Your experiences with Cache plugins?

(Lucy) #1

Hi everyone,
First of all congrats and thanks so much for wpchat, it’s great to have a place like this to share and learn.

It’s the first time I open a topic and would like to know what are your experiences with Cache plugins.
I tried out W3 Total Cache in some of our client sites, but actually had problems every time, if it wasn’t the minify functionality messing around it was another thing.
And finally I just gave up on it.

I heard some good things about WP Super Cache and WP Rocket, but of course I also heard good things about W3 Total Cache at the time…

Do you have any suggestions on this?

(Leland Fiegel) #2

Hi @lucymtc, thanks for joining!

W3 Total Cache’s minify feature can be tough to tame. Especially when a bunch of plugins and themes are not enqueuing their scripts/styles properly. I’ve also found that CSS @imports cause issues with their minify as well. It may take some experimenting with different minify methods and some adjustments of plugins/themes to find something that works, but it can be done.

If nothing is working, I’d rather just use Grunt tasks to minify/concatenate stuff for me, but it can be complex to set up at first.

WP Super Cache doesn’t have quite all the features as W3 Total Cache, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes page caching and a CDN is all you need. I also like the interface better as W3 Total Cache’s can be daunting.

I would be interested to hear people’s experiences with WP Rocket as well, which I’ve heard generally positive things about. If I were to pay for a solution, I’d probably consider WP Rocket first, over W3 Total Cache’s pro version. I just trust it more to be better supported.

W3 Total Cache is still my first choice when it comes to caching on pretty much every site. Although it’s far from perfect, I see the best performance with it, which is what I care about the most.

(Bowo) #3

The simplest most effective combo I used over and over again so far is Autoptimize for combining and minifying CSS and JS, and WP Fastest Cache for GZIP compression, page caching and browser caching (with scheduled cache refresh). I’ve made various benchmark (GTMetrix, Pingdom and LoadImpact) comparing it with the big guns (W3, Super Cache, etc.) and it held up just fine.

Considering WP Rocket to replace both on client sites in the future. It’s got lazy loading integrated, which is cool.

(The Dragon) #4

I might also pose the question to your hosting provider. It seems most hosts have an opinion about this subject and which plugin is the best with their system. Some are steadfast against these type of programs and others swear by them.

On one site, I did use W3 Total Cache with MaxCDN. I found the MaxCDN folks to be very helpful in setting the options for the 2. And, I did run into issues with minifying scripts.

(Leland Fiegel) #5

That’s also a good point. A lot of managed WordPress hosts actually don’t allow caching plugins because they’d end up being redundant alongside their own caching systems.

(Lucy) #6

Ok, I will see with the hosting provider and have a deeper look into the options you mentioned. Thanks a lot for your answers!

(Dan Knauss) #7

After switching almost exclusively to managed WP hosting using Nginx with caching baked in, I am so glad not to have to mess with caching anymore, apart from widget caching. Optimization is still enough of a time sink simply due to plugin issues, dependency wrangling, implementing lazy load techniques, and trying to compress/merge/minify JS and CSS where possible.

If you are resigned to traditional “old fashioned” shared hosting with Apache, I echo the recommendation of Fastest Cache and Autoptimize because they always seemed to produce the best results and are also very simple and quick to set up. For relatively simple sites where you can make everything as close to static as possible, this is a good combination.

If you want some flexibility, SiteGround gives you an environment where you can use some, all, or none of their caching options with or without other plugin solutions. (They have their own plugin that just lets you control the 2-3 levels of server side caching they provide that normally you’d have to control via cpanel or the command line.) Some other old shared hosting providers have similar arrangements.

I still use W3TC for high traffic sites where managed WP hosting is not used, but I recommend NOT using it on a regular basis unless you know a good technical reason why you need it. I think W3TC gained huge popularity for being so comprehensive, but a lot of people using it don’t realize it’s way more than they need and may cause more trouble than it’s worth, especially if they don’t understand what the plugin is doing. It’s probably become one of the better explained and documented options now, but there is still a big learning curve involved, and most people just need a quick and easy “staticize my site” button. Back when I used W3TC more I had fairly frequent problems with it, but over the past year it has been totally solid.

(Mustaasam Saleem) #8

Hi @lucymtc

Indeed W3TC is one of the top-rated WordPress cache plugins. But, due to its complexity, it’s a bit hard to configure it properly. Folks at WPVKP, compared W3TC with the newest WordPress cache plugin “Breeze”. It’s a worth reading.

Besides that, I have also found a URL comparing different caching plugins. You can also give a read to:

(Leland Fiegel) #9

Since I last posted in this topic, I would most definitely avoid W3 Total Cache considering the terrible reviews its “premium” customer service has gotten. For example:

I have one client who is pretty deeply tied into it, but I switched them over to the unofficial “fixed” version because the official one had a bug that broke the whole site:

It’s pretty amazing that the open source community has been able to keep it going for so long, but I would consider just about anything else if I was in charge of caching a new site.

WP Super Cache is fine for most use cases.