Once you were happy with the performance of your WordPress site, but now you find it is not as lightning fast as it used to be? If so, consider installing a caching plugin for WordPress. In this article, we will test and compare the best WordPress site caching plugins that will increase the speed of your site. Before moving on to the test results, let's consider what caching is, what advantages it gives and whether it is worth using it for your blog, online store or just a WordPress landing page.
Why use a WordPress caching plugin and which is better?
As your WordPress site fills with articles and additional plugins installed to work, it will slowly slow down. Even a pure WordPress installation can have quite poor performance during traffic spikes or if you are using shared hosting.
How loading time affects your site
Deterioration by just one second can have a huge impact on your bottom line. Think back to 2012, when Amazon calculated that if their site started loading just 1 second slower, it would cost them $ 1.6 billion in sales; and that number has undoubtedly only increased since then.
Lowered conversion rates
Your work may not be as good as Amazon, but slow downloads are still costly. Based on Kissmetrics's argument, 40% of your visitors will leave your site if your pages take more than three seconds to load. A one second delay can reduce conversions by 7%. In the absence of sales from your site, all the same, you have some goal that you want to achieve. Unconditionally, whether this goal is to increase the number of email subscribers, more shares in social. networks or simply more page views and discussions, slow loading times will take a toll on your conversion rates.
Poor Search Engine Performance
Among other things, Google uses page speed as a reason in determining the ranking of your content on search engine result pages. So, if you need the lion's share of search engine visibility and more search engine traffic then you need to speed up your website. Regardless of the purpose of your website - whether it's promoting products and services or simply building an audience - higher bounce rates, lower conversion rates, and lower search engine rankings are harmful.
How to improve WordPress speed
Well, the good news is that while there are many ways to improve the speed of WordPress, one of the easiest options is to use a caching plugin. As we will soon see in our comparison of the best caching plugins for WordPress, in some cases, simply installing and activating a caching plugin can reduce load times by seconds. But how do they work?
What does the caching plugin do?
In short, caching plugins help WordPress run more efficiently. By default, every time a visitor accesses a page on your WordPress website, content is dynamically generated, with many operations performed in the background, including multiple database queries and code execution. The caching plugin will create a static version of your content, removing many of the steps that go into dynamically creating a page. This results in faster loading times and happier visitors.
What's the best WordPress caching plugin?
So if you want to improve your site's SEO, increase your conversion rates and offer your visitors a nicer user experience, installing a caching plugin is a quick and efficient way to do it. However, with so many choices, which WordPress caching plugin is the best? To answer that question, this post will test and compare nine popular caching plugins to determine which is the best option for speeding up your WordPress site. However, if you're ready to find out which caching plugin is the fastest, click here for the test results.
How we tested the best caching plugins
GTmetrix, Pingdom and Google PageSpeed Insights tools were used to compare and test the best WordPress caching plugins - the same tools we used to find the fastest WordPress themes. The test WordPress website was built using the popular Divi multipurpose theme and a content-rich homepage hosted on an entry-level public web host. Since the sample site didn't perform well in the initial tests, there was a lot of potential for speed gains with the caching plugin.
The baseline scores for our uncached testing website were as follows:
GTmetrix: 64.5% PageSpeed score and 80% YSlow at 2.72 seconds average load time Pingdom: 80 performance score at 3.9 seconds average load time Google PageSpeed Insights: 44/100 in desktop test and 47/100 in the mobile test. The natural ebb and flow of internet traffic can dramatically vary download speeds from hour to hour and day to day. Because of this, instead of basing our findings on a single test, we ran three series of tests on different days and at different times, and then averaged them. The final caching plugin rating averages all of these speed changes together.
Best WordPress Caching Plugins Comparison
There are countless free and commercial WordPress caching plugins available. However, to make the comparison more manageable, only the top 8 WordPress caching plugins were selected. The final list includes only free plugins with a user rating of at least four out of five stars in the WordPress plugin directory, which has also been updated over the past two years. Also included were commercial plugins that had a positive reputation and a decent set of features. When choosing plugins for this comparison, we looked for options that were easy to set up and offered speed improvements in just a few clicks, rather than requiring advanced customization. If you have the time and opportunity, perhaps you could tweak these caching plugins for your specific website setup and get better results, or find more advanced alternatives not included in this collection. However, for the purposes of this comparison, we looked for the fastest Plug and Play options. The plugins are listed in descending order by the number of WordPress sites that currently use them, with the fastest WordPress caching plugins listed at the end of the article. However, if you just want to see the results, click here to see which caching plugin is fastest.
1. W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins for WordPress, with over a million active installations and 4.3 out of 5 stars in the WordPress plugin directory. It is updated every few months and is used by many major publications like Smashing Magazine, Mashable, MakeUseOf, Web Designer Depot and many more. In our GTmetrix benchmarking of the best WordPress caching plugins, W3 Total Cache reduced base load time by an average of 0.62 seconds with an average 20.64% improvement in page speed. According to Pingdom, the plugin reduced load times by an average of 1.06 seconds with an average speed improvement of 29.16%.
2. WP Super Cache
Another very popular free WordPress caching plugin, WP Super Cache, has made its place in our guide to the best WordPress caching plugins as it has over a million active installations and a 4.2 out of 5 star user rating. This is especially effective for preventing your server from slowing to crawl or even overloading during large spikes in traffic that can occur if your blog lands on the Reddit homepage or is hosted on other popular sites. WP Super Cache reduced load times by 0.85 seconds on GTmetrix, increasing speed by 28.07%. In our Pingdom tests, this plugin reduced load times by 1.03 seconds, increasing speed by 28.61%, making it one of the fastest choices in our test of the best WordPress caching plugins.
3. WP Rocket
WP Rocket is the most popular premium option in our comparison of the best WordPress caching plugins. It has consistently performed well in side-by-side comparisons to other WordPress caching plugins and is currently installed on over 100,000 sites. A single site license costs $ 49, a three-site license costs $ 99, and an unlimited license can be yours for $ 249. According to GTmetrix, WP Rocket reduced the load time by 0.98 seconds, improving the speed by 34.12%. In our Pingdom tests, load times were reduced by an average of 1.27 seconds with a 35.21% improvement in speed. These results make it the fastest plugin in our benchmark of the best WordPress caching tools.
4. WP Fastest Cache
WP Fastest Cache is similar to many other caching plugins, but with fewer options for customization, it is easier for the average user to navigate. It is updated frequently and has a 4.8 out of 5 stars rating in the WordPress plugin directory. WP Fastest Cache has over 100,000 active installations. In our speed tests, WP Fastest Cache didn't turn out to be the fastest, cutting load times by just half a second anyway. This resulted in a 15.3% speed increase in GTmetrix and 15.74% in Pingdom, putting it near the end of our benchmark for the best WordPress caching plugins.
5. Hyper Cache
Hyper Cache is a PHP caching plugin that works on any WordPress blog and doesn't require complicated configuration. It has separate caches for desktop and mobile users, as well as an additional feature that allows it to cache efficiently even on sites with very heavy users commenting and participating in discussions - which is known to confuse other caching plugins. It scored 4.5 out of 5 stars and has over 50,000 active installations according to the WordPress plugin directory stats. In GTmetrix testing, Hyper Cache reduced page load times by an average of 0.45 seconds, boosting speed by 13.75%. It performed slightly better in Pingdom benchmarks, reducing load times by 0.71 seconds and improving speed by 20.37%. However, that wasn't enough to make Hyper Cache rank in the top half of our table of results when compared to the best WordPress caching plugins.
6. Comet Cache
Comet Cache is the successor plugin for ZenCache, an older caching plugin created by the same developers that had quite a few fans. This plugin is completely plug and play - just install and activate and you're done. Comet Cache currently has a full 5 out of 5 rating (ZenCache scored 4.6 out of 5), which is not surprising considering it is the second fastest caching plugin in our test and the fastest free option in this collection of the best WordPress caching plugins. If you'd like to further tweak your WordPres caching configuration, more advanced features are available, as well as professional features that you can enable by purchasing the premium version of the plugin for $ 39. GTmetrix saw a 0.92 second decrease in average page load time, while page load speed increased by an impressive 32.13%. In Pingdom, the results were even more impressive, with loading times shrinking by 1.26 seconds and speeding up by 35.07%.
Cachify supports several different types of caching and works with multi-site WordPress installations. It is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars and has over 20,000 active installations. In our GTmetrix tests, this plugin took an average of 0.78 seconds to load, resulting in a 27.89% increase in speed. In our tests, Pingdom Cachify reduced load times by 0.74 seconds, resulting in a 21.14% improvement. These decent results put it in the middle of the table in our benchmark of the best WordPress caching plugins.
8. Simple Cache
Simple Cache is one of the simplest free caching plugins available and has two settings: on and off. It is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars and is currently installed on over 1000 sites. Simple Cache took an average of 0.75 seconds to load our test site in GTmetrix, with an average speed increase of 26.93%. In our Pingdom tests, it shrank by almost a full second, resulting in a 26.62% increase in speed. Both are decent results that make Simple Cache and its minimal settings a good choice for anyone looking for a robust WordPress caching plugin.
Best WordPress Caching Plugin Test Results
Before we go over the three fastest WordPress caching plugins, you can use these interactive charts to see more of the results. First, this is the average improvement in load times for each plugin in our speed tests:
This is it. Results are received and our tests point to WP Rocket, Comet Cache and WP Super Cache as the fastest WordPress caching plugins. However, each site is slightly different and your specific setup or theme may require different caching. Easily check how different plugins affect your site's speed using a combination of GTmetrix, Pingdom, and Google PageSpeed Insights. Just install the plugins you are considering, then activate them one at a time, tweak them as needed, and launch your website with various testing tools, taking note of the results. Now it's your turn - how do our results compare to your own experience with caching plugins? Which of these plugins have you tried on your site and how did they affect load times? Share your experience in the comments below.