The best cache plugins to speed up your WordPress sites and where I would use them!
The plugins are listed in order of what I recommend most people to try from first to last. In my own personal use case, I love LiteSpeed Cache the most for my high traffic sites (best performance, features, reliability) and then use Swift Performance Lite or WP Performance for smaller sites. FlyingPress, Swift PRO and WP Rocket are nice for clients (and bigger sites) who can pay and need something better than a free plugin.
1. WP Performance (FREE)
- If you don’t know what you’re doing, start here.
- Very easy to use.
- Safe to play with caching and won’t break your site. Please don’t try to enable every feature.
- I absolutely LOVE the CSS/JS combine UI. So easy to choose what is combined or not. And I’m shocked other cache plugins don’t copy it. Really, the founder should get a freaken award for coming up with this.
- Works well for all types of sites.
- Yes, people…I recommend this even if it hasn’t been updated in a while. It works fine and I like it! (now stop asking me this question over and over)
- WP Performance – cache plugin review
- Recommended settings (coming soon when I’m not lazy)
2. Swift Performance (FREE & PAID)
- Tons of caching features and low cost!
- Swift FREE is the most full-featured free cache plugin out there (along with LiteSpeed Cache).
- Tons of features, a bit complicated for newbies and risky since they enable stuff that break or slow down their site. I feel Swift has somewhat become 2022’s W3TC (of course, not literally). Their UI could use another overhaul to make it appear simpler. But nonetheless, still one of my favorites.
- PAID version has even more incredible features. (Many that nobody else even thought of.) Works great.
- Only thing about the mass features IMO is that many of them are for bloat mitigation…which my sites don’t have and therefore, don’t have to worry about. If you have a super bloated site and need help optimizing every nuance, Swift PRO has more features than anybody else…however, the advanced optimizations also require much more skill and knowledge (which I’m sorry, 98% of users don’t have).
- I recommend Swift free for sites below 400 pages and/or fewer than 10k hits/month. Above that, you should use the pro version.
- Swift Pro is especially great for sites with many pages but little traffic (thanks to its aggressive preload function).
- Swift Performance vs WP Rocket – WordPress Cache Plugin Comparison
- Recommended settings
3. FlyingPress (PAID)
- Best PAID cache plugin with advanced features yet simple UI.
- Quality cache plugin built by a respected speed specialist (Gijo Varghese).
- Very simple and easy to use yet has advanced/unique functions not found in other cache plugins.
- Plugin has matured beautifully since its launch over a year ago. And now I really REALLY like it. If you want the power of a paid cache plugin but don’t like Swift PRO’s complexity, go with FP!
- If Swift (FREE) and WP Performance don’t work for you and you’re not on LiteSpeed servers, FlyingPress is a solid choice.
- I definitely recommend FlyingPress over WP Rocket in every way! (They are both similar category…of being pro plugins with clean simple UI. But FlyingPress has even simpler design yet more advanced features.)
- Totally biased review of FlyingPress cache plugin
- Recommended settings
4. LiteSpeed Cache (FREE, but…)
- My favorite cache plugin out there…tons of features, enterprise-grade performance & reliability…but requires LiteSpeed server (or QUIC.cloud).
- You need to be on LiteSpeed or OpenLiteSpeed server to use its caching features. Or have a QUIC.cloud account (they have free plans).
- Best for sites with many pages and high traffic. I don’t recommend for sites with little traffic (below 10K hits/month). Small sites are better with WPP or Swift since they can pre-cache.
- The one and only thing LiteSpeed Cache lacks is a cache-preload feature…which it makes it suitable only for sites which have more traffic (at least 1k visits/month). If you have low traffic and still want to use LSC, you need to use their server cache-crawler (only available with OLS, or LS-ent if the webhost enables you) or QUIC.cloud service (which is also awesome).
- Many advanced features but can feel too complex for the average WP user.
- Why LiteSpeed Cache version 3.0 is the #1 cache plugin for me
- Recommended settings
5. WP Rocket (PAID)
- Simple to use and great documentation. Still enough useful features, and reliable.
- I don’t like it because this plugin is stale and hasn’t innovated anything lately (features are behind competitors). I personally feel it’s an abandoned plugin and the dev team is focusing on another product. Also doesn’t help that its founding company was sold off in MAY 2021 already. Ewww…
- UI is very nicely designed and also simple since it doesn’t have many features like the other plugins.
- Main reason why some people don’t like WP Rocket is cost or lack of granular features. Depending on the user, it’s ease-of-use can be a pro or a con.
- IMO if you really like WP Rocket, you should go with FlyingPress…it’s similar vibe (pro caching features but simple UI) and better in every way.
- No, I’m not being contradictory about criticizing WP Rocket when WPP hasn’t had updates. Bottom line is WPP is free and WPR is not. WPP also has the better UI and all the features I use. They’re not judged the same because they don’t cost the same!
- Recommended settings
Plugins not on this list (and why)
Of course I have to write this or else you guys keep asking me the same questions over and over:
- Autoptimize – not a caching plugin.
- Cache Enabler – a good simple cache plugin for sites on NGINX servers. It’s not special or outstanding enough to be on my list. Not everyone is on NGINX nowadays (at least not me) and it doesn’t have any special feature or UI to separate it from others. Maybe you’ll like that it’s simple…but that isn’t good enough for me.
- Comet Cache – not bad, just isn’t special and doesn’t stand out from the ones I mentioned.
- Hummingbird – made by WPMU DEV, who I hate. End of story.
- PerfMatters – not a caching plugin.
- PhastPress – not a caching plugin.
- W3TC – their outdated UI got even worse (lol)…endless scrolling and full-width text descriptions, new update now bombards you with a superstore of paid add-ons. Basic caching features are laid out in an overly technical way. Advanced caching features not understandable by even the average developer. I do appreciate that its text labels, and descriptions staying true to server-admin language and terminology…but that’s also part of why I don’t recommend it to others. Because 99% of people cannot understand what things do.
- WP Fastest Cache (WPFC) – outdated UI but very space efficient…all main settings on one page and doesn’t waste vertical space (which I really like), but doesn’t have any unique features setting it apart from the ones listed here. I personally feel WPP is a better and more modern replacement for WPFC.
Before bringing up other cache plugins to me…please ask yourself if you’ve tried ALL the ones on my list? Because if not, then do it so you understand why I’m recommending these first.