WordPress caching can be complicated and some might even call it boring. Trying to explain the details of such a complex technology might take a full book. However, we can break down the idea of caching by comparing it to a simple math problem. What’s 10 times 2? Most people can immediately tell you the answer is 20. Why is that? They’ve memorized the answer. In fact, there’s probably a minimal amount of calculation going on their head. This type of memorization comparison is definitely simplifying website caching, but it helps us visualize how the process works and why you might need a WordPress caching plugin.
Your website may be viewed dozens of times each month. Maybe you see even higher numbers, in the hundreds, thousands, or millions. Seeing as how your website is most likely serving up the same, or similar, content on a regular basis, wouldn’t it be nice if the server could remember those files to serve up your website every time?
- Caching Explained
- When Do You Need a WordPress Caching Plugin?
- No Caching vs With Caching
- The Best WordPress Caching Plugins
In short, every webpage visited on your site requires a request to the server, processing by that server (including database queries), then a final result sent from the server to the user’s browser. The result is your website, complete with all of the files and elements that make it look the way it does. For instance, you might have a header, images, a menu, and a blog. Since the server has to process all of those requests, it takes some time for the complete webpage to be delivered to the user–especially with clunky or larger websites.
That’s where a WordPress caching plugin comes into play! The caching plugin instructs the server to store some files to disk or RAM, depending on the configuration. Therefore, it can remember and duplicate the same content it’s been serving in the past. As a result, your web pages load much faster, directly from cache. Basically, caching reduces the amount of work required to generate a pageview.
When Do You Need a WordPress Caching Plugin?
We talked a bit about speed, but do you always need a WordPress caching plugin? And what are some of the other benefits of caching?
Those are some excellent questions, and for those of you managing your own servers or are on shared hosting, a caching plugin usually makes perfect sense.
Disadvantages of Caching Plugins
However, sometimes you don’t need a caching plugin at all. If you decide on a managed WordPress host like Namecheap , we take care of caching for you. Caching is done at the server-level, and in most cases, in a much faster manner. Compared to a plugin, the server-level caching requires no expertise, no tweaking dozens of settings trying to achieve the fastest speeds; it’s simply fast all the time! 🚀
You Always Need Some Type of Caching
Regardless of whether you have server-level caching or go with a plugin, you’ll always need caching in some form. So, what are some of the other benefits of caching?
- You speed up your website for users – We already covered this, but it’s nice to mention again since it’s the primary advantage.
- You improve your overall user-experience – Since the website moves faster for users they are now more likely to browse around. Faster websites are known for decreasing bounce rates, since people are not interested in waiting around for a page to load for 10 seconds.
- Your server uses fewer resources – This ties into speed, since the fewer resources make for a faster site. However, it also puts less of a strain on your server. This is very important when it comes to highly dynamic sites, and determining what you can and cannot serve from cache.
- You may see a boost in search engine optimization – Once again, this relates to the speed and user experience, but with all of those areas improving you’re able to show Google and other search engines that your website is worth indexing at a higher ranking. Basically, a fast website + a great UX = SEO improvement.
The Best WordPress Caching Plugins
- WP Rocket (premium)
- Cache Enabler (free)
- Comet Cache (free + premium)
- W3 Total Cache (free)
- WP Super Cache (free)
- WP Fastest Cache (free + premium)
- Hyper Cache (free)