Remove Query Strings From Static Resources

Description

Removes all query strings from static resources meaning that proxy servers and beyond can better cache your site content (plus, better SEO scores).

The Long Version

Remove Query Strings is a simple plugin that automatically removes query strings from static resources on your WordPress website. By activating the plugin and refreshing your website on the frontend and then checking its source code (clear any caches), you will be able to see that query string have been removed from source URLs.

By default, only the following query string types are removed:

?=, ?v=, ?ver=, ?version=

Prior to version 1.2, only ?=ver was removed, but after further testing showed extensive use of other versioning strings we added three others to the list. The logic behind this is that common versioning strings are perhaps 90% or more of the common strings that can be safely removed to improve caching; moreover, the “keyless” strings ?= are also removed by default because they are impossible to define as a constant anyways. In other words, the plugin assumes that keyless and common versioning strings are the exact reason why you would install a plugin such as this.

Example: (i.e. ?ver=1.12.4 is removed from the end of the URL source for jQuery, etc).

To remove more types of query strings (unlimited), simply use the following constant in your wp-config.php file to define which strings to remove:

define('REMOVE_QUERY_STRINGS_ARGS', 'v,ver,version');

Please note that even when using the defined constant, the keyless strings will still be removed, since they are impossible to define anyways.

While the necessity of this function has been debated, most SEO and loading speed tools such as GTMetrix, Pingdom, etc still recommend removing all query strings from static resources. The reason being that some proxy servers (etc) that are part of the internet’s underlying infrastructure (or your unique browsing connection) will be able to cache your website’s content better when query strings do not exist. In other words, having query strings on static resources makes those resources look like many different resources rather than a single resource. It is also a valuable performance enhancing method if your web server (esp. Nginx) is using a caching method such as FastCGI or proxy_pass (reverse proxy caches).

While programmers often argue that query strings help to “break caches” and ensure the proper version of a static file is loading correctly, sometimes this is not necessarily true depending on your setup. For example, if your site is behind CloudFlare or another similar proxy setup that caches static file content for 24 hours (example) regardless of query strings, then “breaking” the cache doesn’t work; in other cases, query strings can directly impact loading speed.

By using this plugin, your site may see a performance boost in certain situations or for certain apps/users. Keep in mind that you may wish to consult your IT or server team to see if it will help or hurt your unique setup.

About filters, you can add the code in functions.php or in other plugin. There are two ways to handle the filter, with or withour $src extra parameter, for example:

// Only $unwanted_args array parameter (for example if you do not want to modify the wp-config.php)
add_filter('rmqrst_unwanted_args', 'remove_query_strings_test');
function remove_query_strings_test($unwanted_args) {
return array('my-custom-arg', 'another-arg);
}

// Parameters $unwanted_args array and URL $src that will be modified (if you want to change the args to remove only for specific URLs)
add_filter('rmqrst_unwanted_args', 'remove_query_strings_test_2', 10, 2);
function remove_query_strings_test_2($unwanted_args, $src) {
// Add 'test' arg to remove, only for this URL
if ($src == 'http://myhost/wp-includes/js/jquery/jquery.js?ver=1.12.4&test=on') {
    $unwanted_args[] = 'test';
}
return $unwanted_args;
}

This filter provides full control about what the plugin is doing, so an advanced user can customize the remove arg feature even for specific URLs.

Compatibility

This plugin has been designed for use on LEMP (Nginx) web servers with PHP 7.0 and MySQL 5.7 to achieve best performance. All of our plugins are meant for single site WordPress installations only; for both performance and security reasons, we highly recommend against using WordPress Multisite for the vast majority of projects.

Plugin Features

  • Settings Page: No
  • Premium Version Available: Yes (Speed Demon)
  • Includes Media (Images, Icons, Etc): No
  • Includes CSS: No
  • Database Storage: Yes
    • Transients: No
    • Options: Yes
    • Creates New Tables: No
  • Database Queries: Backend Only (Options API Cache)
  • Must-Use Support: Yes (Use With Autoloader)
  • Multisite Support: No
  • Uninstalls Data: Yes

WP Admin Notices

This plugin generates multiple Admin Notices in the WP Admin dashboard. The first is a notice that fires during plugin activation which recommends several related free plugins that we believe will enhance this plugin’s features; this notice will re-appear approximately once every 6 months as our code and recommendations evolve. The second is a notice that fires a few days after plugin activation which asks for a 5-star rating of this plugin on its WordPress.org profile page. This notice will re-appear approximately once every 9 months. These notices can be dismissed by clicking the (x) symbol in the upper right of the notice box. These notices may annoy or confuse certain users, but are appreciated by the majority of our userbase, who understand that these notices support our free contributions to the WordPress community while providing valuable (free) recommendations for optimizing their website.

If you feel that these notices are too annoying, than we encourage you to consider one or more of our upcoming premium plugins that combine several free plugin features into a single control panel, or even consider developing your own plugins for WordPress, if supporting free plugin authors is too frustrating for you. A final alternative would be to place the defined constant mentioned below inside of your wp-config.php file to manually hide this plugin’s nag notices:

define('DISABLE_NAG_NOTICES', true);

Note: This defined constant will only affect the notices mentioned above, and will not affect any other notices generated by this plugin or other plugins, such as one-time notices that communicate with admin-level users.

Code Inspiration

This plugin was partially inspired either in “code or concept” by the open-source software and discussions mentioned below:

Recommended Plugins

We invite you to check out a few other related free plugins that our team has also produced that you may find especially useful:

Premium Plugins

We invite you to check out a few premium plugins that our team has also produced that you may find especially useful:

Special Thanks

We thank the following groups for their generous contributions to the WordPress community which have particularly benefited us in developing our own free plugins and paid services:

Disclaimer

We released this plugin in response to our managed hosting clients asking for better access to their server, and our primary goal will remain supporting that purpose. Although we are 100% open to fielding requests from the WordPress community, we kindly ask that you keep the above mentioned goals in mind, thanks!

Installation

  1. Upload to /wp-content/plugins/remove-query-strings-littlebizzy
  2. Activate via WP Admin > Plugins
  3. Use the defined constant for optional customization: define('REMOVE_QUERY_STRINGS_ARGS', 'v,ver,version');
  4. Purge all caches
  5. Test plugin is working by checking source code

FAQ

Installation Instructions
  1. Upload to /wp-content/plugins/remove-query-strings-littlebizzy
  2. Activate via WP Admin > Plugins
  3. Use the defined constant for optional customization: define('REMOVE_QUERY_STRINGS_ARGS', 'v,ver,version');
  4. Purge all caches
  5. Test plugin is working by checking source code
How can I change this plugin’s settings?

There is no settings page for best performance. Instead, use the defined constant.

I have a suggestion, how can I let you know?

Please avoid leaving negative reviews in order to get a feature implemented. Instead, we kindly ask that you post your feedback on the wordpress.org support forums by tagging this plugin in your post. If needed, you may also contact our homepage.

Reviews

Breaks the basic idea of caching and versioning

Removing version parameters from URLs is generally a very bad idea, even though many test tools complain about “unneeded” parameters for static resources – which is in my opinion completely pointless.

The problem of removing version parameters from URLs of styles and scripts in WordPress:

Whenever WordPress itself or a theme or a plugin gets updated, the browsers will not load the new version of these resources as long as they still have an older version in their local cache.

A browser loads http://mysite.example/style.css?ver=1.0 once and keeps it in its cache for a week or even longer, depending on the server configuration. And yes, this is good! Less requests are always better!

Now when the theme gets updated the version parameter changes – for example from 1.0 to 2.0. So the new URL will be http://mysite.example/style.css?ver=2.0. Now the browser will send a new request, as this URL is not in the cache yet – the old version will get removed after the expiration time anyway, so it does not matter when there are two versions in the cache. But the important point is, that in any case the browser will load the updated version when needed and never use an outdated cached copy!

But when removing the ?ver=1.0 the URL will always be the same, even when the resource already got updated. Users may see a non working web site after an update since their browsers will not try to load the newer version as the URL did not change even after an update.

So – do not remove these parameters! If you really can’t stand the complaints by YSlow or PageSpeed etc. then try another aproach by moving “ver” to the URL and applying a rewrite rule which will then change this part of the URL back to a parameter internally:

http://johnbeales.com/2014/improving-versioning-of-wordpress-static-files

https://arnowelzel.de/wp/en/versioning-of-static-resources-in-wordpress

Read all 31 reviews

Contributors & Developers

“Remove Query Strings From Static Resources” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.

Contributors

Changelog

1.3.0

  • BREAKING CHANGE: the defined constant is now REMOVE_QUERY_STRINGS_ARGS
  • (old spelling no longer supported: REMOVE_QUERY_STRING_ARGS)
  • added warning for Multisite installations
  • updated recommended plugins

1.2.8

  • better support for define('DISABLE_NAG_NOTICES', true);

1.2.7

  • updated plugin meta
  • partial support for define('DISABLE_NAG_NOTICES', true);

1.2.6

  • tested with WP 4.9
  • updated plugin meta
  • updated recommended plugins

1.2.5

  • optimized plugin code
  • updated recommended plugins
  • added rating request

1.2.4

  • minor code tweaks
  • updated plugin meta

1.2.3

  • updated recommended plugins

1.2.2

  • recommended plugins

1.2.1

  • tested with WP 4.8
  • updated plugin meta

1.2.0

  • added three more default string types

1.1.1

  • updated plugin meta

1.1.0

  • removed settings page
  • added defined constant option

1.0.0

  • initial release