When creating a website, chances are you will want to incorporate an icon library. The most popular icon library for WordPress is probably font awesome, but unfortunately it isn't great for performance. If you're looking to incorporate icons into your upcoming website design project, check out these best icon libraries for performance.
When choosing a good icon library in terms of performance and website page speed, it's important to consider the use case. In many situations, you can choose a much smaller library, or a module of a larger library instead of including everything on the website.
There are also other considerations. Sometimes, replacing an icon library with just a small collection of SVG images is another good idea. If you're trying to get a high performance, very quick to load WordPress website, icon libraries aren't always the best choice. However, if you're looking for the best icon libraries for WordPress website performance, continue reading this article.
We've used most of these in production projects, and have had great experiences with all of them. Additionally, every icon library listed here is free to use and open source.
Google Material Icons are incredibly well designed, have a modern look to them, and relatively lightweight when compared to other libraries. They are 100% open source, and range from everything including sports to cars. If you need a good icon library, we highly recommend this one, and use it in many of our production websites.
Unicons are a new offering, coming as web fonts or SVG icons, include over 3000 individual ones, with multiple styles, and the best part about them is that they are free. We really like this library because it is new, and lightweight. If you have a budget for your icons, opting for the premium pack monochrome can really upgrade your design.
You may be wondering, “why is font awesome being included in this article if the introduction paragraph talked down about it?”
The thing to note here is that the icons themselves aren't poorly created, but the library is so big that including all of it in the initial loading of your website is a big no no when it comes to performance. With that being said, if you only include the icons that you're going to be using, using the method discussed below, then font awesome icons are a great solution.
But, you can't include the entire library like many WordPress plugins and themes do, instead you should only include the icons that you use.
As the name suggests, this icon pack is created out of lines, but not sharp like material icons. We really like this for more elegant websites , and the free version is usually more than enough.
if you're worried about the performance of your WordPress website when using an icon library, a good way to make it load quicker is by self hosting it, and enqueuing the file into your site (you can use a custom code snippet or make a plugin). This reduces the number of HTTP requests, and by eliminating third party requests, your website will load much quicker.
Another method is only loading the icons that you know you are using in your WordPress website period to do that, you would use the IcoMoon tool to select an package the icons that you are using and self host it. By doing this, you truly only load necessary data, resulting in the fastest possible loading time of your website in regards to your icon libraries.
There are complete tutorials that you can easily find online, but really quickly, all you need to do is Buy or upload your icon pack, select the icons that you want to include in your font file, and then generate the associated CSS and font file period from that, simply install it on your WordPress website, and you're good to go. You only load the necessary data in regards to icons.
We hope that this article answered your question as to what the best icon libraries for performance . If you are building a WordPress website, or any website for that matter, icons are a must. However, many icon libraries are detrimental to the performance of your digital asset. The ones listed above have a good balance between file size and variety. If you have any other icon library recommendations, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
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