OVER 40+ WordPress cache plugins reviewed, with test scores and personal notes!
I tested every single WordPress cache plugin I could find. (And yes, I have no life!) I’m a total speed addict and love tweaking my sites for the absolute best page load times.
Q: Why does website speed matter so much?
- A: It improves user-experience (especially for mobile devices), increases conversions/sales, and saves on server costs (for larger/busier websites). Caching makes clicking fun again!
Are you ready to see the best WordPress cache plugins?!
This guide only compares cache plugins! If you want to learn how to speed up your site, then read my [WordPress speed optimization guide] (almost done).
WordPress Cache Testing Environment
Tested using (3) different VPS environments:
- APACHE – 2-core CPU, 4gb RAM, SSD hard drives. Php 7.2, mariaDB 10.1, redis/memcache object cache, GZIP enabled.
- LITESPEED (enterprise) – 6-core CPU, 12gb RAM, SSD hard drives. Php 7.2, mariaDB 10.1, redis/memcache object cache, GZIP enabled.
- NGINX – 1-core CPU, 1gb RAM, SSD hard drives. Php 7.0, mariaDB 10.x, GZIP enabled. (No Varnish or redis/memcache…SORRY!)
My servers are extremely fast with low resource usage. Those on crowded servers may experience different results. 100ms difference in my test scores could mean 1-3 seconds difference on your server!
Two (2) different scenarios:
- BUSY store – pagebuilder theme with nearly 100 requests (many images, scripts, plugins, and dynamic elements). Testing cache plugin ability to handle busy/bloated sites.
- SIMPLE blog – minimalist theme with only 10 requests (no webfont or 3rd party assets, only 1 CSS & 1 JS). Testing cache plugin ability to speed up already-optimized websites.
I find both scenarios pertinent for testing cache plugins. Busy sites represent how most non-technical users (and even some coders) build their sites, with tons of potentially-conflicting plugins and CSS/JS scripts. Lean sites represent how most professionally-designed/developed sites are built.
Test Controls & Monitoring:
- Mostly standard settings – caching enabled, combine CSS/JS (no minification), no browser-caching, redis/memcache object-caching if possible. Any re-configurations getting better results were mentioned in the detailed notes!
- Using GTmetrix – their scores were more consistent and servers not overloaded like Pingdom. Testing locally is a good idea as well but I preferred real-world testing this time.
- ALL plugins – tested for only BUSY scenario on Apache.
- BEST plugins – tested for BUSY scenario on Apache, LiteSpeed, and NGINX. And also SIMPLE scenario on Apache.
- Recorded INITIAL & REPEATED loads – first time visits are usually slower, so I show results for first load as well as a general average for repeat visits.
- MINIMAL 3rd party requests – had 1 Google webfont, and avoided CDN and Google Analytics because of their inconsistent response times.
- Ignored # of requests and page size – not something I worry about, as having fewer requests or smaller page size doesn’t always mean better performance (sometimes, even worse!).
- Ignored pagespeed scores – ignored page scores like “A, B, C” or “95/100”. They’re only meant as a checklist guide for improving page load but don’t actually reflect load times!
- Future testing – as I update this review in the coming years, numbers and notes may be changed to reflect the latest results. If I’m unable to reproduce exact testing scenarios, I will adjust test scores manually or create new scoring tables.
***EDIT***: I got mostly great feedback from plugin developers, but also a few complaints suggesting inaccuracies because my setup wasn’t representative of other servers and websites. Some claimed GTmetrix was a poor control variable and could fluctuate up or down by 25-30%. Others said cache plugins are all built differently and do more than just caching, and that it was unfair or impossible to compare in just one environment. I have since added benchmarks for LiteSpeed and NGINX instead of only Apache.
I noticed the ones who complain are the ones who disagree with the results. Simple as that. It’s true my test doesn’t represent every possible scenario out there. I felt most possibilities were fairly accounted for in my 3-server/2-scenario testing. In regards to GTmetrix, I had no issues testing from the Dallas-USA server at 3am in the night. Each plugin was tested 10-20 times, times were tightly packed, and outliers were thrown away.
I want to clarify that while my official testing started only days ago, I’ve used many of these plugins before. Used them on my sites, client sites, and also on different servers. I’m not only familiar with them but it has always been in my best interest to make them run as fast as possible. Simply put, some scored higher and some scored lower. Anybody wanting to challenge these results (and I urge you to) is welcome to run their own tests. Several plugin developers are now asking for my feedback and/or already working to improve their plugins. I think that’s the best result for all!
What I didn’t test (but worthy of mention):
- Mobile load times – don’t be fooled by seemingly minor 0.1s (100ms) differences in load times. Most users are browsing from slow mobile phone connections, which amplifies speed differences.
- Shared hosting environment – provides more realistic results for the average user, but difficult to achieve consistent testing.
- Logged-in users – private caching speeds up community, membership, forum, and shopping websites but largely troublesome and therefore still uncached by many plugins.
- Dynamic pages – pure dynamic, database-intensive sites like forums/shopping with lots of database queries or mixed content calls.
- Heavy load – high traffic sites may run slower on resource-intensive caching, or faster on prewarmed caching.
- Combining performance plugins – easier to compare when you don’t mix plugins, although some get better results this way.
- Onload times – some setups show faster loads for users (via delayed assets) but higher load times for tests. This is an extremely relevant factor but so far hasn’t impacted my testing.
- Proprietary environments – certain plugins like SG Optimizer (Siteground), LiteSpeed Cache (LiteSpeed), or Breeze (Cloudways) were intended for their own servers so obviously my test servers may not always get the best results. I did try some in their ideal environments and can speak definitively on how they compare with others.
Different caching mechanisms, and their intended use scenarios:
- STATIC/FULL-PAGE CACHING – reduces server load tremendously (increased efficiency serves more visitors simultaneously). Can be done at server-level (LiteSpeed Cache, Varnish) which is faster, or at php-level which is slower.
- BROWSER CACHE – cheap way to cache by saving information in the user’s browser so they don’t have to re-download. It’s very fast since files are loaded locally from user’s browser but tricky to force it to load updated pages.
- OBJECT CACHE – built for speeding up already-optimized sites (max speed and minimal features), or for sites requiring 100% dynamic pages. It works by reducing common database calls by storing these “objects” in memory or disk.
- ASSET MANAGEMENT (images/CSS/JS) – reduce impact or conflict of various aspects of a bloated site with many features. Merge, minification, async, include/exclude, etc.
- FULL-FEATURED – have multiple caching mechanisms and also provide other performance-related optimizations (like asset management).
- PAGE TEST SCORES – the worst ones in my opinion are the ones focused on getting nice A+ scores on page speed tests instead of actually decreasing page load time…kinda scam-ey and caters to users that don’t know any better!
Example use cases – static sites (where content rarely changes) can use ultra fast full-page caching, dynamic sites (lots of content changes like stores/forums/logged-in users) should use object cache, slow databases should use disk or memory cache, slow disks should use memory cache, limited memory should use disk cache, sites with few visitors need pre-warmed cache, and so forth. And even within that, there are clever ways to get around things. The world of caching is evolving rapidly thanks (and no thanks) to bloated themes, plugins, and pagebuilders.
[How to Choose the Right Cache Plugin] – will write that someday.
Resolving cache problems – backup your htaccess file and make sure you clean-up settings left behind by uninstalled cache plugins. If your site breaks, just go into your FTP and rename the cache plugin folder. The default repair steps is to restore htaccess, delete “cache” directory and cache files in your “wp-contents” directory.
BEST WordPress cache plugins
The fastest WordPress cache plugins, in order of my personal preference. I care not only about speed but also features, ease-of-use, and ability to fit various situations. I recommend testing different plugins and configurations to achieve the best performance for your setup. Certain caching plugins will perform differently depending on your server and website design/coding. Scroll down further to see my detailed review notes on each.
APACHE (no cache – busy 3.00s/2.10s, simple 1.00s/597ms):
- Swift Performance Lite (free) – busy 1.04s/890ms, simple 768ms/570ms.
- Swift Performance (paid) – busy 911ms/900ms, simple 644ms/453ms.
- WP Rocket (paid) – busy 1.05s/1.02s, simple 659s/426ms.
- Simple Cache (free) – busy 1.07s/993ms, simple 498ms/458ms.
- LiteSpeed Cache (free) – busy 982ms/1.02s, simple 569ms/532ms.
- Breeze (free) – busy 1.35s/1.04s, simple 528ms/496ms.
- Comet Cache (free)- busy 1.21s/955ms, simple 557ms/460ms.
- Powered Cache (free) – busy 1.28s/938ms, simple 748ms/680ms.
- WP Fastest Cache (free) – busy 1.30s/963ms, simple 573ms/527ms.
- Borlabs Cache (paid) – busy 1.19s/1.04s, simple 919ms/723ms.
- Yasakani Cache (free) – busy 1.30s/1.07s, simple 851ms/568ms.
Swift leads the way easily; incredible free & paid option! It just works and works so beautifully; no guessing if it’s caching or not. Rocket is a respectable 2nd. Simple Cache is my personal favorite for lean sites (especially with redis object caching). LiteSpeed & Breeze are blazing fast but stick a little on the 1st load (need better pre-caching, perhaps?). Comet/Powered/Fastest are a great free bunch with nice paid offerings. Borlabs is very high quality and great features, although slower than others. Yasakani is the unknown (and FREE) newcomer.
LITESPEED (no cache – busy 1.61s/1.05s):
- Swift Performance Lite (free) – busy 933ms/712ms.
- Swift Performance (paid) – busy 921ms/715ms.
- Simple Cache (free) – busy 940ms/742ms.
- LiteSpeed Cache (free) – busy 934ms/741ms.
- Breeze (free) – busy 1.20s/746ms.
- WP Rocket (paid) – busy 1.45s/746ms.
- WP Fastest Cache (free) – busy 1.49s/755ms.
- Comet Cache (free)- busy 1.43s/771ms.
- Yasakani Cache (free) – busy 1.41s/787ms.
- Borlabs Cache (paid) – busy 1.69s/779ms.
- Powered Cache (free) – busy 1.56s/846ms.
Swift is champion again. Simple Cache stays fast and smooth, my longtime favorite for a reason! LiteSpeed outruns everyone on its own servers, but I hate the stickiness…(although many don’t notice and don’t care). Breeze is fantastic right behind LS (slight stickiness), fast for stores and tad slower for posts; now I see why it’s so loved. Rocket was fast but annoying to activate; slow 1st loads, issues combining CSS/JS, and kept reading cache from previous plugins. Fastest Cache and was fast right away; posts load fast, products slower on 1st load. Comet 1st loads are slow; very fast once cache is built. Yasakani 1st loads: products fast but posts are slower. Borlabs Cache has great features, but slow 1st load (fast afterwards) and required “allow_url_fopen” which was an inconvenience. Powered Cache (object caching off) 1st load had fast products but sticky blog posts, I preferred the site without it.
NGINX (no cache – busy 1.78s/1.34s):
- Swift Performance Lite (free) – busy 1.11s/850ms.
- Swift Performance (paid) – busy 982ms/854ms.
- Breeze (free) – busy 1.23s/920ms.
- Simple Cache (free) – busy 1.27s/925ms.
- Cache Enabler – busy 1.31s/910ms.
- WP-FFPC – busy 1.20s/920ms.
- WP Fastest Cache (free) – busy 1.39s/918ms.
- WP Rocket (paid) – busy 1.58s/937ms.
- LiteSpeed Cache (free) – busy 1.28ms/969ms.
- Comet Cache (free)- busy 1.47s/956ms.
- Borlabs Cache (paid) – busy 1.56s/940ms.
- Powered Cache (free) – busy 1.46s/979ms.
- Yasakani Cache (free) – not tested.
Swift reigns supreme. Breeze (in its native NGINX) reaches the top of the mountain, not only fast but snappy! Simple Cache (even without memcache) dominant as always and seriously, you might like it over Breeze! Cacher Enabler (at home on NGINX) makes a shocking appearance at 5th! WP-FFPC, also a surprise showing at 6th…with APCu and pre-caching, it might be even faster than Breeze! Fastest Cache (slow products 1st loads) beats Comet again, overcomes LiteSpeed AND Rocket. I honestly don’t get what happened to Rocket; many slow loads despite 20 more chances, maybe it needed this? Borlabs hit by slow 1st loads again, and sometimes slower than without cache. Powered Cache is slow. Yasakani wasn’t tested because it needed support for SQLite; not worth the hassle for me.
***NOTES: Simple Cache with object caching, or WP-FFPC with APCu & pre-caching could easily be #1. Also, Swift and Comet requires editing NGINX config (rewrites) to function, Rocket doesn’t but functions better with it. Additionally, I also tested these plugins on Cloudways Apache server with NGINX reverse proxy (Varnish enabled) and plugin rankings were still the same!
AVERAGE WordPress cache plugins
These cache plugins are either: lesser known (new on the market or outdated), completely inferior to others listed above, and may or may not have unique features of their own. All of them are free plugins. Favorites are marked in red (see detailed notes).
APACHE (no cache – busy 3.00s/2.10s):
- Alpha cache – busy 1.6s/1.3s.
- Batcache – busy 2.0s/1.5s.
- Blunt Cache – not tested.
- Browser Caching with .htaccess – busy 2.6s/2.0s.
- Cache Enabler – busy 1.8s/1.6s.
- Cache for WordPress Performance – busy 1.9s/1.6s.
- Cachify – busy 1.9s/1.3s.
- Dessky Cache – busy 1.6s/1.1s.
- FOCUS Object Cache – busy 2.6s/2.2s.
- Gator Cache – busy 1.6s/1.1s.
- Hyper Cache – busy 1.6s/1.1s.
- Hyper Cache Extended – busy 1.6s/1.1s.
- Speed Up – Browser Caching – busy 1.6s/1.6s.
- Vendi Cache – busy 1.7s/1.2s.
- Vivio Swift – busy 1.7s/1.6s.
- WP LCache – not tested.
- WP Speed of Light – busy 1.71s/1.1s.
- WP Super Cache – busy 2.0s/1.7s.
- WP-Cache.com – busy 1.0s/1.0s.
- WP-FFPC – busy 1.5s/1.0s.
BAD WordPress cache plugins
These cache plugins have poor performance or other potential issues, and should be avoided! They’re only mentioned since they’re somewhat known in the WordPress community. I also generally avoided plugins that were not updated within a year and/or reviews averaging less than 4-stars. There are too many options out there to test every single one.
APACHE (no cache – busy 3.00s/2.10s):
- A2 Optimized WP – not tested.
- Full Site Cache for KeyCDN – not tested.
- Hummingbird – busy 1.8s/2.1s.
- MemcacheD Is Your Friend – busy 2.6s/2.4s.
- Memcached Redux – busy 2.6s/3.5s.
- SG Optimizer – slow & sticky.
- Super Static Cache – busy 1.7s/1.4s.
- W3 Total Cache (W3TC) – busy 1.5s/2.0s.
- Warp Cache – busy 2.3s/2.5s.
- WP Fast Cache – busy 2.5s/1.0s.
- WP Optimize Speed By xTraffic – not tested.
- WP Roids – busy 1.6s/2.4s.
- WP Spider Cache – not tested.
- WPBase Cache – not tested.
Detailed Reviews on WordPress Cache Plugins
A2 Optimized WP
- Horrible reviews, and I’m too lazy to set up my testing site on my friend’s A2 server.
- Nice little plugin that worked right off the bat. I never heard of them and found a nice speed increase but nothing life-changing. It didn’t seem to optimize well for WooCommerce, store category/product pages were slow.
- It has no settings and easy to use (using memcache) but kinda slow, to be honest. I thought it would be like one of those incredible object cache plugins but it isn’t. Not surprised as it hasn’t been updated for 2 years.
- Nice plugin for developers to set up their own specific caching functions for themes and plugins. Fantastic idea but not useable for 99% of regular users out there.
- Another popular premium cache plugin from a respected German developer. Sworn by many as the best cache plugin but I disagree. The pre-built cache is a bit imperfect; takes some time to warm up and you might have no choice but to eat a slow initial load. Ben has very kindly explained to me the slower “cold-start” is because Borlabs Cache fully processes the CSS without cheating (ignoring the @import statement, loading other CSS files afterwards and creating more requests). He has also recently implemented a new cache-indexing feature which pre-warms your site using XML-sitemap from your SEO plugin.
- He also explains that other plugins have faster responses times because they use .htaccess redirect to a static cache where he chose to do a detour over PHP, to allow for his powerful Fragment Caching feature (great for WooCommerce, etc) which he claims no other plugin has. FYI: the htaccess redirect method is the reason why some plugins require you to edit your config (rewrites) on NGINX before they can work properly.
- There’s also the issue of Borlabs not disabling/clearing it’s cache when disabled. 2 of my servers kept loading Borlabs cache instead of from other cache plugins. I really wanted to like this one as the owner (Ben) was really nice to me in email exchanges. Perhaps your experience will be different from mine.
- With that said, it is fast once it’s warmed up. Also really nice feature-set, can cache “refresh fragments” (WooCommerce), and fun to use!
- Click here to buy. Use my coupon code “BCAFWPJN” for 5% off!
Breeze (Cloudways hosting)
- NICE! Pages load fast, easy to use, and snappy WooCommerce performance! It performs better in eye tests than on speed scores. I was using this on an Apache server, which was less than optimal environment for this plugin. Using it on Cloudways or any NGINX server (especially with Varnish) will get you record-breaking speeds! Initial loads may appear slower than other plugins with better pre-caching mechanisms. Either way, I can see why many tote Breeze as the fastest cache plugin.
- Inspired by WP Speed of Light, which was inspired by one of my favorites Simple Cache.
- UPDATE: I got to try Breeze on a Cloudways setup and it IS indeed very fast. The funny thing was that LiteSpeed Cache scored even faster times than Breeze, but don’t let it fool you. Breeze felt definitely faster to the eye for both initial and repeat visits. I hope it adds object caching and pre-caching to hold ground against Simple Cache and WP-FFPC.
Browser Caching with .htaccess
- Awful scores and intermittent speeds. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow.
Cache Enabler (KeyCDN hosting)
- Self-admittedly inspired by “Cachify”, but Cachify worked better on my Apache server. I barely noticed any speed difference for most pages, and had to re-test many times to produce the scores I shared above. My experience made no sense as this plugin is loved by people I respect. Many say it’s the most amazing thing ever and faster than other cache plugins. Some say it’s really slow or ruined their SEO.
- I had a feeling you needed NGINX or some specific server configuration to get the best performance out of this and I was right! Turn on NGINX and this thing fires on all cylinders. I didn’t use them but you can go faster with these advanced tips/rewrites Cache Enabler! ***BONUS: I just realized there’s advanced rewrites for Apache servers as well. I might test that in the future!
Cache for WordPress Performance (Jody Nesbitt)
- I respect these guys but the plugin provided dismal results. Sometimes faster, sometimes no difference. Even at its fastest, it never went below what other plugins scored on the first try.
- Average speeds using Apache. Kinda slow on first loads and faster on revisits. I figured it was intended for NGINX servers or something, but speeds were slow on my NGINX servers as well. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have memcache or apc installed? Cachify sure as hell isn’t fast using “memory” or “hard disk” mode. I like that it’s easy to use but results are just average, to be honest. Try the wiki?
Comet Cache (same company as s2Member)
- Formerly one of my favorite all-around free cache plugins but now surpassed by others. I love that you get pretty fast loads even on the first visit and the settings come with helpful explanations about what each feature does. Still a solid choice if nothing else works for you.
- If you like the free version, the PRO VERSION is totally worth it!
- Pleasantly surprised by this little-known plugin. I wasn’t expecting anything but it was pretty fast right off the bat. Also extremely minimal settings. It’s about as plug-and-play as you can get.
FOCUS Object Cache
- There are times when I prefer dynamic object cache over full page cache and I like their clever idea of using local file system. It CAN offer fast loads without risk of CSS or JS conflicts, and fully dynamic page views. Only issue is it’s meant for slow servers (specifically slow database server). Highly recommended for dynamic pages on slow server. On my fast server however, this plugin made my site slower (as expected).
Full Site Cache for KeyCDN
- Only works with sites on KeyCDN servers (which I don’t have). And I can’t help but suspect it only exists to get KeyCDN affiliate commissions.
- Nice looking UI (although dated design) in good performance with average-ish results. Easy to set-up with a few extra options.
Hummingbird (WPMU DEV)
- I can’t help but hate anything that comes out of this company. So scammy, annoying gimmicky marketing, copycat plugins, and tons of user complaints. Don’t be fooled by their clever branding! I had to re-test repeatedly to get faster times. Most tests were slower than without, and actual eye-test felt slower. The settings interface was full of buttons and color. It may look friendly (child-friendly, even) but actually makes it feel like there’s way more settings than it has. 15 options felt like 100. I couldn’t wait to disable this thing!
- Nice little plugin with just the right amount of options and settings. Initial loads were fast enough and it’s easy to use with a few caveats. I don’t like that I had to edit my wp-config.php file manually and the donation button says “help children” to guilt you into donations. If this plugin outperformed everything else, I wouldn’t have cared. But because it’s NOT the fastest, I find it hard to justify the minor inconveniences.
Hyper Cache Extended
- Based on the original Hyper Cache but intended for slow shared servers. Comes with extra features that I think won’t apply to most sites. Speeds were same as the original. I hate that this one also requires you to edit the wp-config.php file manually.
LiteSpeed Cache (LiteSpeed Webserver)
- This is the real deal! The fastest growing cache plugin right now. I think it’s so incredible that a webserver company decided to write their own cache plugin and release it to the public for free. They’re probably more qualified than anyone else to speak on the matter as WordPress caching should be done at the server-level before code-level. A step higher than that would be DNS/CDN level but that’s a totally different can of worms.
- LiteSpeed Cache runs even faster if you have LiteSpeed server (which I do have) but even for those without, such as my test server, the results are still impressive!!! I only tested using the standard settings. Turn on the extra features like object caching and CSS/JS optimizations, and you get even better performance! LScache’s advanced settings can really shine if you know how to use them, especially private cache and ESI. That’s some cutting-edge stuff…I can’t believe they would do that for free.
- For many people (beginners and pros alike), LS cache is the gold standard…their holy savior in the world of cache plugins. For me, it works great in most scenarios but my main complaint is when using it on actual LiteSpeed server (how funny). Using LiteSpeed page caching has annoying sticky loads on initial visit. They really need to re-do their pre-warm/crawling mechanism as that’s the only reason why I’m not using it on production sites. It’s silly because LS cache (when used with LS server) has the advantage of Varnish and could theoretically outperform any other caching. I suspect a part of it has to do with LS cache optimizing to reduce server load, which is more resource-efficient and possibly less aggressive than optimizing for pure speed. Anyway, they have been developing rapidly (updates every week) and I love that they’ve implemented all my features requests over the past few months.
MemcacheD Is Your Friend
- Simple object cache using memcache that hasn’t been updated in 3 years. Installed easily but I didn’t see any noticeable difference.
- Another simple object cache plugin but it didn’t seem to work (no change in load times). If anything, the site got even slower. I followed the simple instructions just fine but didn’t feel like taking the time to figure it out.
- This one is a potential sleeper. I liked the options and user interface right away. Allows full page caching as well as object caching for dynamic pages (where page caching isn’t possible). Many useful features for advanced users while still being clean and easy-to-use for noobs. Also has a PRO version that I think is worth it.
- My only complaint about this free version is that while the initial load times are fast, the actual eye test is just a hair slower than some other plugins. Breeze, for example, doesn’t load as fast but feels faster to the eye on 1st load. Again, this is for the initial load only and repeat loads are very fast. It’s worth a try to see how it performs on your site.
SG Optimizer / SuperCacher (SiteGround hosting)
- The plugin is lame and I’m annoyed it has so many raving reviews! It only works on SiteGround webservers (which I do have), and there’s nothing magical about it. Your site MIGHT be a tiny bit faster but initial loads are “sticky”. It’s like your site doesn’t respond for a split second and then loads everything all at once. It does give faster load times (although still not as fast as other plugins) on speed tests but feels unresponsive on eye tests. I honestly feel it was made to reduce resource usage (benefiting webhosts) rather than to speed up your site (benefitting users). Some people even complain that their website was faster WITHOUT the SG cache plugin.
- Even on SiteGround servers, SWIFT Lite is so much better. Use that instead.
Simple Cache (Taylor Lovett)
- Introduced to me by my head programmer. This simple plugin was made by the respected Vice President of Engineering at 10up. I absolutely love it to death and use it on a VPS taking 500k hits/month! It’s amazing and faster than many other full-featured cache plugins. Has like 3 basics settings and a very easy exclude-function. Pre-cache is built very quickly and you never experience slow/sticky 1st loads like with other plugins. Highly recommended for already-optimized sites or those serving dynamic pages. Try it, you won’t regret it.
- Although it works great even without, I highly recommend activating object caching (either Memcache or Redis, I prefer Redis) for maximum performance. NOTE: I had to use Redis 3.1.x as Redis 4.x didn’t work.
- A few caveats: one is that it might not work right away and may require a programmer’s help to diagnose the issue. Also, only one website can use it per server or per confined environment. At first, I thought this issue was due to memcache/redis key conflicts and so I installed multiple instances Simple Cache using different object cache options but it still didn’t work. After speaking with my trusted programmer, I learned the issue was due to Simple Cache itself. We’ve since made a github request and hope to get an update soon. This plugin is too amazing to be limited like this.
Speed Up – Browser Caching
- Simple little plugin that speeds up your site by adding expires to your htaccess file. If you’ve ever read speed-up guides on the internet about optimizing your htaccess file, this plugin does it for you. Can be combined with other plugins as long as they aren’t also trying to edit the htaccess file. Honestly, I wouldn’t use it as there’s better/faster caching options but this one might work for specific use cases.
Super Static Cache
- Avoid this plugin! There are several reviews complaining that it deleted their site, requiring a database restore. That wasn’t the only issue and frankly, it would be irresponsible of me to encourage anyone to risk their site with this. Curiosity did get the better of me and I tried it anyway. Their recommended mode (rewrite) was slow 2.0s, and switching over to php mode was faster. This plugin broke my site every time I switched modes, requiring an htaccess restore.
- This is the absolute winner! Incredible free cache plugin with amazing performance using only standard settings (tweak advanced options and it gets even faster). SWIFT Lite (free version) beats even the super popular paid WP Rocket cache plugin! There are a few dozen shocked WP Rocket users converting over everyday. Whatever cache plugin there is out there, SWIFT free version beats them all no matter what server. But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself!
- Taking a bloated pagebuilder WooCommerce store from 3.0s to under 1.0s on initial load is no easy feat. The eye tests are even more impressive. The pages load instantly as if your website was running off your hard-drive. You have to see it to believe it. It’s crazy crazy blazing fast. I’ve even used this plugin to take busy bloated pages (many scripts, ads, external requests, bad coding) from 13 seconds down to under 1 second! Yes, it does miracles. Funny note: pages load so fast you don’t even realize it.
- Don’t be fooled by the load times, SWIFT is also very convenient in many ways. Has different caching modes depending on your type of site (blog vs store). The initial pre-cache is built very quickly unlike other plugins that take forever. Easy to manually include/exclude items from caching. Works immediately with WooCommerce. Lots of extra features and optimization that other plugins simply don’t have (advanced options for merging CSS/JS, different prebuild options, bypass Google Analytics, and more). Best of all, it stays easy-to-use despite having advanced features and cleanly returns your site to normal if disabled (unlike WP Rocket, Borlabs, and some others).
- On my servers, SWIFT Performance Lite (free) gave similar performance to SWIFT Performance (paid) version since I didn’t need certain features. Other users with less optimized sites will notice more of a performance boost, thanks to the extra features. Get the pro version (only $29/year, cheaper than WP Rocket).
- Read my Swift Performance WordPress Cache Plugin – UNOFFICIAL GUIDE
Vendi Cache (formerly WordFence Falcon cache)
- I like how this plugin was written and designed. Originally designed to increase WordFence security plugin efficiency for security purposes (how clever). The only problem is it just isn’t that fast. It takes a long time to build the cache and you have no idea which pages are covered and which aren’t. A year ago, its feature-set would have been considered top of the market but right now, it’s way behind. It does however work effortlessly out of the box without pages and pages of settings.
- I really wanted to like this new cache plugin because I like the no-nonsense design and feature-set but it just isn’t that fast!
W3 Total Cache (aka “W3TC”)
- Hahaha. I can’t think of any cache plugin that’s caused more headaches than this one. Thanks to them, people (even developers) were scared of cache plugins for several years. They haven’t improved; there’s still pages and pages of confusing configurations and so many easy ways for non-technical users to break their sites. W3TC’s diehard fans will always claim, “it works if you know how to set it up properly!” but I can’t get behind that knowing how much witchcraft it takes to keep things from exploding.
- To be fair, the W3TC can produce fast speeds, but they aren’t that fast and the numbers aren’t consistent. I’ve also found it especially risky to use in real world applications as small changes to your site could break your website function all together. W3TC is a house of cards. It’s beautiful when it’s finally set up, but change one little thing and your whole site comes crashing down. This plugin is so damn sensitive and shouldn’t be used when there are way faster/easier plugins out there. It needs to be rewritten from scratch!
- Don’t get me wrong, W3TC is still an incredible tool but best set up by developers/sys-admins who really understand server environments. The average user will probably never figure out the magic combination. With that said, it has many great features such as object-caching, database-caching, cache preload, session caching, and much more. These are all great but only if you have a VPS and know how to manage it.
- For those still in love with W3TC, you should check out the community-updated version on github, called W3 Total Cache (Fixed). I couldn’t test it here as it broke my site (haha).
- Absolute waste of time. One of those “cache plugins” that do nothing and are more focused on Google Page Speed scores (which it isn’t good at) than actually speeding up your site.
WP Fast Cache
- Another cache plugin that works by building static pages. It’s really fast when it works but sometimes loads much slower for some reason. It’s a bit cumbersome/tedious telling it what to cache. It doesn’t have an option to cache all posts, or WooCommerce products, etc…requires a bit of manual work and not feasible on large websites. I don’t think it’s ready for production yet.
WP Fastest Cache
- One of the most popular cache plugins out there and with raving reviews. I like that it works well, very fast, and no-nonsense user interface. It has all the features I like and the pro version unlocks more features at one flat price (no on-going subscription). I can totally get why this plugin is so popular but nonetheless, there are better ones out there (better performance, better design, more features).
- I wasn’t able to test it since I was too lazy to install APCu module on my server; APCu is not commonly used. With that said, I think this one is worth checking out as it’s potentially a very fast object caching plugin. Seems easy to use and extremely performant on those with VPS and can install modules. (NOTE: it has one annoying manual installation step, like many object cache plugins, but easy-enough for beginners to follow.)
WP Optimize Speed By xTraffic
- I don’t know how good it is but there were a few annoyances. It requires their other plugin “WP Optimize By xTraffic”, and also uses an outdated/insecure Mcrypt (PHP) module that isn’t supported by newer php 7.2.
- Yes, this is THE famous WP Rocket plugin. It costs the most and is known as the absolute gold standard in the WordPress caching market. Many other cache plugins are basically playing catch up, outright copying it, or trying to prove that they’re better by claiming to be faster than WP Rocket. It made a name for itself a few years ago by becoming the first cache plugin to be truly easy to use, works perfectly off the bat without “configuration”, and ultra user-friendly settings. Really nice user interface with many advanced options but doesn’t overwhelm beginners. I love the helpful tooltips and detailed explanations for each setting. It’s by far the friendliest cache plugin for non-technical users.
- WP Rocket is used (and adored) by users of all levels, beginners and pros alike. It’s safe to use on any site and gives incredible speeds. It has a really professional design that can appeal to clients. Everything feels top notch. I love that it does a fantastic job of clearing the cache and making sure your users see the latest version of your site. Most plugins either clear your cache too often (causing uncached hits), or they don’t clear the cache enough (causing outdated pages).
- The one area where I felt WP Rocket excelled the most compared to other cache plugins was for optimizing lean sites. Taking a 600ms site down to 400ms is a huge difference (especially on mobile); I’ve paid over $1k to make this improvement manually. Anyway, this was really surprising to me as you would expect a full-featured plugin to make the biggest difference for bloated sites.
- Up until very recently, the only way to get best performance was to pay for WP Rocket ($39/year), OR combine a variety of different caching and performance plugins to hopefully get all the features of WP Rocket, OR manually optimize your site and use a minimal cache plugin. (The last option is how I would advise all sites to get the absolute best performance; only problem is it requires serious coding ability.) HOWEVER, a lot has changed since WP Rocket came out. Other cache plugins are catching up and I can definitely say there are faster/cheaper options out there that do all the same things if not more. It was only a matter of time since WP Rocket has always had a few detractors who complain that it’s all gimmicky hype, still causes issues, and nowhere near as magical as it claims to be.
- The new WordPress caching champion is SWIFT Performance for me. Even its free version “SWIFT Performance Lite” beats WP Rocket right off the bat (no easy feat!), with SWIFT Performance paid version taking it a step further. I honestly see no point of using WP Rocket unless Swift doesn’t work for your server. By my eye-test, pages definitely loaded faster on SWIFT than on WP Rocket. And while many loyal WP Rocket users are skeptical of such claims, some converted over after just initial testing of SWIFT. I saw screenshots showing SWIFT as much as 25% faster (which is hard for even me to believe). I could share links to ecstatic user reviews on Facebook/websites but you’ll probably come across them soon enough. FWIW, SWIFT isn’t the only one to out-perform WP Rocket. I’m excited to see how the competition unfolds.
- There are still some areas where WP Rocket might be compatible/suitable than Swift. Swift has a really aggressive pre-caching process that some crappy webhosts won’t allow you to do. In this case, WP Rocket might perform better. Rocket is also nice in that it doesn’t break your site when it doesn’t work. It just simply doesn’t speed up your site and that’s it. (I seriously wonder how many Rocket owners don’t realize their site isn’t caching.)
- Get WP Rocket.
- I’ve encountered this one several times in the past 2 years. It’s very simple, works automatically without any settings and claims to be faster than WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, WP Fastest Cache, Comet Cache…but that wasn’t the case for me. It was sometimes ok, and other times no difference to not having any caching enabled. What really kills it for me was minor FOUT issues, with my iconfont not appearing until a split second after the page loads. I think the plugin was well-intended and should be improved.
- This plugin really decreases your page size. Unfortunately, it doesn’t decrease your load time anywhere near as much.
WP Speed of Light
- Nice plugin (inspired by great plugins “Simple Cache” and “Autoptimize”) with good amount of features, analysis tools, and easy-to-use. I’m not a fan of big “user-friendly” panels but I can see why some people like it. The pro version is also worthwhile if you like the free version.
WP Spider Cache
- Seemed like a simple enough object cache plugin (using memcache) but it following the easy instructions didn’t work (I couldn’t pick my memcache server once I copied over the drop-in php files). I was too lazy to diagnose any further and I prefer REDIS over MEMCACHE anyway. I also didn’t like that my admin area slowed down when this plugin was activated.
WP Super Cache (Automattic)
- Popular plugin used by many, probably because it’s built (and heavily-promoted) by official WordPress core team. I thought I would like this plugin from looking at its settings pages. Things are laid out in an intuitive way, with just enough features, and easy to understand. Unfortunately, it isn’t very fast compared to other plugins so I hope they can improve its performance. Whatever this can do, other plugins can do better.
- Here’s a guide with tips on making WP Super Cache work with NGINX.
- This one was surprisingly fast despite having almost no settings and not being updated for 3 years. It’s very fast when it works and dead-simple to use. The issues I had was that it didn’t cache my entire site. Simply got stuck after a few items. It might be worth a shot if you have a simple enough site and having problems with other cache plugins. But other than that, you should use something else as this one’s been abandoned.
- Don’t be fooled by the numbers. This is another great object cache plugin using APC/APCu or memcache/memcached. It’s easy enough to setup but requires specific modules enabled on your server. The plugin is very fast when it works and still used despite not having been updated in a year. I saw the author was “Peter Molnar” and wonder if that’s the same person behind my new favorite cache plugin “SWIFT Performance”.
- I tried it first on Apache/memcache but couldn’t get it working right. Then put it on NGINX with memcached (1st) and APCu (2nd) and it is SO MUCH FASTER with either of them. I’d say it’s faster with APCu than with memcached. Very similar to Simple Cache. Make sure you have “precache” enabled, and clear out the “Authentication (SASL enabled Memcached)” user/pass fields if you don’t need it. Incredible performance!
- Only works on NGINX with varnish/php-fpm/php-apc installed. From my NGINX server, it seemed to require a login so I didn’t test it but it seems like a performant solution.
- Pleasantly surprised by this little-known plugin. Super simple and easy to use. Has some extra options for cache logging and also security-related features. Edit your php.ini and it runs a little faster on “Expert Mode”. This would be a great plugin for sites that are already-optimized or not looking to do all that crazy CSS/JS optimization; it focuses on caching and nothing else.