Have you been having troubles with your page speed being slow and you have been thinking of ways to solve this particular issue? WordPress Caching plugins are one of the best ways to solve this issue and in this article I will take you through the top 5 WordPress caching plugins that are capable of increasing your website speed in 2019.
For most people it’s always very difficult making decisions on which specific wordpress caching plugin to use because there are different once out there with almost the same capabilities but they also have differentiating factors too. But before we dive into the purpose of this article we need to know what Cache is.
According to Wikipedia, Cache is a component that stores data so that requests for that data can be served faster; the data stored in a cache might be the result of an earlier computation or a copy of data stored elsewhere. Let’s make this simpler and talk about how it happens with your website.
Your website is hosted on a server which has all the website’s information/data in the database and it returns these data to your website users anytime they request for them (by visiting webpages or posts) on your wordpress website. This repetitive action takes some time of processing every time a request is made and that is where caching comes into the picture.
Caching solves this problem by allocating a temporary memory/storage for storing frequently requested data or information. What this means for your website is that; once your user visits your wordpress website, your site’s pages, images, files and Web objects are stored on the user’s local hard drive by the caching plugin for their web browser to easily access it without sending request to the server multiple times.
Benefits of Caching
Caching is very important in that it increases your websites speed and this is good for user experience because your users wont be frustrated by visiting your website. Remember, keeping them happy and coming back for more is your goal. This increase in page load speed will in turn increase your Search Engine Ranking.
Search Engine, especially GOOGLE, have strong policy against website with low page speed and we don’t want them to be angry with us or do we?
Also, increase in speed of your webpage will result in an increase in your conversion rate either you are selling a product or not. Kissmetric, in an article discovered that 40% of your visitors will lose patience and leave your site if your pages take more than three seconds to load. A single second of delay can reduce your conversions by 7%.
Now that we know what Cache is, lets dive deep into my list of top 5 wordpress caching plugin to increase your website speed in 2019. They are listed below in no particular order.
My Top 5 WordPress Caching Plugins
The Cache Enabler creates 2 cached files; One is plain HTML and the other version is gzipped (gzip level 9). These static files are then used to deliver content faster to your wordpress website visitor without any database lookups or gzipping as the files are already pre-compressed.
Checkout its documentation at WordPress Cache Enabler – Documentation
Cachify is also an open source, free caching plugin with over 10,000 active installs which is maintained by pluginkollektiv and it is the inspiration behind Cache Enabler which we discussed above. It also supports WordPress Multisite.
Cachify works in three(3) different ways which you can choose from;
- caching via database,
- on the web server’s hard drive (HDD),
- APC (Alternative PHP Cache)—directly in the web server’s system cache.
Depending on which of the caching option you choose, whenever a webpage or post is visited, the amount of database queries and PHP requests will dramatically decrease towards zero just because these pages are pulled directly from the cache.
- Works with custom post types.
- Caching methods: DB, HDD, APC and Memcached.
- “Flush Cache” button in the WordPress toolbar.
- Ready for WordPress Multi-site.
- Optional compression of HTML markup.
- White lists for posts and user agents.
- Manual and automatic cache reset.
- Automatic cache management.
WP Rocket in my opinion is the best caching plugin but it’s not open source like the last two we discussed. It is a premium caching plugin with price range of $49 to $249 depending on the option you prefer but I can tell you that its worth every dime you pay for it. It’s what I use. With just a click you are up and running which, I see as an advantage because beginners won’t have to worry about different settings. Also, it has over 100,000 installs with around 92% rating from 2,311 users ( approximately 28% of its user base).
WP Rocket’s crawler fetches your WordPress pages automatically create the cache. After the cache has been created, the caching plugin automatically switch on WordPress caching settings like gzip compression, page cache, and cache pre-loading.
- Minimal Configuration, Immediate Results
- Page Caching
- Cache Preloading
- Images on Request (Lazy Loading) – Images are loaded only as your visitor scrolls down the page, improving the load time of the page.
- Developer Friendly
checkout its documentation at WP Rocket Documentation
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is a popular caching plugin that has over 1 million installation with a rating of 4.3 out of 5 and it was developed by Frederick Townes. It is free and open source.
In my opinion, it is almost as good as WP Rocket but it has a lot of configuration options which may be difficult for beginners to work with unlike WP Rocket which is simple and straight forward.
Its benefits include the following;
- Improvements in search engine result page rankings, especially for mobile-friendly websites and sites that use SSL
- At least 10x improvement in overall site performance (Grade A in WebPagetest or significant Google Page Speed improvements) when fully configured
- Improved conversion rates and “site performance” which affect your site’s rank on Google.com
- “Instant” repeat page views: browser caching
- Optimized progressive render: pages start rendering quickly and can be interacted with more quickly
- Reduced page load time: increased visitor time on site; visitors view more pages
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) support
- Secure Socket Layer (SSL) support
- Caching of (minified and compressed) pages and posts in memory or on disk or on (FSD) CDN (by user agent group)
- Caching of feeds (site, categories, tags, comments, search results) in memory or on disk or on CDN
- Caching of search results pages (i.e. URIs with query string variables) in memory or on disk
- Caching of database objects in memory or on disk
- Caching of objects in memory or on disk
- Caching of fragments in memory or on disk
- Minification of posts and pages and feeds
- Minification of inline, embedded or 3rd party CSS (with automated updates)
- Browser caching using cache-control, future expire headers and entity tags (ETag) with “cache-busting”
Checkout other features here.
This is actually the most popular caching plugin in the market and the sweet thing is that it’s free and open source. It has over 2 million installation and it was developed by Donncha Ó Caoimh, Automattic, and Brandon Kraft.
WP Super Cache helps keep your server from slowing or overloading when your website has large. This cache plugin generates static html files from your WordPress website and after then your server will return that file instead of processing the heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts.
According to its documentation, WP Super Cache returns Cached files in 3 different ways;
- The fastest method is by using Apache mod_rewrite (or whatever similar module your web server supports) to serve “supercached” static html files. This completely bypasses PHP and is extremely quick. If your server is hit by a deluge of traffic it is more likely to cope as the requests are “lighter”. This does require the Apache mod_rewrite module (which is probably installed if you have custom permalinks) and a modification of your .htaccess file which is risky and may take down your site if modified incorrectly.
- Supercached static files can be served by PHP and this is the recommended way of using the plugin. The plugin will serve a “supercached” file if it exists and it’s almost as fast as the mod_rewrite method. It’s easier to configure as the .htaccess file doesn’t need to be changed. You still need a custom permalink. You can keep portions of your page dynamic in this caching mode.
- WP-Cache caching. This is mainly used to cache pages for known users, URLs with parameters and feeds. Known users are logged in users, visitors who leave comments or those who should be shown custom per-user data. It’s the most flexible caching method and slightly slower. WP-Cache caching will also cache visits by unknown users if supercaching is disabled. You can have dynamic parts to your page in this mode too. This mode is always enabled but you can disable caching for known users, URLs with parameters, or feeds separately. Set the constant “DISABLE_SUPERCACHE” to 1 in your wp-config.php if you want to only use WP-Cache caching.
You can check out more information about the caching plugin in its Developer documentation
At this point, I really hope the article has helped you made a decision on which caching plugin to use to increase your website speed in 2019. In one of my next view posts I will discuss another way to speed up your website which involves using CDN (Content Delivery Network) like Cloudflare.
If you have any questions or an opinion to voice, please don’t hesitate to drop a comment below.