Why and How to Combine JavaScript Files WordPress Creates

Updated: August 23, 2022

Optimizing your WordPress site regularly is important to keep up the performance. It is recommended that you combine JavaScript files WordPress creates to take your website to the next level.

WordPress gives its members plenty of options in every category, from building a website to upgrading it right from the platform.

It’s worth mentioning that WordPress has a plugin for everything, which makes your work just simpler. Keeping the following suggestions in mind will help you succeed. Let’s first understand why JavaScript is required and why you should combine JS files in WordPress.

Why Combine JavaScript?

JavaScript is a programming language that makes your web pages look more dynamic. On your WordPress website, using JavaScript will help you to embed audio and video files, display image galleries, add interactive navigation, integrate widgets like a countdown timer, and more.

JavaScript files use file extension .js and are inserted into pages via themes or activated plugins. When not optimized following a comprehensive procedure, these files can even make your WordPress website slower. In this case, combining the JS files in WordPress helps.

Is It Mandatory to Combine JS Files?

The Hypertext Transfer Protocol has improved a lot in the past couple of decades which has eliminated the need to combine JavaScript files WordPress has. However, make sure that your website hosting company supports HTTP/2.

If your website is running on HTTP/1.0 or HTTP/1.1, you need to download the JavaScript and CSS files in sequential order. Having said that, first, you need to download one file and wait for the process to complete. Once the file is downloaded, you can start downloading the second file.

With the advanced HTTP/2 version, managing data tasks becomes simpler and parallel downloads are no longer an issue. Think about how much easier file organizing is on a computer when there is a specific system rather than frantic random actions. A similar thing applies to WP.

Since you can download a wide range of external resources simultaneously, there’s no benefit to combining multiple JavaScript files as long as HTTP/2 is available.

However, if you are using HTTP/1.0 or HTTP/1.1, combining JavaScript files is essential. Even today, most websites are running on the older versions of the HTTP; it’s worth learning about the process of combining multiple JS files to maintain your website’s performance.

How to Combine JavaScript in WordPress?

As mentioned earlier, WordPress gives you multiple ways to do a simple task. You can use the SCRIPT <script> tag to add JavaScript function directly to HTML pages. Using the SCRIPT tag separates the code while allowing the JS function to be called by multiple pages altogether.

The browser needs to download each JavaScript file that is required for the proper rendering of a web page. So, when the browser downloads multiple files in a sequential manner, the HTTP request takes time which affects the page load speed. Several search engines recommend combining external JS code into two files.

One of the files contains necessary functions vital to correctly render the initial page load. The second file contains not-so-important functions that the program can call after the page load completes.

So, when a webpage requires five different JavaScript files to display all its elements correctly, you can combine multiple JS files in WordPress to minimize the total HTTP request count for JS code from five to two. Further, if you combine CSS files, it will reduce the HTTP request to an even smaller count.

Once you are done combining JavaScript files, make sure to run performance tests to understand how the page load times might have affected the WordPress site. Let’s learn about some of the tools that you can use to run performance tests.

  • Asset Cleanup

A highly configurable WordPress optimization plugin that helps combine and defer JS or CSS files. Asset Cleanup gives you access to a variety of tools for managing fonts so that you can reduce their effect on page load times.

The plugin integrates JavaScript and CSS Manager, which makes it unique from other products in the same category. The manager enables you to identify the web pages where JS and CSS files have been downloaded recently across the WordPress website.

  • Autoptimize

If you are looking to install one of the most effective WordPress optimization plugins, download and install Autoptimize. The plugin facilitates the minification of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS files and is widely used by a large volume of the WordPress community.

The basic features of the plugin are available for free; however, you can buy the premium version to gain access to advanced features. With automatic optimization, the process is faster, and you can check the web page load times simultaneously to see improvements.

The Conclusion

Regardless of the website platform you are using, load speed is a vital component that very much decides the success of the website. If you find any issues with website loading speeds, try to fix them immediately using WordPress plugins.

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