The Best Caching Plugins for WordPress – Recommended By Our Readers

Which is the best caching plugin for WordPress?
Johnny Cache
(sorry, I couldn’t resist)

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

These are some of the highlights from the WordPress Q & A Session. If you’re pondering a caching solution for your WordPress site, check out the wisdom shared by our readers:

Shawn Borelli says:

We choose WP Super Cache because it’s very easy to use. When properly configured, this plugin can exponentially increase website load speeds and decrease the drain on server resources. W3 Total Cache is a great alternative, but not so user-friendly, especially for the average WordPress user. It can do all the same things as WP Super Cache, and maybe more, but it takes more knowledge and server expertise to setup and configure properly. If your WordPress site is getting 100,000+ visitors per month, W3 Total Cache will maybe outperform WP Super Cache, otherwise there’s not much difference.

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The best solution for caching on your WordPress site

Tim says:

I have used WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache and Quick Cache, but I tend to settle on Super Cache for the best balance of complexity and features. Super Cache works well on multisite, and is so far working well on nginx too.

Julian Fernandes says:

W3 Total Cache for sure. Instead of having one plugin for minify, one for sync with CDN, one for cache etc., W3 Total Cache puts all that functionality in a single plugin, which decreases the server load a lot.

Some people say W3 Total Cache is resource hungry. Well, choose a better hosting provider. Today, you can get relatively cheap hosting that includes LiteSpeed (better than Apache), CloudLinux, OnApp and eAccelerator.

If you use W3 Total Cache on a low powered server, of course you’ll have problems. With decent hosting, WC Total Cache is definitely the best option.

David Decker says:

Quick Cache and Hyper Cache are great options for not-so-techie users, as they work straight out of the box and really do their job. Both plugins also work on shared hosting and managed servers and will speed up smaller and middle-range sites.

If localization and different languages are important to your WordPress site, you should consider using the Mo Cache Plugin, which will speed up your language file loading. I use this on my own site and it’s awesome!

Kevin Shoffner says:

Choose the best WordPress caching plugin for your site

I have found that Quick Cache does the trick pretty painlessly and actually seems to have the smallest thumbprint on my server resources. While using other cache plugins during peak times (heavy visitor traffic), I would get lots of lag and even timeout issues.

I switched over to Quick Cache, with the same amount of site traffic, and now have none of the same problems.

Ray says:

I have tried WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache, both with limited success. I have now invested in cloud hosting with a new web host, and the speed is very good without using any cache plugin. Of course, it comes at a price.

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Brian says:

My recommendation for a site with medium to low traffic is not a plugin at all, but Cloudflare. It offers caching and a degree of security with a setup that is amazingly painless. Pointing your DNS to Cloudflare is the hardest part. The basic version is free and there’s no lock in. And if you’re loathe to give up your caching plugin (I still use W3 Total Cache), W3TC includes built-in integration with Cloudflare. For non-techies it’s a no brainer.

What do YOU say?

Got something to contribute to the discussion? Do you agree/disagree with any of the statements above? Please leave a comment below this article and share your thoughts on WordPress caching.

Photos: Sassholes, Andrew Nielsen and Sounds Film Festival.

Comments (28)

  1. Right now I’m using Hypercache (3h interval between purging cache, without any invalidation rule) and DB-cache reloaded with Cloudflare free CDN. It’s pretty fast.

    My content (readers comments are updated daily) are not required to be so fresh then I think it’s a good combination for my needs

  2. I have used W3 Total Cache before on a Windows server that has horrible WP speed, and it did improve things a lot. It crashed badly on upgrade, however, and I stopped using it.

    After reading this, I will probably get around to trying it on my new server.
    Built in minify is a great feature, too.

  3. If you want a great and transparent caching system that really improve your WP speed and take have a look at “NGINX Manager” http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/nginx-manager/

    You just need a NGINX configured as reverse proxy in front of your Apache/WhateverBackendServerSoftware (the can be on the same machine) and your site will boost !

    NGINX Manager has some great feature like

    - purge entry in the cache when new content are created (you can decide what to purge)

    - exclude specific user/visitor (condition can be on cookie/url/agent) so that for instance you can have a different cached version for your mobile version or exclude registered user (default)

    The great pro of this plugin is that the many requests do not even reach the backend but are served as 100% static pages by the very fast NGINX !

  4. I did some post on setting up cache on WordPress + Multi DB

    1) http://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/topic/server-setup-tips-whm-cpanel-to-drop-memory-usage

    2) http://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/topic/server-setup-tips-with-quick-cache#post-169395

    Just a side note on Quick Cache if you don’t have a spear drive please keep tabs on how big your Cache Dir gets you will be surprised http://www.BlogLines.co.za always has about 100Gb of Cache files at any given time that is why i opted to move the Cache Dir to a back up drive and yes Quick Cache ROCKS easy to set up and easy to get working :)

  5. Great article! I liked the contrasting points of view. I had been using W3 Total Cache, and it is very nice, but I agree, lots of settings.

    So for fun I just uninstalled that from 2 of my blogs and installed Quick Cache and Super Cache. They’re both working great! At this time Super Cache has the speed edge, but both are putting up very respectable numbers.

    Thanks for expanding my knowledge and toolset!!!
    Cheers, Dave

  6. Great article, thanks Tim!

    I’ve been trying to find the best solution for my setup with varying degrees of success. While I liked a lot of the options in W3TC (and it led me onto Cloudflare too), it did cause some conflicts with the superfish menu resizing intermittently and some of the features in Cloudflare (notably Rocketloader, which is such a nice tool).

    I’ve stuck with Cloudflare, ditched W3TC in favour of WP Super Cache, and installed BWP Minify. So far it seems to be working nicely :)

  7. Good stuff – it’s always interesting to see how committed people can get to their favourite plugins (I’m a WP Super Cache man myself).

    One thing we do find with clients is that they often see using a cache plugin as a ‘fix all’ for all manner of performance issues, and they then subsequently blame the plugin if it doesn’t manage to work miracles for the speed of their site. So we put together a post that gives a simple way to help work out what sort of speed increase you can expect to get from using a cache plugin which forms a good companion piece to this and your “Understand Caching in WordPress” post: http://www.refinedpractice.com/2012/10/what-is-caching-and-when-should-i-use-it/ Hope it proves useful!

    Paul

  8. After 2 years of loyalty to super cache I had to let it go yesterday when it caused me the legendary white screen of death a third time….. so it is time to say a bye bye :(

  9. [email protected]#

    If you consider it good enough it’d be nice to see my cache plugin on the list as well, mostly because it raises a unique feature compared to all the others: it can be connected with nginx and serve the cached pages without even accessing PHP.
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-ffpc/

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