A Warning about Caching Plugins
It is vitally important to understand what your Website Hosting Provider has in place already for caching.
Some hosting providers will tell you don’t need a caching plugin because they have a robust caching setup already.
In fact, some Web Hosting providers do not allow caching plugins
But Web Caching Plugins have many extras outside of just caching web files
Personally, I’ve paid for WP Rocket, it has many extras that free plugins don’t have.
In fact, WP Rocket works alongside many of the major hosting providers to ensure they meet the hosting companies’ requirements.
Having tried many of the free caching plugins I’ve realised you get what you paid for.
Also, many of the free Web Caching Plugins are forbidden on some hosting platforms.
Let’s Define Web Caching
Caching is the temporary storage of static web files which can normally be re-used if the original data has not changed.
Caching stops requests for web files being served from the Origin Server (Hosting Server) if they have not changed from the original request. This can have a very significant impact on page loading speed.
What are the benefits of Web Caching?
- Caches reduce redundant data transfers.
- Caches reduce network bottlenecks. Pages load faster without more bandwidth.
- Caches reduce demand on origin servers. Servers reply faster and avoid overload.
- Caches reduce distance delays because pages load slower from farther away.
Common Web Caches
Unfortunately, some of the terminology is a bit confusing around caching. As a cache can be an element of a proxy.
- Web Browser Caches are called Private Caches.
- Internet Service Providers have caches for frequently accessed files. Commonly called Proxy, or Public Caches, or Access or, Ingress Proxies.
- Server Caches, Surrogate Caches or Reverse Proxies which sit in front of an Origin server, which cache files that pass through it. These surrogate caches are generally much faster than the server they sit in front of.
- Content Delivery Networks which have servers distributed worldwide with cached versions of static files which overcome the propagation factor of distance.
Page Speed and SEO
The two big pillars of SEO are Usability and Content. And, one of the biggest negative factors affecting Usability is the slow loading time of webpages.
WordPress and Caches
What is a Good Web Caching Strategy for WordPress Sites?
- Use a good hosting provider. You get what you pay for.
- Use a Web Caching Plugin.
- Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network).
Good hosting providers have a robust infrastructure in place, with fast surrogate caches ensuring fast delivery of Origin Server content. In fact, a caching plugin might only be required for non-caching duties like minification and compression with some hosting providers.
Web Caching plugins there are aplenty. A lot are free. A search for a plugin using the term “cache” returns 3000+ plus plugins.
A CDN (Content Delivery Network) is not absolutely essential if your intended market is just your home country and your server is in the same country.
That said there is still a speed gain to be had by using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) as they use cached versions of your files — on very powerful servers.
What else can Web Caching plugins do besides caching?
This list is not exhaustive and is taken from WP Rocket’s site.
- Reduction of the number of HTTP requests to reduce loading time
- Decreasing bandwidth usage with GZIP compression
- Apply optimal browser caching headers (expires)
- Minification and concatenation of JS and CSS files
- Remove query strings from CSS and JS files
- Deferred loading of images (Lazy Load)
- WebP compatibility
- Generation of Critical Path CSS and deferred loading of CSS files
- Database optimization
- WordPress Heartbeat API control
- DNS prefetch
- CDN integration
- Cloudflare integration
- Sucuri integration
- Host Google Analytics files locally
- Host Facebook Pixel files locally
What are the top five Web Caching Plugins?
Depending on what review you look at it varies. I’ve used the most popular ones.
The best 5 in my opinion are:
What web caching plugin do I recommend.
W3 Total Cache
Why I have chosen WP Rocket
One big reason is compatibility. WP Rocket endeavours to work with the most popular Hosting Providers, Plugins & Themes.
Many hosting providers have banned a lot of the free caching plugins. WP Rocket endeavours to work with many popular hosting providers.
WP Rocket also works with most major plugins to ensure compatibility.
WP Rocket works straight out-of-the-box without tinkering.
If you want to tinker with the extras, well you can. Most of these extras do not have a massive impact on speed.
The extras are there to shave a couple of microseconds off page load times, but if they cause issues. Just turn them off.
Not only does WP Rocket work with my WooCommerce plugin it works with my hosting providers caching.
It also works seamlessly with Cloudflare’s paid-for and free service.
As it’s a paid for plugin you get support
But more importantly, as WP Rocket is paid for, it has to work – which it does.
Get WP Rocket
I must reiterate that contacting your hosting provider is essential.