Caching plugins help you to increase the speed of your WordPress website. More speed – that brings you more traffic and a better rank on Google. WordPress caching plugins can help you improve your Google Page Speed for your blog or website. But which of the many caching plugins on the market is recommended?
First of all: There is no perfect caching plugin. Depending on what kind of website you run, what technical knowledge you have and what technical requirements your WordPresshoster has, decides the choice of caching plugin.
But don’t worry: For this article I have already filtered the best three caching plugins for WordPress. You should now just decide which of these plugins is suitable for your needs.
By the way, in my article WordPress Pagespeed Optimization I’ll show you even more levers to improve the speed of your WordPress website. But slowly: Let’s start with some basics about caching.
What is caching anyway?
Roughly speaking, a cache is a storage space where your data is temporarily stored.
WordPress caching plugins work the same way here. WordPress creates your website dynamically from your MySQL database every time it is called – it runs various PHP scripts and loads content from the database. The result is a static HTML site, which is reloaded with every update. The dynamic PHP scripts and the generation of HTML files put pressure on your performance.
Wouldn’t it make sense to serve subpages that rarely change directly as static HTML files? Caching does just that. The dynamic content of your WordPress website is loaded into a cache and instead of the user fetching dynamic php scripts every time, he gets a static HTML delivered. This saves resources and time and increases the speed of your WordPress project.
WordPress Caching Plugins Criteria
Choosing the best wordpress caching plugin is related to your criteria. Therefore, I have listed here the different requirements for a cache plugin:
- Price. Many plugins are free – others cost money. This fact plays a big role in the choice of your caching plugin. However, please note that paid plugins often offer better support and more features. In addition, premium plugins are often more reliable.
- Complexity. This point is directly related to your technical understanding. Do you want thousands of options and the possibility to set everything to the last detail or rather the step by step plugin with as few options as possible?
- Functionality. Some cache plugins offer additional features like CDN, GZip compression and minification. Some of these features only make sense for large sites.
- Support. Some plugins have very good support – documentation, video tutorials and a support forum to ask questions. Other caching plugins, however, offer only very rudimentary support.
In my opinion, these are the main criteria when choosing a suitable caching plugin for your site. But enough of the explanations and basics – let’s jump directly to the WordPress caching plugins.
The 3 best caching plugins for more speed
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is the most popular caching plugin for WordPress. The caching plugin has been installed over a million times – that’s the number from the official WP Super Cache page. WP Super Cache makes it very easy to get started and doesn’t overwhelm you with too many setting options at first.
Moreover, it works very well without much tuning and should give your WordPress website a speed boost. However, for the nerds, there are also some options that can be used to make many settings.
Not for nothing is WP Super Cache the most used caching plugin – it is a compromise between caching plugin for beginners and also offers advanced and professionals enough control over the caching of the WordPress site. How to set WP Super Cache exactly, here is a small tutorial.
- Easy installation and configuration
- CDNs (Cloudflare,etc. ) are supported
- Clear options
- free caching plugin
- Some conflicts with other themes and plugins are known
- Caching is not possible for logged in users
W3 Total Cache
The plugin is the second most used caching plugin behind WP Super Cache. Its many setting options make it interesting for advanced and WordPress professionals – but can be confusing for beginners – especially since wrong settings can harm the own WordPress website under certain circumstances.
Of course, there are many tutorials on the web that show you how to configure the W3 Total Cache. However, since every WordPress installation has different requirements and technical conditions, these general tutorials sometimes do more harm than good.
So the W3 Total Cache plugin comes with 16 pages of settings. There are also four premium extensions for the plugin, which additionally extend the functionality.
- CDNs (Cloudflare, etc.), Gzip compression and minification are supported
- Many setting options (16 pages of options!)
- free caching plugin
- Many setting options can confuse beginners
WP Rocket is the only premium plugin in this list. Surely there are very good free caching plugins for WordPress. But if you want to get a few percent more speed out of your site, you should go for WP Rocket.
The handling of WP Rocket is very simple – similar to WP Super Cache. But the result is usually a tad better when using WP Rocket. At least that’s what some articles on the web say (of course with benchmarking tests and case studies). One of these benchmark tests can be found here.
Additionally, there is of course the Premium Support – which is organized with a ticket system (forum-like). The cost of WP Rocket ranges from $39 to $199. If you want to make money with your website and Google rankings are extremely important to you, you shouldn’t miss out on the extra speed provided by WP Rocket.
- fastest caching plugin
- very good support (premium plugin)
- Simple operation
- Costs from 39 dollars
- limited setting options
Which is the best caching plugin for me?
You still have no idea which caching plugin is suitable for you? Then let me briefly summarize the cacing plugins comparison:
- Looking for a free and easy caching plugin? Then you should try WP Super Cache. The initial setup is simple and will make your website faster.
- You want absolute control over your WordPress caching? You have a very specific website environment? Then you should take a look at W3 Total Cache. Here you can set (almost) everything – but you also need to have an idea of what you’re actually doing.
- You want it to be simple but effective at the same time? You would also like to support some WordPress developers – then you should try WP Rocket. Here your WordPress website becomes a speed monster with just a few settings.
WordPress Caching Plugin Conclusion
As you have already noticed, there is no absolute truth when it comes to caching plugins for WordPress. Moreover, due to the modularity of WordPress, incompatibility with another plugin or theme is also possible. Therefore, you should not settle on one plugin. Generally, the best caching plugin for you is the plugin that works on your installation. With the free plugins there is usually only limited support. In this respect, you should also think about WP Rocket – here developers and the support team take care of you and the caching plugin full time.
What are your experiences with WordPress caching and the caching plugins presented here? Do you have another caching plugin that is missing in this comparison? Then write your request in the comments.