June 30, 2015

One of the simplest methods of implementing caching for WordPress HostingTop 3 WordPress Caching Plugins is through third-party plugins. Caching will speed up your site and reduce latency by temporarily storing frequently-requested data. Because repeated page requests can be slow and expensive in terms of resources, it is helpful to cache the results of those requests. Third-party caching plugins for WordPress are easy to implement and often offer a wide range of additional features such as GZIP compression, CSS, HTML and JavaScript minification, CDNs and more. Our top three recommended WordPress caching plugins include WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, and WP-FFPC (WordPress Fast Full Page Cache).

  1. W3 Total Cache

    As the second-most popular caching plugin for WordPress, this plugin is recommended by the WordPress Codex. W3 Total Cache provides a plethora of settings to configure upon installation, and the plugin provides tips as to which settings are recommended for general use. A more advanced user has the ability to fine tune the plugin as desired. The plugin offers caching via memory, disk, and on a CDN. It also provides for minification of posts, pages, feeds, CSS, and javascript. The plugin even claims up to 80% bandwidth savings due to minification and HTTP compression of HTML, CSS, Javascript, and feeds.

    Free to download, W3 Total Cache is used by many well-known companies (i.e. Yoast.com and AT&T). It promises improved server performance, reduced download times, improved conversion rates, and promises a tenfold improvement of your overall site performance when fully configured. The plugin supports mobile, provides a CDN, and even integrates browser caching. All-in-all, this plugin seems to provide the most in settings and options without compromising the ease of setup.

  2. WP Super Cache

    WP Super Cache will cache your files through one of three ways: mod_rewrite (the fastest method available and meant for the advanced user), PHP (the second fastest method and recommended for most users), and Legacy caching (mainly used to cache pages for known users). All three of these utilize disk caching, which is generally slower than the alternative of memory caching (unless your server boasts a solid state drive, or SSD, which can allow disk caching to exceed memory caching speeds).

    Free to download, this plugin is one of the most popular and user-friendly caching plugins in the marketplace and comes highly recommended by the WordPress Codex. While very easy to set up (simply push one button to “turn on caching”), it doesn’t offer as much as W3 Total Cache does in the way of settings. Some of the settings offered include preventing specific pages from being cached, compressing pages, and allowing the user to load several plugins directly into the interface for faster load times. It also supports the use of CDNs to help further speed up the delivery of your content, however, the process for integrating a CDN with this plugin is more involved than with W3 Total Cache. This plugin does not offer minification services for CSS, Javascript or HTML, nor does it provide for mobile caching.

  3. WP-FFPC

    WP-FFPC (WordPress Fast Full Page Cache) uses memory caching as its default option, which is usually a faster alternative to disk caching. It offers several methods for memory caching, including APC, APCu, xCache, PHP memcached, and Nginx memcached. Other features include cache exclude options, optional cache for logged-in users, and varying expiration times for posts, taxonomies, and home pages. While this plugin is free to download, it does require some experience with the caching applications listed above to complete setup and configuration. However, our Heroic Support® team can gladly provide Beyond Scope Support for installation of the plugin.

    WP-FFPC features WordPress Network support, which allows for different per site cache settings. You can either set the plugin to use the network-wide settings, which will then be used for all of the sites or only activate it for some of the sites without affecting the others. Unlike the other plugins on this list, this plugin does not support a CDN and does not come with additional minification features. Instead, WP-FFPC is a simple and focused plugin that, if configured correctly, can provide an incredible speed boost for your site.

Caching is one of the simplest and most effective ways to speed up your WordPress site. Additional plugins on any WordPress site to open the door to security vulnerabilities, which is why our Heroic Support® team always recommends keeping your plugins and themes updated. For other ways of improving your WordPress site, check out our additional resources regarding the best WordPress security plugins to protect your site, as well as general WordPress security tips on our blog. While themes, plugins, and custom modifications are not covered by our fully managed Heroic Support®, our team will always provide Beyond Scope Support for installing and troubleshooting plugins for WordPress, 24/7/365.

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Kerri Molitor
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