How to improve the website performance with cache

My blog is online from a while now, and I faced most of the common issues that anyone has to face when having a website.
One of them is the performance. Your site has to be fast, or people will leave before to read anything at all.

Users usually wait one or two seconds before to leave a website if the page does not load, so it’s crucial that your website is fast.

There are various ways to speed it up. You can optimize images, HTML, CSS and JavaScript, use a CDN, use different servers for the site and for the database, and use a cache plugin.

My blog, this one you are on now, uses almost of the above, except for a different server for the database and the CDN.
All of the above, are done by using only two plugins, one for the cache and one to optimize images.

But there are a lot of caching plugins, which one to use?

I’ve used the main three known on the web for WordPress.

The first one I used was W3 Total Cache. It works, it supports everything you can imagine. You can optimize your CSS, HTML and JavaScript, integrate it with a CDN service like MaxCDN or CloudFlare and you can even monitor your website by using New Relic.

The problem with W3 Total Cache is that it’s too complex to configure. It has too many options, and if you are not an experienced user, you will have problems configuring it.

Another good one I tried is WP Super Cache. This one is good too, it supports everything, like W3 Total Cache, and it’s a bit easier to configure. What I don’t like is that it messes up my .htaccess file. If you are on nginx instead of Apache it needs some additional configuration to make it work with some specific features.

The third and last one I tried and I’m actually using is WP Rocket. It’s simply amazing.
With WP Super Cache the homepage of this website was loading in two seconds. As soon as I installed WP Rocket, the homepage loading time dropper to 0.5 seconds. Pretty neat eh?

The nice thing is that you don’t need any experience with caching plugin, it’s extremely easy to configure. You just install it, tick one or two options, and you are done.

Like the others, it supports CSS, HTML, JavaScript optimization, CDN support and integrates automatically with WooCommerce. It’s premium though, it costs $ 39.00 for a website license, but it’s worth the price. Also, if you are a WooThemes customer, you can get a discount from our partners page, and if you have a business, just add your VAT number while purchasing to remove VAT from the price.

Optimize images

Optimizing images to improve page loading time is also important. If you upload HD images they are all very big, like 2MB or 3MB each one, which is crazy for a website. An ideal image is a lot less than that. My image’s size AVG is 40KB.

To help you optimize images you can use WP Smush.
It’s a free plugin, with a Pro version too if you want. It automatically optimizes images when you upload them on your website, reducing their size without loosing too much quality. If you have the Pro version, you can even choose to optimize them without quality loss.

So, to wrap it, I say use WP Rocket for the cache and code optimization, especially if you are using WooCommerce, and WP Smush to optimize your images. You won’t leave them anymore.

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2 responses to “How to improve the website performance with cache”

  1. Thanks Nicole, another interesting article. I already use WP Smush, have not heard of WP Rocket. Looks a really good proposition. I agree the other Cache plugins are a challenge to configure.

    I have Root access to my server. Are you aware of changes that are able to be made a Server level that will improve page speed?

    1. Hi Nic,
      There are many ways to improve performance on the server.
      Cache plugins technically use the server for the cache as well.

      I’m afraid I’m not that expert to help you with that though. I know nothing about configuring servers, sorry.

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