6 Best Caching Plugins for Your WordPress Site

Best caching plugin for WordPress

Caching is one of the most important techniques you can use to speed up your WordPress site. The best caching plugins make it possible to serve pages much faster to your users than before. While generating a cached version of your posts and pages, your caching plugin turns dynamic PHP files into static HTML files your users’ browser can load in much less time.

Besides server-side caching, some caching plugins also makes client-side caching possible if your users allow it in their browser settings. This feature can further improve the loading times of your site. Concatenation and minification of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files is also a task the best caching plugins are taking care of.

In this round-up, we have collected the six best caching plugins for you. However, note that you shouldn’t use more than one caching plugins at the same time, as they have similar features that can cause discrepancies and errors on your site.

1. W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache - No 1. of the Best Caching Plugins

W3 Total Cache is one of the best caching plugins you can download from the WordPress repo for free. It caches literally everything on your site, including pages, posts, CSS and JavaScript files, feeds, search result pages, and database objects. It also supports Accelerated Mobile Pages which can significantly improve the performance of your website on mobile devices.

It’s the only free caching plugin on the market that supports all kinds of hosting solutions. Whether your site is hosted on shared, VPN, or dedicated servers, W3 Total Cache covers you. You can also use it on websites secured with an SSL certificate, which makes it an ideal solution for eCommerce shops.

As W3 Total Cache is an incredibly versatile plugin. It’s used by many leading publications such as Web Designer Depot, Mashable, Smashing Magazine, and others. According to the team behind the plugin, you can get up to 80% bandwidth savings via the minification and compression of static files, too.

2. WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache is an incredibly popular caching plugin, developed and maintained by the Automattic team. Although its name is similar to the aforementioned W3 Total Cache, they are two different plugins. You can download WP Super Cache for free from the WordPress plugin repository, too.

With WP Super Cache, you can generate static HTML files from your WordPress posts and pages. As a result, your user’s browser doesn’t have to process dynamic PHP scripts but you can serve it with much more lightweight static files. As on most sites, the content doesn’t change that frequently, WP Super Cache can serve one cached file even several thousand times.

The plugin has three caching modes:

  1. “Expert” that results in the fastest loading pages but requires custom configuration of the .htaccess file,
  2. “Simple” that is the default mode, doesn’t need any extra configuration, and pages load almost as fast as with the “Expert” mode,
  3. “WP Cache” that is used for users who need custom data (in most cases utilized for logged-in users).

WP Super Cache comes with a detailed Plugin Option page, so you can customize all parts of the caching process. However, WP Super Cache also works out of the box, without any configuration.

3. WP Rocket

WP Rocket is among the best caching plugins, too. It makes your WordPress site work like a charm on any device. Although it doesn’t have a free plan, it has a reasonable pricing starting at $49.00/year for one website. If you have a high-traffic site or page load time is especially important for you (it is for Google), it’s well worth the price.

The best thing about WP Rocket is that it has been configured by a professional team who improve the plugin on a daily basis. So, you don’t have to spend a lot of time with configuration, which is the case with most free caching plugins. WP Rocket launches right upon activation, so your WordPress site can take leverage of caching from the first seconds.

WP Rocket minifies your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files so they don’t add to your page load time unnecessarily. Besides, it only loads images on request — when the user scrolls down the page. This feature can be especially important if you have an image-heavy site such as a portfolio site. Although WP Rocket works out of the box, it has many developer-friendly features such as descriptive code comments and custom action hooks as well.

4. Hyper Cache

Hyper Cache

Hyper Cache is another great example of the best caching plugins you can download for free from the WordPress plugin repository. It works well with both low-cost shared hosting plans and high-traffic servers with custom configuration. Hyper Cache is written solely in PHP, so you don’t need to perform a complicated setup. It comes installed with pre-set defaults that begin to work right after activation.

With the Hyper Cache plugin, you get access to a couple of unique features, too. For example, it comes with a double cache for the desktop and mobile versions of your WordPress site. So, you can make use of caching even if you have a separate theme for mobile users. Besides, Hyper Cache also serves cached pages to users who perform some kind of dynamic action such as leaving a comment on your site.

Hyper Cache supports CDNs so that you can serve static assets such as images and other media files from an external source. It takes care of file minification, too, even on the fly for pages that weren’t cached before. In addition, Hyper Cache supports the bbPress plugin, so if you have a busy forum on your site, it can be an ideal solution for you.

5. Cache Enabler

Cache Enabler

Cache Enabler is another popular WordPress caching plugin, created by KeyCDN. It’s an advanced cache engine that comes with premium-like features, but for free of charge. It’s developed and maintained by KeyCDN’s professional team, so you don’t have to worry about quality while using it. Just like in the case of other free plugins, you can download Cache Enabler from the WordPress plugin repository.

With Cache Enabler, you can free up a significant amount of computing power of your server. It caches dynamic backend files and turns them into static HTML files that users can load quickly. You can choose between automated and manual cache clearing, not only for the entire site but also for specific pages.

Besides regular caching features, Cache Enabler has some unique characteristics as well. For example, you can use it to cache custom post types and it works on WordPress Multisite, too. When used together with the Optimus compression tool, it also caches WebP image files which is not an option with other caching plugins. Besides, Cache Enabler has a user-friendly UI, as it displays the real-time size of your cache right on your WordPress dashboard.

6. Comet Cache

Comet Cache

Comet Cache is the successor of the popular ZenCache plugin. If you used ZenCache before, you can automatically migrate your options over to Comet Cache using the plugin’s settings. Comet Cache has both a free and a premium version. You can download the free version from WordPress.org, while premium plans start from $39.00 which is a one-time payment for a single-site license.

If you need a caching plugin that’s up and running within minutes, you need not go further. Comet Cache comes with pre-configured, optimized caching options and takes pride in its user-friendly two-minute setup. With the free version, you can cache any WordPress components such as posts, pages, categories, tags, feeds, and translations. Besides generating caching on the back-end, it also allows browser caching on the front-end.

With the premium version, you can cache logged-in users, too, which can be particularly useful for eCommerce and membership sites. In addition, you can manually clear the cache for specific pages anywhere on your WordPress site. Comet Cache Premium also auto-compresses HTML files, minifies CSS and JavaScript files, comes with cache preloading and cache statistics, and more. If you are interested in the details, check out the comparison table of the free and premium versions.

Conclusion

Caching is an essential feature on traffic-heavy websites but it’s also worth adding it to lower-traffic blogs, as it can significantly improve user experience and search engine rankings. Besides basic caching features, the best caching plugins also come with extra capabilities such as file minification, browser caching, CDN support, manual per-page cache clearing, and more.

Running a WordPress site is not an easy task. If you need more plugin recommendations, check out our collection of the 20 must-have WordPress plugins that can help you effectively manage your site.



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