Performant Translations Plugin Now Available on WordPress.org
Translations are an essential part of the WordPress ecosystem, allowing websites to reach a global audience. However, an in-depth performance analysis earlier this year revealed that translations can significantly impact server response times. This finding prompted WordPress contributors to propose several technical solutions to improve performance for the approximately 56% of sites that use translations.
One of the proposed solutions, Performant Translations, is now available as a plugin on WordPress.org. Developed by the core Performance Team, this feature project aims to speed up translations by converting .mo files to .php files, which can be parsed faster and stored in OPcache.
The Performant Translations plugin supports multiple file formats, including .mo, .php, and .json, as well as multiple text domains and locales loaded at the same time. It achieves this by converting existing .mo files to .php files, which are then loaded by WordPress.
According to a chart included on the plugin’s details page, using Performant Translations can lead to a significant reduction in page load times compared to sites with translations that don’t use the plugin. In fact, the plugin brings translations very close to the same page load times as English (non-translated) sites.
The core Performance Team is actively working on improving the plugin and hopes to eventually merge it into WordPress core. Pascal Birchler, a contributor to the team, stated, “With enough testing and feedback, we hope to eventually merge this plugin into WordPress core.” In the coming weeks and months, the team plans to share more testing instructions and continue refining the plugin. These updates will also be made available via Performance Lab.
Users who are testing the Performant Translations plugin can report any issues they encounter on the support forum or create an issue on the GitHub repository. Feedback from users is crucial for identifying and addressing any bugs or performance issues.
While Performant Translations is considered a beta testing plugin, it can be used in production at your own risk. The plugin doesn’t require any changes to settings or configuration after installation, making it easy to test. Additionally, the plugin can be safely removed after testing, as it cleans up after itself. All .php files generated by the plugin will be automatically removed by the server once the plugin is deactivated and uninstalled.
The availability of the Performant Translations plugin on WordPress.org is a significant step towards improving the performance of translated websites. By addressing the performance issues caused by translations, WordPress aims to provide a better experience for users around the world.
Website owners and developers who rely on translations can now take advantage of this plugin to optimize their site’s performance. With faster page load times, they can ensure that their content reaches a wider audience without sacrificing user experience.
In conclusion, the Performant Translations plugin offers a promising solution to the performance challenges posed by translations in WordPress. By converting .mo files to .php files and leveraging OPcache, this plugin significantly speeds up translations and brings them closer to the performance of non-translated sites. As the core Performance Team continues to refine and improve the plugin, it has the potential to become an integral part of WordPress core, benefiting millions of websites worldwide.