Best Free & Paid WordPress Plugins for Caching

by Immad Uddin Khan  June 30, 2016

Today, the Internet is all about speed! In order to rank well on search engines, one of the few attributes of the website is that it should be fast. Nobody wants to use a website which is slow. It drives away potential customers and maybe some of the users would simply click the back button before even viewing it.

Wordpress-Cache-Speed-Banner

There are multiple ways to boost the speed of your WordPress website. You can choose the best hosting platform, reduce the amount of trash on your website, avoiding spam, pingbacks, trackbacks and so on. All these precautionary steps help in increasing your website’s speed, however, an alternative option is using a caching plugin. Caching plugins will help you boost the speed of your website by manifolds.

Caching plugins can make a large difference to your WordPress website. It is a process which creates static HTML pages of every other page on your website. It takes away the hassle of retrieving data from your database or executing a PHP code to display your page every time a visitor comes to visit your website.

There are many caching plugins available within the WordPress market. Here, I will be sharing the best 5 caching plugins that you can use to boost up your WordPress site.

Breeze — Free WordPress Cache Plugin

Breeze Free WordPress Cache Plugin

Breeze — free WordPress cache plugin, at the moment, becoming the most popular caching plugin with thousands of active installs. The reason for the popularity of the Breeze is: it is simple and does its job very well. It promises to deliver static files to 99% of your visitors while excel in three different areas:

  • Performance
  • Convenience
  • Simplicity

One the main thing that distinct Breeze is that it comes with built-in Varnish support. Although the plugin has different options including CDN integration, it’s quite simple to use for beginners. Just enable minification of HTML, CSS, and JS in the Basic Options, and the plugin will start working.

W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache Plugin

W3 Total Cache is one of the most advanced WordPress caching plugins that starts working right out of the box. It offers advanced caching mechanisms that are trusted by popular websites like Mashable, AT&T, Yoast and many others.

After installation, the plugin starts working within minutes. You don’t have to go through the different setting options. To make sure it works smoothly from the scratch, you have to go to the General page and switch the “Toggle all caching types” option to “On”.

Do you want to tweak the functioning a bit? Well, the plugin comes with a dedicated Settings page for each type of caching, namely, page caching, database caching, and browser caching. It gives you the option to change the default life of cached objects from the main Settings area. It can be a cumbersome task to go through the 16 pages of plugin settings, but once you know what’s where it all works out well.

WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache Plugin

WP Super Cache is one of the most downloaded cache plugins available on WordPress. Utilizing mod_rewrite and PHP, WP Super Cache promises to deliver static files to almost 99% of your visitors.

It is a simple plugin pre-configured with only seven tabs in the Options page. Just enable caching from the Easy tab and your plugin will start caching your pages. You can then check the number of pages cached by the plugin from the Contents Tab.

For better performance, you can choose the type of caching from the Advanced Settings area. Some of the settings which should have been enabled by default, like compressing files and Don’t Cache Pages for Known Users, are recommended to be enabled by the administrator.

WP Fastest Cache

WP Fastest Cache Plugin

The self-promoted “simplest and fastest WP Cache system”, is indeed a simple and fast cache plugin to use for WordPress. WP Fastest Cache creates static files on your website by using mod_rewrite. It also offers other features like minification, compression, and browser caching. Along with these, it contains such features that provide options to combine Javascript and CSS files together. This can help you reduce the number of requests from your server.

There is only a single page of settings that has three tabs altogether:

  • The first tab displays settings
  • The second tab allows you to delete cache and minified files
  • The third tab allows you to define the rate of cache files deletion

WP Fastest Cache lives up to its fame of being simple. All the features can be enabled by clicking the checkboxes in the settings tab.

ZenCache

ZenCache comes from a previously popular plugin called QuickCache. It is a great plugin that is very simple to setup and use. The plugin uses snapshots to deliver a faster reading experience to almost all the visitors. It does not serve cached pages to users that are logged in or those who have recently left a comment.

But, that is not what sets ZenCache apart from all the other plugins.

ZenCache offers a detailed explanation for each setting so that novice users can easily configure the plugin for their website. This is a feature which is missing in some of the other, more technical iterations.

However, a lot of features are behind a paywall. This means you will only have basic features available if you choose to install the free plugin.

The current version of ZenCache works with the latest version of WordPress. You can click here to download the plugin.

WP Rocket

WP Rocket Plugin

WP Rocket is the only caching plugin included in this article which cannot be downloaded for free. It comes with lazy image loading that ensures that images are only downloaded when visitors scroll to them, this also helps in speeding up long web pages. Along with that, it also offers page caching, cache preloading, GZIP compression, and HTML and JavaScript minification as well.

For WP Rocket to function correctly, you need to activate it, which takes away the hassle of spending time on it for configuration purposes. The Settings tab of WP Rocket is divided into seven sections, but unlike W3 Total Cache, there are no advanced settings that you need to be concerned about. Although, there is an Advanced Options tab, which is only used for selecting pages and files you want to exclude from caching and minification.

WP Rocket is the most user-friendly option that is available for a license fee of $39 for one website, $99 for 3 three websites (business license), and for unlimited websites, the fee is $199. All these options come with a 30-day money back guarantee and 1 one year of support and updates.

Final Thoughts

It is quite difficult to single out any of the aforementioned plugins for caching. Besides, there are other caching plugins that are available for use on WordPress such as Hyper Cache. However, there are only a few marginal benefits that separate each of the plugins. For example, if you are using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) then ZenCache (Free) and WP Fastest Cache are not of much use as they do not support CDN.

So, my advice to you would be to find out what your requirements are and then test the plugins in this list to see which suits you the best. Test each of the features it offers to make an informed decision.

However, at Cloudways, we are big fans of W3 Total Cache and every WordPress installation done on Cloudways WordPress Hosting Platform comes with this plugin. If you want to give our WordPress servers a try, start your free trial now.

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About Immad Uddin Khan

Immad is a Digital Content Producer for Cloudways - A Managed Cloud Hosting Platform. He is mostly busy in creating all sorts of informative and innovative content types. As a hobby, he loves to travel with his camera to picturesque destinations.

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  • Hi Immad,
    Great article. all of the plugins you mentioned are very cool.

    I am running a video website. Can you suggest any plugin that will helpfull for me.

    Thanks for your professional advice in advance..

  • I feel like I’ve tried every caching solution out there. The W3 plugin on the Cloudways WordPress stack is pretty good…but in all of my tests and experiences, there is nothing better than WP Rocket. I’ve been using it on every site for the past year and it is fantastic. Almost zero set-up and it brings almost all of my sites to a sub 1 second load, something that W3 never did for me.