WordPress caching can be complicated if you do not know what you are doing. Trying to explain caching for different complex technologies might take a full chapter. However, you can think of caching as a simple math problem. What’s five times 2? Anyone can immediately tell you the answer is 10. Why is that? Because at some point in life, one had to memorize the answer. This same thing happens to your WordPress website when you install a caching plugin. Your site “memorizes” some stuff to access those resources faster. This is how caching works on a website.
Caching (pronounced “cashing”) is the process of storing data in a cache. A cache is a temporary storage area.
Your website may be visited thousands of times each month. Maybe you attract hundreds, thousands, or millions of traffic each month. If you observe, you can find out that most of the time your website is serving the same or similar content on a daily basis. Wouldn’t it be great if the server could remember those files to serve up your site every time? That’s what the best WordPress caching plugins do for your site.
Why Do You Need a WordPress Caching Plugin?
Whether you have server-level caching like Litespeed or Varnish, plugin-level caching with plugins like WP Super Cache or Cache Enabler, you’ll need caching in your website. You might ask what the benefits of caching are.
Caching improves your overall user-experience – Since the website load faster for users, they are now more likely to browse around. Faster sites are preferred by Google and rank higher in search engines. Also, speedier loading websites are known for decreasing bounce rates as people become frustrated if a page loads for 10 seconds.
Fewer Resource usage means faster loading time. When your website uses fewer resources, it becomes much faster. Lesser resource usage means a lower strain on your server. This is important when it comes to highly dynamic websites.
You may see a boost in search engine optimization – As we mentioned earlier, since March, Google is giving higher ranks to those websites which load faster. A fast site + an excellent User Experience always means SEO improvement.
WordPress Caching Helps to Load Balance When you are serving a large amount of traffic daily, you must need a caching plugin to handle those traffic. If your website hits the main web server other than the cache, then your fixed resources will soon run out. Cache helps to serve your content to more concurrent users.
Websites with Caching Performs Faster
The 8 Best WordPress Caching Plugins Right Now
There are many WordPress plugins right now which are rocking the WordPress Caching competition. Some of them are a long time in the game, some of them are a bit newer. Here’s a list of the best WordPress Caching Plugins available right now
1. WP Super Cache
As featured on our 21 Best WordPress plugins list, WP Super Cache has been a veteran player in the Caching Plugin arena of WordPress. WP Super Cache is now owned by Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.
Why is WP Super Cache One of the Best WordPress Caching Plugins?
WP Super Cache lets you generate static HTML files from a dynamic website. Static files take less time to serve to users. Serving static HTML is a faster alternative to processing WordPress PHP scripts, which can be costly as well as time-consuming.
WP Super Cache has two main methods for serving the cached files. ‘Expert ’, the fastest method. Expert mode uses mod_rewrite to serve your static files and help to ensure that your site performs well under extreme load from heavy traffic. This is helpful if you are having a lot more traffic and serving hundreds of concurrent users.
The ‘Simple’ method uses PHP to server your cached files, hence isn’t quite as fast. However, if your server does not have Apache’s mod_rewrite module, then you can use this mode.
Since WP Super Cache lightweight, simple to use, and easy to configure, it’s a good fit for all who do not want to tinker with configurations. WP Super Cache can also sync with your files with a Content Delivery Network (CDN), which can further boost your site’s speed.
2. WP Rocket
WP Rocket is one of the premium plugins that is loved by both WordPress fans and developers alike. WP Rocket provides ultra-fast load time, essential for improving Search Engine Optimization and increasing conversions. When you turn on WP Rocket, page caching is immediately activated. WP Rocket has loads of feature to give your users a better User Experience.
WP Rocket has become one of the most popular plugins for WordPress users
Why Choose WP Rocket?
Combine files – WP Rocket combines multiple files (like many CSS files, JS files) into a single file.
Minification – shrinks the size of your website’s code (JS/CSS) by removing unnecessary content, like whitespace, comments without changing the code’s functionality.
Remove query strings – eliminates query strings, such as “?ver=1.0”, to improve your GTmetrix and Google Page Speed score.
Render-blocking CSS/JS – This option helps to get rid of the famous “Render blocking” warning in Google PageSpeed Insights.
Lazy Loading – boosts your website speed by only loading images while users scroll. Your website site won’t load any graphics until a user goes to that viewport of your website.
WP Rocket is a premium plugin with great support and all in one package for a fast loading website
3. Comet Cache
Comet Cache has both free and pro version. You may want to upgrade to the pro version because of its automation. Comet Cache was previously known as the Quick Cache. The free version of Comet Cache does most of the tasks, but the catch is, you have to complete some of those tasks manually. The client-side browser caching also comes pretty handy at times.
Why Choose Comet Cache?
It is effortless to configure and does its job well. You can set up and get running within minutes. Caching can be accomplished on posts, categories, pages or tags.
The paid version of Comet Cache provides support for automatic and intelligent cache clearing. So you can forget about the plugin entirely and it will keep doing its work.
Most of the preliminary features you expect from a caching plugin are given away for free. The premium version of the plugin provides the almost same set of features as WP Rocket.
4. Hyper Cache
Hyper Cache is one of the new plugins that has got a fan following. The basic principle of Hyper Cache is same as WP Super Cache’s Simple mode of caching.
Why Choose Hypercache?
Hyper Cache is purely PHP and works on every blog: no complex configurations are needed and when you deactivate it no stale settings are left around.
If you are looking for an easy PHP Caching other than WP Super Cache, give Hyper Cache a try. Hyper Cache also has a fork named Hyper Cache Extended which promises better performance on low resources.
5. Cache Enabler
Cache enabler is a lightweight caching plugin that servers content through static files
Cache Enabler has more than 50000 users and also having 4.5 star review as of writing the article.
Other than usual Caching Features, this is the only plugin that has support for WebP image caching.
Why Choose Cache Enabler?
- Support of 304 Not Modified if the page has not been modified since last cached
- WebP image format support (when combined with Optimus)
- Supports responsive images through srcset from WordPress version 4.4
- Works perfectly with optimizer plugin Autoptimize
When combined with Optimus, WordPress Cache Enabler plugin allows you to easily render WebP images. WebP is a new image format that radically shrinks your image size.
Check out WordPress Cache Enabler Documentation to learn in depth how WebP generation works.
6. W3 Total Cache
Under the hood, W3 Total Cache offers robust features to help you improve your website performance and user experience. However, W3 Total Cache is one of the most complex plugins to configure, and if not correctly set according to your web server, you might have worse performance than before.
If not properly configured according to your web server, you might have worse performance than before. Not recommended if you do not know what you are doing.
Again, Some of the key features of W3 Total Cache include:
- Supports Minification of JS, CSS, HTML and Database Requests.
- Support for importing post attachments directly to a CDN or the WordPress media library.
- Supports Browser caching via the Cache-Control general-header field.
- Has full mobile support.
- Has support for Caching database objects.
- CDN support
- Can insert code into Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
We should mention that one of the primary strengths of W3 Total Cache is its pre-caching features. You can easily adjust the time at which caching takes place on your site, both on disc or in memory.
7. WP Fastest Cache
WP Fastest Cache works same as most other WordPress caching plugins. It creates static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress website.
WP Fastest Cache provides wide range of features. The premium version provides almost same set of features as WP Rocket.
Why Choose WP Fastest Cache?
Great free version. Works well. Easy to set up.
Those who are looking for a free caching solution that can compete toe to toe with other premium plugins, WP Fastest Cache can be a great alternative. The dashboard might not be that much pretty, however it explains each option quite well and is easy to set up.
8. Litespeed Cache
LiteSpeed Cache is an all-in-one site quickening plugin, featuring exclusive server-level cache and a compilation of optimization features. However, you must need your website on LiteSpeed Web Server to take the full advantage of this plugin.
Why LiteSpeed is One of the Nest WordPress Caching Plugins?
LiteSpeed Cache is the best plugin if your website is running on a LiteSpeed Server
If you are running your website on LiteSpeed Web Server, then you should use LiteSpeed Cache. It integrates seamlessly with your LiteSpeed Web Server and LSWS’s built-in page cache to dramatically reduce page load times.
With advanced cache-management tools and optimization features, LiteSpeed Cache is an all-in-one site acceleration solution that contains many different modules like image optimization, CSS/JS combining, HTTP/2 Push.
Wrapping Up on WordPress Caching
WordPress Caching is very important if you are managing a high traffic website. As we mentioned in our 10 Best Ways to Improve your website speed, you need a great WordPress Caching Plugin to achieve high speed. We covered the best WordPress Caching plugins available now on the market.
Experiment with the plugins and find the one that works best for you. One plugin does not work the best in every server due to different server configuration. You can see this comparison chart for more in-depth timing. However, these results do not guarantee the same performance on your web server. Also, check our WordPress Security Guide to protect your website from vulnerabilities.