Rich Snippets play a major role in user experience. When visitors vote for your site or article, it indicates that you have good response rates. kk Star Ratings is one star rating plugin which allows for visitor rating based on unique IPs.
It is a free plugin provided by WordPress.org repository. You can embed them in any of your posts or autmatically insert above or below your posts. You can also align them to the center, left or right.
I was using the 2.6.4 version for a very long time. I heard that its AJAX calls were taking a toll on page loading time and performance. But as per its author claims, these bugs were fixed in the recent version of 3.1.1.
To test the page speed and performance enhancement claims, I decided to test the plugin myself. For the case-study, I took a small website with around 10 web pages.
The following theme and WordPress plugins were installed on this site.
Thesis & Current Skin
Thesis Version: 2.9.4
Skin Name: Effectus
Skin Version: 1.2.3
Skin CSS: YES → 40.7kB on 06/19/2019 at 22:39:33
Skin Custom CSS: YES → 0.08kB
Skin Custom PHP: YES → 0.5kB on 03/20/2019 at 03:01:07
WordPress Version: 5.2.2
Filesystem Method: direct
Using Multisite: NO
Active Plugins: Accelerated Mobile Pages, Akismet Anti-Spam, Classic Editor, Lightweight Subscribe To Comments, Contextual Related Posts, Cookie Notice, Easy Table of Contents, EWWW Image Optimizer, Inline Related Posts, kk Star Ratings, Link Juice Keeper, PageSpeed Ninja, Redirection, Schema, TablePress, Thin Out Revisions, Wordfence Security, Yoast SEO, WP Mail SMTP
Max Upload (according to WP): 128 MB
Memory Limit (ini): 1024M
Memory Limit (usage): 20 MB
Memory Limit (WP): 40M
Performance of kk Star Ratings Plugin 3.1.1 Activated
The following were the page speed results using three performance testing tools. It includes, GTMetrix, Pingdom tools, and Google’s PageSpeed Insight tool. I was also using the free Cloudflare version with basic settings.
The test page loaded in 1.7s. The total page size was 1.54MB and had 41 requests. These were the results from GTMetrix testing tool.
Pingdom tools reported a loading time of 495ms with a page size of 630Bytes.
PageSpeed Insights tool from Google reports both mobile and desktop score. Though the scores are not indicative of the performance of the website. These results in combination with other testing tools give a clear picture of your site performance and speed.
The desktop score was 98 and mobile score was 72.
The first meaningful paint in mobile page (AMP page) test was 2.7s. In the desktop version, it took only 0.7s.
Page Speed Performance after kk Star Ratings Plugin 3.1.1 Deactivated
To test the performance and verify the speed claims of the author, I deactivated the plugin. Then tested the same page with all other plugins remaining same. I used the same testing tools. I also cleared the Cloudflare and browser cache.
The same page after deactivating the plugin produced the following results in GTMetrix test.
As you can see the fully page loaded time is 1.6s with a total page size of 1.54MB and 41 requests. This compared to the page speed results when the kk Star Ratings plugin was not much different.
Pingdom tools test results that the page loading time took 533ms with 630 Bytes size. This too was not much different from the results obtained when the kk Star Ratings plugin was active.
The mobile test score was 73 with first meaningful paint time being 2.7s. The desktop score also did not change.
Though the above tests were done on a single site and page, it shows that there is no performance overhead, if the kk Star Ratings plugin is active. If further tests are conducted with many websites and many webpages, we may get a conclusive evidence.
From the above results, we can say that kk Star Ratings plugin does not decrease the page loading time on being active. Neither any improvement in page speed and loading time is observed after deactivating it.
So from speed performance wise, we can safely use kk Star Ratings plugin 3.1.1 without any problem.