Were you once happy with the performance of your WordPress website, only to now find it’s not loading as quickly as it once did? If so, then it’s time you thought about installing a WordPress caching plugin.
With the above in mind, in this article we’re going to evaluate the performance of the top five caching solutions for WordPress. We will also look at the features each one has on offer to help you determine which one is truly the best (not just the fastest)
Here is the list of things we need to go through:
WP Rocket (Premium)
WP Rocket is the most popular premium option in our comparison of the best WordPress caching plugins. It consistently scores well in side-by-side comparisons with other caching plugins for WordPress and is currently installed on over 100,000 sites. A single-site license costs $39, a three-site license $99, and an unlimited license can be yours for $199.
According to GTmetrix, WP Rocket cut the loading time by 0.98 seconds, improving the speed by 34.12%. In our Pingdom tests, it cut the loading time by 1.27 seconds on average, with a speed improvement of 35.21%. These results make it the fastest plugin in our test of the best WordPress caching tools.back to menu ↑
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins for WordPress, with over a million active installs and 4.3 out of 5 stars in the WordPress Plugin Directory. It’s updated every few months and used by many major publications, such as Smashing Magazine, Mashable, MakeUseOf, Web Designer Depot, and many others.
In our GTmetrix tests to find the best WordPress caching plugins, W3 Total Cache shaved an average of 0.62 seconds off the baseline loading time, with an average improvement of 20.64% on page speed. According to Pingdom, the plugin shaved an average of 1.06 seconds off the loading time, with an average speed improvement of 29.16%.back to menu ↑
WP Fastest Cache
WP Fastest Cache is similar to many other caching plugins, but with fewer customization options it’s easier for the average user to get to grips with. It’s updated often and is rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on the WordPress Plugin Directory. There are over 100,000 active installs of WP Fastest Cache.
In our speed tests, WP Fastest Cache didn’t prove to be the fastest, decreasing load times by just a half second in either case. This led to a speed improvement of 15.3% in GTmetrix and 15.74% in Pingdom placing it near the bottom in our test of the best WordPress caching plugins.back to menu ↑
WP Super Cache
Another highly popular free WordPress caching plugin, WP Super Cache earned its place in our guide to the best WordPress caching plugins as it has over a million active installs and a user rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars. It’s especially effective at keeping your server from slowing to a crawl or even overloading during the large traffic spikes that can occur if your blog hits the homepage on Reddit or is featured on other popular sites.
WP Super Cache cut down the loading time by 0.85 seconds in GTmetrix, improving the speed by 28.07%. In our Pingdom tests, this plugin cut the load time by 1.03 seconds, improving the speed by 28.61%,making it one of the fastest options in our test of the best WordPress caching plugins.back to menu ↑
Cachify features several different types of cachingand works with WordPress multisite installations. It’s rated 4.7 out of 5 stars and has over 20,000 active installs.
This plugin took an average of 0.78 seconds off the load time in our GTmetrix tests, resulting in a speed improvement of 27.89%. In our Pingdom tests, Cachify decreased the load time by 0.74 seconds, resulting in a 21.14% improvement. These respectable results placed it around the middle of the table in our test of the best WordPress caching plugins.back to menu ↑
It’s time to choose the best plugin that suits your need.
Are you really good at caching configuration?
Choose the plugin that you are comfortable with, spending an hour each day to constantly reconfigure your plugins simply isn’t worth it. The differences, when comparing these 5 plugins are marginal. But it can become a chasm depending on your ability to rightly configure the cache plugin in question.
Now it’s time to have a look at the result of our top recommended plugin WP ROCKET – Just with a few clicks to have your website speeded up:
Before activating the plugin:
After Activating the plugin with a few click on options
What have we done to make it happen?
WP Rocket’s Features(Compared to others)
WP Rocket offers many features, all of which could be seen in the image below. You can also see the differences between WP Rocket and some of the other top free caching plugins out there. Just a quick glance will suffice for you to realise the extent to which WP Rocket has gone to optimise your site’s performance.
Rather than looking around for other plugins to work in tandem with your caching plugin, WP Rocket introduces these extra features right into the caching plugin, making your job easier and much more efficient.
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Easy to setup Wp Rocket
Installation is as easy as can be. Once you’ve purchased and downloaded the plugin you can head to the Plugins section in your dashboard and click Add New. From here you can upload the downloaded file straight into your site. Once uploaded it will show up in your plugin list from where you will activate it.
Once activated you will find that under the Settings section you have a new section called WP Rocket. The next step is setting up the plugin to optimise the site.
Once you have opened WP Rocket you will find 7 tabs; 4 for options and 3 for support and documentation. One thing you will notice throughout these tabs are the instructions that are given with every option, except those that are self explanatory of course.
Starting with Basic Options you’re given a list of the most basic options you can set to optimise your site. Firstly you’ve got Lazyload, whereby the images on your page are only loaded when visible. The images further down the page will be loaded only when the user scrolls down that particular page.
Next is Files Optimisation; this constitutes the minification and concatenation of HTML, CSS and JS files. Following this you find Mobile Cache, Logged In User Cache and SSL Cache; all simple options that depend on your own preferences.
Finally you’re given an option to set the Clear Cache Lifespan time. This is the time you want the cache to be stored in the browser after being created, before it gets removed and reset.
The Advanced Options tab opens as is shown in the screenshot above. Under this tab you will find options to Prefetch DNS Requests, Empty the Cache of particular pages when updating a post, an option to Never cache a particular set of pages and an option not to cache pages that use particular cookies. All these options are self explanatory and have informative tips and video links beneath them to help you out even further.
Besides those you’re also given the options to select CSS files to exclude from minification, JS files to include in the footer during the minification process and JS files with deferred loading. Explanations and warning signs are once again given to help guide you in your selection
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It costs $39/yr for a single site’s license, $99 for 3 sites and $199 for unlimited sites. The license gives you access to support & updates for a year.
Now it’s your turn – how do our results compare to your own experiences with caching plugins? Which of these plugins have you tried on your own site, and how have they impacted your load times? Share your experiences in the comments below.