WordPress cache plugins are easy to use tools that will speed up your website. Cache is a magic bullet for all websites. It makes your website fast and protects from temporary traffic spikes.
WordPress can be extended with plugins. Caching plugin is a popular extension among all WordPress websites. It will help to speed up any website be it simple company website, blog, membership or ecommerce website.
Fast website is expected by every site visitor. You can satisfy your visitors with their high speed expectations using best WordPress caching plugins.
We tried many caching plugins and found best performing and simple solutions that will match every WordPress website.
You will learn how fast WordPress is with and without cache. What is important in caching plugins and how to choose the best solution for your website. You will also get a list of best caching plugins tested over the years and actively used now.
Table of Contents
What is a caching plugin?
When a WordPress website without a caching plugin is visited every page will be generated by the server using data from the database. This process is slow and requires multiple readings from database and calculations. As a result the page will be generated in a couple seconds.
When the caching plugin is used every page is stored in server memory. Loading stored pages takes less than a second. Caching eliminates the need for a lot of calculations for generating pages and frees server resources for other tasks.
Site visitors will feel almost instantly loading site speed.
What to pay attention to in the caching plugin?
Main functionality of the caching plugin is to make pages of your website fast. Criteria to measure page speed is
- TTFB (time to first byte) – time when some response from your hosting starts to come to the user browser.
- Page load time – this is the time when the web page completes loading.
You can measure Page load time and TTFB time with Google Page Speed tool or with Chrome Browser.
How to view page load time in Chrome browser?
F12key to open DevTools (Developer Tools). Navigate to the “Network” tab and click on the “Doc” filter.
- Load webpage from your website while DevTools open. Page load time will be shown in columns related to your page.
How fast is WordPress cache?
WordPress pages can load 15 times faster with the caching plugin. Check this result measured with Google chrome developer tool for single site visitor.
On average a page from a website loads 15 times faster when using a caching plugin. Page load time compared to the same page with caching disabled.
|⏱ Page load time||1.94 seconds||0.124 seconds|
|⚡ Speed ratio||1 page||15 pages|
Above speed optimization achieved with CDN cache plugin, located in position #2 on this list.
Best caching plugins for WordPress
- Cache enabler – Best for simplicity.
- Super page cache for Cloudflare – Fastest free CDN cache solution.
- Docket Cache – Object Cache Accelerator – Most compatible object cache.
- W3 total cache – Best for maximum tuning.
- WP super cache – Another simple page cache.
Let’s learn benefits of each plugin in detail.
This is the simplest caching plugin for WordPress. It is good for caching complete pages. Pages are saved as static HTML files and served on request without any further processing on server side.
Cache enabler will start caching your website when you activate the plugin. You do not have to do any settings as it will work without any configuration. It is that simple.
If you still want to adjust some options it has a settings page. There you can set cache expiration, clearing complete cache after some actions etc..
- Page cache
- Cache status and size in WordPress dashboard
- Manual or automatic cache clearing
- Cache expiry time
- Supports custom post types. Can be used with Woocommerce, bbPress, buddypress, recipe plugins.
- Has optional integration with paid service KeyCDN.
- Simple user interface
- Shows cache size in dashboard
- Fast cache delivery
- Pages never expire if not updated or set expiry date in settings.
- No object cache
- No precaching
Super page cache for Cloudflare
Plugin allows you to store and manage page cache using a free cloudflare account in CDN. Pages of your WordPress websites will be stored and served from cloudflare without even reaching your original hosting. It will reduce bandwidth and resource usage of your origin web server.
Think of it as a super powerful cache for your WordPress website that can match performance of expensive managed or dedicated web servers. With this cache you can handle high traffic loads for free.
Caching plugin works with Cloudflare. Any website can use Cloudflare for free regardless of their existing hosting. Cloudflare has multiple servers in many countries. It will deliver your website from the closest location for each visitor. Cloudflare provides caching and security for your website.
- Fast page loading using Cloudflare servers.
- Compatible with Free and Paid Cloudflare plans.
- Prevent caching for logged in users and admins
- Has option to purge HTML pages and other static assets from Cloudflare
- Has many integrations with other popular caching solutions and popular WordPress plugins.
- Has integration with many WordPress hostings (Kinsta, Wpengine, SpinupWP etc.) to manage server side cache.
- CDN cache (fastest free solution in current list). View speed report.
- Fast and scalable caching using free CDN.
- Fallback local static page cache.
- Cache purging with a button on the admin bar.
- Automatic cache purging when post updated.
- Cache preloading using sitemap, visible links in active viewport, link hover.
- No object cache.
- Cloudflare can delete cache regardless of expiry time defined in plugin options.
Get Super Page Cache for Cloudflare →
Docket Cache – Object Cache Accelerator
Docket cache adds persistent object cache functionality to any WordPress website. Object cache is data from database and other components within WordPress. When object cache is used your website will use less database queries and load most of the data from server memory (RAM). It is much faster than reading data from a database or from a server hard drive (HDD, SSD).
Beauty of docket cache is that it uses PHP built in feature Opcache. Opcache is available and by default enabled in most WordPress hosting servers. Even shared WordPress hosting has opcache. Docket cache uses PHP Opcache instead of traditional Redis or Memcached which are available in more expensive custom hosting solutions (dedicated or cloud servers).
Object caching increases page generation speed for logged in users, admin pages and almost all pages before they are stored as page cache. It is useful for WordPress websites with user login like woocommerce, ecommerce, membership sites, pods plugin, buddypress, bbpress etc.
- Object caching
- Page caching
- WordPress Query optimization
- Menu, translation caching
- Multisite support
- Cache log and cache stats.
- Object cache + Page cache.
- Fast WordPress for logged in users and admins.
- WooCommerce optimization.
- Reduces the number of database queries.
- Shows cache hit rate (mostly 98%), cached objects and how many times each object/file used from cache.
- Clearing cache may be slow due to the high number of object cache files.
- A WordPress blog with 50 posts can have 3500 cached objects. It is 70 times more than page cache.
W3 total cache
W3 total cache is a comprehensive caching solution for WordPress. It has tons of features that can be configured for every need. One of the oldest caching plugins has database cache, object cache, page cache. Cached objects can be stored in database, disk, Redis, Memcached, APC, Xcache, WinCache etc.
With so many features some may find W3 cache options overwhelming. Knowing how each option affects overall website performance can become difficult.
- Compatible with all types of hosting services.
- Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) support
- Page cache, object cache, database cache.
- Cache storage in disk, memory, database.
- CDN support.
- Complete cache solution with maximum control over every aspect of WordPress cache.
- Integration with other server side caching solutions like varnish and nginx.
- There are too many options to choose from.
- Overkill for most users seeking simple page cache.
Free has a paid Pro version.
WP super cache
WP Super Cache is a page cache solution developed by, parent company of WordPress CMS, Automattic. They use the most optimal solution for caching pages as HTML files. Cache then can be served via web server software or PHP.
WP super cache supports partial caching similar to object cache that allows optimization for logged in users.
- Page cache.
- Lightweight caching solution.
- CDN support.
- Cache purging and generation can be scheduled.
- Page compression.
- Extra checks for not having a blank homepage when cached.
- Simple caching solution.
- Page cache to speed up your WordPress.
- 100% free plugin.
- No code optimization.
Caching built into WordPress hosting
Apart from WordPress caching plugins you can use the optimized page cache feature of WordPress hosting providers. They serve page cache using faster server software without using PHP and MySQL. It is as fast as serving static files directly.
Bluehost servers has such server side caching solutions for WordPress. It allows you to select appropriate caching solutions depending on your WordPress use. They have different cache settings for ecommerce, blogs, educational sites, portfolios and sites that are updated weekly. Caching provided by hosting is the fastest available cache from all available solutions.
Bluehost cache can be configured with following steps:
- Log in to your WordPress dashboard. Click “Bluehost” → “Settings”
- At the bottom of the page find the “Performance” section. Switch Caching toggle to “On”
- Under Caching Level, enable Assets & Web Pages.
Pages will be cached for 5 minutes, assets will be cached for 5 minutes/ 6 hours/ 1 week depending on the option you select.
From the same page you can delete cached files when you want to show fresh content instantly after making some changes to your WordPress website.
Free with Bluehost hosting.
Does WordPress need a cache plugin?
Page cache is a proven solution to eliminate complex page generation processes every time a user visits your website. It will send a stored copy of your pages and reserve server resources for other requests. WordPress itself has no built-in caching solution. Caching can be added with the use of WordPress plugins.
Even if you have the fastest web hosting in the world, dynamic WordPress pages will always be slower than serving cached pages.
What is the easiest WordPress cache plugin?
Easiest caching plugins are: “Cache enabler” and “WP super cache”.
Is cache plugin necessary?
You can be ok without using caching plugin on following 3 scenarios:
- When you have very few site visitors you do not need caching.
- When there is other server side page caching implemented. Then server side cache will be faster than WordPress plugin.
- Your website has less than 10 pages in total and does not use any slow plugins.
How do I add a cache plugin to WordPress ?
Cache plugin can be added to WordPress by navigating to “Plugins”’ page and clicking the “Add” button at the top. From the opened page type plugin name or feature in the search field. WordPress will show available plugins. View plugin details by clicking its name, click “Install: button then click “Activate” button. Find plugins from settings or side menu to view or change settings.
What plugin clears WordPress cache?
Most caching plugins have clearing options. “Clear cache” button will be added to the admin bar or you can find the “Clear cache” button in the plugin “Settings” page.
Other than that most caching plugins will clear edited page cache automatically.
Can caching plugins slow down WordPress websites?
Cache plugin will deliver saved copies of your page fast. But clearing old expired caches may be slow for some plugins. At the end if you get more than 10k cached files in disk deleting all at once will be slow. For this reason some caching plugin delete expired caches in batches.
Generally object cache will generate too many caches. On average there are 70 cached objects per page. If you have 1k pages then expect to have 70k object cache files. At the same time clearing cache from memory is much faster than deleting from disk. So if you use object cache then choose storage as memory for them when possible.
Can I use Multiple caching plugins?
You can use multiple caching plugins only if they are not conflicting on what they cache. For example you can use object cache from one plugin and page cache from another.
You can use page cache from “Super page cache for Cloudflare” and object cache from “Docker cache” together.
What type of cache is fastest for WordPress?
Here is a list of cache types from fastest to slowest.
- CDN cache
- Server cache
- Page cache
- Object cache
Which cache is best for WooCommerce?
Dynamic sites with ecommerce or membership functionality will benefit from page cache + object cache combination. You can use a combination of “Super page cache for Cloudflare” with “Docket cache”.
How to choose a caching plugin for your WordPress site?
For most websites page cache will be sufficient, simple and fast. For dynamic sites with ecommerce or membership features you may need to use a caching plugin with object cache feature in combination with page cache.
For starters simple caching plugins are best. Complex caching is for those who want to fine tune every aspect of caching and try to squeeze maximum performance from their website.
Learn more ways to speed up your WordPress website. Read our beginner friendly performance (speed) optimization tutorial.