You don't really have to be a web designer to know that a site doesn't only have to look good. The usability part is extremely important and should not be neglected as well. When it comes to usability and performance, you should try to optimize everything – caching is one thing you should consider.
Page load time is one important aspect for performance optimization, which means that you need to keep an eye on how fast your page loads, no matter how simple or complex your site is or what kind of CMS you are using. In this article we will explain what caching can do for you and why it is good to use WordPress caching plugins to improve the performance of your website.
What Does Caching Mean?
Caching is the process of storing elements of your website in the cache of the browser or static HTML files on the server to ensure easier and faster access when it comes to future visits. When a visitor navigates on your website, the PHP code will process the request, call the database for every query that's needed and then puts out an HTML file which will be displayed by your browser.
Enabling caching means that only the first visitor to a certain page will have to wait until he gets the final HTML page. The next visitors will be served directly the static HTML file that was loaded before, without going through a lengthy process again with separate database and file requests.
Popular and Reliable Caching Plugins for WordPress
Caching can provide a better user experience, faster page load, less database requests and reduced network traffic. Not only large, extensive and popular websites with many users benefit from caching, but also small websites will. Next you will find some great WordPress caching plugins:
WP Super Cache (Free)
The WP Super Cache plugin generates static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress website or blog. After a HTML file is generated, your webserver will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts.
W3 Total Cache (Free & Premium)
The W3 Total Cache WordPress plugin enhances your server performance and thus gives your users a great experience surfing on your website. This plugin caches every aspect of your site, minimizes the download times and offers transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.
WP Rocket (Premium)
WP Rocket is a premium caching plugin which is worth the investment. This caching plugin is not only simple to setup and user-friendly when it comes to configuration, but also offers a better all-in-one package compared to its popular, free competitors. WP Rocket provides page and browser caching, cache and sitemap preloading, Lazy Load of images and iframes, minification and Gzip compression, multisite and multilingual compatibility and many more. The plugin currently powers more than 160,000 websites with some popular WordPress websites amongst them.
You can learn more about WP Rocket in our detailed review and tutorial and also get a closer look into the differences of WP Rocket, W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache in our series:
- WP Rocket Review: We Tested One of the Most Popular Premium Caching Plugins for WordPress
- WP Rocket Tutorial: How to Speed Up Your WordPress Site with WP Rocket
- Comparing WP Rocket Against Top WordPress Caching Plugins
WP Fastest Cache (Free & Premium)
The WP Fastest Cache plugin offers a simple and fast caching system which generates static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress site. When website visitors navigate through your site these static HTML files will be delivered quickly for faster page load. WP Fastest Cache is also user-friendly and automatically modifies your .htaccess file, so you don't need to take care of this. Although not WordPress multisite compatible yet, this plugin offers great features, like Mod_Rewrite, Cache Timeout, SSL & CDN support, HTML & CSS minification, Gzip compression and many more.
Always Monitor the Performance of Your Website
It's highly recommended to always check the performance of your site. Slow page load times may not only ruin what you have worked for by driving your visitors away, but also Google takes website performance into consideration when ranking websites in their search results.
Conclusion: Enable Caching to Speed up Your Website!
In this article you've learned why caching is important while running your website – be it professional or just for fun. Feel free to use the WordPress caching plugin that suits your needs and stick with it. Apart from choosing a fast and reliable WordPress hosting company, caching is one of the most effective things you can do to improve the performance of your website.
Next to the mentioned free caching plugins in this article, there are other great free caching plugins for WordPress websites available as well and often it depends on your host or the structure of your website which solution works best in your case. And in case you are a professional blogger, then we've also listed for you some more helpful tools for WordPress webmasters.