Tag Archives: lockerz

Care to share; testing Simple Share Buttons Adder

A couple of days ago a WP DoNotTrack user asked which WordPress sharing plugin I would recommend instead of privacy-killer “Share Buttons” by Lockerz / AddToAny. I’m not really into those sharing thingies (except for my little own performance-centric experiment maybe), but I nevertheless had a quick look in the Plugin repository and this was my feedback:

Just did a quick test with “Simple Share Buttons Adder“, no tracking there that I can see, cfr. this webpagetest test result (I did disable the custom font in styling->share text to avoid having to fetch a google font).

No tracking and performance isn’t shabby either, but some speed-improvements could be made:

  • By default the plugin includes a Google Font, which slows the page down. Changing this to “inherit from my website” in the “Styling”-settings, improves the performance.
  • Each share service’s image is fetched separately, from a performance point of view it would make sense to use one image sprite instead.
  • You can add a share counter: but without a caching plugin the page load is slowed down significantly, but with a caching plugin the counters aren’t updated any more. ideally the share counter would be empty on page load (i.e. just placeholders in HTML) and after the page has loaded an ajax call would get and set the correct numbers. The “backend” the ajax-call connects with could feature some light caching (5 minutes maybe)?

But all in all a nice sharing plugin, so if you want to have those share buttons, do give Simple Share Buttons Adder a go.

Sharing widgets harm your website’s performance

[UPDATE: I reworked lyteShare into a standalone javascript-thingie]

Doing Web Performance can be so easy, really! I was asked to do a performance analysis of a new website and one of the things I didn’t like was the fact that the footer contained social media sharing buttons using the ShareThis widget. I’m not a fan of sharing widgets in general, as they tend to slow webpage loading and rendering down and as they almost invariably come with “3rd party tracking” for behavioral marketing purposes.

So why not do a quick comparison between a simple page with ShareThis, AddThis, AddToAny/ Lockerz share and one which uses inline javascript to render the buttons? For that purpose I quickly created lyteShare, an inline JavaScript thingie that dynamically adds the Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus sharing buttons after the load event has been fired. I’m not going to bother you with code (but you can look at the page’s source here if you want)  it’s probably far from perfect and it sure isn’t pretty, but it works and the webpagetest.org-results tell it all.

ShareThisAddThisLockerz/ AddToAnyinline JS (“lyteShare”)
Document Complete0.677s0.487s1.352s0.283s
Start Render0.715s0.279s0.304s0.298s
Fully Loaded1.507s3.718s1.407s0.500s
Full Download size70 KB384 KB 111 KB7 KB
Test Reportsharethis resultaddthis result lockerz/ addtoany resultlyteshare result
3rd party tracking?yes yes yesno

So yep, ShareThis, AddThis  and AddToAny/ Lockerz (and all sharing widgets really) are performance-hogs that also track your visitors’ every move while offering little or no added value to what anyone could do with some simple JavaScript (or server-side code, for that matter).

Conclusion: if performance is of any importance for your website (and it should be), you really have to avoid using 3rd party widgetery!