Do you struggle with site speed despite using a quality host and a clean, lightweight theme? Are your SEO rankings not as high as you feel they should be?
What you need is a quality caching plugin that’ll generate a static version of your site to serve to visitors rather than having each one load the entirety of your site every time.
In this post, we’re going to cover the best WordPress caching plugins to improve load times & Web Core Vitals.
Let’s get started:
The best WordPress caching plugins to speed up your website – summary
- WP Rocket – Best all round WordPress caching plugin.
- Cache Enabler – A simple caching plugin that is easy to use.
- Breeze – Simple free caching plugin maintained by Cloudways.
- WP Fastest Cache – A well featured caching plugin.
- Comet Cache – Freemium caching plugin with a solid feature set.
- W3 Total Cache – Feature packed but complicated to use. Ideal for developers.
- WP Super Cache – A simple caching plugin maintained by Automattic.
1. WP Rocket
WP Rocket is a premium WordPress caching plugin that offers a large collection of site optimization features. It’s used on over 1 million websites, and some of its customers include SeedProd, ThemeIsle, MainWP, Beaver Builder, CoSchedule and Codeable.
Its code is clean, commented and filled with hooks, making it an ideal option for developers. WordPress multisite is also supported.
- Page Caching – Caching is enabled in the plugin by default and is its most essential functionality for improving site speed. Cart and checkout pages generated by ecommerce plugins are excluded.
- Browser Caching – WP Rocket stores static CSS and JS-based content in your visitor’s browser for quicker load times when they visit additional pages on your site.
- Cache Preloading – Simulates a visit and preloads the cache after each clearing to speed things up when search engine bots crawl your website. You can also enable DNS prefetching by preloading DNS resolutions from external domains.
- Sitemap Preloading – Sitemaps generated by Yoast, All-in-One SEO and Jetpack are detected automatically, and URL’s from sitemaps are preloaded.
- File Optimization – Minification for HTML, CSS and JS files is available as is Gzip compression. Query strings are also removed from CSS and JS files to improve performance grades in website performance tools like Pingdom, GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights. You can also defer JS files.
- Image Optimization – Lazy load images on your site so they’re only loaded when visitors scroll where they’re displayed.
- Database Optimization – Clean up your site’s database on the fly, and schedule regular cleanings to keep things running smooth automatically.
- Google Fonts Optimization – WP Rocket improves performance grades by combining HTTP requests, including those made by Google Fonts, into groups.
- CDN Compatibility – Integration with numerous CDN services is available by inputting your CDN’s CNAME record. A direct integration with Cloudflare allows you to manage Cloudflare’s cache and enable development mode from the WordPress dashboard.
WP Rocket is available for as low as $49 for one website and one year of support and updates. Renewals are offered at a 30% discount. All plans are backed by a 14-day refund policy.
2. Cache Enabler
Cache Enabler is a free WordPress caching plugin by KeyCDN, a high-performance content delivery network service optimized for multiple content management systems.
Cache Enabler is lightweight has support for custom post types, WordPress multisite and the ability to implement caching via WP-CLI commands, including clearing the cache for all pages, object ID’s 1, 2 and 3, and particular URL’s.
- Page Caching – Cache Enabler offers page caching with automatic and on-demand cache clearings. You can even clear the cache of specific pages.
- File Optimization – Minification is available for HTML and inline JS. KeyCDN recommends using Autoptimize for full optimization. Gzip compression is available as well.
- WebP Support – Cache Enabler will convert compatible JPG and PNG files into WebP images when used alongside Optimus, KeyCDN’s image compression plugin.
Cache Enabler is entirely free to use and available for download from the WordPress plugin directory.
Breeze is a free WordPress caching plugin developed and maintained by Cloudways, a host that offers flexible plans and support for multiple CMS’s. Cloudways sites have Varnish caching systems built into them by default, which implements caching at the server level. Breeze supports Varnish and complements this with page caching.
- Page Caching – Breeze is Cloudways’ way of caching your WordPress site’s pages, but you can also choose to exclude individual file types and URL’s from caching.
- File Optimization – This plugin groups and minifies HTML, CSS and JS files to reduce file sizes while limiting the number of requests your server receives. Gzip compression is available as well.
- Database Optimization – Breeze allows you to clean up the WordPress database.
- CDN Integration – The plugin operates well with most CDN services and is designed to allow images, CSS and JS files to be served from a CDN.
Breeze is free to use for Cloudways customers and general WordPress users alike.
4. WP Fastest Cache
WP Fastest Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins available for WordPress. It’s used on over 1 million sites and has numerous site optimization features for you to use.
While the plugin is simple to set up and use, there are still a number of different technical settings and features advanced users can configure to optimize it even further.
- Page Caching – This plugin offers page caching and the ability to delete cached and minified files manually. You can also specify a cache timeout rate. Widget caching is included as well as is page exclusion.
- Preloading – Preload a cached version of your site whenever it’s cleared to prevent search engine bots or users from having to perform this task unknowingly.
- Browser Caching – Like WP Rocket, WP Fastest Cache stores static content in your visitor’s browser to enhance your site’s performance as they jump from page to page.
- File Optimization – Minify and combine HTML, CSS and JS for enhanced page speed. Render-blocking JS and Gzip compression is also available.
- Image Optimization – This plugin reduces your images’ file sizes and converts JPG and PNG images into WebP. Unfortunately, the former service is charged at a rate of one image optimization per credit. Credit rates are $0.01 for one, $1 for 500, $2 for 1,000, $8 for 5,000 and $15 for 10,000. You can also implement lazy loading for images.
- Database Optimization – Cleans your site’s database by removing post revisions, trashed pages and posts, comments labelled Trash or Spam, trackbacks and pingbacks, and transient options.
- Google Fonts Optimization – This features loads Google Fonts on your site asynchronously to increase site speed and improve performance scores.
- CDN Support – WP Fastest Cache supports CDN services, especially Cloudflare.
WP Fastest Cache is a freemium plugin, which means you can get started with it free of charge by installing it from the WordPress plugin directory. The premium version costs a one-time fee of at least $59.
5. Comet Cache
Comet Cache is a freemium caching plugin by WP Sharks. It offers automatic caching for general WordPress users but includes numerous features for developers. These include an advanced plugin system developers can play with alongside WP-CLI cache commands. There are also numerous ways to customize the plugin’s cache settings.
Comet Cache is also compatible with WordPress multisite, ManageWP and InfiniteWP.
- Page Caching – Comet Cache’s page caching does not serve cached pages to logged-in users or recent commenters by default nor does it cache admin pages, login pages, POST/PUT/DELETE/GET requests or WP-CLI processes. You can also disable automatic cache clearings for specific post types and taxonomies (home page, blog page, author pages, individual categories and tags, etc.). 404 requests and RSS feeds are also cached.
- Auto Cache Engine – This tool preloads your site’s cache in 15-minute intervals to ensure a cached version of your site is not generated by a search engine bot.
- Browser Caching – Serve additional pages to visitors quicker by storing static content in their browsers.
- File Optimization – An HTML Compressor tool combines and minifies HTML, CSS and JS files. Gzip compression is also available.
- CDN Compatibility – Comet Cache supports multiple CDN hostnames and allows you to serve some or all of the static files on your site from a CDN.
You can get started with Comet Cache’s basic page caching, browser caching and advanced plugin system for free. Additional features are available in a premium version for as little as a one-time fee of $39 for a single-site license. This fee includes three years of support, after which you’ll be required to pay $9 for each additional year of support.
6. W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is a popular WordPress caching plugin with over 1 million active installations. It’s one of the most widely-used caching plugins available for the CMS, even if it is one of the most technical.
Speaking of which, W3 Total Cache is compatible with WordPress multisite, and caching via WP-CLI commands is available as well.
- Page Caching – W3 Total Cache’s page caching provides caching for pages, posts and feeds for posts, categories, tags, comments, and search results. Caching for database objects as well as objects and fragments in memory is available as well.
- Browser Caching – Browser caching is available with cache control, future expires headers and entity tags.
- File Optimization – Minify and combine HTML, CSS and JS files. Minification is also available for posts and pages as well as inline, embedded and third-party CSS and JS. You can also defer non-critical CSS and JS.
- Image Optimization – Lazy loading is available to prevent large images from having a negative affect on page speed.
- CDN Integration – This plugin also makes it easy to connect your site to a CDN service and have your HTML, CSS and JS files served from there.
The vast majority of W3 Total Cache’s settings are included in the free version, which you can download directly from WordPress.org. W3 Total Cache Pro costs $99/year and includes fragment caching along with access to W3 Total Cache’s extension framework, two features meant to entice advanced users and developers.
7. WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is a popular WordPress caching plugin officially developed and maintained by Automattic themselves. It’s a free and simple caching plugin you can activate and leave as is, but it also has numerous settings you can configure to your liking.
WP Super Cache is also compatible with WordPress multisite, and there are plenty of hooks and features built in for developers to play around with and optimize.
- Page Caching – This plugin caches your site by generating different static HTML files (or cached versions of your site) based on a user’s actions. These include whether or not they’re logged in and whether or not they’ve commented recently. There are also three different forms of caching you can choose from to control the way the plugin caches your site. It ranges from a simple “set-it-and-forget” mode to a more technical version that enables PHP editing for developers.
- Cache Preloading – Preload a cached version of your site in regular intervals (after the cache is cleared) to prevent search engine bots or visitors from bearing the brunt by generating new files.
- CDN Integration – WP Super Cache allows you to serve cached versions of your site’s HTML, CSS and JS files through your choice of CDN service fo better performance.
- .htaccess Optimization – This plugin updates your site’s .htaccess file. It recommends creating a backup of it prior to installation.
WP Super Cache is a free WordPress caching plugin available for download from the official WordPress plugin directory.
How to choose the best WordPress caching plugin for your site
Choosing a caching plugin for your site can be difficult. They’ll only conflict with one another if you use two or more at once, and they each offer similar features in different ways. Plus, caching is a highly technical topic, which can make it even more difficult to determine which option to go with.
Check with your host first. They may implement caching for you at the server level. Some even limit the types of plugins you can install. Kinsta, for instance, disallows all caching plugins except WP Rocket on its servers. It disables WP Rocket’s caching functionality by default but allows you to use its other features.
And these features alone still make WP Rocket worthwhile. Especially considering most speed optimization plugins include caching so they’d be disallowed on Kinsta outright.
You should also ensure the plugin has starting and renewal rates that match your budget.
For most sites, WP Rocket will be the most ideal considering it has advanced features that help Google’s Web Core Vitals and can result in significant performance gains.
If you want a free WordPress caching plugin, we recommend taking a look at Cache Enabler first because of how simple it is to use.
Because site speed is so imperative for SEO and user experience, it’s best to choose a plugin that offers several different ways for you to optimize your site. These plugins include solutions like WP Rocket, WP Fastest Cache and Comet Cache.
And, if you’re looking for more ways to improve WordPress performance, take a look at Perfmatters. It adds a lot of features that other caching plugins don’t offer, particularly the ability to control which scripts load on specific pages. Together with WP Rocket, it can have a dramatic impact on performance.
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