Optimizing Your Website for Speed: We Compare the 6 Best WordPress Caching Plugins

website speed

My first article published on AllBusiness was about how to optimize your website for speed. Website load speed is even more important today than it was years ago, and this article will introduce you to the several WordPress caching plugins you can use to speed up your website load.

Over the years, I’ve mainly used W3 Total Cache plugin because it was the most popular option, but recently I have tried several others. As great as W3 Total Cache is, there might even be better caching plugins out there that are much easier to configure and deliver more optimal performance.

I have decided to test and compare the following six caching plugins:

  • W3 Total Cache
  • WP Super Cache
  • WP Fastest Cache
  • Cache Enabler
  • Autoptimize
  • WP Rocket

The tests will be conducted on two of our drastically different websites. One web page will be from a fairly simple content website. The other page will be from more complex website that uses various external JavaScript resources that are loaded via ads, social media boxes, and so on.

The complex website we’re testing on has four AdSense ad units and one Facebook share box. Even though it seems like it’s only five external JavaScript files at most, they load many dependencies. Each ad unit or social media box can load 10+ JavaScript files on its own. So as you can see, that can quickly add up when it comes to your overall page load time.


W3 Total Cache

4.5 stars rating and 1+ million active installations, FREE, Premium Version: $99/Year

The first thing you will notice with the W3 Total Cache plugin is that it is a very complex and thorough plugin. It has heaps of options and thus it can be a little overwhelming. If you’re just trying to install, activate, and go, then this plugin is not for you.

It has over 15 different tabs and pages of settings which you can fine-tune. Although this is ideal for those looking for control, it is not a plugin I’d recommend anymore to an average website owner who just wants to activate caching on their website and go on with their day.

WP Super Cache

4.5 stars rating and 1+ million active installations, FREE

WP Super Cache is a much more manageable caching plugin for the average user. Even though it has seven tabs of options (with the Advanced tab being 10 pages long, it seems), there is an “Easy” tab which allows you to simply turn Caching ON or OFF.

If you’re trying to fine-tune settings, you can go to the Advanced tab and select specific options. WP Super Cache is great for the average user due to its ease of use and setup simplicity, but for the power user, W3 Total Cache is without a doubt the better plugin.

WP Fastest Cache

5 stars rating and 500,000+ active installations, FREE, Premium Version: $39.99

The WP Fastest Cache plugin is much easier to set up and go than the previous two plugins. There really aren’t that many options, however, and I’ve found it difficult to set up minification. Despite having turned that setting on, it still didn’t properly minify HTML code. That could simply be a bug or it might be an overlooked setting on my end. Despite that, the plugin performed at the top of the list.


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