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Optimise your WordPress caching

Words by Colin GoodmanDecember 19, 2017

With page load speed being an important element of any website, it’s good to know the methods on how to improve this statistic. In this post I will detail how caching can improve page load speed, and recommend which caching plugins you should consider to use within WordPress.

What is caching?

When you visit a website for the first time your browser will request the web page from the server, which can be made up of various content and media such as images, videos, page content etc. The server will then send this information back to the user’s browser, however all the content sent back will affect the time the page takes to load depending on the amount of content sent back.

This is where caching can help reduce the time it takes a web page to load after your initial visit. The browser will temporarily store a cached version of the web page you visited within your browser’s cache. This will make subsequent visits a lot quicker as your browser won’t have to obtain all of the information again as it has been stored locally.

Why optimise your website's caching performance?

Page speed has always been an important factor to consider for any website, made even more important when Google announced page speed would be a factor used in their rankings algorithm. With Google announcing this it has become even more important to make sure you’re getting the best page load times possible as not only will it affect your users, it will affect where your website ranks when listed in Google search results.

Caching can play an integral part on getting your website to load super-fast and optimising it further can bring even better results. As this post is focused on WordPress, below are some of the most popular plugins that can help you optimise your site’s cache and improve the performance of your website.


W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache is widely used and aims to improve the SEO and user experience of your website by optimising website performance. Here at Atomic Smash we use W3 Total Cache on various websites and find it easy to use, and improves website performance a lot when used in combination with a content delivery network (CDN).

Pros

  • Up to 80% bandwidth savings via minify and HTTP compression of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and feeds
  • Reduced page load time: increased visitor time on site; visitors view more pages
  • Improvements in search engine result page rankings

Cons

  • Optimising the plugin fully can take some time but basic settings are straightforward.

Check out the official WP Total Cache plugin page by using the link below.

W3 Total Cache


WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache

This plugin boasts over 1 million active installations similar to WP Total Cache and works by generating static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress website. The static files will be served to the vast majority of users and one cached file can be served thousands of times.

Pros

  • Support CDN integration
  • Automatically compress pages
  • All the cached files are served by PHP which improves your loading times

Cons

  • Like W3 Total cache, to optimise completly can take time.

Check out the official WP Super Cache plugin page by using the link below.

WP Super Cache


WP Fastest Cache

WP Fastest Cache

This plugin functions in a similar way to WP Super Cache by also generating static HTML files of your dynamic WordPress pages. Once installed and activated don’t be fooled by the basic look and feel of the plugin, as this caching tool can speed up your web pages by 50%.

Pros

  • Supports CDN and SSL
  • Block cache for specific pages or posts
  • Easy to install and setup initally

Cons

  • Not as advanced as some of the other caching plugin options

Check out the official WP Fastest Cache plugin page by using the link below.

WP Fastest Cache

Profile picture of Colin Goodman

Colin Goodman

Colin works very closely with David and Jenny on the front end development aspects within projects. He has an exceptional eye for detail and is constantly looking at new ways to code websites with the latest technologies available.

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