I recently had to find a mobile solution for a client. Their theme had been custom made a while ago and was not responsive so the easiest route (and the one that fit their budget) was to use one of the many available mobile plugins for WordPress.
If one of your goals is to make the mobile version of your site perform better on PageSpeed Insights and other speed tests, check out this guide to making your mobile WordPress pages faster.
What’s the Difference Between A Responsive Theme and A Mobile Plugin?
A responsive theme adapts to the size of the screen it is being viewed on, so it retains a consistent overall look and feel. The mobile plugins work in various ways – some of them do let you use a responsive theme of your choosing, but oftentimes they install their own mobile theme which could look significantly different than your standard theme, but it may have some handy mobile-specific features. A mobile plugin will detect the actual device being used (rather than just the width of the screen) and show a different display based on that. It’s a quick and easy way to get a mobile solution for your site. Retrofitting an existing theme to make it responsive requires custom coding, so for many people, a plugin is the easier way to go.
Criteria for Comparing Mobile Plugins
As I played around with various plugins, several key distinguishing factors emerged. So before you start looking at plugins you may want to think about these factors and how important they are for your circumstance so you can make an informed decision: