Make Network Fast with Cache - But Which One?

Morning everyone...

I've been reading about the wide range of cache plugins for multisite and am more confused than before I started. I ended up with many questions...

Do I need one? That's the first question. At what point (amount of visitors) is it going to make a big difference to the load times?

I read on one website (not sure which one, now) that it is best to 'complete the site before installing'. That confused me. Surely, by the very nature of WP or any CMS is that the site is never actually 'finished' and new content (pages and posts) is always being added.

Can they (or any particular one) be as simple as "set it and forget it"?

I can't think of a better place to ask for a bit of feedback about "Choosing The Right Cache Plugin for Wordpress MultiSite" than right here...

Opinions? Thoughts? Experiences?



  • Philip John
    • DEV MAN’s Apprentice

    Hiya Martin,

    Not sure what that 'finish it first' comment was about - seems a bit silly!

    I've used WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache. Honestly. Super Cache caused me no end of trouble.

    W3 Total Cache seemed a little slim feature-wise but at least it didn't break my whole site :wink:

    Generally, I think it's a good idea to have at least some caching. WP can be quite a resource hog at the best of times and although it's improved there is always more room for improvement.

    The big problem I can see with caching plugins is the need to clear the cache when installing plugins or changing themes. An annoying overhead.

    I'd be interested to hear what you thought of the other plugins you've looked at.


  • Barry
    • DEV MAN’s Mascot

    I have W3 total cache running on a couple of sites, but i had to activate it on a site by site basis. You also can't use multi-db with W3 total cache which is annoying.

    Used to run super cache, but haven't for a while, so not sure what the new versions are like.

  • Martin Koss
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    Wow... So many different opinions about which works best. Very interesting and I thank you all for your thoughts.

    I installed Quick Cache (because it looked rather painless to try) and am not sure yet if it's made a huge difference. I have GZip running too in order to compress files.

    When I run YSlow and Page Speed I am still being warned about loads of stuff I can't seem to speed up.

    Here are things that seem to be knocking my performance (according to YSlow and Page Speed):
    Minify JS and CSS files. Put JS files at the bottom. Leverage Browser Caching. Add Expires Headers. Use a CDN.

    Phew! Is all this really necessary? Someone please remind me again what makes Wordpress so popular when comparing it to s static website it performs so badly without a server genius sat in the back room?

    Maybe I need to move up from Quick Cache to one of the more 'total' cache plugins?

    Phil gave "W3 Total Cache" the thumbs up, maybe I'll give it a go...



  • Martin Koss
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    I'm wondering if I'm stressing more than I need to be about this:

    Here's the rough specs of one of our blog pages...

    The theme files (CSS, JS, etc)
    A couple of calls to Facebook Connect.
    Running in HTTPS mode (SSL).
    670k of images (12 photos on the page)

    Load time (by my stop watch) 3.2 sec complete.

    And I do not have the most speedy broadband connection.

    YSlow score of 79. Main issues: Combine Javascript, use CSS sprites and use a CDN.

    Page Speed score of 84. No 'red' warnings. A few yellows; Combine images into CSS sprites, Optimise images (they're not bad actually), Leverage browser caching, Defer parsing of JavaScript and Serve resources from a consistent URL (which actually is referring to a YouTube vid and YouTube jpg which appears on all YT vids while waiting for user to click 'play' - nothing I can do about that).

    So, all in all, maybe it's not performing that badly.


  • Martin Koss
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    Yes but the data is all based on load times prior to adding Caching / GZip (etc) so I'll see how it improves over the next few weeks.

    Right now Google tells me my average load time is 3.1 seconds and that is considered (by Google) to be slow. Jeepas, do we not have any patience any more?

    3.1 seconds ain't bad, I would have thought.

    Facebook averages 2 seconds and according to the mighty 'G' that is considered slow too.

    Remember when we used to wait 2 minutes for an email to download? lol..!!!


  • Martin Koss
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    Certainly will do that Phil.
    Entry in iCal to check and report back!

    In the meantime, if I get time, I may give W3 Total Cache a test... But still extremely curios about the warning given near the end of the video on

    That seems like a VERY odd statement to make about a Wordpress site. Wordpress is, by nature, 'never finished' as we are always adding content.


  • wpcdn
    • Syntax Hero

    Running in HTTPS mode (SSL).

    That can slow you down significantly.

    As a point of reference, we try to keep a page load under 1.5 seconds or better. Of course it depends on the content of the page. Our home page ( generally loads in around a second when we test.

  • Martin Koss
    • The Incredible Code Injector


    Because Quick Cache messed with my Shopping Cart cookies (basically didn't like my shops at all) I had to ditch it and just tried W3 Total Cache... Cookie Overide feature which meant it didn't mess with my cookies / shopping carts.

    But: The 'activate on a per site basis' and the constant messages to change the .htaccess file is enough to make me back track.

    W3 Total Cache is NOT for MultiSites at all from what I have read and what I see.

    So, back to my first question: What can I use on MultiSite that doesn't screw with my shopping cart cookies?

    Any thoughts?


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