What’s the best WordPress cache plugin out there? Is it worth paying out for a premium plugin? Or are the free plugins just as good? Read on for my experience in choosing a caching WordPress cache plugin for my sites.
Looking for other reasons your site is slow? Checkout 5 top reasons your wordpress website is slow
I’m not going to give you a chart like other blog posts on the topic because every chart I see is different which renders them rather useless. Your results are going to vary depending on your unique setup of plugins, theme and host. So the this is angled more at experience not the 50ms results between plugins. Experience is pretty important too – you want to get on to other tasks right?
W3 Total Cache
The results I’ve got with w3 Total Cache are superb. However I used to use a different host, on that host when I turned on caching my site was slower. After researching I found that it was fairly common on shared hosting. It’s not W3 Total Caches fault, it’s the host. We’ll isn’t really the fault of the host either, you get what you pay for most of the time. You just don’t generally get good performance from shared hosts. There are exceptions though, I’m currently using a fantastic shared host with good performance and a low price.
Problem with W3 Total Cache though is overwhelming for beginners complicated if you’re new to caching particularly if you have the added confusion detailed above.
It’s the go to for caching plugins and I don’t want to be too harsh on it, I’ve used it for over a year and it works great but it’s also can be a bit of a time sink. I’ve also found that my customers can get confused with emptying the cache. Disabling the plugin didn’t remove the cache, it’s important that you disable and empty the cache before disabling the plugin. You may have to delete the cache folder to get rid of it.
For these reasons, I absolutely do not recommend it for beginners. But if you find you want control and want to invest a bit more time to get the best results then this does offer control to a level none of the others do. But when it comes to saving time, then this plugin can be a potiential time sink.
There’s not much to configure here, basically a out of the box solution, it works well and it’s free. Definitely a good choice if you want a simple speed boost without the cost and hassle. However the results were not up to results I got from other options. I really liked the option for emptying the cache when a post is updated, saving some of the cache confusion caused by Total Cache.
Not a plugin but a host, but they have built in caching out the box. I did enable the object cache option though. I was astonished with the speed, just as good as Total Cache but with almost zero configuration. So although it’s not a plugin, I was so impressed I thought it was worth mentioning. It’s definitely not the cheapest solution, and I’m not using it for that reason but it was definitely the best experience by far in terms of host + caching.
WP Supercache gave me medium results, better than cache enabler but not as good as Total Cache. Having said that the difference between this and Total Cache was small enough for me to be happier with supercache as it didn’t require configuration.
I definitely got the best speeds out of WPRocket, even beat W3 Total Cache. It was an out of the box experience too. Just checked to enable caching. Very impressed. The question is though, was the extra speed enough to warrant the price tag? I’m not convinced. It is certainly a good option though.
Every article I’ve read has different results. There are factors that are going to make your results differ. What your biggest bottleneck is going to vary and thus how good a plugin is at solving that bottleneck is going to affect your results. I would keep your goal in mind. If your plugin gets your results under 2 seconds and is easy to use, then all is good.
- W3 Total Cache, WPEngine, WPRocket – close enough for joint first
- WP Supercache – Not different enough to worry about
- Cache enabler – Unfortunately for me this was significantly slower, however I’ve seen others who said it was the fastest!
I think it mostly just matters that you’re using a caching plugin and any of them will give you good results. The main difference I found between them was usability and ease to set up. Saving time and hassle is important when your todo list is long.
So putting speed aside, what was the best experience? Hands down for my it’s WPRocket. It just works out of the box without faffing, you get good results and it also reminds you to empty the cache when something on your site changes which is a handy feature. Is it worth the money? For me, yes, I would choose to pay for it as I like that I can enable it and move on to other tasks.
W3 Total Cache is very popular and for good reason. It has lot’s of options and If you want options, if you want or need to play with settings because the out of the box plugins haven’t worked for you then this is the plugin for you. However if you just want to enable and walk away or are a beginner to caching plugins, then I think it would be better to try other plugins first.
If you’re looking for a solid host as well as caching, then I would give WPEngine a serious look, it was a really pleasant experience in my test case.
For free I would choose WP Supercache, in my tests it performed well and was easy to set up.
So what are the best WordPress cache plugins?
This really is subjective, what you are looking for is going to vary and so will your results. So I’m giving you results based on what you might be after.
Finite control: W3 Total Cache
Ease of setup: & free WP Supercache
Ease of use: WP Rocket.
Host + Caching: WP Engine
So what I’m using?
For me the winner was WP Rocket, this is going to be what I will continue to use. When the speed enhancements between plugins isn’t huge than usability is my second important factor. However from my tests if I wanted free I would have gone with WP Supercache.