Did you know that nearly half of internet users expect all pages to load fast? Believe it or not, they will leave a page that doesn’t load within three seconds.
So, the first impression your site makes with the visitors is very impactful! You can easily turn them off if your website takes too long to load.
Want to speed up your site but don’t really know where to start?
Breathe easy as caching your website can be an ideal solution to speed it up!
Web caching allows you to store the frequently requested site data on the users’ browser after the first load. This is done to improve load speeds on future visits. As caching can be done both on the server-level and the client-level, it’s possible to cache your website yourself.
Without further ado, here I’ll overview a set of recommended caching plugins for your WordPress site and guide you in picking the best one!
Getting to Know Web Caching Better
Generally speaking, caching turns your site’s dynamic database into a static HTML file. That means the server will no longer need to spend extra time during the requesting-and-transmitting process.
Whenever visitors load your page, their browser generates an HTTP request to your server asking to display a page. This process requires the server to transmit the whole database of your website into the visitor’s browser.
Not only does it retrieve your site’s content, but also generates the layout, widgets, the API calls to third-party-systems, and other specific items. This might be very time consuming as when the users visit another page, the server should repeat the whole transmission process.
In this case, caching temporarily saves the HTTP request, making the server memorize the final result of the database, to prevent reloading. Caching also lowers your site’s time to the first byte – the waiting time needed by the browser to retrieve the first byte of the data from the server. This way, your site will have an improved loading time.
Keep in mind that it’s essential to enable website caching because not only can it reduce your site’s loading time, but it also significantly increases overall performance. Why so? The faster the page’s speed loading time is, the better the user experience (UX) it creates.
Accordingly, a better UX will lower bounce rates, resulting in better SEO performance. A well-performing site’s SEO may increase the total revenue obtained from unique visitors!
Client-side caching vs. server-side caching
As I’ve told you before, caching can be done both from the client-side and server-side. But, what actually differentiates them?
Most hosting companies provide server-side caching out of the box, especially if they offer a managed WordPress hosting plan. Your WordPress site will be automatically cached.
To save time, the server stores the result of the HTTP request instead of processing each request individually. This server-side cache covers the “Object Cache”, which stores certain pieces of the database, and “Full Page Cache”, which stores the whole database as a single static HTML file.
Client-side caching is also known as browser caching. The database from the server will be stored in the local memory of the users’ browser. Whenever an update is available, the cache will automatically be renewed and the changes will be stored. Different from server-side caching, client-side may require you to tweak and tune particular settings to reach the designated loading speed.
However, instead of relying on server-side caching, you can easily do it yourself by using plugins. This way, you can find the most suitable tool and method for you.
The 8 Best WordPress Caching Plugins
With caching plugins, increasing your site’s loading time in a single installation is very possible, and there are many available options for your WordPress site. I have no doubt that at least one of them will cover your specific needs. So, I’ve selected the eight best WordPress cache plugins based on their key features, user-friendliness, and support:
1. WP Rocket
- Ease of use – It has simple intuitive setup interface and required no programming knowledge to use. Once it’s activated, the page cache will automatically be activated.
- Highly compatible – Compatible for multiple site use, works with other multilingual plugins, and CDNs like Cloudflare. It also seamlessly works with ecommerce sites.
- Complete caching – Supports page caching, browser caching, object caching, preloads caching sitemaps, and DNS pre-fetching.
- Google Fonts optimization – This feature can minimize HTTP requests resulting in a faster website.
- Lazyload images – The images and other media files will not be loaded if the user scrolls down the page or if they are not necessary.
- Advanced features – Customize import and export settings, connected users, and mobile detection with a single click.
- Money-back guarantee – There’s a 14-day money-back guarantee if the plugin doesn’t meet your expectations.
- Support Availability – There’s a multilingual technical support team that Monday through Saturday that can help you through email tickets.
- Price – No free trial available. It costs $49/year for a single site subscription, $99/year for a three-site business package, and $249/year for the unlimited site package.
- Learning curve – As there are advanced features, that will require users to dig deep into the settings if they want to customize them.
With a 92% happiness score from more than 775.000 sites, this premium plugin is tested as the fastest WordPress cache plugin by GTMETRIX. Moreover, it is also well-loved by most of the top managed WordPress hosting providers.
If you’re a businessman who owns one or more ecommerce sites or multiple commercial sites, this plugin is worth the investment! Both beginner and experienced developers can seamlessly utilize the many great features!
- Ease of use – Its ease of use makes this plugin friendly for beginners. Once this plugin is activated, it automatically caches the pages. All users can utilize this plugin with only a few clicks.
- Caching mode settings – The ability to choose the most suitable mode to set up your cache. There’re three modes available: “Expert Mode” that requires modification to the .htaccess file, “Simple Mode” where you don’t have to access any PHP files, and “WP-cache Mode” which is the most flexible one that can cache pages only for known users.
- Caching feature – The plugin is able to perform page compression, simple caching, cache rebuilding, extra homepage checks, and CDN support.
- Garbage collection – It has regular automated garbage collection that cleans out outdated files. Thus, the site will be regularly updated.
- Support – Active regular updates are available on GitHub. The plugin also supports multiple languages.
- Price – As it is released by the same company behind WordPress – Automattic – this WordPress cache plugin is free.
- No documentation – It lacks an official user guide – the information available is on the repository page.
- No active customer support – There’s no official customer support, thus you can only seek help on the user forum.
Having a 4.3/5 star rating, and more than 2 million active installations the plugin is really suitable for WordPress users who do not want to spend extra money when optimizing their site speed. I can say, it’s a total help for non-tech-savvy users!
- Ease of use – Easy to set the caching options as the settings interface only shows a list of checkboxes that are easy to comprehend.
- Caching options – Serves both full-page and browser caching. You have full manual control of the cache options – timeouts, blocking, CDN integration, mobile version caches, user-agents, and page exclusion.
- Compatibility – It can be seamlessly used with multiple sites and works well with CloudFlare, AdSense, security plugins, and WooCommerce themes.
- Image optimization – Caching and image optimization is handled separately resulting in less storage use.
- Long-term Support – Supports more than 10 languages and will stay under further development for the foreseeable future.
- Price – There is a free version available, that allows trying this WordPress cache plugin before buying the premium version. The premium version can be bought through the settings page with a single purchase of $39.99.
- Money-back guarantee – Offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you decide the plugin is not what you’re looking for.
- No documentation – This plugin only has a few tutorials on the official WP Fastest Cache blog.
- No active customer support – Similar to WP Super Cache, this WordPress cache plugin doesn’t provide 24/7 customer support for unpaid users. Help is limited to the user forum, while email support is only available to the premium users.
With more than 1 million active users, this 4.8/5 star ranked plugin is endorsed by GTMETRIX with the promise that it has better performance than W3 Total Cache. This plugin is for those who are new to WordPress cache plugins and want to test the performance improvements before paying for the advanced version. What is more, you only need to pay once!
- Performance boost – Its CDN support, page view repeat, progressive rendering, mobile responsive and SSL site support, and improved web server performance features can boost your overall site performance. What is more, the provided caching statistics allow you to examine performance insights to set future strategies.
- Cache Customization – Not only can you set whether to activate or deactivate caches, but also set the specific method. You can enable page, opcode, database, object, browser, and fragment caching
- Security – Secure your web cache safety with security feature customization.
- Price – It comes for free! But, there’s also a premium plan that only costs $99/year.
- Difficult to use – You need to learn what the settings mean in the provided guide to make the most of this plugin.
- Need for CDN activation – Without a CDN provider, this plugin will not work effectively. Even though there are free CDNs like Cloudflare, other premium options mostly do not come free.
With more than a million active installations, this 4.3 star ranked WordPress cache plugin is really a top-notch choice to boost your website’s loading time.
If you have a content-heavy website, but don’t have enough money for a paid caching tool, this plugin is really worth a try, and once your conversion rate increases, you can start paying for the advanced feature.
- Ease of use – It has a simple user interface. Moreover, there’s a comprehensive explanation on the settings page, guiding users when customizing their cache options.
- Caching options – Supports both automated and manual cache clearing, exclusion, timeouts, and other behavior. It can also purge specific page caching.
- Extensive documentation – Provides detailed documentation for different WordPress cache plugin features. It also specifies the cache size on the dashboard, so it’s possible to know the exact storage space taken.
- Compatibility – This plugin works seamlessly with WordPress multisite, the HTTP/2 protocol, Custom Post Types, and functions supplementary to the Autoptimize plugin to inject CSS in the heading.
- Price – It is free of charge!
- No GZIP compression – This plugin does not provide GZIP compression that can enhance loading speeds.
- Limited support – No active dedicated customer support agents and documentation on troubleshooting. Help is only available in the form of blog documentation and the user forum.
With a 4.3/5 star rating, this plugin has been widely used by more than 70.000 users. Because of its support for responsive image extensions, this caching plugin is totally recommended for image-based content bloggers or ecommerce sites that have large product catalogs.
6. Hyper Cache
- Ease of use – Because it only runs on PHP, no complex configurations are needed to utilize this plugin. Once installed, this cache plugin works automatically.
- Compatibility – It works well with all CDNs like Cloudflare, and any other WordPress blog type. It also supports HTTPS.
- bbPress ready – Automatically cache bbPress forum pages.
- Support – It is an open-source software in which everyone can take part by fixing any issue and creating updates.
- Compression – Not only cached pages are compressed, but also the non-cached ones. Thus, it totally speeds up your site!
- Price – It comes with no price tag! But, you can donate for development.
- Limited documentation – It only provides tutorials in its official directory.
- No active customer support – Similar to other free plugins, this WordPress cache plugin has no dedicated customer support. Help is only available on the user forum.
- Mobile caching – It’s not really compatible with the mobile environment.
With more than 30.000 active users, this plugin is ranked at 4.4/5 stars. If complexity and detailed customization is not your cup of tea, then this plugin is totally for you! You can forget any incomprehensive option pages after the initial configuration – your site cache will work like a charm.
7. Comet Cache
- Ease of use – This WordPress cache plugin has a 2-minute setup and user-friendly dashboard navigation. You can easily configure cache settings as this plugin provides learning materials.
- Caching options – Offers rich customization for page caching, post-caching, tag, and category caching. It also serves RSS, RDF, Atom Feed, GETrequest, and logged-in user caching.
- Compatibility – It works well with other plugins, but requires the paid version for WordPress Multisite.
- Learning curve – To further configure the cache options, users need to learn from the resources provided.
- Freemium price – The basic features come for free but are very limited. You need to pay to get the advanced options. The paid version costs $39/year for a single site, $99/year for three sites, and $139/year for unlimited sites.
- Limited support – The user support is only available for the paid version.
With 4.5/5 stars and more than 70.000 active installations, this plugin is worth the money for a membership website.
- Single configuration – Even though it has comprehensive customization options, this plugin still allows the user to forget the entire thing once its initial customization is completed.
- Effective caching – It comes with built-in cache options that can serve cached content to your users even without requests.
- Advanced security features – Its DNS level firewall can prevent and mitigate website hacks and attacks. Moreover, it also supports malware detection.
- Active customer support – It has 24/7 dedicated customer support ready to help you.
- Price – It does not come free – you need to pay $9.99/month to get the basic feature set and $19.98/month for the premium one.
- Not very beginner-friendly – As it by default doesn’t only offer cache feature but also security, this plugin requires users to dig deep into the settings to get the full benefits.
As it is basically a website firewall, this WordPress cache plugin is suitable for large companies that run ecommerce sites, large enterprises, agencies or educational institutions. Not only does this plugin speed up your site, but it also secures it! With this plugin on hand, preserving your business reputation is easy!
Things to Look out for from WordPress Caching Plugins
I recommend you only install one WordPress cache plugin on your site. That means, picking the most suitable one is essential. To figure out which plugin is the best fit, there are some important factors you need to bear in mind:
- Ease of use – Consider whether or not the plugin requires you to be tech-savvy, or will it allows you to make the most of its features with a single click.
- Features – Examine every single option and feature it offers. Don’t forget to consider whether it has unique features or applicable to your project.
- Updates – Continuous support in the form of updates is also crucial for a plugin. This way, every bug or error can be solved ASAP on every new release.
- Pricing – Even though it’s not always the primary consideration, comparing the price is necessary. Look for the option with the best price-feature ratio.
- Compatibility – Importantly, be mindful of the plugin’s compatibility with your WordPress site elements. Having a great plugin that cannot work properly for on a site is a big no.
So, Which One Should You Choose?
To make the most of your WordPress site’s performance, cache plugin usage cannot be neglected. They effectively increase your brand reputation and SEO performance by speeding up your site.
It’s possible for you to automatically create a server-side cache, but you can manually configure web caching using plugins. Here are the eight WordPress cache plugins worth looking into to:
- WP Rocket – worth the investment for an ecommerce site.
- WP Super Cache – free to use for any kind of site needing a comprehensive caching plugin.
- WP Fastest Cache – a great plugin you can try with the free trial before investing in the paid option.
- W3 Total Cache – a free plugin suitable for content-heavy websites.
- Cache Enabler – suitable for an image-based blog or catalog website.
- Hyper Cache – suitable for simple forum-based sites.
- Comet Cache – perfect for a membership website.
- Sucuri Firewall – the best option for large enterprises.
Keep in mind that you can only use one cache plugin for your WordPress site, therefore it’s essential for you to consider the best pick.
Hopefully, you can take your WordPress site to the next level after choosing one of the caching plugins I’ve recommended above!