It’s a matter of time before your website will need a caching plugin if you’re using the WordPress CMS. A caching plugin will prevent websites from taking an extended amount of time to load. They reduce the server workload and improve the user experience on your site. Once, you start getting 200+ visitors per day you should consider installing a caching plugin. There is a good chance your shared hosting account has been suspended for using too many resources if you’re not using a caching plugin. The simple solution is just to install one of these plugins.
What Is Caching?
Cache can be defined as files stored on one’s computer once they visit a website. What this means is the first time you go to a website it’s going to take a little longer to load the first time. Then, once the cache files are stored on your computer, it loads much quicker.
Checking Your Websites Loading Time
You can use some different tools to check your site’s loading time. I use GTmetrix and Pingdom Tools to see how fast my websites load. You can check from various locations around the world to see how long your site takes to load. If you’re a little confused, just know that once you install a caching plugin, it drastically reduces the loading time of your website.
I have compiled a list of all the caching plugins I have used over the years so that you can find the right one to fit your website’s needs down below:
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins known to webmasters. There is a free version of this caching plugin and premium version which does cost $99/year. A lot of respectable hosts like Page.ly and SiteGround recommend W3 Total Cache for those looking to install a caching plugin on their WordPress websites. I have written about W3 Total Cache here.
WP Super Cache
This plugin is completely free, and there are no premium versions of this WordPress plugin. This plugin outputs a static web page from a dynamic website using the WordPress CMS. Means that PHP pages will not be processed therefore reducing the processes opened and closed with your WordPress sites. WP Super Cache is a very simple caching plugin that I recommend to a lot of webmasters that don’t want to be overwhelmed with all kinds of complex settings.
WP Super Cache does support a CDN (Content Delivery Network), caches websites that are being viewed on mobile devices and tablets, and a scheduler where you can manage your deletion of caching at a specified time. I have written about WP Super Cache which goes into more details about this caching plugin.
WP Rocket is a premium caching WordPress plugin. You can use it on one website for $39/year, three sites for $99/year, and an unlimited amount of websites for $199. You do get updates and support for a year, but will need to pay every year if you want to keep using their caching plugin.
WP Fastest Cache
WP Fastest Cache is another very simple WordPress caching plugin. It’s a tad bit more complex than WP Super Cache but has some more advanced features. It operates in the same way that WP Super Cache operates. I have used this plugin on tbwhs.com before. They offer a free and paid version of the plugin. The paid version of this plugin is a one time fee of $39.99. I have written about the WP Fastest Cache plugin here.
WP Fastest Cache (premium) does support a CDN (content delivery network) and you can use this plugin with SSL websites. You can enable/disable caching for users that are logged in and on mobile devices, and you can use a shortcode to disable caching on specific page and post.
Comet Cache (also was previously called Quick Cache and later Zen Cache) is another caching plugin that has been gaining a lot of popularity over the last couple of years. It can be install with a free version, or there is a pro version for $39.99 (for one website), or $139.99 (for unlimited sites). These prices are a one time fee. What this caching plugin does is takes a “snapshot” of your pages, posts, categories, tags, etc. and then caches them. Drastically helps reduces the loading time on specific pages and post on your website.
You can enable/disable different pages and post on your site with a click of a button, and you can use it on SSL sites, and have full control over the expiration times of your caching.
Cache Enabler is a free WordPress caching plugin that has been gaining a lot of popularity. It’s a very lightweight plugin that reduces your websites loading time. It not only reduces your loading time they also provide WebP support. Cache Enabler reduces image sizes by automatically integrating lossy and lossless compression (using Optimus). To understand different web graphics like JPG, GIF, PNG checks out this post. I wrote a post on Cache Enabler here.
Hyper Cache is a free WordPress plugin. It’s solely based on PHP and will work on any WordPress site, big or small. The settings are very easy to use; there are only three tabs where you can configure your settings. Hyper Cache will work on mobile sites, https sites, there are lots of configuration to bypass bots, CDN support works with bbPress, and you can purchase “Comment Aware” which cost $9.95.
Gator Cache is another caching plugin that a lot of webmasters don’t know about. This plugin is 100% free with no premium option available. According to WordPress it’s only been installed on 2,000+ websites. Gator Cache is very easy to configure and has seven tabs of settings. It’s compatible with WooCommerce, bbPress, Multisites, Jetpack, and WPMinifyFix. You can use it on SSL websites, and this plugin automatically updates the cache for new post, pages, and when someone leaves a comment on your site.
A lot of webmasters are surprised to learn that WordFence isn’t just a WordPress security plugin. In fact, it does have caching settings which do help speed up your website. With this plugin I use the free version, but you can always get a premium version for $39/year. Will have more features, but not for caching.
The caching settings can be found in your WordPress dashboard under Wordfence>Performance Settings. Here you will find three options; disable caching, enable basic caching (2 to 3 times faster), or enable Wordfence Falcon engine (which is 30 to 50 times faster).
You can clear the cache at anytime you want, use it on SSL websites, and exclude user-agents, URL’s, etc. If you’re interested in learning about the security settings for WordFence, I have written an article on it.
Thanks for sharing this bro. Just a question, when you clear your browser’s cache, it will wipe all of it even though you have this plugin right? Or you will have to do something else?
What is the difference of this plugin cache vs browser cache.. if there is any.. I am very interested on this.
Yes, that is correct when you clear your browser cache it will wipe everything from your computer. Many people searching the internet would never clear their cache, though.
The difference is your server will “serve” up the files as a static page vs a dynamic page which will drastically decrease your loading time on your website. Your visitors will not notice anything other than the fact that your website loads much quicker 🙂
John Savage says
Slick slick slick!!
Not only the article easy to under (I’m a total novice) I can but only admire the mobile site too!
Seriously, the information contained int this post is brilliant. I actually wondered why my laptop failed on me. Only wish I saw this post before!
glad to help 🙂
John VanDerLaan says
I am currently using WP Super Cache and I went to your page that talks about that particular plugin.
Do you recommend those settings for everyone, including beginners?
Also, I chose WP Super Cache because of its ease of use and because it is free.
Why would someone choose to pay $99 year for a plugin that does the same thing, or are the premium plugins better?
Thanks Garen! I look forward to your answers.
Yes, I do recommend those settings for WP Super Cache, even for beginners. WP Super Cache is the easiest caching plugin to work with. That and it’s free which is always great.
A lot of the premium caching plugins I feel are overpriced, though. Paying $100 a year for caching seems to be an expensive price tag for a premium caching plugin. However, you can use a CDN with the premium ones, but a good CDN is going to cost you $100 a year too.
I would recommend the free ones, but if you have an extra $40 (one time fee) I would use the WP Fastest Cache plugin.
Faustinus Davis says
Excellent article! I’ve been searching for caching recommendations for a couple of days now. Thank you for your reviews. This will help me make a decision on one of these plugins.
Glad it helped.
Hi, Garen. You have no idea how much I needed to find your site! Lol I need basic instructions about everything technical! I’m good with the plug ins though (so far). I’m focused on using any tools that will help speed up my website. Thanks for the info! 🙂