WordPress Caching- Tips and Tricks to Optimize Your Site

A slow page speed and/or load time is the biggest reason for a low SERP ranking. It affects your website’s traffic and hurts brand credibility. A sluggish page speed irritates users and leads to higher bounce rates.

Have you ever used your browser’s 'Back' button because a web-page has taken more than five seconds to load?

If the answer is yes, you should check your own WordPress site for this issue.

If you run a site that has an excessive load time, it can significantly affect web traffic. Moreover, it can lower your search ranking on Google while lessening the overall potential of your site. However, you don’t need to follow unproven tips and tricks to fix the issue.

In other words, WordPress takes care of your site loading speed as well as performance. This CMS also helps you by offering numerous great caching plugins. These plugins are designed to take away lag issues and associated problems that usually come with it. These plugins are highly user-friendly and easy to setup. 

In this post, we will help you understand caching, and we will compare some most popular WordPress caching plugins while discussing the distinctive features of each one of them.

So before we dig deeper into the WordPress caching plugins, let us first understand what caching is!

Understanding Caching

A cache is the part of your computer memory that easily stores the recently accessed information. When a website is cached, it shows that the site’s images, pages, and web objects are safely stored on the local hard drive of the user.

In other words, when the user again opens the recently and frequently accessed file, the internet browser will have most of the files cached.

This means that the browser doesn’t need to retrieve information each time your site is accessed. This leads to faster page load times. WordPress caching plugins follow the same concept. The stores the dynamically generated files in the cache and when these files are again accessed by the users, the saved files are served as they are rather than re-loading the entire PHP script from WP.

When a website is cached regularly, this makes your site super fast. This means an increase in web traffic as well as higher conversion rates.

WordPress Caching Plugins

WordPress caching plugins help WP to work quite proficiently. By default, every time your site’s page is accessed by a visitor, the provided content is generated quite dynamically and with a lot going on in the background. This may include code executions as well as multiple database queries.

A caching plugin establishes a static version of the content, eliminating the majority of steps that usually take place when your page is dynamically generated. Faster loading times equal happier visistors.

The Best WP Caching Plugin and How to Test Them

If you wish to improve a site's SEO, offer visitors an enjoyable user experience, and increase conversion rates, then installing a caching plugin is the quickest and efficient way to do it. So which caching plugin is the best to incorporate?

Well, in this post we will test different WordPress caching plugins to determine which of the plugins is the most efficient in speeding up your site.

To compare and test these different caching plugins, we will use Google PageSpeed, GTmetrix, and Pingdom insight tools. We will compare the different WordPress caching plugins against the baseline score of a test WordPress website.

To start, the following are the baseline scores for the testing of an un-cached website.

  • GTmetrix – YSlow score 80%, PageSpeed score 64.5% with 2.72 seconds loading time
  • Pingdom – 80 performance grade with an average loading time of 3.9 seconds
  • Google PageSpeed Insights – 14/100 in the mobile test, 44/100 in the desktop test.

Since the loading speed varies from day-to-day and hour-to-hour due to varying internet traffic, the test results were taken after running three tests on different days and hours. We then averaged the results.

The plugins we will be reviewing below are easy to setup and offer great speed improvement in a matter of a few clicks. Also, none of the following caching plugins requires any kind of advanced configuration to show results. Let’s get started!

Simple Cache is one of the most recognized and simplest caching plugins available. It offers two different settings (on and off). The plugin is rated at 4.7/5.

Test Results:

Simple Cache took around 0.75 sec on average in terms of load time in GTmetrix. It had an average speed increase of around 26.93%. In Pingdom, Simple Cache shaved off one entire second and led to a 26.60% increase in the speed.

Both of these results seem quite promising. These results make Simple Cache a great choice for a user who wants a foolproof caching plugin since it has minimal settings.

While not as famous as other WordPress caching plugins, Cachify is a simple cache plugin which gives a solid performance and needs no work in terms of setup. Cachify works with multi-site installations of WordPress and features different kinds of caching. This plugin has a rating of 4.7/5 and has 20,000+ active installs.

Test Results:

Cachify took around an average of 0.77 seconds off the site load time in the GTmetrix tests. This led to a speed increase of around 27.89%. In Pingdom, Cachify reduced the load time by almost 0.74 sec, resulting in around a 21.13% improvement.

Cachify seems to have a good standing as a WordPress caching plugin.

WP Rocket offers super-fast caching technology. It significantly helps in improving the speed of your site as well as its performance. Browser and page caching, Google fonts and database optimization, Minification and GZIP compression, multisite/multilingual and CloudFlare compatibility, eCommerce and developer friendliness are some of the distinctive features of WP Rocket.

WP Rocket is a very famous caching plugin in comparison to other plugins reviewed in this post. It consistently scores great when we do a side-by-side comparison with different WordPress caching plugins. This plugin has an active install of 100,000+. The cost of the single-site license is $39 while three-site license is $99. The unlimited license can be taken at $199.

Test Results:

In terms of GTmetrix, WP Rocket reduced the loading time by around 0.97 sec while increasing the speed by 34.11%. In Pingdom, it reduced the loading time by 1.27sec (average) and improved the speed by 35.20%. This makes WP Rocket one of the fastest and most promising WordPress caching plugins on our list.

The plugin has more than 400,000 active installations and is another amazing caching plugin offered by WordPress. Just like WP Rocket, this cache plugin also generates static HTML files using your site and caches it. As the name suggests, WP Fastest Cache is known as one of the fastest cache plugins.

Some of the great features of WP Fastest Cache include SSL and CDN Support, GZIP compression, Block cache for particular post or page, Minification of both CSS and HTML, a combination of JS files and CSS files and others.

Even though this plugin offers fewer optimization options, it is a user-friendly plugin for beginners to incorporate. The plugin is rated as 4.8/5,  but it didn’t prove to be the fastest plugin when it came down to our test.

Test Results:

It decreased the load time by just 0.5 sec with speed improvement of around 15.3% in GTmetrix and almost 15.74% in Pingdom. This means that this plugin did not show promising results in our speed test.

W3 Total Cache is another popular WordPress caching plugin that is best known for boosting your WordPress site’s speed while providing your target audience with the best browsing experience. It also helps in improving the site’s SEO results.

Some of the great features of this plugin include SSL and AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) support, GZIP compression and non-blocking JavaScript embedding, Database, page and browser cache, debug options as well as CDN integration.

This plugin has more than one million active installs. It is rated at 4.3 in the WordPress Plugin Directory. W3 Total Cache is updated from time-to-time and is used by various major publications like MakeUseOf, Smashing Magazine, Mashable, Web Designer Depot, and others.

Test Results:

The plugin shaved 0.62 sec off the baseline loading time on average. It showed an average improvement of around 20.64% in terms of page speed. As the Pingdom results show, this plugin successfully shaved almost 1.06 sec off the site’s loading time and offered an average speed improvement of around 29.16%.

The plugin is quite popular among non-technical users. It uses effective yet simple technology and generates static HTML files from your site or blog. It caches these files instead of processing other heavier WordPress PHP Scripts. To improve usability, WP Super Cache offers both Advanced and Easy interfaces for users to choose from.

Dynamic caching, GZIP compression, Content Delivery Networks Support, and Mobile device support are all the features that make this plugin different from others. WP Super Cache has more than one million active installs. It has a rating of 4.2 out of 5.

The most effective feature of this plugin is that it keeps the server from slowing down or even overloading during web traffic spikes.

Test Results:

Looking at the results of GTmetrix, it cut down the site’s loading time by almost 0.85 sec while improving the site speed by almost 28.07%. Considering the Pingdom test, the load time was reduced by 1.03 sec, and the speed was improved by around 28.61%. This makes WP Super Cache is one of the fastest caching plugins in our test.

Test Results of Best WordPress Caching Plugin

Considering the results of these top WordPress caching plugins both on GTmetrix and Pingdom testing platforms, WP Rocket is the best WordPress caching plugin. Not only is it one of the fastest caching plugins but it also provides excellent results in terms of reducing load time and improving site speed.

It beat out the other five caching plugins as it decreases the average load time by 1.13 sec on both tools and across all tests. It also has an average speed increase of about 34.97%. Undoubtedly, WP Rocket is the go-to caching plugin as it scored 48/100 on smartphone and 45/100 on the desktop in terms of Google’s Page Speed Insight scores.

Final Words

We compared the top WordPress caching plugins and the results are in... WP Rocket has won first place as the best WordPress caching plugin available on the market.

Remember a faster website is all about incorporating the best caching plugin. While all the above caching plugins are great and highly effective in speeding up your site, choose the one that best meets the requirements of your own site. If you haven’t installed any WordPress caching plugin to improve your site performance and to increase the conversion rates, wait no more.

Make the most of these WordPress caching plugins and increase your site’s traffic. The best part about these plugins is that they are easy to install and integrate into your existing site. Even if you have no prior experience or you are a beginner, you can easily install and manage these plugins.

If you want to test different plugins using a combination of Google PageSpeed insight, Pingdom, and GTmetrix, simply install the plugin you are considering to implement. Activate the plugins one at a time. Then, make required configurations and run the site using different testing tools while taking notes of the results.

Did you find this post useful? Are you already using a WordPress caching plugin for your site? If yes, let us know more about your experience in the comment section below. 

May 12, 2018

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