5 WordPress Caching Plugins Compared
Excessive load times can harm your website in more ways than one. There are quite a few ways to improve your site’s speed but caching has the greatest impact.
With the above in mind, in this article we’re going to evaluate the performance of the top five caching solutions for WordPress. We will also look at the features each one has on offer to help you determine which one is truly the best (not just the fastest).
What is Caching?
A cache is an area in the computer’s memory that stores recently used information. When a site is cached, it means the site’s pages, images, files and Web objects are stored on the user’s local hard drive. This in turn means that when a user opens a frequently accessed file, the browser will have most (if not all) of its files cached.
When a browser doesn’t have to retrieve new information every time a site is accessed it results in faster page load times. Caching plugins work the same way. The save dynamically generated HTML files in the cache and serve them next time a request is made instead of re-loading all of the PHP scripts from WordPress.
Setting the Stage
We performed speed tests for blindmaiden.co prior to installing any caching plugins. All GT Metrix tests were performed on a test server located in London, UK and the test server for all of the Pingdom tests was located in Stockholm, Sweden.
Let’s take a look at the results.
GT Metrix is an online speed testing tool based on Yahoo’s performance guidelines and my personal favorite when it comes to page load testing. Without a caching plugin installed, the site loaded a 1.30 MB sized page in 3.2 seconds.
Double-checking your results never hurt anybody. Pingdom – a server monitoring and online testing service – was my next choice. According to Pingdom, the un-cached 1.3 MB sized page loaded in 1.90 seconds.
GT Metrix – I went back, installed and activated wpCache on blindmaiden.co. This time, it gave a total page size of 1.05 MB which loaded in 2.6 seconds!
Pingdom – According to Pingdom, installing wpCache dropped the page load time to 1.03 seconds for a 1.0 MB page size.
02. WP Rocket
GT Metrix – After wpCache, I went ahead and installed WP Rocket on the test site. As stated by GT Metrix, the total page size of 1.00 MB loaded in 2.8 seconds.
Pingdom – Testing it on Pingdom gave the total page size as 1.03 MB at a load time of 1.21 seconds.
03. W3 Total Cache
GT Metrix – After WP Rocket, I went ahead and installed W3 Total Cache on the test site. As stated by GT Metrix, the total page size of 1.30 MB loaded in 3.2 seconds.
Pingdom – Testing it on Pingdom gave the total page size as 1.3 MB at a load time of 1.62 seconds.
04. WP Super Cache
GT Metrix – On installing WP Super Cache, the total page sized came in at 1.30 MB and the page loaded in 3.0 seconds.
Pingdom – And according to Pingdom, the page size was 1.3 MB and its load time was 1.33 seconds.
05. WP Fastest Cache
GT Metrix – WP Fastest Cache gave some pretty awesome results on GT Metrix. The page size totaled in at 1.29 MB and it only took 3.1 seconds to load it.
Pingdom – On Pingdom, the total page size amounted to 1.3 MB and the page loaded in 1.03 seconds.
Here’s a comparison table of the page load times of all five caching plugins. Page load times are recorded in seconds for both GT Metrix and Pingdom tests.