Introduction to why you need caching
Caching is a useful technique that makes your website really fast and leads to better SEO scores and greater user satisfaction. Caching stores copies of your web content in your user’s computer memory so that it can be retrieved and displayed more effectively and quickly.
Generally, websites are viewed hundreds of times a month. Each time the browser requests for the web page, there puts a lot of burden on the WordPress hosting server may take time in loading all js, CSS, images file requests along with HTML page. Each time the user requests a particular page, It will take a lot of time to load a complete page. To avoid this slow loading, we have a lot of popular WordPress cache plugins available in the market.
By using the caching technique, there is no need to process each request separately, you can get the final result of your search, exactly.
A proper cache setup will generate greater customer engagement and improve WordPress performance.
How to choose a WordPress caching plugin
When it comes to choosing a WordPress caching plugin, for your website, there is no“one size fits all” solution.
If you like to choose the best and free WordPress caching plugin that does a great job, ultimately W3 Total cache is a super and versatile plugin. It is compatible with all types of browsers and benefits all website owners in caching the data.
You need to check whether the plugin is updated continuously or not. Go through the rating and reviews and check how many users are using this plugin for their websites.
The plugin that is updated regularly and has millions of downloads serves best in the market and for your websites.
Apart from the free caching plugins, there are also premium plugins that offer tremendous support and require minimal configuration on your end, one such plugin is WP Rocket cache plugin.
Pre-requisites (things to know before setting up your cache WordPress website with the plugin):
Plugins are very important for the WordPress websites that website owners should opt for. They simply add extra functionality to your WordPress sites to generate new heights. Before you need to install and activate the plugin for your WordPress website, you need to be aware of a few things, so as to make your website runs with more speed.
Check for the plugins that skyrocket your page load time
Also, check for the plugins that benefit you in terms of caching your website. Because your web visitors get bored and abandoned if they look at the slow loading pages.
If the plugin is not coded well and takes more space on the server, it will increase the size of each webpage which in turn affects your page load performance.
You can easily track the page load time by using the tool Pingdom, you can get detailed stats of increasing page load times, and know which plugins are performing well.
Check the plugins if there is any malicious code inside
Well, the WordPress.org team reviews each and every plugin before it is made available for download to the users of the website. Sometimes, the plugins contain malicious code, which affects your website performance to a great extent.
You can get WordPress plugins on other websites also, but plugins from WordPress.org are more likely to be trusted. However, before downloading you need to check the creator of the plugin and the site on which it is hosted. Just purchase the plugins for the trusted author or vendor that comes with a proven track record and a number of positive reviews.
Check whether the plugins are inactive state or not
You need to check whether the plugins work with the current version of WordPress. Because outdated plugins are no longer compatible with the latest WordPress updates and put in risk. Every second of your downtime affects your website badly.
On the right side of the wordpress.org download page of the plugin, there is a message that tells you whether the plugin is tested and compatible with the latest version of WordPress or not. Just pay attention to it and then do download the plugin.
Check out a few different caching plugins
On the wordpress.org we can find multiple plugins for the same functionality, all may not drive the same result. Some plugins work best for some websites and themes only. So you need to check with a few plugins of the same functionality, test and decide the plugin that you want to put on your website. Just do not settle on the one you find first.
Check whether it benefits you or not
Install the caching plugin and check whether it benefits your website performance and increase page load times. If not, try out some caching plugins in the market like WP Rocket Caching plugin.
Setting up W3 Total Cache plugin:
W3 Total Cache is a popular WordPress caching plugin. It improves your website performances, SEO and reduces load time by leveraging features like Content Delivery Network(CDN) integration and latest best practices. This plugin improves conversion rates and ranks your top on the search engines.
Well, before setting up W3 Total Cache plugin for your WordPress website, you need to make sure to uninstall all other caching plugins. If you don’t do this before installing the W3 Total cache plugin, you will face many issues upon activation.
Here I will explain in detail, how to set up your Cache WordPress website with W3 Total Cache plugin.
Go to your admin dashboard panel, and click on the Plugins>>Add New. Then search for the W3 Total cache plugin and you can see the results as shown below.
Click on the install button and activate the plugin.
Setting and Configuring W3 Total Cache Plugin:
W3 Total Cache plugin is a very powerful plugin with tons of options and features to use. It will be very advantageous for those who know how to use them, it will be very advantageous. Now we will visit each of the options available in detail, so you can set the plugin for your website. Let’s start with the general settings option
Go to the general settings page by clicking on the performance menu button in your WordPress admin panel. You need to set up your plugin by configuring basic settings. Then you will see the general settings page tap, just click on it.
In the general settings page, the first option you see is the page cache option. It is responsible for creating the static cache pages for each page that is loaded. You need to turn on your page cache so that it allows you to skip the server load and shows a cached copy page when the user requests it.
Also, check with page cache method and select the disk: Enabled option because most of the beginners use it for their shared hosting and save all the settings. This is how all you do page cache for your WordPress websites.
Minification will reduce the file size of .js and .css files to your website code without affecting the original functionality. You need to minify your code to improve page loads and W 3 Total Cache plugin supports this minification feature. Disable the minify feature as shown in the image below.
Your database is where all your website data is stored, data can be pages or posts, images or anything else. Through database cache, you can improve your website database performances to a great extent. By enabling the database cache, your pages, posts and RSS feeds can be created in a few seconds itself.
If you are on shared hosting, I recommend you to leave Database Cache disabled. Because on shared hosting a lot of burdens is put on the server, and finds difficult to fetch output when a user requests.
object caching involves storing database queries so that the next time a piece of data is needed, it is delivered from the cache without having to query the database.
Browser Cache option in W 3 Total Cache plugin has already an expiry time. The browser caching option increases the expiry time so that content is stored in the user browser cache for a longer time period. Simply check the enable option under browser cache and click save all button.
You can see in the above image that all the options are pretty much enabled, except the 404 error page. Just save all the settings on that page.
Content Delivery Network(CDN):
CDN allows you to serve static content from multiple cloud servers rather than on one hosting server. This enables you to reduce the server load and increase the performance. You need to enable all the options and then click on the Save all settings button.
Monitoring is an option that is intended for improving website functionality and management of the site. It is an additional step to speed up your website performance and click on save all settings button.
Every plugin with the licensing option can get strong support and plugin updates in future as well. If the software you are working with doesn’t have a license, it will work but you won’t get benefits from the updates that might help in fixing bugs, and security.
Miscellaneous covers a bunch of options. First, you need to enable Google page speed dashboard widget and which requires an API key. However enabling is optional, as you can test pages manually.
- Using a cache plugin not only improves user experience but also gives you a tangible positive effect from the bottom line.
- You need to check whether the plugin is compatible with your WordPress version or not.
Drawbacks of W3 Total Cache
W 3 Total Cache is a great caching plugin but it’s not always easy to fix caching problems when you are new to the world of WordPress.
- W 3Total Cache plugin minify may break some other plugins and themes in your site.
- You may encounter some problems such as some files appearing to be missing. In that situation, you need to uninstall this plugin and again install it.
- Sometimes it does not cache certain resources.
- It might cause error 500 or wp-admin error notification.
In such cases, you can go for other alternatives cache plugins in WordPress.
Other popular caching plugins which can be used alternatives
W 3 Total Cache plugin is a good option in terms of caching, but it has its own flaws that can be overtaken by other cache plugins.
- WP Super Cache Plugin: it is an extremely popular plugin with millions of active installs. It is a very flexible caching plugin with tons of customization options. It is a free plugin and benefits most when you enable the mod_write feature.
- WP Rocket: WP Rocket is a user-friendly plugin that boosts your website performance to a great extent. It is a very simple configure and you can get reliable customer support, easy to index for SEO and powerful plugin that cut downloading times.
- WP Fastest Cache: It’s another great cache plugin to create the static HTML pages for your WordPress websites. It has tons of customizations options, very reliable and super-fast cache plugin.
Performance of a website plays a crucial role for success and if you are not using a cache plugin for your site, now it’s the time to install one such plugin to optimize your site for website speed.
To get started to use the W 3 Total Cache plugin which I had clearly explained in the above section. If you find any issues, I also described a few alternatives to this plugin. Simply go through it and install the one that suits your requirement to boost your website performance.