WordPress is a dynamic content management system. Out of hundreds of plugins used on a WordPress site, one of the most vital plugins to use is the cache plugin. The cache is the collection of temporary data that is stored and can be quickly accessed on request. This plugin helps to speed up a website since maintaining optimum website speed is necessary to offer a good user experience.
WordPress caching works by generating a copy of your web pages and store them in your server as static files. Later, when a visitor arrives at a particular webpage, the server gives them the cached page instead of re-querying the database and dynamically generating it. This significantly reduces the load on server resources and speeds up the page response time.
WordPress users can implement a caching system with the help of caching plugins. Among thousands of caching plugins, we are listing below the top eight of them to help you choose the best for your WordPress site.
WP Rocket is one of the most popular and premium caching plugins for WordPress. The best part about this plugin is that it is quite easy to configure and this sets it apart from other WordPress caching plugins. Once this plugin is activated, page caching will automatically start. This plugin helps in improving site performance through the following benefits:
- It improves the indexing of the website on different search engines.
- CSS files are also minified.
- This plugin helps in applying lazy loading to the website images. This means that the images would load only when they become visible to the website visitors.
- WP Rocket also comes with a number of hooks that can help developers in extending its features.
The all-in-one WP-Optimize is a premium caching plugin that comes free of cost. This plugin has been created by the same people who created the popular backup plugin- UpdraftPlus. WP-Optimize enhances the performance of the WordPress site by compressing the large images on your website, cleaning the database and caching your website. This can be understood in detail below:
- Image compression: The image compression tool in this plugin helps in significantly reducing server resources. This is done by converting large images to compressed files, which helps in improving the page loading time.
- Cleans the database: The WP-Optimize plugin clears out any unnecessary data present in the database. It also cleans up the tables, which ultimately helps in making the website fast and efficient.
- Caching: This plugin comes with the complete set of essential features as in case of any other caching plugin. It also has minimal setup configuration.
SG Optimizer: Free WordPress Caching Plugin by SiteGround
The SG Optimizer is a free caching plugin introduced by SiteGround that can be downloaded from WordPress. It connects the WordPress website with performance services of SiteGround. However, this plugin works on a website only if the site has been hosted with SiteGround. This caching plugin will not work with other hosts. The SG optimizer plugin helps in improving the performance of the website with the help of different optimization techniques. Following are some of the features offered by this plugin:
- One can configure the dynamic caching as well as the Memcached. The cache purge can be automatically enabled or disabled, and URLs from the cache can be easily excluded. You can also test whether the pages are correctly cached.
- The plugin allows one to force HTTPS for the website and also switch between the different PHP versions. You can also enable or disable Gzip Compression or the browser caching rules for your site.
- This plugin gives you the option to enable or disable the minification of HTML, CSS and JS resources. You can easily remove the Emoji support or query strings through the static resources.
- It also helps in optimizing the images individually in a website or in bulk.
WP Super Cache
The WP Super Cache is also a popular WordPress caching plugin and has around a million active installations. It is run by Automattic, which is the same team that runs WordPress.com. This plugin helps in generating static HTML files from a dynamic blog. WP Super Cache can serve as the static HTML file for a large number of website visitors after it has compressed several heavy WordPress PHP scripts. The plugin can serve cached files in the following three ways:
- Simple: This is a recommended way of file caching as one does not have to edit PHP files. Also, one does not need to configure the .htaccess file.
- Expert: It is one of the fastest caching methods for serving cached HTML files to visitors. However, it requires modification to the .htaccess files.
- WP Super Caching: This is an effective method for caching pages for known users. It is also quite flexible. However, it can be a bit slower than other caching methods.
W3 Total Cache: Developer Friendly WordPress Cache Plugin
Having more a million active installations, the W3 Total Cache is a popular WordPress caching plugin. It is a developer-friendly plugin that can improve server performance. This is done by caching different aspects of the website and including content delivery network integration. The W3 Total Cache is widely used by many companies such as AT&T, Mashable.com, MattCutts.com, etc. Irrespective of whether the website is hosted on a shared network or a dedicated server, this plugin helps in improving the performance of the website by reducing the page load time.
WP Fastest Cache
The WP Fastest Cache needs only a few configuration settings for WordPress caching. This makes it one of the easiest WordPress caching plugins in the market. It also helps in creating static HTML files through a dynamic WordPress website. This plugin minifies CSS and HTML files by reducing the size of the files. You can even disable emojis on the website with the help of this plugin. It can also effectively implement browser caching, which helps in reducing page load time for returning users. You can combine different CSS files in one by reducing the number of round trips of HTTP.
The plugin also has a premium version which comes with a number of unique features. These features help in enhancing the page speed, such as image optimization, mobile caching, database clean up, and so on. The premium version can be purchased directly from the WordPress dashboard after installing the free version.
The Cache Enabler is one of the most recommended plugins if you are looking for a lightweight caching plugin for your WordPress website. It requires minimal configuration and contains all the necessary features that are expected from a caching plugin. This caching plugin also comes with extensive documentation that can help in exploring different elements of this plugin. The documentation comes with great screenshots as well as videos that would help you in understanding the features in detail.
It is advisable not to use any mobile-specific plugin or theme that shows different layouts for desktop and mobile users. This is because if the cache is bypassed, then rendering it would be useless.
Hyper Cache: Yet Another Free WordPress Cache
The Hyper Cache is a free caching plugin that is purely written in PHP. It can be utilized in cheap hosting environments as well as in high-end servers. It is easy to activate the Hyper Cache as it works with the help of a complete set of default values. This plugin also has a mobile theme that helps in enabling caching even while using different users for desktop as well as mobile users. This feature comes in quite handy in case you use a responsive theme for your website or if you require different ad formats for separate devices.
Another advantage of Hyper Cache is that it can serve cached pages even to comment authors. One can also disable this feature if it is not required. This caching plugin is also bbPress ready, which helps in enabling cache for the bbPress forum pages.
While looking for the best caching plugin for your WordPress website, one cannot get a universal solution. While WP Super Cache and W3 Super Cache are updated regularly and used a million different sites, other premium caching plugins like WP Rocket require minimal configuration and offer tremendous support. With the help of this guide, you would be able to choose the best plugin(s) for your WordPress website according to your needs and requirements.