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What’s the Best Cache Plugin for WordPress? 5 Options Compared

A caching plugin is one of the easiest ways to make your WordPress site faster and improve overall performance. This guide will compare five of the top cache plugins to establish the best cache plugin for WordPress.

To help you choose the right cache plugin for your site, I’ve tested the following plugins:

  1. W3 Total Cache
  2. WP Super Cache
  3. LiteSpeed Cache
  4. WP Rocket
  5. WP-Optimize
best cache plugin for WordPress.

I’ll share detailed information on how each of these plugins works, then share my thoughts on how to choose a cache plugin. 🔌

Before any of that, let’s take a look at what these plugins actually do – and what you should be looking for in a WordPress caching plugin.

What to look for in a caching plugin

The main function of a caching plugin is to speed up your site by storing some of your website data in a temporary location so they can be accessed more quickly.

When most people talk about a “WordPress caching plugin,” they’re talking about page caching. This is where the plugin stores the finished HTML version of each page, which eliminates the need for your web server to process PHP on each visit. This leads to faster load times and improved scalability because your server needs to do less work for each visit.

Caching plugins can also help you implement other types of caching, such as browser caching to store certain static files on visitors’ local computers. This eliminates the need for users’ browsers to download those resources separately for each pageview.

In addition to the caching functionality, many WordPress caching plugins also help you implement other types of performance optimization strategies:

  • GZIP compression to reduce file sizes.
  • CSS and Javascript minification to make your code load faster. Some plugins also combine code to further improve site performance.
  • Image optimization and/or lazy loading to reduce image loading times.
  • Content delivery network (CDN) integration to help you integrate your site with a third-party CDN.

Some caching plugins also offer additional tools for website optimization, such as database cleanup and heartbeat control.

The best cache plugin for WordPress: a comparison

To write an honest comparison of these plugins and find the best cache plugin for WordPress, I tested each plugin on a separate WordPress site and looked at how the caching plugins changed the following stats:

TTFB – the amount of time that elapses between when a browser asks a web server for information and when it receives the first byte of that information. Page caching should greatly reduce this number.

Largest Contentful Paint – how long it takes for the “main” element of your site (for example, the text or image in your hero section) to become visible to visitors.

I’ve included two numbers for each of these statistics: one from before installing the caching plugin and one from after installing it and configuring settings. Each test uses the default settings recommended by the plugin in question, so you may be able to adjust the settings to get even faster load times.

1. W3 Total Cache

⚙️ Features

  • Page caching
  • Browser caching
  • Code minification and optimization
  • Image lazy load
  • CDN integration
  • Detailed caching stats
  • Google PageSpeed analysis

TTFB

Before: 1.5 seconds

After: 588 milliseconds

Largest contentful paint

Before: 2.3 seconds

After: 1.3 seconds

💡 W3 Total Cache overview

W3 Total Cache is a powerful caching plugin with a setup guide that helps you figure out the best caching settings for your website and set them up in just a couple of minutes. This plugin also offers access to multiple options for proxy server setup, caching integrations, and more.

Last but certainly not least, W3 Total Cache uses Google PageSpeed analysis to help you identify ways to speed up your website even more.

💳 Pricing

You can access W3 Total Cache’s core features for free in the WordPress directory. If you want advanced features like fragment caching and lazy load for Google Maps, you can buy W3 Total Cache Pro for $99 per year. Pro users can also work with W3 Total Cache experts to optimize their caching settings.

Who this plugin is best for 👈

W3 Total Cache is a great choice for anyone who wants a guided setup process.

2. WP Super Cache

⚙️ Features

  • Page caching
  • Browser caching
  • GZIP compression
  • Preloading
  • Automated garbage collection to keep caches operating smoothly
  • Rest API
  • Custom caching

TTFB

Before: 1.5 seconds

After: 566 milliseconds

Largest contentful paint

Before: 2.3 seconds

After: 1.2 seconds

💡 WP Super Cache overview

WP Super Cache is a 100% free, extremely lightweight caching plugin that makes it easy to set up caching for your posts, pages, categories, and other core components of your WordPress site.

The big drawback of this plugin is that it doesn’t come with lazy load or other image optimization tools. However, if you’re already using an image optimization plugin, WP Super Cache is an excellent choice for caching.

💳 Pricing

WP Super Cache is free.

Who this plugin is best for 👈

WP Super Cache is the best cache plugin for WordPress if you’re already using an image optimization plugin and want to further improve your website speed without spending any money.

3. LiteSpeed Cache

⚙️ Features

  • Object caching
  • CSS, Javascript, and HTML minification
  • Image optimization (Lossless/Lossy)
  • Image lazy load
  • Browser cache support
  • Database Cleaner and Optimizer
  • Cloudflare API
  • PageSpeed Score Optimizer
  • Heartbeat control

TTFB

Before: 1.2 seconds

After: 367 milliseconds

Largest Contentful Paint

Before: 2.1 seconds

After: 891 milliseconds

💡 LiteSpeed Cache overview

LiteSpeed Cache offers numerous tools for speeding up your website including a variety of caching options, image lazy load, and a database cleaner and optimizer. These tools are highly effective, creating some of the most dramatic loading speed improvements you’ll see on this list of the best cache plugins for WordPress.

The one drawback of this plugin is that the cache features only work if your hosting is using LiteSpeed Web Server. You can use all of the other optimizations with any web server – but the caching requires LiteSpeed.

Overall, this is probably the best cache plugin for WordPress sites that are using LiteSpeed Web Server.

💳 Pricing

LiteSpeed Cache is 100% free.

Who this plugin is best for 👈

LiteSpeed Cache is a great tool if you want access to image lazy load, database cleanup, and other non-caching optimization features that you can configure in a matter of minutes. The caching tools are also an excellent choice if your web host has correctly configured servers and/or you’re not afraid to take some extra time to work on configuring servers with your web host.

4. WP Rocket

WP Rocket.

⚙️ Features

  • Page caching
  • Browser caching
  • CDN integrations
  • GZIP compression
  • Code minification
  • Image lazy load
  • Database optimization and cleanup tools
  • Heartbeat control

TTFB

Before: 1.8 seconds

After: 667 milliseconds

Largest contentful paint

Before: 2.6 seconds

After: 1.5 seconds

💡 WP Rocket overview

WP Rocket is a premium caching plugin for WordPress that offers a wide range of features to optimize your site performance. This includes image lazy load, video optimization, database optimization and cleanup tools, and a variety of settings for heartbeat control.

You can set up the basic settings of WP Rocket with just a few clicks and the advanced settings are also pretty easy to navigate. And, as an added bonus, you’ll get access to WP Rocket’s expert support team.

💳 Pricing

You can buy a WP Rocket license for $59 per year. If you have multiple sites you can either buy three site licenses for $119 per year or unlimited licenses for $299 per year.

Who this plugin is best for 👈

WP Rocket is the best cache plugin for WordPress users who are willing to pay for access to high-quality support and advanced features. You may also want to choose WP Rocket if you’re already using a CDN that you can integrate it with.

5. WP-Optimize

⚙️ Features

  • Page caching
  • Browser caching
  • Code minification and combination
  • GZIP compression
  • Preloading
  • Image compression
  • Database cleanup

TTFB

Before: 1.5 seconds

After: 582 milliseconds

Largest contentful paint

Before: 2.4 seconds

After: 1.2 seconds

💡 WP-Optimize overview

WP-Optimize offers an impressive array of features, but that doesn’t make it difficult to use. In fact, the WP-Optimize settings are easy to understand and the interface is one of the simplest to use in this list of the best cache plugins for WordPress.

Another thing that stands out about WP-Optimize is the customization options for database cleanup. You can control exactly what WP-Optimize cleans up, preserving the data that matters to you.

💳 Pricing

The core WP-Optimize plugin is free. If you want access to image lazy loading and advanced optimization settings, you can get WP-Optimize Pro for $49 per year for 1-2 site licenses.

Who this plugin is best for 👈

WP-Optimize is ideal if you want a free, easy-to-use caching tool that can dramatically improve your website loading speed. WP-Optimize is also a great choice if you want to invest a little bit of money into further improving your loading speeds.

The best cache plugin for WordPress: final thoughts 🏁

So, what is the best cache plugin for WordPress? How do you choose the right one for your site?

Well, let’s start with a quick roundup of the information we’ve covered so far:

PluginPage cachingBrowser cachingGZIP compressionImage optimizationAdditional toolsPricing
W3 Total CacheYesYesYesLazy loadPageSpeed analysisFree; premium available for $99/year
WP Super CacheYesYesYesNoneAutomated garbage collection100% free
LiteSpeedYesYesYesLazy loadDatabase optimization and cleanup, CDN, PageSpeed analysis and optimization100% free
WP RocketYesYesYesImage lazy loadDatabase optimization and cleanup, heartbeat control$59/year for one site license
WP-OptimizeYesYesYesImage compression, lazy load available on premiumDatabase cleanupFree; premium is $49/year for 1-2 site licenses

In short, all of these plugins are excellent for browser caching and page caching. What really distinguishes them is the additional features. It means you’ll want to choose the caching plugin that best meets your unique business needs:

  • If you want a guided setup process and access to high-quality compression and caching, choose W3 Total Cache.
  • For simple, free caching and if you’re already using an image optimization plugin, choose WP Super Cache.
  • If you’re looking for a comprehensive speed optimization tool with tools for image optimization and database cleanup that won’t cost you anything, consider LiteSpeed Cache (if you’re using LiteSpeed Web Server). If you’re using a different web server, you can consider WP Rocket.
  • If you want advanced optimization tools and access to high-quality technical support, choose WP Rocket.
  • For highly customizable database cleanup and an incredibly simple-to-use interface, choose WP-Optimize.

What do you think sounds like the best cache plugin for WordPress? Let us know in the comments section below!

Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. Learn more below:

 
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Dianna Gunn

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