40% of your visitors will leave your site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds, according to a Kissmetrics. Do you want your site to be one of them?
I believe none of us will like to see your website in that condition, and rightfully so. Having a higher page loading speed will increase your website traffic, get more conversions and ultimately, help you to get better search engine ranking.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to increase the page loading speed of your WordPress site. By using a dedicated caching plugin, you can quickly increase the page loading speed and improve the overall performance of your website.
In today’s post, I will introduce you to the top caching plugins for WordPress. However, before I get started with the plugins, let’s take a quick look at what caching is.
What is Caching?
Caching is a powerful web technology to make your website load faster. This technology makes static, HTML versions of your dynamic pages.
Whenever a visitor visits a page of your website, the browser makes several requests to the server. Along with taking some extra time, this puts some pressure on the server, especially during high traffic periods when your website consistently makes a lot of requests. The caching plugins notice these requests and save the results for the visitors. Therefore, when you have a caching plugin installed and configured, the browser doesn’t have to make the same requests again and again. Instead, it can quickly serve the saved static files.
That’s the basic concept of caching for websites. And now that you have an idea about caching, let’s see which the best WordPress caching plugins are, shall we?
Best WordPress Caching Plugins
W3 Total Cache
With more than 1 million downloads and an impressive average rating of 4.3, W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins for WordPress. This is also recommended by renowned hosting companies like Hostgator, Godaddy, and Dreamhost.
W3 Total Cache is also capable of integrating with content delivery networks to make your website even faster. After installing and activating the plugin in your WordPress site, you can enable your required options from the Performance -> General Settings page. It is possible to choose advanced options on the individual pages of various caching types.
The plugin ensures improved server performance, which is helpful to keep your site running even during the high traffic periods. Besides the regular shared hosting packages, W3 Total Cache works perfectly with dedicated servers, VPN and cloud hosting packages. And if you want premium support from the plugin developers, you can request help right from the plugin dashboard.
WP Super Cache
Like the first caching plugin, WP Super Cache also has more than 1 million downloads. Therefore, these two are obviously the most popular caching plugins for WordPress. This plugin is provided with three different caching techniques.
Mod_Rewrite, the first method is the fastest and most advanced caching type. To use this caching type, you will need to modify the .htaccess file of your website and have the Apache mod_reqrite module on your site.
For most people, the second caching type will be perfect, which is PHP. When it comes to performance, there is only a little difference between this and the Mod_Rewrite caching method. Using this caching type doesn’t require any advanced setting up procedures.
After installing and activating the plugin, you can configure the plugin options from the Settings -> WP Super Cache page. The basic options are listed in the ‘Easy‘ tab. And if you are an expert user, you will find the ‘Advanced‘ tab useful. The ‘CDN‘ tab enables you to configure the CDN options.
The ‘Contents‘ section will show the cache statistics collected by the plugin. And in the ‘Preload‘ tab, you can choose to cache all the pages and posts of your website. However, this will create a lot of files in your server. If you have a large website, it is better to preload the newest contents only.
WP Fastest Cache
WP Fastest Cache is an excellent WordPress caching plugin with some interesting features. Like the other caching plugins, this plugin will create static versions of your dynamic files. However, unlike the other ones, this plugin does not clutter the WordPress admin section with lots of options.
Rather, the plugin provides access to the caching options by using a simple tabbed system. You can access plugin settings section by clicking on the ‘WP Fastest Cache‘ menu of your website dashboard.
The ‘Settings‘ tab allows you to control the basic options like enabling the cache, allowing cache for logged-in users, mobile devices, and new posts.
The plugin is available in several different languages including French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch. There is also a premium version which comes with additional features like image optimization, cache log delete, detailed cache statistics etc.
If you want to increase the page loading speed of your website, Zen Cache could also be an appropriate choice for you. Compared to the other plugins, this one provides a more attractive and streamlined user interface.
Once you install and activate the plugin, it will create a new menu item titled ‘ZenCache‘ in the admin dashboard. You can go the admin section of the plugin by tapping on that menu item. In order to use the caching, you have to again enable the caching function by choosing ‘Yes, enable ZenCache‘ from the ‘Enable/Disable‘ section.
You are free to choose the caching options that are most suitable for your website. Besides setting up expiry time for the cache, you can enable and customize automatic cache clearing too.
There is a premium version of ZenCache too for which offers additional features like enabling cache for logged-in users, import/export the ZenCache configuration, HTML compressor, auto-cache engine, automatic update and instant support.
The plugin is very easy to install. After installing the plugins, you can go to Settings -> Cache Enabler to view or change settings of the plugin. The same tab also provides an option to clear the generated cache at any instant. Another good option it provides, is the display of cache size as soon as you log into your WordPress dashboard.
Overall, Cache Enabler plugin seems to be a good cache plugin to try and use for a WordPress site. It works quite well in the background without any unnecessary options to display like other plugins.
Hyper Cache is another popular cache plugin for WordPress. This is especially useful if your website is hosted on a low-resource server. However, this plugin works perfectly in modern, more powerful servers too.
Among all the plugins mentioned in this list, Hyper Cache offers the simplest and most straightforward admin section. After installing and activating the plugin, you will find the admin area in the Settings -> Hyper Cache page.
The admin section is divided into several tabs. The ‘General‘ tab lets you choose basic options like setting up the cache validity, cache folder, cache update method, etc. In the ‘Bypasses‘ tab, you can add specific content that will bypass the cache. There are separate options for excluding the home page, 404, blog feed, comment feed, etc. You can also provide direct URI, user agent or URI type to exclude from the cache.
The ‘Mobile‘ tab allows you to choose the cache option for mobile devices. The plugin comes with a ready-made list of mobile user agents. It is also possible to add more user agents manually. You can choose a separate cache and theme for the mobile devices.
In addition to using a caching plugin, here are some other options that you should use to increase your website’s speed:
- Top Lazy Load WordPress Plugins
- WordPress Image Optimization Plugins to Speed Up Your Site
- Detecting Malicious Code in Your WordPress Website
Over To You
Caching is a wonderful technology to increase your website’s performance. And these plugins make it very easy to integrate caching with WordPress websites.
Now that you know which the best caching plugins for WordPress are, feel free to choose any of them for your website. From these five caching plugins, which one looks most interesting to you? Let me know in the comments. And if you are using any of these plugins already, don’t forget to share your experience with us by leaving a comment below.