Recently we looked for a new social share plugin and after rigorously testing dozens of different options we finally landed on Social Rocket as the closest match that both fits our needs and provides the best performance. In today's article we'll explore the pros/cons of the last three social plugins we've recommended in production, for the purposes of a fair test we're running the free version of each plugin through the rounds. This is Social Rocket versus Social Grow versus Social Warfare.
|Floating buttons||9 networks||6 networks||5 networks|
|Inline buttons||9 networks||6 networks||5 networks|
|Image pin description|
|Custom post social|
|Tag profiles in shares||Partial|
|Click to tweet|
|Compatibility||Classic + Gutenberg||Gutenberg||Classic + Gutenberg|
We can see in the chart that Rocket comes with a huge amount of features out-of-the-box, while Warfare/Grow charge for those features. This makes Rocket hugely more powerful for the average user.
For advanced users the paid versions of each plugin come packed with mostly the same features, though for Social Rocket a Pinterest pin button on image hover is still in development on their roadmap (in the meantime, we recommend jQuery Pin It, or the official Pinterest pin it button).
Reliability + Performance
Of course we have a much longer history to compare against for Grow/Pug and Warfare, so Rocket gets an advantage there. Checking the wp.org support forum they at least don't have indications of previous major issues, so we can confidently presume no such events have occurred yet. Meanwhile, Grow and Warfare have both had previous security issues published (Warfare to a much higher degree/severity). Of the three plugins, only Warfare has had known issues with updates that caused downtime, while Grow only had updates that had functionality/conflicts with other plugins (which have historically been quickly patched).
Pagespeed scans showed great results in Rocket's favor, only adding a comparably tiny 4kb to the download size of the test page, and adding no additional/external resources to the page load. Meanwhile, both Grow and Warfare loaded at similar ranges for page size and additional resources added + pagespeed. The minimalist Social Rocket proves to be the better option for the pagespeed-conscious user.
|Fully Loaded Time||Page Size||Requests|
|No Social||1.0 seconds||141 kb||12|
|Rocket||1.3 seconds||145 kb||12|
|Grow||1.6 seconds||154 kb||13|
|Warfare||1.7 seconds||156 kb||13|
(pagespeed scans run 10X per test run to build reliable averages, with each plugin set to run inline + floating share buttons for FB, Pinterest, Twitter)
Each plugin offers very differing features for button styles, Social Rocket is by far the most well-rounded and feature rich for designing unique and personalized buttons that can look exactly how you want.
Rocket's Button Styles
You can see in the screenshots above that Rocket allows for very fine grained control of positioning, padding, button size, button shape, button heading text, and also each individual button can be edited using the "advanced" link to customize both the colors, icon and button text. Really unlimited possibilities for customization with Rocket.
Grow Button Styles
Grow has few custom styling available, you can change the button text and switch between round/rectangle/rounded buttons.
Warfare Button Styles
There's actually no options for customizing the buttons in Social Warfare, you just get these buttons and some positioning options.
After testing dozens of share plugins it is no surprise that Rocket performs so well as it really did come out on top versus all the many many other options out there. The fact that it performed better than our previous two picks sealed the deal as that is exactly what we'd hoped for in the next generation of social share plugin.
In addition to the fantastic performance, we've submitted a few ideas to the developer team for new features and they're either already working on them, or are looking into the possibility. Having that level of openness and adaptability is very nice, something you don't find with many other social plugins out there.
All this considered, we've made Social Rocket our recommended and preferred social share plugin going forward. For the performance, endless customization options, security and reliability - it really doesn't get any better than that :)