How to Eliminate Render-Blocking JavaScript And CSS In Above-The-Fold Content

How to Eliminate Render-Blocking JavaScript And CSS In Above-The-Fold Content

When building a website, there are a few aspects which are paramount to offering users a smooth experience. One of these aspects is represented by load time. A website that loads quickly is always appreciated by visitors who want to find what they are looking for as fast as possible. In order to obtain a quick load time, you should learn how to eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content.

The speed of a website can be influenced by a wide range of factors, but the factors discussed in this article have the biggest impact. The perfect website equation can be tricky to solve, as certain elements don’t depend on your actions. They are dictated by each situation in particular (e.g. geographic location, Internet speed). However, you can optimize CSS delivery by modifying the elements that you are able to fully control. Learn below more about this topic in this article created by our team at wpDataTables.

Defining render-blocking and above-the-fold content

Render-blocking

Render-blocking refers to the elements that prevent a website’s crucial content (e.g. an article’s main text body) from loading before the entire page is loaded. A good example of such an element is represented by any additional JavaScript or CSS that is added to a website. This code may prevent the user from seeing anything in their browser until the code has been fully executed,thus becoming render-blocking.

Above-the-fold content

When a visitor accesses a website, they are greeted by a certain part of the site – i.e. the topmost part. To see the rest, the user will have to scroll down or perform other actions on the site. The content that visitors get to see immediately after they access it is called above-the-fold content.

About render-blocking in JavaScript and CSS

Browsers read HTML in order to display a site. This is a process that has multiple steps. If the browser stumbles upon elements which reference a script/stylesheet, extra steps are required to read the code. The browser will need to request a file, wait for a response, download the file from the server, and then execute the file.

Of course, these additional steps can slow down the load time. Keep in mind that some WordPress themes involve more than just one CSS or one JavaScript file. The load time can be slowed down dramatically because of these files. This is the reason why you will need to eliminate render-blocking resources from your site. Most often, these are not critical files,so you can defer parsing JavaScript to reduce blocking of page rendering, thus improving the speed on your site.

Identifying render-blocking JavaScript and CSS

To eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content, you will have to identify what these elements are. One of the easiest ways to identify them is opening your website with a page speed tool that tells you what issues it faces on load. Google’s PageSpeed Insights is one such tool that should help you find the files that block rendering on your site. Once you’ve figured what the files are, you can proceed to remove or rearrange the render-blocking JavaScript.

How to eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content?

You have two options in this situation: learn how to eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content yourself or use a plugin to do it. If you are tech-savvy and you are willing to learn how render-blocking resources are eliminated, apply one of these methods:

Clear JavaScript from the critical rendering path

The critical rendering path should only include the elements that are essential for the website. You can move unnecessary JavaScript resources out of this path. This is done by adding certain attributes where JavaScript is required. The attributes are:

  • Async: this attribute tells the browser that it should start downloading the resources immediately to avoid slow load times. Once the resources are available, HTML parsing is temporarily paused, and the resources are loaded.
  • Defer: this attribute tells the browser to postpone downloading the resources until the HTML parsing process is finished. Once it is completed, the browser will download and render the scrips in the order of their appearance on the website.

Check how CSS resources are delivered and optimize them

To eliminate render-blocking resources in CSS, you will have to:

  • Identify the resources required for above-the-fold content and inline the CSS styles with HTML.
  • Use another attribute to identify the CSS resources which are absolutely required (media attribute).
  • Load the CSS resources asynchronously (using the attributes discussed above).

A list of plugins that may help you eliminate render-blocking JavaScript easier

Autoptimize

To eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content from WordPress, you can use plugins such as Autoptimize. This plugin makes the load time of your WordPress site better by combining bits of code, making code blocks smaller by removing unnecessary characters (compression), and so on. By making these changes, the code is easier to read, and the file size is reduced, thus shaving a few hundred milliseconds or even seconds off the loading time.

To install this plugin, you simply need to access your WordPress dashboard and navigate to the Plugins tab. Then, select the Add New option which is located on the upper side of the window. After that, you can look for Autoptimize or other plugins in the search bar. Click on Install Now, active it for the website you want, and you are good to go.

W3 Total Cache

Autoptimize has many other alternatives that you can use to remove render-blocking resources from WordPress. The W3 Total Cache plugin is one of the better ones. What is interesting about this plugin is that it incorporates multiple extra features for optimizing WordPress. Caching represents the process in which certain files are stored on a user’s computer to make his experience with the website better. Subsequence visits will be easier, and the load times will improve.

Speed Booster Pack

Another option is Speed Booster Pack. Once you’ve installed it, you can access the settings and choose the options that suit your needs. The plugin offers a few configuration options like moving scripts to the footer or deferring JavaScript files from parsing. By selecting these, you can remove render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content with just a couple of clicks.

JCH Optimize

JCH Optimize is a plugin that combines JavaScript and CSS while reducing the files in size. It has many other features that can be useful in the long run, but it is great at eliminating render-blocking resources. Navigate through its settings and activate the features that seem relevant for your website.

Even though it requires some attention, solving this issue will have a great impact on your site. Once you’ve learned how to remove render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content, make sure to root out any elements that may slow down your website as soon as possible.

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