There is no explanation needed to convince a website owner that a fast loading website is essential for success. In these lightning fast internet times, it is more than important to make your website instantly available to the visitors.
Visitors usually get annoyed by slow websites and they are not likely to return in future. Even if they show patience, they won’t be browsing much if your pages take more than 5 seconds to load. Your website’s loading speed also shows how professional and technical you have been with the website.
All the reasons above are directly related to visitor experience, but if you talk about Search Engines, they are likely to show less respect towards your site as well if it is slow. A slow website might be the reason why Google or any other search engine is not ranking your site or rejecting indexing requests for most pages.
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What is caching?
A cache is a place to temporarily store data. When information is accessed frequently, a cached version of it is kept in the memory for faster loading. This will decrease website loading time and other computing operations.
How to check website speed?
Website performance is calculated from various aspects like loading time, page size and how many requests it can handle. You can always check your website speed with online tools. Here are some of the free and best tools I prefer:
These tools will test your website and give a report in terms of performance grade and identify reasons that make your website slow.
Why WordPress sites need Caching?
If you run a WordPress site you definitely need a caching solution. Since there are many plugins that we use to make our website looks great and performs well. One purpose served, these plugins may affect the speed of your website. Thus, it becomes important for a WordPress developer to use any caching technique to make your site load faster.
How does caching plugins work?
Good news is that there is always a solution available in WordPress. There are many caching plugins available that will make your site load faster, get your website a valuable visitor and better search engine ranking. A caching plugin creates a static version of your site. This static version will be used next time this visitor will land to your website.
Types of caching
There are two types of caching protocols. They are:
● Client side caching
It addresses the static data of your website like images, CSS and scripting files. Browsers store this static information on client’s hard drive so that the next time this site is loaded it does not have to re-download this static information. Client side caching technique is used by browsers and all the major browsers use it.
● Server side caching
Server side caching includes those protocols that a programmer controls through various plugins. These are:
- Page Caching
- Database query caching
- Opcode caching
- Object-based caching
Data must be stored in either server’s hard disk or primary memory to implement Server side caching on it.
Top plugins for WordPress caching
1. WP Super Cache (FREE)
It is one of the fastest caching engines for WordPress sites to produce static html files. It is easily the most friendly and reliable caching plugin. Although it is equipped with expert level caching features still it is perfect for beginners as well. With over a million active installs it is the top plugin for WordPress caching. Top features of this plugins are:
- CDN support
- Mobile Caching
- Dynamic Caching
- Page Compression
Load time can be decreased using 3 options:
- Server static pages using PHP
- Use mod_rewrite to deliver static pages
- Use legacy caching mode that caches pages for logged in users.
2. W3 Total Cache (FREE)
W3 Total Cache plugin is extremely popular and reliable caching plugin. W3 Total Cache is recommended by Page.ly, Flywheel Site Ground and many other industry giants. With close to a million downloads it is the second most used cached plugin which has a superb list of customization features in it. Some of the features are:
- File Manification
- GZIP compression
- CDN support
- Database, Object and page caching is achieved brilliantly
You can also get more premium features by purchasing the premium version. For details visit their official page here.
Advanced Optimal settings for WP Total Cache
3. WP Rocket (PAID)
WP Rocket is an excellent choice if you need paid caching services to help you make your site faster. As soon as it is activated it starts working without much of your effort. It uses the lazy image loading technique in which only the images on current screen will be loaded, more images will be loaded as you scroll down. This improves the load time of the site.
Price: Single site license is $39, 3 websites for $99 and $199 for unlimited sites.
WP Rocket has top notch features like:
- Browser caching
- Cache preloading
- GZIP compression
- HTML, CSS and JS file manification
It is probably the best paid caching and optimizing plugin for WordPress sites. It highly fulfills the aim of website optimization and loading it faster. It has a scale of 100 which shows your current site score and also suggests improvements needed to raise this score. You are explained in easy simple English which images files need compression and what changes are required in files. Some of the features are:
- GZIP compression
- Page and Browser caching
- Downtime and slow load notifications
- Site monitoring
You get a lot more when you buy this plugin. Visit the website here for more details and pricing information.
For a WordPress site you must have a strong caching plugin. All these plugins are brilliant and work perfectly. If you still need our recommendation to choose the best plugin for caching. We would break that into two parts. For free users we would always recommend WP Super Cache and for Paid users I think WP Rocket is the best solution for an individual. And if you are enterprise or run a lot of sites then going for Hummingbird is the best option.