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The Best WordPress Cache Plugins And How To Use Them

Posted on May 6 by in Resources | 109 comments

The Best WordPress Cache Plugins And How To Use Them

There are a lot of things you can do to optimize your WordPress website, however installing a cache plugin will have the biggest effective on your page loading times.

When someone visits one of your pages, they need to request a lot of information from your web host. They need to send a request for images, Javascript, and CSS. They also have to retrieve your content from the WordPress database. All of this contributes to your total page loading time.

A database powered platform, such as WordPress, generates content dynamically. This means that it requests fresh information about a page every time a visitor views a page. This can be unnecessary as when an article has been published, it only changes when an administrator, editor, or author, goes in and modifies it.

Caching plugins address this issue by creating a static version of your content and delivering it to visitors. This can reduce your page loading time significantly. You could see an improvement in overall website performance of around ten times.

In this article, I would like to show you how you can use a cache plugin for WordPress to speed up your website. All plugins listed in this article are free to download from the official WordPress plugin repository.

W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache is the cache plugin I use on all of my WordPress websites. It is also the second most popular cache plugin on WordPress.org.

After activating the plugin, you may need to configure some files to fully install W3 Total Cache. For example, change the file permissions of your wp-content folder to 755 and modify your .htaccess file. The plugin walks you through this whole process by displaying notification messages at the top of the page. If any part of the installation process needs to be completed, W3 Total Cache will advise you of what still needs to be done.

W3 Total Cache

The number of settings that can be configured in W3 Total Cache can be overwhelming.

The number of features that W3 Total Cache offers is impressive. There is very little that the plugin cannot do.

The downside to this is that the number of options can be overwhelming. Thankfully, the default settings should be ok for most WordPress users, therefore you do not need to modify any settings.

All major features of W3 Total Cache can be enabled and disabled in the General Settings page. The General box at the top of the page lets you enable or disable all caching features at the top of a button.

Alternatively, you can configure each feature independently. Caching sections include, Page Cache, Minify, Database Cache, Object Cache, Browser Cache, CDN, Varnish, and Monitoring. There are also miscellaneous settings, a debug option, and and import and export functionality.

W3 Total Cache General Settings

The general settings area allows you to enable and disable all caching features.

I believe the default settings will be fine for most W3 Total Cache users. Should you wish, you can configure each feature further as there is a dedicated settings page for each one.

For example, if you have enabled minify, you can decide whether CSS and Javascript is minified. With browser caching, you can define the length of time that a type of item is stored on a visitor’s computer.

Configure Settings of W3 Total Cache

There is a dedicated settings page for every major feature in W3 Total Cache.

W3 Total Cache has support for extensions such as WordPress SEO and CloudFlare. It also works with every major Content Delivery Network (CDN). Whenever you activate or deactivate a plugin, you should clear your cache so that it can rebuild your pages correctly.

Once again, do not be put off by the hundreds of options that are available to you. When I use the plugin, I simply activate all features from the general settings area and then watch my page loading time drop. I don’t ever mess with technical settings that I do not understand. I leave that to my hosting company :)

WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache is the most popular cache plugin available for WordPress. The plugin promises to deliver static files to 99% of your visitors by utilizing mod rewrite, PHP, or legacy caching.

The plugin is very simple to configure. There are seven tabs in the options page. All you have to do is enable caching through the Easy tab and the plugin will begin to cache your pages. The contents tab will then show you how many pages have been cached and how many have expired.

WP Super Cache Easy Settings

WP Super Cache can be enabled at the click of a button.

You can choose what type of caching you use within the advanced settings area. Many settings, such as compressing files and not caching pages for known users, have a note that these settings are recommended. Bizarrely, they are not enabled by default, so you will need to enable them yourself.

WP Super Cache Advanced Settings

WP Super Cache offers advanced settings too; however there are less configuration options than W3 Total Cache.

The plugin allows several plugins to be loaded in WP Super Cache so that they load quicker than other plugins. This includes Bad Behavior, the Jetpack Mobile Theme, and WPTouch. It also has support for content delivery networks.

All in all, I was impressed with what WP Super Cache can do. It offers a better user experience than W3 Total Cache, however it still has everything you need.

Quick Cache

Quick Cache is a great cache plugin that promises “Speed without Compromise”. The plugin takes a snapshot of your pages to deliver a quicker reading experience to most visitors, however it knows not to serve cached pages to logged in users or people who have recently left a comment.

The options page has eight sections, although there are actually not that many settings to configure.

Quick Cache Options

The Quick Cache options area is divided into eight sections.

What sets Quick Cache apart from all other cache plugins is the helpful explanations it offers for each setting. A plugin such as W3 Total Cache assumes that you already have the technical knowledge to customize the plugin; however Quick Cache offers a detailed explanation so that you know exactly what each setting does.

Quick Cache Get Requests

Quick Cache is very simple to set up. There are only a few options to choose from in each section.

It is easy to understand why Quick Cache has a loyal following as it is easy to configure and well documented.

Hyper Cache

Hyper Cache is a cache plugin that caches normal and Gzip compressed pages. It is a basic cache plugin that works right out the box.

There are a few options available such as mobile device configuration and feed caching. You can also exclude specific URLs from being filtered.

Hyper Cache Settings

Hyper Cache offers just a configuration options.

WP Fastest Cache

WP Fastest Cache uses mod rewrite to cache your pages and deliver a fast browsing experience to visitors. The main settings page only offers ten options.

Options include whether cached files are delivered to logged in users and mobile visitors, and whether CSS and HTML minification is applied. Several settings have an information button that explains more about what the setting does.

WP Fastest Cache Options

WP Fastest Cache offers just a few options.

Cached files can be deleted through the settings area. You can also specify the regularity in which cached files are deleted automatically.

WP Fastest Cache

Cache can be deleted at the click of a button.

I love the simplicity of WP Fastest Cache. It lacks the features that a plugin such as W3 Total Cache offers, but if you are just looking for a simple cache plugin, it is a great choice.

Final Thoughts

I know that many of you are keen to hear my views on the plugins I review. Specifically, you want to hear what I consider to be the best solution.

I have seen case studies by WordPress users that show that W3 Total Cache is (marginally) faster than other WordPress cache plugins; however I have also seen case studies that state that other solutions are quicker.

All case studies appear to show that the benefits of using one cache plugin over another is very small. Small enough that most people would not notice it. Of course, when you are trying to optimize your pages, every millisecond counts.

The last three plugins in this list, Quick Cache, Hyper Cache, and WP Fastest Cache; do not have support for content delivery networks. Therefore, if you will be utilizing a content delivery network such as MaxCDN, you should use W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache. If not, you might prefer the simplicity that the other cache plugins have to offer.

I am going to continue using W3 Total Cache on my own websites as I am happy with the results. While the plugin does have many settings that I do not understand (nor care about), it is not something that concerns me as the default settings work fine. That is also true for all cache plugins. They are all designed to operate correctly after activation.

My advice to you is to test the plugins in this list. Review your own needs and look at the features they offer. You can then make an informed decision on which one to use long term.

As always, I would love to hear your views about cache plugins. Therefore, I encourage you to take the time to leave a comment and share with us all what cache plugin you are currently using :)

Article thumbnail image by korinoxe / shutterstock.com

109 Comments

  1. Kevin, you can put any plugin into CDN isn’t big deal. I use Amazon CloudFront to serve some of mine WP sites.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      I’m going to try out Amazon Cloudfront soon. Hope I see a big drop in page loading times.

  2. Thougtht this is the final-Divi-2.0-countdown progress bar… ;-) Still more than 17 hours to go?!

    • We have a release date planned internally, but we are afraid to announce it in case we can’t reach our goal! The theme will definitely be released this month, unless we encounter some very terrible bugs :)

      • “The theme will definitely be released this month,” said Nick Roach on May 16, 2014.

        Heh, I’ll hold you on to that. :P

      • Thanks for the update, Nick. Can we get part 3 of the Sneak Peek? That would be great, thanks :)

      • Do you all plan on releasing a blog post prior to the Divi 2.0 launch giving recommendations to us newbie’s on how to best backup our current sites, save files, etc.

        Little bit of anxiety :)

        • There won’t be any special method needed for updating your websites. The theme will update seamlessly – you’ll just get a bunch of new features, and your current modules will continue to work fine

      • Really looking forward to it. This blog has been super useful as well. Thanks!

        • I understand ET users are eager to get going with Divi 2, but I think it’s ridicules (and unrepresentable to the poster) when people ask about Divi on a post which has nothing to do with Divi. IMO

          Back on Topic, Thanks Kevin.
          My testing on the same shared hosting, with a cloned site, found a fluctuating difference between W3 Total and WP Super. Meaning, on a hand full of tests W3 would be better off by only a slight margin, then for unknown reasons, WP would be… So with those results I mix it up between the two.

  3. Right now I use WP Super Cache and my simple blog loads like Molasses (yeseterday load times were at 16 seconds, today 4 seconds. May be Bluehost’s fault… Would adding WP Super Cache help? I’m guessing adding multiple caching plugins is pointless and I should just stick with one…

    • Will,

      Bluehost is a pig when it comes to traffic and speed because of the cheap architecture that they use for their shared hosting system.

      You can try adding some compression through your htaccess file that will help handle the loads a little better. I don’t use any of the caching plugins currently, but have written cache mods for my htaccess that have helped to speed up my sites tremendously that are hosted on Bluehost.

      Make a backup of your htaccess file (just duplicate it and rename or download and store it) then add these lines to the htaccess file and clear your cache. If you see anything strange happening or you don’t like the way it handles just remove the lines and resave it then clear your cache again. Hope this helps, I’ve had a lot of headache with Bluehost’s lag and latency issues.

      Place these above the WordPress mod_ReWrite:

      AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
      AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
      AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
      AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
      AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
      AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
      AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
      AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
      AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript

      ## EXPIRES CACHING ##

      ExpiresActive On
      ExpiresByType image/jpg “access 1 year”
      ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access 1 year”
      ExpiresByType image/gif “access 1 year”
      ExpiresByType image/png “access 1 year”
      ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”
      ExpiresByType application/pdf “access 1 month”
      ExpiresByType text/x-javascript “access 1 month”
      ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access 1 month”
      ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access 1 year”
      ExpiresDefault “access 2 days”

      ## EXPIRES CACHING ##

      Header set Cache-Control “max-age=2592000″

    • @Will Lipovsky: have you consider a good VPS, like Digital Ocean?
      The best “shared” hosting I used was A Small Orange, they have SSD, low price and a remarcable support.
      Now I prefer Digital Ocean using NginX for a great performance – I could get 25+ millions hits/day or 1000 concurrents users in the 5/m plan (plus CDN), or just use WPEngine, a same performance but starting at 29/m.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Poor response times will hurt your page loading times, even if you do cache pages.

      What sort of package are you hosted on currently?

  4. Another very informative post. Than you for the ideas.

    I use cloudflare feature on the e panel at Bluehost and had heard that minify options in w3 total cache will conflict with cloudflares attempt to do the same. As there are not options (I don’t think) for the e panel bluehost version of cloudflare … Should one disable minify feature on w3 Titan cache ?

    • Ha, you gave me an idea: I disabled W3 Super Cache to see if it was actually causing a hindrance for Bluehosts’ services. While my load times still aren’t as good as I want, they are noticeably faster after disabling W3 Super Cache.

      I don’t mean to knock this plugin. I know other Bluehost customers that love this plugin. I’ll just have to learn more about my specific situation.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      I am not sure about any conflictions. When you use a cache plugin, you need to ensure it works well with your host and any other optimization plugins you are using. Speak to your host if you are unsure :)

  5. I’ve used every caching plugin mentioned here with mixed results. The biggest pain for me was figuring out the right configuration for the right situation and having to test over and over to get the best results.

    I’ll admit before I go any further that my inability to get really good results on the above solutions may be due to incorrect configurations on my part.

    I have to mention a caching plugin I just started using. It’s not free but wow has it made a difference. (I should note I’m in no way affiliated with them other than being a happy customer). Wp-rocket (http://wp-rocket.me) has made a huge improvement on the sites I’ve installed it on so far. I’ve installed it on client sites on shared hosting and on my own sites on a nginx vps. It just works. I saw sites going from 4 to 1.5 second load times on shared hosting.

    I was really iffy about paying for a caching plugin but I’m so glad I did. I’ve had it less than a week, installed it on 10 client and personal sites so far and all of them have boosted load times dramatically.

    • Hmm, I heard of WP Rocket some time ago, but never really looked into it. Good to hear some positive feedback.

      I have been struggling for years to get my WP sites up to proper performance and have used all of the mentioned plugins as well.

      A few weeks ago I even setup an account with MaxCDN (about $6/month), but eventually Hostgator disabled my site for running on too many resources nontheless. I finally ditched those ***$#$#&Y* and am now hosted with Media Temple. Out of the box this works faster and more reliable than any hosting I’ve encountered so far.

      Their systems (for the WordPress Premium Hosting plan) are specifically built for WP and they don’t even allow any caching plugins because that is all done on their servers. I’m SO glad I made this move!

    • Kevin Muldoon

      That looks really good Corey.

      I have actually found myself in a similar situation. I was using W3 Total Cache but recently it was causing 403 response errors on my website.

      I had to disable it immediately. I could try it again and locate what is probably just a configuration issue, but I have taken this opportunity to test other caching plugins on my personal blog. Sadly, none have managed to get my pages as quick as W3 Total Cache.

      I am keen to try out WP Rocket as it may remove the need to use other optimization plugins. I have not read any case studies that test it. The WP Tavern website showed that the plugin reduced page loading times by three seconds, though that was on a website that was previously at six seconds. It would be better to see a fair comparison with other cache plugins.

      • Well, this is a french plugin, so if you understand french, try to google it in french and you’ll find some comparison.

        According to me, this is the simplest cache plugin I’ve ever used (on about 15 sites by now), the support is very reactive and it works fine. OK, this is a premium plugin but it fits my needs !

        • I’ve been really impressed with their support and not needing to wonder what caching plugin to use in what situation is a big relief.

  6. Thank you Kevin! but I have a question for you since W3 Total Cache never answered my question:

    I use to have a blog with 92k visits at day, then my hosting company suggested me to use a Cache plugin or upgrade to their next plan, so I installed W3 and my visit counts went down to 10k, why HTML static pages with the Google Analytics´s code can´t be recorded?

    • Yikes, I want to hear more about this- conflicts with seo?!

      Also…Dear Elegant Themes… please keep performance and page speed at the top of your list with every new theme.

      Thank you, you’re the best-

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Static files will not affect traffic count. If anything, a faster response time should increase traffic from search engines.

      That is a lot to drop in one day. Are there any other factors to consider?

      • Nope, I heard and read that ajax code will not work in static pages

        • Absolutely untrue. AJAX is Javascript, which runs client-side and can (and does) happily run on thousands of static sites around the web.

    • Also wondering about multisite…?

    • Also wondering about multisite…?

    • Tim, try installing varnish on the server. Made big improvements and while a caching plugin helps, they are not necessary afterwards.

      • WP Super Cache is working wonders on one of my multisite installations. I am a big fan of it’s simplicity and performance. The plugin can be network activated and configured so you don’t have to setup caching on every sub site. Also caching can be enabled/disabled on a site by site basis.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Sorry, multisite is not something I have much experience with. I believe most have support for multisite, but I’m not sure if one is better than any other.

  7. very informative and detail post…thanks well done.

  8. We have used a variety of caching programs over the years with mixed results across hundreds of sites. Lately we have been using the cache feature in Wordfence and wonder how it compares with some of the ones mentioned here. Is anyone else using the Wordfence cache program and if so, which setting are you using and how is it working for your site? Thanks:-)

  9. I have had major problems with WP Super Cache and Captcha (specifically on Gravity Forms).

    The captcha would appear at first and then regularly not appear, so someone filling out would have to submit the form and not see captcha, then get an error that they did not fill out the captcha, and then resubmit the form with the captcha. So I disabled WP SC on all my client sites. I usually optimize all large images and test the page speed on a number of free tools. figured it would take me less time to optimize the images, than it would be to figure out why my cacheing plug in was not working with captcha.

    Lastly, speed hosting wpengine disallows the use of caching plugins mentioned here. You can read why here http://wpengine.com/support/#/support/disallowed-plugins/

    • I think that you can add some comments in your pages so that the sections between the comments are *not* cached. I am sure that Gravity Forms support has seen the cache issues that you are encountering.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      WP Engine disallows a lot of plugins.

      Though this is a company that is known to go into clients websites and change configurations and remove post revisions without even advising the client. Not to mention charging more than four times the cost of other hosting companies for this privilege.

  10. I agree with you partially. W3 Total Cache is quite a powerful plugin, I use it on most of websites that I build. But yesterday I tested WP Fastest Cache and the result was positively surprising. When I was using W3 Total Cache on one of my customers’ website, the review on Google PageSpeed Tools was 60. When I uninstalled it and installed WP Fastest Cache, the review increased to 67 (7% better). The configuration of W3 Total Cache was set properly, I know what I’m doing :) So probably I will use WP Fastest Cache or WP Super Cache.

    And I must add of course that your article is great, like all the others.

    I would very appreciate if you write more about questions related to programming on wordpress (php etc.) for more advanced users.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      I tried WP Fastest Cache out yesterday. If I remember right, it seemed to give about the same page loading time as WP Super Cache (give or take).

      I’m going to try WP Rocket now. Seems like a good option :)

      With regards to programming on WordPress, I am not sure if I am the right person to do that. My programming skills are not great. I can make basic edits, though I am not a developer. So it would be difficult for me to speak with conviction on programming topics as I am a beginner in that area.

      Kevin

  11. One thing to keep in mind when using the W3 Total Cache, is that you can mess up a page with the js minify.

    It can mess up with multiple plugins installed. So if you install W3 Total Cache and you have issues afterwards, try and uncheck js minify option.

    • That has been the case for me especially with woo commerce! Minify settings seem to jack everything up.

  12. I have used all of these on client sites. The thing I do not understand is why some work better with certain sites to varying degrees.

  13. I have been using W3TC on all my sites including my store (Divi). One of the things I like about W3TC, is that if you use a host like liquidweb.com, they will install the varnish caching at the server level. W3TC supports it and even gives you the tools to flush it. Been very happy with the set up. Also, can’t wait for Divi 2.0. Really hoping for easier control of all fonts and colors!
    – Will

  14. I was hoping the comparative speed tests you linked to would be recent, but they are four years old. You’d think someone has done more recent testing, but I haven’t seen any either.

    My experience is the same as yours — there is not much difference in performance outcomes between caching plugins on a simple WP site, but some are easy and some are difficult to configure so go with simple. Query caching and caching plugins that can make your site almost static may be useful if you have a query-intensive site but not a lot of dynamic content.

    I would also suggest having your primary caching handled by your host — use specialized hosting optimized for WordPress. Some take care of caching for you, but you can still add widget caching and lazy image loading.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      There are very few speed tests out there. It is something that I could perhaps tackle myself in the future. Though I know it would be a difficult thing to write. Primarily because different hosts support different features. If I didn’t optimize a website correctly for a specific plugin, it may not give a good representation of it.

      My host just installed APC for me. Just about to try out WP Rocket to see if it is good.

      Kevin

  15. More great content Kevin. Thank you!

  16. I have recently noticed that the Wordfence security plug-in has introduced caching with a feature called ‘Falcon Engine’. I haven’t a chance to review it but thought It worth a mention.

  17. Thanks Kevin for the awesome information. This post will rekindle my interest once again because of my experience on cache plugins conflicting with some other plugins. I sensed improvement now. Thanks for the tip up.

  18. Mostly used W3 total cache and WP super cache plugin for my all websites. Never used any other cache plugin, but after read you review may be try WP faster cache or quick cache for next project. Thanks for article Kevin.

  19. I switched recently from W3 Total Cache to WP Fastest Cache. And I am very happy now. Blazing fast excellent speed without compromise AND SIMPLE!!!

    Use WP Fastest Cache if you don’t your website often I think this is the best choice (even for HTTPS sites). Works perfectly with DIVI and all options turned on. I don’t miss the CDN feature.

    http://www.verhijden.nl

  20. I have been using W3 total cache plugin on all my blogs. I love the features of the plugin. Surely will try other cache plugins you have listed here. Thanks for the share.

  21. I tried all of these cache plugins but everytime I did, some content would disappear. I couldn’t figure out why, since I’m no expert. So I had to delete them.

    i’m now using a simple cache plugin «Cachify», «Crazy Lazy» (both from Sergej Müller) and «WP-Optimize» and hoping for the same effect. Never realy tested i thoug.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      I don’t believe that would be the cause unless you were using the default permalink structure.

  22. I have tried W3 Total cache plugin on a website using woo commerce but I had to uninstall it as the cart went funny. It wasn’t working properly. Can you recommend any plugin which will work seamlessly on sites using shopping carts? Thank you!

    • Kevin Muldoon

      You can use cache plugins with eCommerce stores, however you need to ensure that you exclude the cart and other areas from caching. They need to remain dynamic. Most cache plugins will have a FAQ section that explains how to use their plugin with an eCommerce website.

  23. Hi!
    Its amazing and I am sure it should work.

  24. Great Article, but i use Godaddy’s Managed wordpress hosting, they have blacklisted all Cache plugins, they warned not to use them.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Probably because it clashes with their own configuration. :)

  25. Great and informative blogpost as always, Kevin!

    We can’t use caching plugins as such since our host provider does not allow them. But I’m looking for some good minify plugins to cut down on all the small js and css files our plugins use.

    Any recommendations for such plugins?

    • Kevin Muldoon

      My first suggestion would be to switch host :)

      Your website home page has a total page size of 1.67MB and a load time of 4.4 seconds.

      Clearly, the hosting company are not disallowing caching plugins as they have their own caching set up.

      Not sure what their reason is, but I would move to another company as soon as you can. You can then apply a caching plugin that has minify features built in.

      :)

      Kevin

  26. Like Josh, I too have installed and setup many caching plugins, must recently another attempt at W3TC. I too experienced at least a 40% drop in Google Analytics, and since my advertising clients rely on auto-generated reports, they complain about traffic drops every time I install one. I had hoped that Universal Analytics would have helped fix this issue with caching problems, but it hasn’t.

    I know that sometimes its the theme that causes the analytics problem with caching, but so far no matter what theme we try, we are hit every time with dropped visitors and pageviews, especially pageviews.

    Has anyone ever come up with a reliable solution? Sometimes I think this is an inherent flaw in all caching plugins that no plugin author wants to admit they are stumped in finding the reason, and a solution.

    John

    • Kevin Muldoon

      My own traffic stats dropped because of a 403 issue, though I have not seen any issue with stats dropping because I have used cache files.

      Do you see an immediate jump in traffic when you disable caching plugins?

      Kevin

  27. Hi Keving, this skipped my mind during my first comment. Can you tell me which cache plugin is Elegant Themes using? I noticed something spectacular about ET page loading. :)

    • Kevin Muldoon

      I’ll leave Nick to answer that one :)

      Though it worth noting that Elegant Themes also uses a CDN to deliver content quicker.

  28. Hi Kevin
    I’m a Quick Cache man – I use it on all my sites and all my cliets sites.

    The thought of all that configuring with W3 Total Cache puts me off.

    I have thought of trying out the Falcon Engine but not got round to it.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Could be worth doing a few tests with alternatives if you are installing caching in a lot of clients websites. If only for curiosity :)

  29. Thanks for this info! I’ve installed the first recco – W3. Seems great, although tricky configuration options. Not to mention needing to clear the cache once you make certain site level changes. All worth it if it speed my site up though.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Many cache plugins make you clear the cache after a plugin is activated or deactivated. It is a necessary part of ensuring your cached pages are correct.

  30. Hi Kevin,

    How refreshing to read a review of caching plugins that actually mentions QuickCache. So many seem not to know it exists.

    Count me firmly in the QuickCache camp. When I first learned of the benefits of caching with WordPress, I tried WP SuperCache, but quickly ran into issues. Then I tried QuickCache and was delighted with how simple it was to set up (literally just turn it on and you’re done for most sites) and how much difference it made to page load time.

    Later I learned of W3TC, but I’m the type who has to examine and understand every option I’m offered, and W3TC was just too much to deal with. Also, like another user here, I found it performed significantly worse than QuickCache on the kind of site I usually build (low to moderate traffic on inexpensive shared hosting). For high traffic sites I use DreamPress which puts a Varnish cache in front of WordPress, making it absurdly fast and obviating the need for a caching plugin.

    There was a long period with no updates to QuickCache and I kept revisiting W3TC. Each time I did, it left me feeling lost and I came back to QuickCache. Now that QuickCache is in active development again, I’m sticking with it.

    For those who need to exclude certain URI patterns, like the WooCommerce user above, the $15 ‘Pro’ version of QuickCache has you covered and can be used on an unlimited number of sites (but support is limited to your ‘primary’ domain).

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Good to hear that you are loving QuickCache. Competition for plugins such as this is good and encourages all developers to up their game :)

  31. Hello @ all,

    I have a little nice cache plugin from germany for those, who look for a small and simple one, that works without a lot of work.

    It’s name is “cachify” and it was built by the popular german WP pro Sergej Müller ….

    I use it for a lot of my projects and like it.

    Best regards from Germany.

    Jens

  32. Playing with cache plugins is such a headache. I like W3TC options because you can adjust exactly how you need. I use the fastcgi cache of nginx for page cache, and I wanted to use W3TC for database and object cache. If I use it with memcache, I end up with blank 500 pages at the first load. If I use disk cache, it’s slower than with no cache. So I end up only using nginx fastcgi cache.

  33. I’hv recently started using W3 Total Cache on my websites and it’s working fine if I only rely on website speed but It cause 35% drop in my website traffic. I’m trying to configure it out. Otherwise I’ll give a try to Quick Cache Plugin.

  34. Hello

    It seems you forgot the new WP Rocket Cache plugin ;)

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Hey Julio,

      I hadn’t even heard of it until after I wrote this article; but now I am using it on my personal blog. So far, so good :)

      Kevin

  35. Many people opt to just download a cache plugin and use the default settings because they don’t know any better. Unless you know each of the particular options and how it helps improve your site, you won’t be going through every single detail. While some of the plugins (like W3 Total Cache) offer a wide variety of selections (which I truly enjoy going through and customizing the settings for my site), for beginners, it might be more prudent to go with a cache plugin with fewer options but still having been downloaded a large amount of times (which would lead it to have more discussions online as to how it works).

  36. Very strange but i stopped using a caching plugin. It conflicts too much with the shared hosting and drops the rate of visitors. I get daily 1000 visitors on the shared hosting and optimized the whole site for images (+ smush it). And still no problems

    I will look further for the rocket plugin. Seems pro!

  37. Thanks for this! Also check out Lite Cache and WP-FFPC. They don’t use .htaccess (bad for performance) and also use RAM instead of disk to store cache.

  38. For those who are on a Windows Server, I have found out that Hyper Cache is the best option. As for Linux, I have found out that W3 Total Cache is very complicated and especially if you are on shared hosting, it can make your site even slower then before. So for beginners who are on shared hosting, I would recommend Quick Cache or Hyper Cache. I am also using DB Cache plugin as well btw.

  39. w3 total cache plugin creats a lot of files in file manager which makes trouble with file count policy of hosting account.

  40. Hi Kevin,

    Your comparative study of the Cache Plugins is excellent, educative and practically helpful.

    I’d appreciate if you can guide me on the following two questions:

    (1) In a multisite environment, would each sub-site control it’s own W3TC configuration or it’s for the Super Admin to configure settings for the whole network?
    (1-b) In case the settings are controlled by the Super Admin at network level then can each sub-site clear its cache whenever necessary?

    (2) The primary benefit of any caching plugin is the reduced page load time. With fast pages, the web traffic is supposed to increase; why some of the feedback suggests that using W3TC actually “reduced” the web traffic?

  41. Great post!
    I also wrote about caching plugins sometimes ago. When I was preparing the blog post, I found that there are little info about using caching plugins with HTTPS. What plugins you suggest to use on a site fully over SSL?

    Besides, how do you think about Batcache?

    Thanks!

    Tang Rufus

  42. Hi, I have installed and tested all the cache plugins and Finally I loved WP Super Cache over all the plugins. However W3 Total Cache more better job but in the same time it is resource hunger too. So I use WP Super Cache + AssetsMinify same time and server cached pages much faster.

    Thanks for your in depth information.

    • nice tips ! Thank you! I am going to try to combine WP Super Cache + AssetsMinify and hopefully it can increase the website speed .

  43. very informative post!

    I like W3 Total Cache, it can really increase the website speed a lot! However, some WP theme is not working very well with the plugin, so I have to use other catching plugin.

  44. Thanks for the informative roundup. However, I just thought I should mention that I have used WP Fastest Cache, and found that the minification feature did not work at all!

    • I’ve also had issues with WP Fastest Cache – namely 403 page errors :-(

  45. Interested to hear which of these works best in a Multi Site environment.

  46. I have tried I think, lets see wp super cache, quick cache, w3 total cache, hyper cache, wp fastest cache. Wp fastest cache gave error and would not work. I used wp super cache, but with latest WordPress setup it would not work. I am using Azure VM with Ubuntu, MySQL, and PHP. I tried quick cache and it was fast, but just yesterday site start to become really slow loading for some reason. So I went back to w3 total cache. I think Hyper Cache gave an error too or was outdated on updates.

    All I know the top 3 are wp super cache, w3 total cache, and quick cache. I think I will stick with w3 total cache. Site with Cloudflare and w3 total cache on the Azure VM averages around 1.5 to 2.5 seconds load times. That to me is great.

  47. How come wp super cache is not included in the list? i use both w3 and wp super cache plugins on my site and it works great. I will try the others plugin too if it works for me.

  48. I tried several caching plugins and each one caused me issues. I’m too much of a beginner to use W3 and it completely wiped out my site when I tried it. Then I tried WP Super Cache and thought it was working, but eventually it kept giving me white screen of death and the internal zend error. Then I tried Fastest Cache and some of my sliders and other plugins stopped working. I have no luck with cache plugins!

    Can anyone recommend anything else for me? My page is loading at about 1.66s, and that’s just too slow for me. I am using Autoptimize right now and it’s awesome!

  49. Hi Kevin, these plugins are not available at wordpress.

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