If you’re serious about giving your customers and readers the best possible web experience, making sure your WordPress website or blog loads quickly and efficiently is a top priority.
Caching your content can dramatically improve the overall experience of your WordPress website and increase load times, and there are some seriously powerful plugins available to make caching super simple.
Pronounced ‘cash’ (don’t I feel silly – I’ve been pronouncing it ‘kaysh’ all these years) a cache is typically defined as a place to store something temporarily. Essentially, caching is a memory process, with the key purpose of doing tasks more quickly.
In terms of web browsing, when you return to a page you’ve looked at previously your web browser will pull the information from its cache, rather than the original server, to save time.
Guy Provost’s explanation of how caching works (paraphrased from the original source, HowStuffWorks) is my favorite:
Let’s imagine a librarian behind his desk, who is there to give you the books you ask for. His first customer arrives and asks for Moby Dick. The librarian goes into the storeroom, gets the book, returns to the counter and gives the book to the customer. When the client returns the book, the librarian takes it back to the storeroom and goes back to his counter to wait for another customer. The next customer asks for Moby Dick, and the librarian has to return to the storeroom to fetch the book he recently handled. Without a cache, the librarian has to make a complete round trip for every book.
Instead, let’s imagine the librarian has a backpack to store 10 books that clients return to him. At the start of the day his backpack is empty. His first client arrives and asks for Moby Dick. The librarian goes to the storeroom to get the book and gives it to the client. When the client returns the book, the librarian puts Moby Dick in his backpack instead of returning it to the storeroom. When the next client arrives and asks for Moby Dick, the librarian can quickly take the book from the backpack and give it to the client. There’s no journey into the storeroom, so the client is served more efficiently.
Basically, caching makes the web browsing process much faster, and provides an improved user experience.
Top 3 Cache Plugins for WordPress
Want to make your WordPress website or blog faster for your customers and readers? Here are the three top cache-focused plugins for WordPress.
Quick Cache is designed to provide easy-to-use and reliable page caching for WordPress, to speed up your site. This plugin takes a real-time snapshot of every page, post, category and link, which are then stored intuitively, so they can be referenced later to save on processing time.
Quick Cache has a 4.3/5 star average user rating, and has been downloaded more than 602,000 times.
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache offers a focus on easy web performance optimization, and is designed to improve user experience and page speed. Recommended by web hosts like: Page.ly, Synthesis, DreamHost, MediaTemple, Go Daddy and Host Gator, W3 Total Cache is used by companies such as mashable.com and yoast.com to increase server performance and sustain high traffic periods.
W3 Total Cache has a 4.5/5 star average user rating and has been downloaded more than 3 million times.
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is a fast caching engine for WordPress that produces static HTML files, to be served instead of processing heavier PHP scripts. These static files are served to users who are not logged in, have not left a comment, or have not viewed a password protected post (approximately 99 percent of users).
WP Super Cache has a 4.2 start average user rating and has been downloaded more than 5 million times.
Using another plugin you’d like to recommend? Let us know below in the comments!