Your Internet experience is only as fast as the websites you visit. Typically, the best websites are also the ones with the quickest load times. A slow website makes for a terrible user experience, and let’s not forget the impact it is likely to have on your search engine rankings. Google has confirmed the same in the past.
WordPress is dynamic. While this helps keep your website up to date and live, it also slows down your site. So, to tackle this little problem, developers created caching plugins. They help produce a static version of your website, making it much faster.
I’ll take you through a few plugins to help speed up your WordPress site. If you aren’t currently using a caching plugin, you’ll certainly find it an interesting and rather important read. And if you are using a caching plugin, you’ll have a few more options to check out and find out which plugin works best for you.
If all these caching plugins fail you and it doesn’t make your site any quicker, then you’ll probably have to upgrade your host. But before doing so, try a few caching plugins and see how they work for your website.
WP Rocket [Our Choice for colorlib.com]
WP Rocket is a premium plugin that advertises speed and simplicity. And they certainly deliver results with little effort on the user’s part. The plugin is currently in active use on 2+ million websites including colorlib.com
You can run an eCommerce site due to its compatibility with eCommerce plugins. This plugin offers Google font, image optimization, and multisite and multilingual compatibility. It is Cloudflare compatible, can utilize browser caching. In addition to these features, WP Rocket provides DNS prefetching and is developer-friendly.
The settings panel is very similar to Super Cache and easy to handle a no-nonsense plugin that works with a minimal number of problems.
The personal version of the plugin costs $39 per year. The business version costs $99 annually and is available to three websites. You can get the Pro version at $199 for an unlimited number of websites. If you do not like the plugin for some reason, you can ask for a refund for up to 30 days. The support and updates will require yearly payment. If you choose not to pay, you will still use the plugin without support or updates. Generally, trying the latter is not advisable.More info / Download
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is popular as one of the most powerful caching plugins, with many options at the user’s disposal. Its users include Yoast (the author behind the most popular WordPress SEO plugin, which we use on Colorlib), Matt Cutts (works on search quality and webspam for Google), Mashable, Smashing Magazine, and many other equally influential websites.
Update (1): Yoast no longer uses plugin-based caching and has switched to server-side caching. Likely a similar caching we use for Colorlib, a combination between HHVM, Redis, and fastcgi_cache.
Update (2): Matt Cutts has switched from W3 Total Cache to WP Super Cache. It’s similar to W3 but is much easier to setup and according to some benchmarks can deliver even better website performance under certain conditions.
Update (3): We now use a completely custom-built server-side caching. It uses Nginx, PHP 8, and Redis as a base but we have tweaked it for Colorlib. This includes custom comment and bbPress forum thread handling to ensure they are posted in real-time. If you like how well our website performs, read our hosting guide to find out how you can achieve similar results.
A WordPress newbie may find negotiating through the plugin’s many options daunting. W3 Total Cache offers tips on best use the plugin above the plugin’s settings page on your WP dashboard.
The tips seem more daunting than the advanced options themselves, how well you use this plugin depends on your ability to attend to each instruction provided. At the bottom, you’ll notice a “Toggle all caching types”, this is sufficient but doesn’t maximize the plugin’s impact.
Even an experienced user would find the instructions helpful because installing the plugin is only part of the process, it needs to be configured appropriately for full impact. Else you can choose to enable the default settings, it should be sufficient for most websites.
The plugin isn’t complicated, it is merely vast with many options. If you can get past the clutter of options and follow suggestions as presented by the plugin below your WordPress dashboard and maybe watch a tutorial or two then it can speed up your website ten times over, which is an impressive feat.
At $99 per year for the paid version, you can enable fragment caching module for better performance with themes/plugins that use WordPress transient API and the paid version also provides CDN mirroring.More info / Download
WP Super Cache
When I first used this plugin, it was easier to figure stuff out than the previous one. The plugin settings screen greets you with an easy-to-use version of the plugin. There are multiple tabs; the first one, “Easy” is displayed first. And it is easier when you aren’t bombarded with as many options as with W3 Total Cache.
WP Super Cache creates a static HTML file served to users who aren’t logged in, users who haven’t left a comment on your blog, and users who haven’t viewed a password-protected post on your site. That pretty much means almost every visitor to your website.
This plugin caches files in three ways:
- Supercached Static files – PHP is completely bypassed and it served as such to unknown visitors.
- Supercached Static files ( served by PHP ) – Server more likely to struggle with large increase or bursts of traffic.
- Legacy Caching – Slowest caching method used for known users.
The difference between supercached served by PHP and not served by PHP becomes more apparent only when there is an increase in traffic, so much so that the host’s server struggles to keep up, else the differences are imperceptible.
You can selectively choose which sections of your website get cached. The plugin also handles sudden spikes in traffic using lockdown and directly cached files.
WP Super Cache helps get rid of your cache files by deleting them at specified intervals of time. Preloading the files will create supercached static files for your most recently published posts or for every page and post on your site. With preloading, it is all the more important to deal with cached files after they become redundant.More info / Download
With a caching plugin, you can drastically improve the performance of your website. Whether you run a corporate page, a blog, an online portfolio or an eCommerce page, always ensure your web space works at the highest degree. With a WordPress caching plugin, you can achieve such results relatively easily.
Pick up the LiteSpeed Cache tool and boost your website to new heights. We are getting more and more sensitive to websites not loading in a snap, especially when it comes to mobile! Ensure you are not one of those whose page loads after several seconds. No one is interested in staring at a blank screen for that long.
With LiteSpeed Cache, you can avoid the inconvenience and cache your content once and for all. Some of the core features of LiteSpeed Cache are lazyloading, browser cache, WordPress Multisite support, PageSpeed score optimization, and simple to use interface.More info / Download
Redis Object Cache
If you need to test out more WordPress caching plugin options, we have several here for you. And Redis Object Cache is one of them. Once you undergo the basic installation and activation process, you can start using the plugin and see the difference. Redis Object Cache will do the trick to improve your page’s loading speed. Remember, you first need to have Redis installed before you can start using the tool. There is a step-by-step guide on setting it up, so you won’t find yourself lost in space.
There are loads of different connection and configuration parameters for you to set and get the most out of Redis Object Cache. Although this might be super new to you and you have never worked with a similar plugin before, trust me, it is way easier than you think.More info / Download
Cache Enabler is nothing else than a WordPress caching plugin. What does it do? It is super simple; if you feel like your existing website is a bit slow, you can almost instantly improve the performance with a caching plugin. In other words, mobile, tablet and desktop users can experience faster loading times what translates into a more pleasant experience.
What Cache Enabler does it creates and stores static HTML files on the server. Instead of going through the “long” process of accessing files in the back-end process, the web server then delivers the static HTML files and makes your page put its content on display much quicker. After all, who would not want to have a lightning-fast website in this day and age? Make sure yours does not stand out due to its slowness rather how swift it is.More info / Download
If you are already using Cloudways, Breeze will probably be the best WordPress caching plugin option for you. The team who knows the platform best created it, so it is worth giving it a shot. Besides, it costs you nothing, and the setup procedure is quick and straightforward. Breeze provides many different solutions to optimize your WordPress, WooCommerce or WordPress Multisite web platform. Yes, Breeze works with all three like a dream.
When speaking about features, Breeze has quite a few to take advantage of. From speed and resource optimization to file level cache, database cleanup, simplified CDN integration. Of course, Breeze is also convenient and super beginner-friendly, making sure all users get a chance to benefit from Breeze. Additionally, if you have any questions or concerns, you can always contact Breeze’s support, and they will be happy to assist you.More info / Download
Another more specific WordPress caching plugin is SG Optimizer. Why so? The folks put it together over at SiteGround. This makes SG Optimizer exclusive to the hosting provider and will not work with any other service available on the market. If you happen to be a SiteGround user, you are in luck. Instead of a random caching plugin, pick the one that best works with the service. This also saves you additional time and effort, finding the right tool; SG Optimizer is the right plugin for you in this situation.
To configure SG Optimizer, you might want to go through the available and in-depth documentation to get its gist. Nothing complicated indeed. Moreover, you can set browser caching rules, exclude particular URLs from the cache, optimize images, and enable or disable minification. The options are there, you need to get your hands on SG Optimizer and start experiencing great results.More info / Download
When searching for a WordPress caching plugin to speed things up, you should look into WP-Optimize. It is a nifty solution that will help you clean your page, compress your images and cache your site. If you are thinking of boosting loading speed up, try a powerful plugin that will do the trick instead of you. Fast loading speed is crucial for mobile users, so make sure your website loads faster, making them stay around and not leave early.
As mentioned earlier, WP-Optimize has three ways of making your online presence faster. You can use the tool to clean and optimize your database. Moreover, some of your images might be too big, causing the slowing down of your website. That said, with WP-Optimize, you can now compress them and take away the heaviness. And finally, the caching of your pages.More info / Download
Leverage Browser Caching
Leverage Browser Caching is a fantastic WordPress plugin that will speed up your website’s loading speed. When a user visits your website, it needs to load all the content from the server. Every single time, of course, for every single page of your website. Leverage Browser Caching stores static files of your website in the user’s browser to avoid it. For each visit, it does not have to load them from the server again. This means, once they return, your website will load much faster.
Moreover, Leverage Browser Caching only requires downloading unique content and storing static files in the web browser.More info / Download
For everyone who thinks they could improve their website’s page loading speed, any WordPress caching plugins you find here will help you. Another powerful and easy-to-use alternative is Hummingbird. It is a tool brought to life by the authors of Smush, the popular image optimizing plugin. With Hummingbird, you can do a ton of stuff regarding speeding up your website or blog.
What’s cool about Hummingbird is that it does all the heavy lifting for you. In other words, even if you are not tech-savvy, you will still succeed at using Hummingbird and making it work for you. After all, faster page loading speed does not only mean better site performance but better rankings, too.
With Hummingbird, you get to scan your entire website and see what needs to be improved. From then on, with a single click on the button, Hummingbird does the work of optimizing and fixing parts of your website that are slowing it down.More info / Download
WP Fastest Cache
Fastest Cache employs many methods to cache your website. Mod-Rewrite takes your dynamic WordPress and makes it static. The cached files are deleted at appropriate intervals or based on publishing a page or a post.
With Fastest Cache you can block cache for specific pages/posts with a shortcode. The plugin permits you to enable and disable caching for mobile devices and logged in users separately. Fastest Cache provides CDN support.
Knowing what each of the caching methods will do for you should be a straightforward plugin to handle. Just tick your caching methods and submit.
Hyper Cache has only 4 tabs on the settings page of the plugin.
With HyperCache, you can cache at specified time intervals, enable on-the-fly compression, clean caches when a new comment is made, or a new post is published, and enable browser caching.
You can set up Hyper Cache to not cache specific pages or URLs, and you can cache only the most recent posts by blocking caching for posts older than a specified number of days. It provides support for CDN and mobile caching.More info / Download
Which One Is The Best One?
I’ve looked at the tests conducted by different people with differing recommendations for caching plugins.
Those tests provide a great deal of information; however, they do not include WP Rocket which I feel would have been just as good as the competition. This test is very comprehensive, we compared several caching solutions for WordPress. WP Rocket came out as the winner, with special mentions for WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache.
The fact is, it is challenging to figure out which among all the plugins is the best. In my opinion, WP Rocket certainly seems to have the edge. But the rest of the pack isn’t too far behind at all.
You should consider your requirements if you’re selecting a caching plugin. Whether you’d need CDN support? Questions like this become pertinent to selecting the best plugin for your website. Because the differences in performance is largely imperceptible to average user.
Test Your Site With A Cache Plugin Fully Configured.
You can use one of the following,
To keep track of your website regularly, you can access site performance under labs via your Google Analytics account, if you’ve added your website to GA. And most hosting services also provide access to basic page load speed information.
But if you are insistent on running a cache plugin and benchmarking your website thoroughly, it would come in handy if you understood the benchmarking methods used on our post. You’ll see that performing a thorough check is rather tiresome. It is only worth it, if you’re website receives sufficient traffic. Else one of the three tools above should be sufficient.
Based on your comfort level with caching plugins, you can select any of the 6 plugins presented in this post. Try each (even the paid ones have refund periods) and arrive at what works for you.
Be sure to use the same theme, plugins, and host for your tests. And also test several URLs (apart from just your website’s homepage) for some variability and ensure that the test is fair.
Choose the plugin you are comfortable with. The differences when comparing these 6 plugins are marginal. Spending an hour each day to reconfigure your plugins constantly isn’t worth it. But it can become a chasm depending on your ability to configure the cache plugin in question rightly.
And then test your plugin. If I read this article I’d look at the plugin screenshots check for the one that seems least daunting and try that one out first, provided it meets all my requirements. Compare it with similar websites that are known for their speed and popularity.
If you have very good results on your first try, you can stop there unless you need to tackle a problem, like a burst in traffic. Then it gets a bit trickier, I’d suggest strongly that you read the benchmarking methods used on our tests before trying your tests.
If you were wondering, Colorlib uses W3TC combined with Memcached for object and database caching and CDN management.
For every website there is a speed ceiling and once you’ve hit it, you need to upgrade your hardware perhaps a top-notch CDN service like MaxCDN or Cloudflare.
If you know of other excellent internal caching solutions, please consider the comments section. I look forward to reading them!
I hope that you found the post information about the WordPress caching choices available to you. And that you’ve found the right plugin for your site.