How to Install GTmetrix in WordPress and Why You Should

How to Install GTmetrix in WordPress and Why You Should

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

One of the best ways to keep an eye on performance in WordPress is by using a speed test app. This will help you monitor site performance and keep Google happy. Today, I’m going to show you some of the awesomeness that is GTmetrix in WordPress and how it can help you.

And since Google puts a lot of emphasis on-site performance for ranking, you need every bit of help you can get. Besides, GTmetrix is free.

What is GTmetrix?

GTmetrix is a web-based platform that tests any webpage for performance. Giving you several data points, you can see where your site might be having issues for the average visitor.

As one of the most popular speed tests online, GTmetrix has helped many WordPress users discover just where the site is having the most difficulty.

It’s just one of those free WordPress optimization tools you’ll want to add to keep your blog ranking well in search results.

That is as long as you write quality SEO content.

And this isn’t to mention how you can use it to spy on your competition. How does your website’s performance stack up to competitors?

How to Add GTmetrix to WordPress

You can use GTmetrix for free just by visiting the website and entering a URL you want to test. However, adding it to WordPress lets you run these tests without leaving the admin screen of your website.

Using an API key, you can test your pages from the backend, which could save you a few steps or a bit of time.

1. Sign Up with GTmetrix

The first thing you’ll need to do is sign up with GTmetrix. It’s a free account as long as you stay under 50 weekly, on-demand tests from WordPress.

Go to the GTmetrix website and click the “Sign Up” button.

GTmetrix Sign Up

If you’re only using it for your personal blog or website, you should receive more than enough free credits every day.

Personally, with five blogs, I’ve never gone over my limit on any given week.

2. Get Your API Key

Once you create your account, copy the API key under “Your Plan.” You can always find this by clicking the “Account” link on the top right.

Copy API Key

3. Install the GTmetrix for WordPress Plugin

OK, I know the plugin hasn’t been updated for a while. But, I know it works with WordPress 5.7.1.

You’ll need to install the plugin. Go to the WordPress dashboard of your website.

Install and activate the GTmetrix for WordPress plugin.

GTmetrix Plugin Install

4. Input Your Account Info and API Key

Once the plugin is activated, you’ll need to add your information to WordPress. Click the GTmetrix option on the left admin panel.

GTmetrix WordPress Settings

Add your GTmetrix account email and API key, and then click the “Save Changes” button.

Save Changes

Once the information is added, GTmetrix will open its WordPress settings.

5. Adjust Your Preferences

From the settings screen, make the necessary adjustments you want for your specific website.

GTmetrix Screen

This includes things like showing the testing widget on your WordPress Admin dashboard, the default location of the testing server, what scores you want to show, and the email address of where to send alerts.

Once you’re done, simply click the Save Changes button on the bottom.

NOTE: I find leaving everything at default is best if you’re new to using GTmetrix. This way, you can decide later what things you want to remove or change if they don’t suit your purpose.

6. Test Your Site from GTmetrix in WordPress

Now, it’s time to test your site. Click the “Tests” option on the left.

GTmetrix Tests

There are two ways you can use GTmetrix in WordPress. You have the option to test your front page or input a specific URL for pages or posts.

Choose a test you wish to run.

Run a Test

NOTE: If you use the URL option for a post or page, GTmetrix will scan through your content as you type the title of your post. This way, you can pick which article to test without actually knowing the full URL. Just start typing the title.

For this tutorial, I’m going to test the post I have about Buy Me a Coffee. I know I have a lot of work to do to get performing well for mobile users.

BMC Test

Once you click one of the test buttons, GTmetrix will begin analyzing your site.

GTmetrix Testing WordPress

The test results will be available in the “Reports” section.

Speed Reports

As you can see, the page speed is pretty good, but the YSlow test is a bit on the blah side.

This means I need to work on the site more to improve it for mobile device users, which is what YSlow focused more on in the past.

NOTE: GTmetrix no longer shows YSlow on their website by default. Instead, it’s combined into the Grade and Web Vitals segment at However, it will show YSlow when you go to the site to get a full report of a test, which I will show you in a moment.

7. Check Your Score from the Dashboard

Lastly, you can see your site’s performance from the Admin dashboard in WordPress. GTmetrix has widgets available you can move around to suit your needs.

Dashboard Widgets

8. (Optional) Enabling Scheduled Tests

If you like, you can also turn on scheduled tests to keep you up to date in regards to site performance.

Go to any of the tests you’ve performed and click the heartbeat icon. These can be found in the “Tests” screen of GTmetrix.

Test Heartbeat

In this next screen, you have a few options for managing the schedule. You can enable it for hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly tests, enabling alerts, and setting the schedule to active or paused.

Select the options for the schedule and click, “Save.”

GTmetrix WordPress Schedule

NOTE: These tests will take your API credits. However, they are refilled every day. So, as long as you don’t go wild with testing, you should have enough credits to last you a long time.

Keeping an Eye on Your Scores

The only real downside to using GTmetrix in WordPress is that it doesn’t give you the full report. This means you’ll need to actually go to the GTmetrix website to get a breakdown of how your pages perform.

Luckily, the tests you perform from WordPress are sent directly to your GTmetrix account. So, all you need to do is go to the website and click the test.

Performance Test

From here, you can get a breakdown of what parts of the test score poorly and tips on how to fix the issues.

YSlow Results

As you can see, I have a bit of work to fix the YSlow component. And I’m currently running a few experiments on how to fix these issues for my specific website.

I’ll have the report available as soon as it’s done.

At any rate, a GTmetrix speed test can help you keep WordPress running smoothly by giving you actionable data. Though sometimes it takes a bit of detective work to figure out how to fix certain things, it’s worth the effort in the long run.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a website to improve.

Keep the Site Fast!

Monitoring your website is part of WordPress optimization. Sometimes, you need to dig into the nitty-gritty of your blog to make sure Google keeps showing it to people.

Using GTmetrix from WordPress just makes it a bit more convenient overall.

What is your favorite speed testing app?

Michael Brockbank
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