5 Best Caching Solutions to Speed up Your Site
Say you started a business and are working on getting your website up and running. Maybe you chose WordPress because of its reputation for being user-friendly, affordable, and easily customizable. Now that you’ve been working with your site for a few days, you’ve realized that there’s more to it than you had originally anticipated. Your site is loading slowly, and you’re not sure how to fix the problem.
Odds are, you need to add caching to your site.
This data storage function helps decrease your WordPress website’s page load speed by saving, or caching, the files that are used most frequently. While WP Engine’s EverCache® feature is a great way to speed up your site, installing a plugin is another way you can add caching to your WordPress site.
This guide will help you determine if a plugin is right for you and break down the top 5 WordPress cache plugins.
What Does Caching Mean?
The term caching in tech language means storing data that is used often. This allows that information to be accessed more quickly when requested. Caching is important for your website because it allows your page to load faster for your users, even when site traffic is high.
How Does a Caching Plugin Help Speed Up Your Website?
It might be helpful to compare caching to the clothing in your closet. The things you wear every week are probably hanging toward the front where you can reach them easily. Seasonal items and those reserved for special occasions are likely further back and require more work to get to. However, this doesn’t matter because you don’t need to access them as frequently, so reaching for the clothes you wear less often doesn’t slow you down.
Caching does the same for your WordPress website.
Data that must load every time someone accesses your site can be cached, such as the:
- Static images
- Website fonts and colors
This will enable users to get to your site, content, and products faster. Speed is a critical factor in the likelihood that a user (and potential customer) will stay on your site and click through your information. In fact, a Google study found that for every second over two seconds it took a website to load, the odds of a person abandoning the site increased dramatically.
When Do You Need a WordPress Caching Plugin?
You’re probably wondering how you can get your site to cache needed information. For WordPress users, there are two ways:
- A caching plugin – Plugins are convenient tools that you can add to a browser or application to provide support for a specific function. Caching plugins are added to your WordPress site to enable caching abilities and speed up the load time.
- Your WordPress site host – Many fully managed WordPress hosts include page caching as part of their package of services, like WP Engine does with our EverCache feature. Hosts will typically store cached information on their servers which keeps your site running quickly with no extra work from you.
If you work with a WordPress host that includes page caching in their services, you probably don’t need to add a plugin. But for those who choose hosting without caching services or who self-host, you must have some type of caching to make your site more effective.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Caching Plugin?
There are many advantages to working with a WordPress site host that includes caching as a part of their services. However, if you opt to use a WordPress cache plugin instead, you’ll still reap some benefits, including:
- Improved speed – When the information that has to load every time someone clicks on your site is saved in a cache, it takes fewer seconds to load your site. Every second that goes by decreases the chance that someone will wait for the page to open.
- Lower cost – If you don’t have the budget for a fully managed WordPress host, a caching plugin can handle your caching needs for less. You won’t get the hands-off service you would with a host, but plugins are a workable solution that won’t bust your budget.
- Better user experience – When your site loads quickly, it’s easier for people to use it. Your customers can navigate with ease and find the information they need without impatiently tapping their fingers on their desks while waiting for a page to load.
- Boosted SEO – Improved speed and user experience can help boost your SEO rankings on Google and other search engines. In turn, more people will be able to find your products or services.
A caching plugin is an affordable alternative to fully managed WordPress hosting.
What Are the Best WordPress Caching Solutions?
All plugins aren’t built the same. When you choose one for your WordPress site, you must make sure you’re getting a plugin that will do the job. The five best caching plugins for WordPress include:
WP Rocket is a highly rated caching plugin. Although it isn’t free, it offers some of the best caching features available to make your WordPress site lightning fast.
WP Rocket offers many benefits to purchasers, including:
- Automatic preload of cached information
- Optimization for e-commerce sites
- Compatibility with the fastest WordPress themes and hosts
- File compression for enhanced speed
- Easy customization and installation
- Beginner-friendly setup
- Instant improvement in site loading speed
The ease of use is one reason this caching plugin is so highly rated. You don’t have to have any experience to install or configure WP Rocket.
The biggest drawback of WP Rocket is the price. There are similar WordPress plugin options available at lower or even no cost. They do offer three different pricing levels based on the number of sites you plan to use WP Rocket for.
W3 Total Cache is a popular WordPress plugin that includes many options for optimizing your site. It has more than a million downloads, so you can be confident that it’ll help boost your website’s performance.
Some of the features users love about W3 Total Cache include:
- It’s free to install and use
- Reduces page load times
- Saves bandwidth usage
- Improves overall site performance
- Can boost SEO rankings
- Integrates with a WordPress CDN
- Claims a 10x improvement in site performance when fully configured
This plugin is a free, open-source tool so you won’t have to pay for additional functionality or features.
The biggest complaint users have about W3 Total Cache is that it’s somewhat difficult to install and configure. If your skills aren’t advanced, you may struggle to properly configure the plugin which will impact the level of effectiveness it provides.
Similar to W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache is a free, open-source caching plugin that will help to speed up your WordPress site with more than a million active installations.
Some of the features that make WP Super Cache a highly ranked caching plugin for WordPress users include:
- Free to install and use
- Comes with a simple mode that makes installation a breeze
- Three browser caching modes allow you to choose the one that’s best for you
- Optimized for compatibility with your CDN
- Automated regular clear cache file function to maintain load speed
- Easier for beginners to use the W3 Total Cache
All of these features are included at no charge with this plugin.
Some users find that the automatic clear cache file function doesn’t occur frequently enough, resulting in a site slowdown. You can go in and manually clean out the cache if this happens.
The most expensive option on this list of plugins is Sucuri Website Application Firewall (WAF). This robust and popular caching plugin choice offers enhanced website security along with built-in caching services.
While you’ll pay more, Sucuri does come with many features that’ll improve your website performance and security, such as:
- Quick malware removal
- Strong firewall for protection
- Site speeds of up to 70% faster
- Scans your site for security vulnerabilities
- Easily enables file compression for better speed
Sucuri has online tech help available to assist with installation and any questions you have.
The price is higher than some of the other options for website caching. You do get enhanced security features with Sucuri, although some people may not need or want these services.
Built-in Cache Program from Hosting
You can skip a caching plugin altogether when you use a fast website hosting service that includes a caching solution—like EverCache—in their package.
Some of the benefits of using your site host’s caching include:
- All of your site management solutions are in one place
- Cost savings when you consolidate services
- Can be easier to manage your settings
- Hosts optimize your website’s performance for you
If you don’t want the hassle of finding WordPress cache plugins and installing it yourself, a built-in cache program from your fast WordPress website host might be the answer.
Skip the Plugins with WP Engine WordPress Hosting
Caching plugins can be a solution for some WordPress users. They’re affordable and will boost your site’s speed. However, if you want full-service website hosting without the hassle of additional plugins, then you need a fully managed website host.
At WP Engine, we offer the best WordPress hosting out there complete with high-performing caching. You won’t have to worry about website speed when you choose WP Engine as your WordPress host. Check out our hosting plans today.