We take a closer look at the best WordPress caching plugins available today and explain what they offer. We also explain how you can test your website speed effectively.
Not updating vulnerable plugins is one of the biggest mistakes anyone running WordPress can make. And it seems some of the world’s most visited sites are making that exact mistake. … Are you?
A number of weeks ago, perhaps the two most popular caching plugins, WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache, both updated their code to patch a security vulnerability. HackerTarget.com reports that a quick check of the top 100,000 sites reveals that less than 50% of those sites that run W3 Total Cache have updated their plugins to the latest secure version.
Page load speed is not only a major factor in how many people find and stay on your site, it’s also a factor in how much revenue you can earn. In Greg Linden’s short (but famous) article, he writes about internal tests at Amazon that showed mere milliseconds of delay in page load time cost the company substantial revenue.
Even Google experienced similar results, citing 20% less traffic to a page when it loads just a half second slower.
WordPress doesn’t come to you perfectly optimized for speed right out of the box. However, with the help of one or two plugins it’s easy to have your site zipping along, even without a lot of development expertise. Below you will find some of the top WordPress plugins for improving performance. If we missed any of your favorites, please let us know in the comments.
W3 Total Cache
Page caching is really good…
Most busy WordPress websites make use of some page caching plugin to ease processing load off servers and please site visitors with faster page loads. These WordPress caching plugins cache entire pages for serving up quickly.
…except when it isn’t
Sometimes, however, cached pages cannot be used. This is common for:
Membership sites, where user-specific content would make cached pages incorrect for most users.
Sites with rapidly updated page content, where cached pages would not keep up with visitors’ expectations.
Sites presenting unique content based on visitors’ location, browser, and other personal variables.
Partial page caching to the rescue
Disclaimer: some of you are going to face-palm at the obviousness of this solution, but if I was stupid enough not to think of it for a few weeks, I’m guessing a few others are too (no offense guys; we’re all on the same boat).
Has your WordPress Dashboard been running noticeably slower since upgrading to WordPress 3.3.1? Mine was – not just on one site, but on all of them. Mainly, the problem was with my personal blog, as that is where I spend the majority of my time.
WordPress caching has been a bit of a hot topic round here this week. We originally received a question from one of our readers, asking which is the best caching plugin to use on a WordPress site. This kicked off a pretty solid discussion, which we then followed up with a second article on the best caching plugins, as voted by our readers.
Finally, I thought we should aggregate the results from both of those articles, and bring a little pie chart lovin’ to your Friday afternoon.
A couple of weeks back, a WPMU reader sent us a question: Which is the best caching plugin to use on my WordPress site?
The Q & A article that we published got a pretty interesting conversation started, which we felt warranted a follow up post, and hopefully some more quality discussion on caching solutions for WordPress.
By the way, if you haven’t fully wrapped your head around the concept of caching and why it’s important to your WordPress site, a little background reading might be in order. We’ve got a great article here on the basics of caching.
On with the show
Have you sent us a WordPress question yet?
We’re asking our readers to submit interesting and thought-provoking questions about WordPress, and for every question that we publish here on the blog, the author wins a 3 month membership at WPMU DEV.
Today’s question comes to us from an anonymous reader who’s confused about the best caching solution for WordPress.
Which plugin should I use for caching on my WordPress site?
What’s the difference between W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache? Is one better than the other? If so, why?