Benchmarking the Fastest WordPress Cache Plugins

Editors note: Recently we wrote about caching plugins, diving into the what and why. At the time we also noted our intention to do some performance benchmarking of popular caching plugins as a follow up, to identify the best caching plugin based on real performance data. Philip Blomsterberg, manager of Intripid Sökmotoroptimering, read our post and reached out offering to undertake this performance benchmarking as it was something he too had been considering. His plan of attack sounded really good so we happily accepted. What follows are the results of Philips benchmarking project.



Quick Links:


While developing my own site, we naturally wanted to achieve the lowest loading time possible, and pretty much made it a sport gaining just a few tenths of seconds in loading time. We knew how important caching was, but discovered that there were many ways to deceive yourself just by looking at the speed metrics. During the tests, we, of course, looked at all the different caching plugins out there, and after reading Charles’ post I decided to make a more thorough test of their performance.

Quick comments about Caching

Speed is becoming increasingly important in Search Engine Optimization, conversion and user experience. Today, site speed is one of the most important ranking factors on Google. Google recently declared that all sites that are mobile friendly (and speed is a way of being “friendly”) will have a significant advantage in the SERPs, starting from the 21st of April. You might have already noticed the “mobile friendly” tag in the search results. Also, when using Google Page Insights, the pane which you are presented with first is the mobile one – not the one for desktops. Google’s intentions are clear and speaks volumes for any SEO or webmaster. I point this out to emphazise that we should be concerned with the performance of both the desktop and mobile versions of our site and we’ve tried to reflect this in our benchmarking tests.

There are different ways of improving your site’s loading performance, but for most site owners, using a caching plugin is not only the easiest, but also the single thing that will make the most difference. WordPress (and most content managed sites) dynamically generates pages on the fly which requires multiple calls to your database to retrieve the various content elements. By caching these dynamically generated pages visitors see plain HTML pages instead.  This significantly lowers the loading times and the strain on your server.

On to the tests…

My initial idea was to test both a plain vanilla theme such as 2014,  and then a more complex one which would more adequately resemble a “real” site. Upon starting the tests however I noticed that whatever impact the plugins had on the speed of 2014 was miniscule, and not much to write home about. There is just so much you can do to improve the performance of 2014, and in my opinion it’s much more a question of your server setup than caching.

For this reason I decided to use the theme “Novelty” from Tesla Themes. We used one of the demo pages which is very magazine like, and implemented a slider option and jam packed the test site with images and text. We also installed some plugins with Twitter/Instagram feeds and a news ticker. Now, we had a page that was much heavier to load and more like a “real” site (more on the WordPress hosting set up below).

WordPress Cache Plugins Tested

So which caching plugins did we test? I scoured the WordPress plugin directory and found the following:

  1. AIO Cache
  2. Alpha Cache
  3. Bodi0’s Easy Cache
  4. Cachify
  5. Flexicache
  6. Gator Cache
  7. Hyper Cache
  8. Hyper Cache Extended
  9. Lite Cache
  10. Next Level Cache
  11. Really Static
  12. Super Static Cache
  13. W3 Total Cache
  14. Wordfence with Falcon
  15. WP Fast Cache
  16. WP Fastest Cache
  17. WP Rocket
  18. WP Super Cache
  19. WP-Cache.Com (site seems to be down)
  20. Zen Cache (formerly Quick Cache)

These were left out:

  • Brutal Cache – Didn’t work.
  • Batcache – Seems to depend on Memcache, which wasn’t used during this test.
  • WP Superperformance – a new premium caching/performance plugin that had not been launched at the time of testing. We’ll be testing this soon.

Autoptimize and Widget Cache were also left out since they are meant to be supplementary to the other plugins. That said, if used in the right way they look very interesting, and so I hope to get back to you with a separate test done on them.

Hosting and Benchmarking Tools ?

During the tests, we used a shared hosting account comparable with a majority of the alternatives out there. This way, we could get a better idea of actual speeds attainable for those users who are on a budget. The testing site had no traffic, and had no bot visits during the benchmarking. Our server did use Nginx as a proxy, not pure Apache, which meant that it had an advantage in performance from the get go, but this was the case for all tests so no plugin was advantaged.

In order to get a better idea of performance, we choose to use a whole variety of tools, which may be divided into two groups – site grading and timing tools.

Site Grading Tools

In this group we find the tools offered by Google, GTMetrix and Yahoo. These tools do not really judge a site on speed, but rather, on a list of quality factors such as:

  • Optimization of images
  • Server latency
  • Minification and optimization of javascript and CSS code
  • Use of browser caching
  • Location of scripts
  • Use of CDNs, parallelization/domain sharding
  • Use of Gzip compression
  • Number of HTTP requests

Google PageSpeed Insights

Google’s PageSpeed Insight tool looks at a site from the perspective of both a desktop and a mobile device, and then gives a score of 1-100 for each test done respectively. Page Speed Insights is easy to understand, but very crude and does not give a whole lot of information on what can be improved. Even though the tool does give us quite a few insights into what Google might find important, the information given by GTMetrix and Yahoo is much better.

Some of the “advice”, if interpreted literally as requirements, are also a bit over the top…There is just so much you can do if your shared server has a high latency of 22ms, and if you complain about an image being 803b (bytes!) too large, you’d better take a look at your priorities.

Google, as far as we have seen, doesn’t account for CDNs either, and upon making other tests we actually got lower scores using them. Using a CDN might very well make your site marginally slower on a “local” level, but able to handle “global” traffic much faster – which is more important?

GTMetrix and YSlow

GTMetrix and YSlow, which are tools based on Yahoo’s performance guidelines, also score sites from 1-100. They are, however, much more sophisticated when it comes to measuring. Page Insights merrily gives a few pointers on what can be improved, while GTMetrix and YSlow base their grading on no fewer than 50 different metrics. GTMetrix also offers a “waterfall” chart to dissect the loading process as well as a very nifty loading time “history”. If you really want to find clues on how to improve your site speed, this is the place to go.

Timing Tools

The following tools were used to measure page loading times and also to benchmark how the server would perform under load.

ApacheBench

ApacheBench is a tool you use for checking how well your server handles load. We choose to check how many requests per second your site can handle using the different plugins. We performed this test by sending 1000 requests with 10 concurrent threads. We ran the test 10 times and then saved the best result for each plugin.

Here it should be noted that using Nginx does decrease the difference between a plugin/no plugin setup. Nginx is considerably quicker than Apache, which is why you should probably expect at least twice the difference with Nginx, than you would with Apache.

Pingdom

Pingdom is a well known server monitoring and testing service. We ran 20 tests with each plugin and saved the best result. Since our server is located just outside Stockholm, Sweden we choose to use their Amsterdam/NL server for the tests. Just like the others Pingdom has a page grading tool which we however, left out – GTMetrix and Google were enough.

Webwait

Webwait is a simple but very useful testing tool. The whole idea with Webwait is to time how long it takes to load a page in your own browser. Hence, it’s not a server side service, but runs locally. It loads a page over and over and then presents you with the average or median results. Thus everything in your own setup can affect the time. I choose to run this over ethernet, with no other services running, and to use the Opera browser. Each page was reloaded 101 times to attain the average and median load time.

Page Grade Test Results ?

We ran the test site through the different page grading services above and these are the results for Google, GTMetrix and Yslow.

wordpress-cache-google-pagespeed

As you can see here, some plugins seemingly do nothing in this area – their scores are either the same as or close to what you would get when no cache was used at all. In Google we see Supercache giving the best score both for mobile and desktop users. In GTmetrix and Yslow we see how Fastest Cache and Rocket outperform the others that remain pretty much the same. I attach more importance to the latter values since the tests (seem to) take into account more factors than Google Page Insight.

The best plugins according to this test are WP Fastest Cache, WP Super Cache and WP Rocket Cache. The best score, by far, for mobile devices was achieved by WP Super Cache. And, for those wondering, we did not forget turning on mobile caching wherever applicable 🙂

Timing Test Results ?

As we have discussed above, the grading scores are more a measure of the code quality of a site. They give clues on how your site might – MIGHT – get faster, though having a higher score than another site does not mean it really is. So, this is a misconception – the grading tools give you an idea of what you can do to get lower loading times, but do not really take timing into enough of an account. You can see this here on this screenshot from Pingdom…

pingdom-score

As you can see here, this example page (not this one) has a performance grade of 96/100 which probably is better than 99% of the sites out there, THOUGH, it loads completely in a whooping 35 seconds. Is that an accurate way of measuring speed – I think not.

That said, I consider the following, timing, tests to be much more interesting and important. They measure the real speed of your site, not its potential.

ApacheBench

Here, we use Apache’s benchmarking module to see how quickly the server is able to handle requests. The more requests it is able to handle per second, the more visitors can be efficiently served.

wordpress-cache-apache-requests

Above, you see the server handles a measly 18 requests per second with no cache, and mind you, that is on an Nginx system. Each request takes about five-hundredth of a second.

Many plugins improve the amount of requests, though some perform much better. Checking the results we see that Hyper Cache Ext, WP Fastest Cache, WP-Cache.com, and WP Rocket perform almost 300% (depending on how you look upon it) quicker than the no cache solution. WP Rocket is the quickest. Somewhat surprisingly, WP-Cache.com takes the second place.

Here, the benefit of using a cache plugin is quite evident – you are able to handle three times as many requests with the best ones. Use Nginx, a good caching plugin and maybe something like Varnish, and you’ll get a server that flies.

Pingdom

The test site with no caching plugin loads in about 2.8 seconds, which leaves many plugins twice as quick. WP Rocket once again tops the list being almost three times as quick as the reference site. This goes hand in hand with the figures seen for Apache.

wordpress-cache-pingdom-load-times

Webwait

I have chosen to present both the average and median load times for the Webwait test. These loading times are lower than the Pingdom ones since I am located closer to the server here in Sweden (remember Webwait is a browser tool).

Average Webwait Loading Times

cache-average-load-time

Median Webwait loading times

cache-median-load-time

As you see, WP rocket excels once again and looking at the median figures we also see Super Static Cache doing a terrific job, almost splitting the loading time in half. After that, we once again find the almost unknown WP-Cache.com doing quite well.

Server Performance Factors ?

Everything isn’t about caching – there are many factors that affect your server performance. These are the ones I feel are most important and almost always undervalued:

  • Choice of server platform. Are you using Apache, Nginx or something else?  Is it correctly configured? Do you use something like Memcached or Varnish cache?
  • Type of server. Are you on a shared account, VPS or dedicated server? In most cases when I see a really slow site it is usually being hosted on a shared server. Here, the upside of changing to a VPS or dedicated server is tremendous.
  • Number of images and image optimization. Today it’s quite common for people to upload images directly from their phones or cameras. These images may, first of all, have a 10x too high resolution, and secondly may not be optimized for the web. If you see a big red warning when using Google Pagespeed Insights this is often always the reason.
  • HTTP requests. Every time a single file or object is getting rendered on your page it results in file requests to your server. Having too many Javascript and CSS files is a problem, as is loading a lot of unnecessary Google fonts and so on. These requests add up and this overhead might very well be the only reason your site loads slowly.

Conclusion ?

These are my own thoughts and you can get an idea yourself just by analyzing the figures which are also available in their entirety on my site, along with a simple infographic.

All plugins have various features – which could be just a few, far too many, which may or may not be what you would ideally expect. Users of Super Cache, W3, etc. are often hardcore users who also use CDNs and all other bells and whistles. Others prefer easily configured stuff like Lite Cache or WP-Cache.com, and looking at the figures for the latter, they are not all in the wrong. WP-Cache.com does perform excellently in the Webwait tests.

Personally, I use a blend of WP-Rocket/W3 Cache on some sites,  but I am also testing WP-Cache.com. Installing and configuring the former, which literally means clicking one button, is a set and forget process, which is just great.

The Best WordPress caching plugins ?

fastest-wordpress-cacheChoosing the winner wasn’t hard, but the rest of the positions were. Number one is a no brainer really. WP-Rocket outperforms the others in almost every single test, and more importantly, even in those concerning the load time. When you take the ease of installation and support into consideration, it is even better. You do, however, have to pay 39 USD per installation, though you can get an unlimited license for 199 USD.

wordpress-cache-2nd-prizeComing in at position number two we have WP Super Cache. It comes as no big surprise that you see it here, and considering I already dubbed Rocket the winner, your best bet would have been either Super Cache or W3 Cache, right? To me they are a bit like red and green apples – almost the same. I am sure there are many out there who would spend hours at their keyboards talking up one or the other, but here I’m guided by our results.

cache-plugins-3rd-prizeI contemplated giving WP-Cache.com position three just cause of its incredibly easy installation. I however, once again, figured that the test was really about speed and not usability, and therefore put W3 Total Cache in spot three.

 

honorable-mention-cache-pluginAlmost taking a spot at three we have WP-cache.com, which is why an honorable mention or runner up position is well deserved. Getting these sorts of results with so little effort means the developers knew what they are doing. Had the tests been about ease of use WP-Cache would have easily been the winner.
I hope you liked the tests and that you will read my followups on similar subjects.

Thanks to Charles, who gave me the chance to write this article and also a big thank you to the Swedish host Inleed, who assisted me in setting up the testing environment.

If you have suggestions for future articles, or would like to read more about internet marketing, SEO and so on, visit my recently started blog at seolo.gy


philip blomsterbergPhilip Blomsterberg is a Swedish internet marketer, who has been involved with several online businesses since the mid-nineties. He has worked on a myriad of web projects ranging from eCommerce, domaining and affiliate marketing. Philip worked as a consultant for companies ranked in the Alexa Top 150 and now specializes in SEO, which he blogs about at Sökmotoroptimering.se

86 comments on “Benchmarking the Fastest WordPress Cache Plugins
  1. The guys of wp-rocket really did a great job overruling w3tc which was the king of caching plugins for a long time. But 60+ request per second seems pretty low compared to a solution like varnish + mod_pagespeed.

    • Sure, but keep in mind this just reflects the test environment which was a shared host without Varnish or Memcached. What is important here is the relative performance of the test site with the different caching plugins.

  2. I really appreciate the analysis here. It’s always good to see a fresh evaluation of caching plugins from time to time to see what’s new and what’s changed. Since you mentioned Autoptimize early in the article, I did want to mention that in one instance I am using Hypercache in combination with Autoptimize (as eluded to in Autoptimize documentation) and have found that combination to be quite effective. Hypercache does not do any minification or concatenation on it’s own, so I am not surprise that it scored lowly here. But when combined with something else to handle the source optimization, it performs exceptionally well.

  3. I do think the best cache plugin is the one you perfectly know !
    It’s always for complicated than just installing a plugin, according to my knowledges.
    After a lot of work, I obtain great results with W3 total cache ! i’m not sure I would be able with others plugins.

  4. Nice article BUT speed is not the only thing that matters in caching plugins. They should also WORK right. And half of the ones you test do not work very well.

    • I am not sure how to define “working right”, but I agree that usability, technical approach and code quality are all things you could look at. In this case we were only concerned with performance, but if you wanted to undertake some analysis of other aspects I’d be very interested to read the results.

      • @Charles

        When working for two years in a small hosting company in my country, i was called to suggest a standard caching plugins for all WordPress sites (around 3000) in SHARED hosting plans.

        So i spend one month with most plugins. Some of them (W3 Total Cache for example) were not for shared plans. Other popular ones (like the famous WP Super Cache) were not working right (aka serving old data sometimes).

        The only ones i found working right were Quick Cache (ZENCache now), Hyper Cache and Hyper Cache Extended and Gator Cache. I didn’t tested any paid ones.

        Finally we settled for Gator Cache that is working perfectly well for more than 2 years in all our WP installations.

        A few months back i re-tested W3 Total Cache in for some VPS customers. My original findings were correct, that could be the worst and not needed caching plugin for WordPress. The only plugin that had made our Cloudlinux server to be super-loaded.

        just my 2 cents

        • Thanks for expanding on your comments. Those are some interesting findings. For our study we only looked at performance, but a thorough study of how all the plugins worked and how effective they are at accurately caching content would be interesting.

  5. Great Article, exactly what I was looking for. Would be great if some more benchkmarks could be perfomed like sieger at least with top 5 plugins.
    Just to know how the plugin performs with many concurrents users( what we really try to achieve with cache)

    • Hi Damian, thanks for your comment and the suggestion. That would indeed be a nice addition to the study. Our test environment has been dismantled now so we’d need to get all that set up again to do it properly…might be a while.

  6. Interesting, it’s only several months after the article was published, and WP-cache.com already looks like an abandoned plugin – website doesn’t exist and WP.org page doesn’t show any activity.

    • Hi Tomas, thanks for the heads up. That is a shame if it is indeed abandoned. I’ve updated the link to point to the WP.org page.

  7. Thanks for this – really interesting.

    I always felt I should be using W3 Total Cache, but seemed to get better result from WP Super Cache. Now having switched to WP Rocket I can’t imagine going back.

  8. Great Article, I am using WordFence Falcon Engine for caching purpose. My blog hosted on OpenShift where its beat WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache.

  9. After reading this comparison I went and purchased WP-Rocket and went ahead with the installation. Before this, my site has been running fast and speedy with W3TC.

    Upon testing WP-Rocket, I found that the problem with the plugin is the speed at which WP-Rocket’s bot crawls the site. It is incredibly slow at about 1-2 pages a minute. I realize that they are thinking about people with slower shared hosting servers, but if you are running a page with say 2,000 pages, it would take forever to preload the caches and this I just cannot accept.

    I quickly reverted back to W3TC where you can specify how much pages should be preloaded every minute. Running an E-commerce site, I preload the cache 3 times a day as to reflect the latest product stock levels, and we have 2,000+ pages so I need to be able to do that quickly. With W3TC I can set it so the whole cache rebuilding takes around 20 minutes.

    This is something to think about for other people with situation similar to mine.

    • Hi Michael, thanks for your comment, that’s a very interesting observation. I’m going to reach out to WP Rocket to see what they have to say.

      • I would ge interested in what the WP rocket guys said. I am currently searching for an alternative to w3 because it seams that the author doesnt make updates anymore. The whole plugin seams to be abandoned, no support anymore. I wanted to switch to wp super cache but wp rocket cache soundef really interesting! But I want to use it for a (still small) onlineshop too. So its important to know if wp rocket is a good choice for this…

    • Hi Michael, I was prompted the other day to follow this up. I’m sure you’ve moved on but thought you might like to know that WP Rocket say that the crawl rate for pre-caching is 250ms to 1 second per URL. That doesn’t seem to match with your experience (which seems oddly slow) so it might be some other issue causing that slow rate.

  10. Very nice review. Did miss one thing though. I today checked P3 performance values with and without W3 Total.
    On P3 W3 Total is enormous – 40 – 50 % of the loading time for plugins.
    I know loading-time for pages is another thing but if the cache plugin itself is small on P3 it would help.

    Regards!

  11. Posted earlier and kind of come to some info answering part of the thing.
    P3 might not be totally reliable for cache.
    Still interesting how light/heavy the cache plugin in itself is still, though.

    P3 Plugin Profiler Says WP Rocket Uses The Most Resources

    P3 Plugin Profiler can be a useful tool in diagnosing slow websites, but it’s also easy to misunderstand. P3 Profiler attempts to measure how much of your total page loading time can be attributed to each plugin. But when using a caching plugin, P3 provides very misleading results. When you use a cache plugin, it loads before everything else and will appear to take up all the resources, but in fact it’s because it’s replacing all the normal processes that WordPress would typically have to run through when loading your site.
    http://docs.wp-rocket.me/article/118-p3-plugin-profiler-says-wp-rocket-uses-the-most-resources

    • Hi Daniel, we didn’t test WP Fastest Cache Premium so I can’t comment on how good it is. I can say that the only paid product we did test was WP Rocket and I do think the performance offered by WP Rocket is worth the price. If I was in the market for a premium Caching plugin I’d get WP Rocket. In the future we’re going to have to revisit the tests and include WP Fastest Cache Premium to see how it performs next to WP Rocket.

  12. As much as I hated to pay for another plugin, I was tired of using W3TC, having an issue, testing the other caching plugins, and ultimately returning to W3TC. Seems I go through that every year. But your testing was too tempting and I had to spend the money. You guys were right – WP Rocket is significantly faster. Its only been a couple days and I’ll have to monitor things for a few weeks to be sure but, hopefully, I’m done with the yearly plugin shuffle. Thanks for the article!

  13. Nothing in our test beats WP Fastest Cache. Even without the Premium stuff. It’s easy, it just works. None of the Apache htaccess drivel with WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache. These tests can do whatever they wish, but replicate the real world scenario of an Nginx-only environment with PHP (not Apache etc) and with memcached installed.

  14. I don’t understand how super cache can come even close to w3 total cache.
    Super cache creates a static html file that’s it.
    W3TC can merge and minify all css and all js into single files. dramatically reducing the number of requests.
    You haven’t used half the features of W3TC and it still ended up pretty good.

    • Thanks for the feedback Nicolas. Our goal here was to measure the performance of each plugin based on the simplest install and configurations, the mode used by most people. Totally accept that more advance configurations would improve the performance of any given plugin, and very interested in the results of such testing.

  15. I have tried several plugins and haven’t been keen on any of them. When the page cache is cleared, it takes very long to load the pages(longer than w/o a plugin). So I am wondering if there really is a benefit? Or should you just enable browser caching and Gzip in your htaccess and not use page caching?

    • Hi Marc, I’m not sure what to say. I presume you are clearing the cache after updating pages? Of course it takes longer to load the page after clearing cache because the page loads dynamically again to rebuild the cache. After that it *should* run faster than it would without the plugin, no? If the plugins you have tried have not improved the performance of you site then you might have other issues…have you tried optimizing your images for example (this can make a big difference)? And yes you should enable browser caching and Gzip (as well as use a caching plugin).

  16. Hi

    Interesting read. I thoroughly enjoyed this article. I would however, like to mention another plugin, called WP Superformance. I believe this may be of great benefit to WordPress users. Unlike 99% of other plugins out there, WP Superformance really is a ‘plug-play’ solution, without any configuration or learning curve. I absolutely love this plugin. Well worth a go. See http://wp-superformance.com

  17. Being a speed freak my self and always make sure all my WordPress business websites are fast as possible for better user experience, i really enjoyed to read your speed reports. Me personally i use W3 Total Cache on almost all my WP sites and servers me very well on low end hosting environments.

  18. Thanks for this comprehensive (and up-to-date review!) I would also be really intrigued to find out the settings used for e.g. WP Rocket, WP Super Cache and W3TC since they are the most highly recommended in your post. I use Super Cache myself and whilst it works well on most sites, I invariably end up tweaking settings on one site (on the same host) in particular. For instance, I’ve always used the mod cache setting, but sometimes it seems PHP cache actually makes that site run faster. Still investigating so yes, to get an idea of the settings page (for a typical shared host) would be helpful 😉

    • Hi Flick, Off the top of my head I can’t tell you all the exact settings that were used for each plugin. I can say that the methodology was to go with the most basic stock install. The goal was to test the plugins with the default configuration wherever possible on the assumption this is what most people would go with.

  19. Hi, nice test…
    I use wp-rocket and i am very happy with it. but… lately someone who seemed to know a lot about server configs, cdn’s, caching told me that wp-rocket amongst other caching plugins is/are no good solutions safety wise. These plugins would make the wp website more vulnarable… how is your professional look at this?

    • Hi Carplu, I am not a security expert, but I am not aware of any particular security issues with any of the popular caching plugins (though that doesn’t mean there are none). There was a vulnerability in WP Super Cache reported back in April this year, but I believe that was patched and I would guess that incident prompted the developers of all the popular plugins to assess their own code.

  20. Your article was really helpful. I appreciate that you only used the standard configuration when testing, but I’ve found the true power of W3TC to be in the advanced options. And just as a side note, WP Rocket is a premium plugin, so should be compared to the premium versions of W3TC and other caching plugins to be fair. I’m really happy to learn about WP Rocket though as I had never heard of it before. I’ll definitely be checking it out! Great post – thank you.

    • Thanks for your comment Carson. At the time of this study we were not aware of a premium version of W3TC (perhaps it wasn’t available then?). Looking at their website they have a link to information about “premium services” but it doesn’t seem to work so I can’t find out more. Other than WP Superperformance (released after this study) I’m not aware of any other premium caching plugins.

  21. Great review and I would like to add my vote for WP Fastest Cache as a decent option.
    It may not have all the features of some of the others (it does have a paid version which we have but don’t use), but we find it doesn’t interfere with the sites and most things work as they should with a bit of a speed increase – we only use the css and java caching options as we code our own themes and as a result they are pretty quick.
    We also found major issues with some caching software and WPML when doing multilingual sites, so most important is good code, and then a simple caching plugin such as the WPFC.

  22. Thank you for your good analysis on WordPress caching plugin. This will definitely help the user to choose the better one. Right now i am using wp super cache and truly it’s running good on my shared hosting.

  23. I will give wp-rocket a try. Normally i awoid plugins and do a manually update in htaccess, with thes lines after # END WordPress

    ##EXPIRES CACHING##

    # Enable expirations
    ExpiresActive On
    # Default directive
    ExpiresDefault “access plus 1 month”
    # My favicon
    ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access plus 1 year”
    # Images
    ExpiresByType image/gif “access plus 1 month”
    ExpiresByType image/png “access plus 1 month”
    ExpiresByType image/jpg “access plus 1 month”
    ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access plus 1 month”
    # CSS
    ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”
    # Javascript
    ExpiresByType application/javascript “access 1 month”

    AddType application/x-javascript .js
    AddType text/css .css

    SetOutputFilter DEFLATE

    SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI \.(?:rar|zip)$ no-gzip dont-vary
    SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI \.(?:gif|jpg|png)$ no-gzip dont-vary
    SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI \.(?:avi|mov|mp4)$ no-gzip dont-vary
    SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI \.mp3$ no-gzip dont-vary

    Header append Vary User-Agent env=!dont-vary

  24. I wanted to write a few positive words about Emre at WP Fastest Cache. If you look at the support that is given from other plugins you will see like I that WP Fastest Cache is not only a great plugin competing to be the best, and it is, but he continues to give great support for his plugin and is always coming out with more tweaks to improve and adapt to the rapid importance of great cache, Google loves speedy. I consider his premium version a great value, I had done lots of research into all premium cache options using this posts as well as many many others. Thanks

    • Hey thanks Anthony. Yes, that support thread is not a great sign for W3TC. WP Rocket is a good choice I think. They are doing well and seem to be in it for the long haul.

  25. Be very careful about WP Rocket. I’m on shared hosting and I got a mail from Google telling my site was giving 403 errors recently. I identified this was because of the .htaccess file WP Rocket creates. The mod.rewrite section of the code was causing 403 errors. I contacted support and first they said their plugin can’t cause 403 error. Then they accepted their plugin indeed causes 403 error, but they still haven’t released an update. If you’re using this plugin, I highly recommend running a Google Pagespeed test to see if your site is giving 403 error or not.

    • Hi, thank you for your feedback.

      You are right, WP Rocket writes into the htaccess to put some good performance rules to make your website faster, but of course not to block bots.

      More than 80 000 websites are using WP Rocket, without any issue regarding bots being blocked, and we have very positive feedback about SEO improvements.

      We would be more than happy to help you in our support

  26. We recently did a comparison between Litespeeds new WordPress cache plugin and WP Super-Cache and the results were pretty amazing. Would love to see you guys add that to your comparison, we would have no problem to set you up with a test account for it.

    Here are the end results, the original blog post can be seen here:
    http://ops.kickassd.com/wp-super-cache-vs-litespeed-wordpress-cache/

    WordPress Caching Nocache VS Litespeed Cache VS WP Super-Cache

    Time Taken To Complete Test (Lower Is Better)

    Time taken for tests: 5.773 seconds (No Caching)

    Time taken for tests: 0.023 seconds (WP Super-Cache)

    Time taken for tests: 0.009 seconds (Litespeed WordPress Cache)

    Requests Per Second (Higher Is Better)

    Requests per second: 8.66 [#/sec] (mean) (No Caching)

    Requests per second: 2131.56 [#/sec] (mean) (WP Super-Cache)

    Requests per second: 5311.24 [#/sec] (mean) (Litespeed WordPress Cache)

    • Thanks Chuck, Litespeed’s plugin looks great. We can’t easily run this study again for a single plugin, but we do have in mind to re-run it again for all at which point we’ll include any new plugins like Litespeed’s. Cheers.

  27. Hello,

    Great and helpful article. Thanks!

    I was wondering what are your thoughts now regarding W3 Total Cache, since the plugin seems to be abandoned.

    There were no updates since 9 months or so and there’s no answers from the authors in their support page.

    • Hi Gabriel, I have seen the comments around about W3 Total Cache, but the developer has come out recently and said that it is not abandoned as reported on WPTavern.com. Sounds like they’ve had issues but are working on them and plan to continue supporting the plugin.

  28. Hi!
    As the author of wp-cache.com I must tell you I’m sorry the site has been down and that development has been halted. The website is currently back online, the plugin however is currently not compatible with the latest version of WordPress, usage is not recommended at this time. However, it will be fixed in a near future. I’ll let you know when it’s working again!

  29. Thanks for great compare, I usually use WP Fastest Cache for all my sites hosted on Apache or Litespeed web server. However, it’s not working on Nginx server or I don’t known how to make it work on Nginx server, then I used Wp Supper Cache on Nginx server

    Those are best solution for me.

  30. Excellent article and a lot of interesting comments.

    Do people have a view about combining WP Rocked with Wordfence Falcon? Will the two working together further improve my site speed?

      • Which obscures all your Page Load Time results of WP-Rocket and unfair comparing to others plugins caching functionality.

        • Dan, we wanted to test the out-of-the box capabilities of the popular caching plugins so non-technical users might have a sense of what these tools can do. If WP-Rocket does more than just caching out-of-the-box and that is reflected in the results then good on them. If you undertake your own testing with some different testing parameters please share the results, that too will be interesting.

  31. I’ve tried super cache and I think it’s good to consider. However, I am still looking for a simple cache plugin that designed for a specific page only. Does anyone know?

  32. I personally tested wp-rocket, and did not have any tangible result I was not able to get while using other free resources. (In my case, Siteground Supercacher + Lazy Load free plugin.)

    On top of that I had, (and continue having), heavy problems in order to have my purchase refunded and my email answered.

    After having decided to ask the refund of my purchase, I entered in a nightmare of email exchange that I would have expected only by a really low rated company, receiving a high volume of refund requests. (Which is definitely not a healthy signal).

    I’m definitely not satisfied with both the product and the customer service behind wp-rocket.

    • Hi Francesco, I’m surprised to hear about your bad experience with WP Rocket, they generally get good reviews. I hope you get it resolved soon.

  33. Amazing test! I love experimental tested results, I feel I can trust these more than anything else. Together with an expert opinion ofc hehe.

    Although some of my sites don’t really have any difference in load speed whenever I install a plugin, or it even slows down. Is this common?

  34. Great article, thanks for the very valuable info.
    Actually I read many reviews, tried the main cache pluggins and what works for most people didn’t work for me.My opinion is that it depends a lot on each single case, specially the theme being used.

    Anyway, I tried 4 of them, mostly on GTmetrix, and did several tests for each.

    W3 Total Cache: Broke my theme, no matter what settings I had, my theme didn’t work untill I deactivated this pluggin. There’s actually many people with the same issue.

    WP Super Cache: Almost couldn’t see results, very small increase. 86% to 87%. Loading time remained the same.

    WP Fastest cache: Very happy with the results, from 86% to 92% in GTmetrix and around 1.7 seconds to load the page (from 3.4)

    Wordfence, with the Falcon option enabled: Extremelly happy with the results and stopped looking for more options: 93% /and average 0.7 seconds to load.

    • Hi Ricardo, thanks very much for sharing your insights. I agree, it is somewhat dependant on the case in question. We tested on a generic and consistent setup in an effort to get a good baseline comparison, but it is true that different scenarios can deliver different results.

  35. Hi.
    Very informative article for bloggers and beginners. I have been using W3TC for like 2 years. But I find it slowing WordPress dashboard. Also when I disabled it, my traffic went down. So that gives the importance of caching.

    My question is:

    Should I use WP-ROCKET or CDN or both for best speeds. ???

  36. Thank you for a great article.

    I’m running a WooCommerce site on shared hosting and have tried W3 total cache and WP Fastest Cache.

    Based on your recommendations I tried WP Super Cache and got much better results than the others.

    Of particular point to note, is mobile load times were much faster with WP Super Cache. WP Fastest Cache was struggling with some pages, taking 20 secs+. With WP Super Cache load times dropped to around 3secs!!!

    Many thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

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