JetPack is a toolbox (a suite of multiple plugins bundled into one), developed by Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com). It is supposed to be all in one tool that brings your self-hosted WordPress installation closer to the WordPress.com version. It brings a lot of functionality to the table, such as security, subscriptions, social media posting, statistics, image compression, and more, enabling or disabling these modules as you please.
Unfortunately, as the old saying goes – it’s a “jack of all trades, master of none.”
In this article, we’ll explain why you shouldn’t use JetPack, and offer better replacements for its features.
JetPack is bloated because it comes with 30+ modules, and less experienced users tend to enable them all, as their functionality sounds good on paper. What ends up happening though is that you’re essentially enabling 30+ plugins on your website at once, which can cause colossal resource consumption and slow down your website.
As any WordPress user knows, enabling 30+ plugins at once is a recipe for disaster.
You end up using quite a bit more resources because all of JetPack’s modules load on every page of your website at once. This can hurt loading times, lower page speed, destroy your organic search and turn off readers from your website.
In reality, most of the time, you only need a couple of modules JetPack offers, very few people need 30+ modules, let alone all at once on one single website. It is convenient to have all these features within one interface, but if you aren’t using most of them and the performance is degraded – JetPack is going to cause you problems and definitely not the best choice.
Since JetPack is developed by Automattic, who runs WordPress.com, and statistics are just one of the modules they offer – stats are more of a side project for them. Generally speaking, JetPack statistics aren’t very accurate, and even though JetPack uses Google Analytics for tracking visits – the results are different. Google, on the other hand, invested a lot into developing Analytics, it’s one of their areas of expertise, they are more focused on providing real data on your website traffic. For example, Google has a much better bot list (search engine bots, malicious scripts, etc.), so they aren’t distorting your site statistics. Using the Google Analytics plugin is a much better bet for tracking your website traffic stats.
To use all the features JetPack offers – you need to register a WordPress.com account. There is no advantage to having an account there. The only real advantage is for Automattic to have your data and advertise its products to you as well as track your usage since it sends a lot of information about your content to WordPress.com.
If you are privacy conscious, JetPack is a no-no.
All Eggs In One Basket
When you’re using a mega-plugin like JetPack – any bad update, a bug, or problem with their servers will affect all the modules it offers and ultimately your website. It can range from slowing down your website to distorting your images and it always takes a lot of digging and time to finally pinpoint the problem back to JetPack – time you could be spending on building and running your website.
A number of common issues from JetPack include, however, are not limited to:
- Statistics turning on and off by itself (a connectivity issue related to JetPack servers)
- Getting unexpected errors on the website (due to JetPack conflicting with other plugins)
- Not being able to schedule social media posts (due to connection issues between JetPack and Twitter)
- High-resolution images showing up blurry (due to JetPack’s CDN & compression module)
Putting all of your eggs in one basket is usually not a good call – if the basket falls, everything falls with it. If there’s a problem, hard to figure out which part of the basket is broken.
Our rule of thumb is generally the following:
If you don’t use anything of value from JetPack, completely disable and remove it.
If you do use some of JetPack’s features, it would be best to drop it and go with a plugin dedicated to doing the function you need for each feature, they’re usually more polished and work better.
All roads lead to removing JetPack and making your life much easier!
Here we’ll list plugins that we believe have a low impact on the performance of a website but can replace JetPack’s functionality.
The best plugin for monitoring website statistics is Google Analytics hands down. We recommend installing a lightweight plugin such as Insert Headers and Footers that helps you add Analytics code to your website easily.
Shareaholic is a useful, lightweight plugin that helps you put social media buttons under each post, so your users can share your content. It has free and paid versions, start with the free version, you can always upgrade later on if needed.
WP Scheduled Posts is an excellent plugin to keep your website active even when you’re away. It’s lightweight and has all the features you need to schedule your posts and have a peace of mind.
Plugin security is not real security, it’s after the fact and rarely solves any problem, in fact, it can create a lot of compatibility issues. If you’re our customer, we’ve got your back on security and putting your website behind an ironclad firewall. There are a couple of extra things you can add to the mix, it’s always good to be security conscious: check out the WP Limit Login Attempts and the Two Factor Authentication plugins. WP Limit Login keeps unwanted visitors from accessing your website and has additional features to protect from hacking. Two Factor Authentication adds an extra login step to your WordPress admin area. We’re big on security and wrote a whole article on how to secure your WordPress website.
Social Media Icons
If you want to display social media icons on your website, and your theme doesn’t support these out of the box – we recommend using the Social Icons Widget and Block plugin. It’s lightweight and allows you to add icons with links to your social media profiles quickly.
If you need a contact form on your website (sometimes, an email address on a contact page is enough), you can use the Contact Form 7 plugin as an alternative. It’s fast, doesn’t use many resources, and has all the features you need for a contact form.
As an alternative to JetPack’s related posts, we recommend using the Contextual Related Posts plugin. It has tons of useful features, and you can insert associated posts to your content both automatically and manually.
You can use Cloudflare as an alternative to JetPack’s Image CDN, and the best of all – it’s not restricted only to images.
It’s not even a fair comparison, as Yoast SEO is miles ahead of JetPack’s search engine optimization features, and we wholeheartedly recommend it to all our customers.
For infinite scroll, we recommend using Ajax Load More plugin. It’s versatile, and you have tons of options to customize if needed.
JetPack by itself isn’t bad, but we believe there are better, viable alternatives that won’t slow down your website, or cause resource problems. We’ve given you a solid list of them, depending on what your site needs, there are many more options out there!