Optimizing your website is one of the most important task, And when optimizing your website, caching in WordPress can never be underestimated. Lot of content is present on internet related to caching. Yet, it still remains a relatively lesser utilized feature among a large section of the WordPress user base.
What exactly caching is? We know that it can increase the speed of our websites, but is there more to it? How should we use caching to boost the performance of our WordPress websites? Are there any specific considerations to bear in mind?
In this Post we will try to answer all above questions related to caching in WordPress:
Importance of caching in WordPress
What is caching?
Caching is the process of storing data in a cache. A cache is a temporary storage area. For example, the files you automatically request by looking at a Web page are stored on your hard disk in a cache subdirectory under the directory for your browser. This leads to faster performance of your website.
In WordPress, opening a page/post requires back and forth queries to be sent and received from database. Very often you will be creating a new post or a page and then you won’t be updating it everyday. Caching creates static copies of your post or page, and serves that to visitors. This way, the back and forth queries to and from the database can be avoided, thereby reducing the server load.
The benefits of caching
There are various benefits of caching, such as:
- Firstly, it enhances the speed and performance of your website. Static cached files load faster than dynamic database queries, and this leads to faster and better performance of your website.
- Caching helps in reducing load on hosting server. This will save server memory and I/O operations.
- Faster websites also get a favorable rank with search engines. This, also depends on other factors as well, such as content and your SEO settings. But all other things being constant, a website that loads faster will get a better page rank than a slower one.
Isn’t it Impressive? But how will you enable caching in WordPress? The easiest way to do so is by installing and configuring plugin. We will list here some of the popular and good plugins:
Popular WordPress caching plugins
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is a free WordPress plugin with over a million active installations. It generates static HTML files for your WordPress site. This way, your website functions faster than a non-cached site.
WP Super Cache is a simple plugin, but it offers good scope for customization as well. You can also make it work in sync with your CDN service.
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is another extremely popular caching plugin for WordPress users, with over a million active sites. Unlike other cache plugins, W3 Total Cache does more than just generation of static pages. It can also help you minify and compress your scripts, and leverage various other tools to further speed up your site.
W3 Total Cache is little complicated plugin due to lot of features. If you are relatively newer to WordPress caching plugins, this one might be overkill for you.
WP Fastest Cache
WP Fastest Cache generates static HTML pages of your content to speed up page load times. In addition to WordPress caching, it also offers various performance optimization options, such as the ability to minify HTML and CSS and speed up JS scripts.
WP Fastest Cache also supports GZip compression that can be used to reduce the size of files sent from your server. This plugin is free, but is backed by a premium version that comes with added features, such as the ability to integrate with CDN services.
Cache Enabler is a new WordPress plugin. It offers an extremely simple and easy to use interface. In other words, this plugin does what it is meant to do – cache your content and serve static cached pages to visitors.
Cache Enabler is probably meant for you if you need a simple cache solution. This plugin does not involve heavy configuration or settings. It simply works out of the box. On the other hand, if you are used to something that offers granular control over every aspect of caching, Cache Enabler might seem rather unimpressive to you.
Note that since Cache Enabler is a new plugin, it is way less popular than the other entries on this list (currently, it has over 6000 active installs).
Comet Cache offers caching features such as generation of static HTML pages, as well as optimization features like GZip compression. It supports both browser and server-side caching. Currently, Comet Cache has over 30,000 active installs.
Comet Cache also has a Pro version, that lets you do stuff such as integrate with CDN services, run custom PHP code, enforce canonical URLs, etc. The Comet Cache interface is slightly confusing though, and not as clean as that of the other plugins on this list. You might need some time before you get used to it.
WP Rocket is a premium solution, but it has been proven to deliver perhaps the best results out of all WordPress caching tools on the market. (This is probably the charge money.)
WP Rocket is easy to set up, and also offers more individual features compared to the other plugins on this list. It is also the caching solution that we use on this very blog.
Caching in WordPress is very much like every other optimization and performance related tweak. It needs to be done together with other measures to truly work.
Having a good cache solution always helps. If your site fails to load fast, you will lose business and visitors. As such, you should consider setting up a cache plugin on your site at the earliest.
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