How fast is your site?
You might think your site is fast, but how fast is it fast enough? You might be surprised that 47% of internet users expect web pages to load in two seconds or less, and they mean it: 40% of people will leave websites that don’t load within three seconds. So use WordPress Cache plugins.
It is right. A second can cost you 40% of your website traffic. And out of 40% of visitors who leave your site, 80% of them will not return.
Let’s say your site has 1,000 unique visitors per week. You have a 5% conversion rate and an average order value of $ 100.
That means $ 5,000 a week and $ 260,000 a year. Not bad, right?
But if it took more than 3 seconds for your website to load, you will lose 40% of that traffic and actually make $ 104,000 less.
Bottom line: Slow load times can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
Fortunately, there is a way to make your site load faster. What solution? Caching.
What is caching?
Let’s start with the basics. A request to your server is required every time someone visits a page on your site. The server sends these results to the user’s web browser.
From the user’s perspective, they see your site as the final product. Your website contains things like headers, menus, images, videos, blog content, and everything else that makes your site unique.
The server must process each request before delivering the final page to the user. Depending on the complexity of your site, it can sometimes take a long time.
This is where caching comes into the equation. Caching stores recently viewed content, such as a web page, so requests to the server won’t be as deep.
Here’s a visual representation of what caching looks like.
In simple terms, caching means less work is required to view the pages on your site. As a result, your site will load much faster.
Why do you need a WordPress caching plugin?
Without a WordPress cache plugin, requests for every element of your website need to be sent to the server every time someone visits your site, even if they’ve already seen the content.
The caching plugin will:
- Speed up your site
- Increase user experience
- Reduce the load on your server
- Improve SEO
- Reduce your TTFB (time to first byte)
The caching plugins will generate a static HTML page for your site that will be stored on your server. Every time someone visits your site, the plugin will render a lighter version of HTML as opposed to heavy PHP scripts.
There are many caching plugins out there that claim to speed up your site. How can you know which one to install? In truth, it’s almost impossible to determine which plugin is the fastest. Depending on the content of the site, what works for one site may not work as well for another. With that said, there are certain caching plugins that stand out above the rest. I took the time to determine the best WordPress cache plugins for you.
5 best WordPress cache plugins
After reviewing dozens of the best WordPress cache plugins, I’ve narrowed them down to the top five. They are:
Check out our in-depth reviews below to find out more about each.
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular WordPress cache plugins on the market.
W3 Total Cache is an open source plugin that is completely free to use. Free installation gives you access to all functions and you won’t be sold anymore after the fact.
I’ve included this in my list of the best WordPress cache plugins because it offers minification that saves bandwidth, HTTP compression, and channel optimization.
This plugin works for both mobile and desktop versions of your site. W3 Total Cache integrates with your site’s CDN. It’s also useful for sites with SSL certificates, making it the best choice for e-commerce sites.
Be aware that W3 Total Cache can be a little tricky to use. While this is a popular choice, it may not be the best option for WordPress beginners. For example, there are 16 pages in the settings section of this plugin. However, you will not need to manually configure all of these settings. The default settings work well out of the box. Therefore, unless you are a developer who has a lot of experience with these settings, I would recommend sticking to the default settings.
If you want this type of additional setting, there is a separate setting for each type of caching. You can have different settings for things like:
- Object caching
- Page caching
- Browser caching
- Database caching
There is no end to this list. It’s hard to find this type of deep customization for free on other WordPress cache plugins.
WP Rocket has the simplest design of all WordPress cache plugins. You will have no problems installing this plugin and quickly configuring it. WP Rocket’s overall simplicity makes it one of the best WordPress cache plugins out there, so it’s great for beginners.
With that said, WP Rocket also has advanced settings that can be customized by developers or site owners who have a little more technical knowledge.
Prices start at $ 49 per year for a single site. WP Rocket also has a developer plan that is $ 249 per year for unlimited sites.
I know what some of you are thinking: why would I pay for this when there are so many free WordPress cache plugins available?
This means that images are loaded only when they are visible on the screen. So if you have pages with a lot of scrolling images, they won’t load natively. This improves your loading times significantly. This plugin also helps you optimize your google fonts, which is not the case with most cache plugins I have used.
Overall, WP Rocket is one of the best WordPress cache plugins for both beginner and experienced developers.
Hyper Cache was designed with WordPress blogs in mind. It will work on every blog, without any complicated settings. Hyper Cache optimizes your bandwidth and ultimately improves your WordPress blog page loading speed.
You can install Hyper Cache easily and the process is very fast. I would say this is one of the best WordPress cache plugins for users who are newbies and don’t want to manage many different cache settings. With this plugin, you can implement a “install and forget” mentality. So after installation, you don’t need to do anything after the initial setup.
You will notice that some of the settings may have odd names that you are not familiar with, but Hyper Cache provides guidance and details on what to activate and how each setting affects your site.
Like some of the other options on our list, Hyper Cache is free. It offers CDN support and also has mobile caching. This is a great tool for those of you who have blogs with a lot of comments.
In Hyper Cache, I found it interesting how this plugin performs website backups. Cache folders are not included in your backups, which means the backup files will be smaller and save your space.
While this plugin should be the best choice for WordPress bloggers, I don’t recommend it for more complex sites like ecommerce platforms. If you fall into this category, you will be better off with the more advanced plugin on this list.
Comet Cache has a quick and easy installation process. Once installed, you will find that the dashboard navigation is extremely user-friendly.
I love this plugin because it is so informative. You will find tons of resources that will tell you everything there is to know about caching. It will help you tweak the settings to optimize the performance of your own WordPress site.
You will have many different caching options with Comet Cache:
If you’re looking for an easy setup, this plugin is definitely worth considering. The ability to cache users logged in makes Comet Cache the most popular option for member sites.
Comet Cache has both free and paid versions. Most of you probably won’t mind a free WordPress plugin, but paid upgrades offer better features. If you update your plugin, you will have the option to automatically and intelligently clear your cache. Basically, this feature allows you to configure all of your settings from the beginning, then use the speakerphone and move forward.
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache has over two million active installations. I’m not saying that you should always keep an eye on what other people are doing, but such high scores are usually a good indicator of quality.
This plugin is also completely free. So it’s a great option if you’re hesitant to spend money on a WordPress plugin.
WP Super Cache creates static HTML files and displays them instead of the heavier PHP scripts. The plugin offers three different caching modes:
- WP-cache caching
Most of you can get off with simple mode. You will need a custom permalink, but this setting is much easier to configure and does not require changing the .htaccess file. Most web pages will still be dynamic in simple cached mode.
As you might have guessed, expert mode is a little more complicated. If you have no coding and web development experience, I would not recommend this option to you. Requires Apache mod_rewrite module and changes to your .htaccess file. If you do not know what you are doing, making the wrong changes to these files could damage your website.
WP Cache Cache Mode is used to cache content for famous site visitors. This is perfect for those of you who have users who are signed in, have left comments, or need to display custom content.
If you don’t want it to get complicated, you can always just stick to the simple mode, but the fact that WP Super Cache has so many other options makes it one of the best WordPress caching plugins out there.
Installing a WordPress cache plugin will boost your site’s speed and improve user experience. Now that we’ve figured out why caching plugins are important, the question is: Which is the best WordPress caching plugin?
It depends what you are looking for. Some plugins are for e-commerce sites, while others are for WordPress blogs. Some cache plugins are made for beginners, while others have more complex settings for advanced developers.
Want a free WordPress cache plugin? Or are you looking for a paid version?
Based on all of this information, I’ve narrowed down my list to the top five to consider. There is something for everyone on this list, depending on the type of website you have, your technical experience, and the type of settings you want to apply. Use this guide as a reference to help you find the best WordPress cache plugin for your site.