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7 Best WordPress Caching Plugins

7 Best WordPress Caching Plugins

If there’s one thing you should never expect your website visitors to deal with, it’s the slow page loading time. It’s not for nothing that publishers are obsessed over delivering the contents of their website to the website visitors as quickly as possible — faster page loading times have been linked with everything from increased traffic and conversion rates to better search engine rankings.

Speed matters. As a website owner or administrator, you have a wide range of tools and techniques you can employ to shave seconds off your website’s loading time. You can optimize images so that they load more quickly. You can create 301 redirects only when you absolutely need them. And you can start using WordPress caching plugins.

In this article, we’ll show you the best caching plugins you can use in 2020. You’ll find out about:

What’s Caching and Why Do You Need It?

When someone tries to access a page on your website, their browser sends lots and lots of requests to your server. What it wants are the things it needs to be able to display your website — elements such as images, for example, or blog posts . Your server, on the other hand, needs to process those requests and retrieve the objects of the queries to deliver them to the browser. The faster the server does this, the more quickly the page loads.

For light pages that contain few elements and require a small number of database queries to be displayed correctly, all of this happens in a blink of an eye. But clunkier pages with more things going on on them will load more slowly while the server and the browser do their little dance.

Caching is the practice of keeping some of the files needed to display a page in memory dedicated to that purpose. That way, when a browser asks the server to serve up a page, the server doesn’t have to allocate that many resources to bringing up the cached elements. Usually, the elements that don’t change often, the static elements, are the cached ones.

Some website hosts will take care of caching for you, so you don’t even need to install a plugin to do it. There are even some dedicated WordPress hosts that will prohibit their clients from using caching plugins because they might slow down page loading when installed on top of local caching. But if your website host doesn’t take care of it for you, using a WordPress caching plugin can lead to significantly faster page loading speeds. Now, let’s see which plugins you could use to cache your WordPress website and speed it up.

WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache

With more than two million active installations, WP Super Cache isn’t just one of the most popular WordPress caching plugins — it’s one of the most popular plugins of any category. And you can bet that it wouldn’t be as popular as it is if it didn’t do its job well.

As a caching plugin, WP Super Cache creates HTML static files it then serves to the vast majority of your website’s visitors. It offers three types of file caching, management of old, garbage, cached files, and preloading options. And it does it all while not costing you a single penny.

LiteSpeed Cache

LiteSpeed Cache

Some caching plugins are caching plugins, and nothing else. But not LiteSpeed Cache. This free plugin contains a suite of features that will launch your website to untold speeds — if you’re savvy enough to know how to use it, that is.

LiteSpeed Cache can cache, minify code, lazyload images, and perform DNS prefetch for you. If you happen to use other LightSpeed services or happen to have LiteSpeed-powered hosting, you can enjoy a bunch of additional features, such as WooCommerce support, automatic and scheduled purging, and separate caching of desktop and mobile views.

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W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache Plugin

W3 Total Cache — W3TC for short — is another immensely popular WordPress caching plugin with over a million active installations. Available in both a free and a premium version, W3TC is advertised as the only optimization tool that works regardless of the web host with the ability to improve search engine rankings, reduce load page times, and provide bandwidth savings.

W3TC comes with features that include caching of CSS and JavaScript, feeds, search results pages, database objects, and fragments. The plugin also counts the minification of CSS, post, pages, and RSS feeds among its features, and it offers mobile support, as well as AMP and SSL support. There’s hardly anything else you could ask from a caching plugin.

WP Fastest Cache

WP Fastest Cache

It would be great if all of us could be like nimble WordPress ninjas who can make the CMS dance to our tune. But a lot of people don’t have the time to pursue such a level of mastery, and just need quick and easy solutions for the problems at hand.

For them, WP Fastest Cache might be the perfect plugin. It’s incredibly easy to install and use, and it manages to walk the fine line between being simple enough and not having enough features with grace. And if you at any time decide that you want more out of this plugin, you can easily switch from the free version to the premium one.

WP Rocket

WP Rocket

WP Rocket is one of the best known and most widely used WordPress caching plugins for a good reason. There aren’t as many premium-only plugins that can reach the popularity of WP Rocket, which only goes to show that the plugin is worth the money you have to invest in using it.

But that’s something that becomes clear right as you start the installation process — it’s so effortless that people completely new to caching can do it. The plugin’s interface is another thing that makes this plugin worth its salt, as it’s amazingly easy to navigate. So you might be sold on it even before you get to its strongest selling point, which is the fact that WP Rocket does its job very, very well.

WP-Optimize

WP-Optimize

We mentioned before that caching is only one of the ways you can speed up your website. Some of the caching plugins you can find also do other things to help optimize your website and make it run more efficiently. WP-Optimize, for example, bases its service on two additional optimization techniques.

So, if you decide to install the plugin — even the free version — you’ll get all the page caching you need. However, you’ll also get an image compression tool, which is more than likely to come in handy. And, as if that weren’t enough, you’ll also get a tool for cleaning and optimizing your website’s database.

Hummingbird

Hummingbird

Is it possible to have too much of a good thing when it comes to WordPress caching plugins? If it were, Hummingbird would be the caching plugin that’s simply too good for its own good. Why? Because it’s that packed with useful features.

There’s caching, lazy loading, preloading, preconnecting, text compression, and deferment of unused CSS going on when you unleash this plugin on your website. But then it also lets you scan your site for speed bottlenecks, generate reports, optimize assets with CSS and JavaScript minification, and even do some SEO. And did we mention that it comes with built-in Cloudflare integration? And that it has a Pro version that adds on top of those features?

Let’s Wrap It Up!

Page loading speed optimization is a type of process where you can easily find yourself looking for a way to make your pages load a fraction of a second faster. But the most drastic improvements, the ones where you manage to remove whole seconds from the loading times, are more likely to happen early on when you’re just starting to optimize your website. A good WordPress caching plugin might be just the tool you need for that change to happen.

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