Jetpack Photon is my new favorite website performance tool. If it was its own plugin, I would use it on every site I work on; solely for the performance benefits. Photon is a feature that has been debated in the WordPress community for a long time. In recent times, I have found that while JetPack itself has some awesome features, if Photon was sold separately I would use it exclusively.
JetPack Photon’s Most Notable Feature
Jetpack Photon will rewrite images and serve them from their CDN, even if they are not hosted on your domain. This is awesome for website performance. Why? Some sites use a plugin that allows them to show featured images from a URL. This means that external domains hold/manage the image.
This is a terrible idea for some clients who refuse to change. For example, in this case, clients who refuse to compress their images. Thus, you are stuck with slow, uncompressed images. This is common with clients who have large news websites.
However, if a client is willing to compress their images, JetPack Photon is great. This is because you are loading the images from JetPack’s server, which is faster than most, if not all, WordPress hosts. This allows you to cut out DNS requests, serve compressed images, and serve the images with WebP.
Other Awesome Features
- Compresses Images
- Can serve images over .WebP
- Can resize images.
- Works with responsive images
If Only We Didn’t Need To Use Jetpack
While I am obsessed with implementing the Photon feature on client websites lately. Jetpack itself can be a bit obnoxious at times with their advertisements. It can also be a bit bloated with features that I rarely use. It also activates many a lot of features by default that aren’t needed. An example of this would be Beautiful Math, as I have never used this feature nor do any of my client sites use it. Those default features are a bit extreme and not all that useful.
TLDR; JetPack Photon is cool and it can make slow external images load fast.