate website. It also works for e-commerce websites. However, if your website is custom-coded or uses Google AdSense, NitroPack may not be the ideal optimization tool.
It is now time for us to take a closer look at what NitroPack offers and whether it delivers on its promise.
Key Findings & Benefits
As I’ve mentioned earlier, NitroPack offers a wide array of sophisticated features that enhance site speed. I’ve been using it on my blog for some time and have tested the credibility of these features over time. Let’s take a look.
1. Google-PageSpeed-focussed Optimization
NitroPack focuses on improving your website’s Google PageSpeed score by optimizing various aspects such as CSS, HTML code, media files, etc. The biggest advantage here is that all the action happens in the background without requiring active intervention on your part. I found this extremely useful when I had just started blogging and wanted to focus on creating good content.
All I had to do was install the NitroPack plugin on my WordPress blog. The best part is that you don’t have to know the technical jargon of web programming to use this tool. It handles all the aspects of speed optimization, such as code minification, image compression, etc. This makes NitroPack an extremely beginner-friendly tool.
Take a look at my website’s initial Google PageSpeed score:
While this is a good score, there is some room for improvement. That is why I installed NitroPack and ran the test again. Here’s the result:
The results indicate an increase in the PageSpeed score, thus demonstrating that NitroPack delivers on its promise.
It is worth pointing out that both the tests use the desktop version of my website. When I ran the same test for the mobile version, the results weren’t as overwhelming.
Even though the score has improved significantly after installing NitroPack, it still leaves a little room for improvement. Therefore, if you want to maximize site speed for mobile devices, you will need additional plugins or tools. This is something you should keep in mind when you start using NitroPack.
2. Amazon CloudFront Integration
Amazon CloudFront is a fast and secure CDN with a global network of proxy servers. It caches static assets such as images, videos, audio clips, etc. and stores them on various servers throughout the network. Whenever a user wants to load your website, the nearest proxy server is used to retrieve these assets. This minimizes loading time and latency, which, in turn, improves site speed.
NitroPack lets you leverage the benefits of Amazon CloudFront. It also eliminates the need to configure a CDN as this task is handled by NitroPack. Due to the global-distribution of Amazon CloudFront servers, you can reach out to a wider audience. This is extremely crucial when your target audience resides in a different country or continent.
The only issue is that NitroPack doesn’t let you set custom URLs for CDN delivery. You have to use the default URL set by Amazon CloudFront. While this isn’t a major drawback, it can dilute your branding.
3. Cloud-Based Infrastructure
Unlike other performance optimization tools, NitroPack operates on a cloud-based infrastructure. It doesn’t rely on your website’s CPU and RAM to carry out complex and heavy optimization tasks. This ensures that your web server resources are only utilized for website visitors. It also minimizes the risk of damaging your website’s original files.
When I started blogging, I was still using a shared hosting service. This meant my server resources and storage were limited to begin with. NitroPack’s cloud-based infrastructure ensured that it wasn’t an added burden on the shared web server.
4. Code Minification & Compression
This saves you the trouble of going through lengthy codes and manually removing the unused sections. Apart from being time-consuming, this process is prone to frequent errors. If you’re not a seasoned programmer, you may completely alter the code’s functionality. NitroPack gets it done automatically on your behalf, while you focus on improving your website’s content and layout.
However, sometimes, NitroPack ends up eliminating useful sections of the source code. It results in some faulty or missing features on your website. This is more likely to happen on custom-built websites.
5. Cache Invalidation
Most caching plugins purge their existing cache whenever a website is updated. Purging often takes time and makes the cache inaccessible while it is happening. It becomes particularly crucial if the purge occurs during a traffic spike. It leads to poor user experience and requires your webserver to work harder to replenish the cache with new files.
NitroPack eliminates this problem by using cache invalidation. Whenever you update your website, it simply marks the cached content as invalid and starts refreshing new cache files in the background. If a user visits your website during this period, they are served with the outdated cache files. This ensures that your website is always accessible and delivers a seamless user experience.
I regularly publish new blog posts and like to test new features on my website. That is why I find this feature extremely helpful. It is particularly useful when your website experiences a sudden traffic surge. The only downside is that new features and changes take some time to show up on the website.
6. Image Optimization & Lazy Loading
One of the most common assets that slow down your website are uncompressed image files. But you need stunning and high-quality images and graphics to make your website visually appealing. Therefore, it is crucial to optimize your image files so that your website can load faster.
NitroPack automatically does this on your behalf while you continue to scout for more attractive images. It compresses image files without compromising on their quality. This feature is especially beneficial for e-commerce websites that use many high-quality product images. Moreover, it can be useful for photographers and designers who want to showcase their portfolio on their website.
That’s not all. NitroPack also enables lazy loading on your website, which further minimizes its loading time. Lazy loading is the practice of loading image files conditionally or asynchronously. This means images are downloaded only after the above-the-fold content is loaded or when they appear in a browser’s viewport. It reduces the burden on your web server and ensures a smooth user experience.
7. Easy Setup & Installation
I’ve already mentioned that NitroPack is extremely user-friendly and doesn’t require you to have any prior knowledge of web programming. Installing NitroPack on your website is just like installing any other WordPress plugin. Even if your website is custom-built, you can download the Software Development Kit (SDK) and integrate it on your website.
Once you’ve installed NitroPack, you just have to follow a few steps to configure it. The steps vary depending on whether your website is built on a specific platform or has been custom-coded. You can also choose the level of speed optimization you’d like to achieve. NitroPack offers four different optimization levels: Standard, Medium, Strong, and Ludicrous.
Moreover, when you opt for a paid subscription, NitroPack’s tech team takes care of the installation and configuration. I’d still prefer to self-configure the tool after installing it as it gives me more control. But this feature can come in handy when you don’t have any prior experience of using WordPress, WooCommerce, etc.
You can use NitroPack for your website, irrespective of whether it has been custom-coded or platform-built. You just have to download the right extension/SDK and install it on your website.
This sets NitroPack apart from other optimization tools and plugins that are often restricted to WordPress.
Any SaaS is only as good as its tech support team. In the absence of responsive and proactive customer support, even the best software may not be usable. NitroPack’s support team works round-the-clock to ensure that you have a flawless experience. They also monitor your website 24/7 to check for any technical failures and updates.
Apart from helping you with installation and configuration, the support team handholds you whenever you encounter a problem. When I had installed NitroPack on my website, the site speed didn’t increase immediately. The helpful support staff assisted me in finding and fixing the root cause of the problem.
You can contact NitroPack’s tech support team using the live chat feature on your dashboard. The website also has a comprehensive knowledge base that can be immensely helpful for beginners. You can also visit their blog to gain new insights on NitroPack and learn to leverage it to the fullest. I would’ve preferred if there was a way to contact their support team through email or phone as well.
Although I’ve discussed the pricing plans earlier, I’d like to reiterate a few points. The flexibility to change or cancel your subscription at any time sets NitroPack apart from its competitors. The paid membership, starting at $19 per month (billed yearly) is affordable for any serious blogger. Think of all the revenue you can generate by driving more conversions when your website loads faster.
So far, we have taken a look at what NitroPack offers and how its features perform. Let us now find out what real-life users have to say about it.
What users have to say about NitroPack
The best way to find out how well NitroPack works (or doesn’t) is to take a cue from the experience of people who’ve used it. I did some digging around on the internet and social media to find out what real NitroPack users think about it. The good news is that people only have nice things to say about it.
Take a look at the screenshots below:
However, some users have raised concerns about the inability to set custom URLs for CDN delivery.
Now that we have a better idea of what NitroPack delivers, let us understand if it is the right choice for you.
Should You Use NitroPack?
It won’t be wrong to say that NitroPack lives up to its promise of being a Google-Pagespeed-focussed performance optimization tool. The presence of a free membership plan makes it even more tempting. However, before you install NitroPack on your website, you should carefully weigh its pros and cons.
Advantages of NitroPack
A major benefit of using NitroPack is that you don’t need to have any prior knowledge of web programming. The user-friendly tool can be installed and configured even by newcomers. Moreover, the proactive support team handholds you through the entire process.
It is also worth mentioning that NitroPack eliminates the need for you to carry out time-consuming tasks such as code compression and image optimization. It automatically implements these processes, thus giving you more time to focus on content creation. This is particularly useful when you aren’t well-versed in programming or can’t afford to hire a web developer.
The use of Amazon CloudFront, lazy loading, cache invalidation, etc. ensures that your website loads quickly. Additionally, it boosts other metrics such as FCP (First Contentful Paint) and load time. All these factors contribute to improving your website’s bounce rate and search engine ranking. Moreover, its cloud-based infrastructure reduces CPU overheads and ensures that all server resources are available for website visitors.
Another benefit of using NitroPack is that it equips your website to handle sudden traffic spikes. The combination of cache invalidation and CDN delivery ensures that visitors continue to have a seamless user experience. The use of cache validation, instead of purging, also makes it easier to implement new features and update website content.
Disadvantages of NitroPack
Even though NitroPack is compatible with many platforms, it doesn’t work with other caching plugins and software. This makes it difficult for you to implement tasks such as database optimization and DNS prefetching. NitroPack doesn’t offer these features either.
The process of cache validation also requires more time to display updates on your website. Moreover, it often minifies useful codes and ad scripts. You also face the risk of diluting your brand identity because of the inability to set a custom URL for CDN delivery. This is not something you’d expect from a sophisticated speed optimization tool.
Does It Really Work?
The previous Google PageSpeed Insights indicated an improvement in the PageSpeed score after using NitroPack. It also revealed that the tool doesn’t work as well on the mobile version of a website. To dig deeper, I tested my website on WebPageTest before and after installing NitroPack. Here is the first result (before NitroPack optimization):
Here is the result after using NitroPack:
It is important to note that both the load time and FCP have significantly improved after using NitroPack. It has also helped reduce the number of HTTP server requests. However, despite the overall improvement in performance, we notice a slight increase in the TTFB (Time to First Byte).
I ran a similar set of tests on Pingdom as well. Take a look at the results:
And this is after we’ve implemented NitroPack:
It is interesting to note that Pingdom reveals an increased page size after using NitroPack. Overall, load times has improved significantly. Other metrics such as compression, URL redirects, HTTP requests, etc. have also improved. This has contributed to a better ‘Performance Grade’ in the second case.
The decision to use NitroPack depends on how your website is built and its purpose. If you have a blog that runs on WordPress or eCommerce site built on OpenCart, NitroPack is an amazing speed optimization solution every site owner should consider. Try NitroPack for free here.
Site speed is one of the most critical factors that influence your website’s performance. Unfortunately, many new bloggers and web developers ignore this aspect while building their website. Moreover, manual speed optimization is time-consuming and requires you to learn web programming.
NitroPack is a robust and feature-rich cloud-based performance optimization tool. It focuses on improving your website’s Google PageSpeed score by working on different aspects such as CSS minification, image optimization, etc. It also lets you use Amazon CloudFront’s reliable CDN to connect with a worldwide audience. The ease of use and affordable pricing plans make it a good fit for beginners.
Have you used NitroPack to optimize your website? Share your experience in the comments section below.
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Richa describes herself as an avid dreamer and a curious soul! She is a certified Content & Search Marketing Specialist from Digital Marketer, USA. With an experience of 5+ years as a content marketer and researcher, she is in love with Digital Breakthroughs, Content Marketing, Startup Strategies and so much more.