5 Best WordPress Caching Plugins – (Tested CASE Study)

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Last Updated on 5 months by Komolafe Bamidele

Every WordPress website or blog has a database with files in it, just like a custom-made site.

 Whenever someone visits your website, your website will visit its database, get the information the visitor wants and display it to the visitor. 

This process uses resources to send a command to the database, fetch the information, and render it on the front end which can make your website to be slow. 

This is where caching comes in. 

What caching does is that it creates a temporary file on your website that stores webpages temporarily, 

so that your WordPress website doesn’t have to query your website’s database frequently which could increase load time and performance. 

The temporary files created by the cache give WordPress immediate access to the information it needs.

 In this article, I explain the major reasons you should use the best WordPress caching plugins on your website. 

Most importantly, I report a case study I did recently where I tested 5 popular WordPress caching plugins on my website to see their individual performance levels. 

From this, I was able to see the overall best WordPress caching plugin.

What is WordPress Caching?

Caching is a process of storing your website’s data in a fast-access memory so the browser can access it faster.

 For instance, when people visit your website’s homepage for the second time in an hour, they are or should be accessing the cached version of the site which helps to load your website faster.

Caching comes in different layers namely:

  • Object Caching
  • Bytecode Cache
  • Page Cache
  • CDN Cache

What is a WordPress Caching Plugin?

WordPress Caching plugin is a WordPress plugin which when installed and activated on your website improves the overall performance of your site,

 like load time, accessibility, best practices, and search engine optimization (SEO).

 You may install and activate this plugin yourself (very easy to do, by the way) or get a developer or a hosting provider to set it up for you. 

Why Use a WordPress Caching Plugin?

WordPress caching plugin can help you to optimize the web experience of your website or blog like speed, on-page SEO data, and display for visitors

Below are the key reasons you should use a WordPress caching plugin on your website or blog: 

  • To make the website load or render content faster. 
  • To reduce server load and load time.
  • To improve time to first byte (TTFB)
  • WordPress caching plugins may improve conversions. 
  • WordPress caching plugins can improve user experience.
  • To boost your website’s SEO. 

WordPress cache plugin is generally beneficial to your website or blog as it can tremendously improve the overall performance and functionality of the website or blog.

5 Best WordPress Caching Plugins 

There are many WordPress caching plugins in the market today. 

Popular examples include WP Rocket, Cache Enabler, W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, WP Fastest Cache, Hyper Cache, Sucuri, and Lite Speed Cache. 

In this article, however, I focus on and review the 5 best WordPress Caching Plugins based on popular opinions on blogs and online forums: 

  1. WP Rocket,
  2. WP-Optimize,
  3. WP – Fastest Cache,
  4. W3 Total Cache, and
  5. Lite Speed Cache

I am keenly interested in determining the level of performance of the above-listed plugins on a website. 

To achieve this, I installed each of these plugins on a freshly installed demo eCommerce site with Namecheap Stellar sharing hosting, WordPress theme which is the Kadence free starter theme, Outdoor Shop.

Below, I report the case study result of the performance metrics of a site before activating a WordPress caching plugin and after activating it:

1. WP Rocket

WP Rocket Best WordPress Caching Plugins

WP Rocket was founded in Lyon, France, in 2013 by Jonathan Buttigieg and Jean-Baptiste Marchand-Arvier and managed by WP Media which also manages the plugin – Imagify.

 WP Rocket is a popular premium quality caching plugin for WordPress used by over 3,810,000 websites and over 308,000 customers worldwide. 

Many WP Rocket users attest to the plugin helping their websites to load faster.

Key features 

WP Rocket’s key features are:

  1. Page Caching
  2. Cache Preloading
  3. Browser Caching
  4. GZIP Compression
  5. eCommerce Optimization
  6. Excellent Compatibility

You can download WP Rocket plugin file (zip) at https://wp-rocket.me/ (official website) because it’s paid plugin.

 Then, proceed to manually or automatically install and activate the plugin on your website. 

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights before activating the WP Rocket plugin.

Below are the mobile and desktop performance metrics of demo Site (https://wprocket.marketindicator.xyz/) on Google PageSpeed Insights before activating WP Rocket plugin.

(Mobile Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights before activating the WP Rocket plugin.

(Desktop Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights before activating the WP Rocket plugin.

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix before activating WP Rocket plugin

Below is the performance metrics of demo Site (https://wprocket.marketindicator.xyz/) on Gtmatrix before activating WP Rocket plugin.

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix before activating WP Rocket plugin

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights AFTER activating WP Rocket plugin

Below are the mobile and desktop performance metrics of demo Site (https://wprocket.marketindicator.xyz/) on Google PageSpeed Insights after activating WP Rocket plugin.

(Mobile Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights AFTER activating WP Rocket plugin

(Desktop Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights AFTER activating WP Rocket plugin

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix AFTER activating WP Rocket plugin

Below is the performance metrics of demo Site (https://wprocket.marketindicator.xyz/) on Gtmatrix after activating WP Rocket plugin.

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix AFTER activating WP Rocket plugin

WP Rocket Pricing 

WP Rocket has three pricing plans:

  • Single Plan – $59 per year. With this plan, you will get product updates and support for one website. 
  • Plus Plan – $119 per year. This plan gives product updates and support for three websites. 
  • Infinite Plan – $299 per year. With this plan, you will get product updates and support for unlimited websites. 

2. WP Optimize

WP Optimize Best WordPress Caching Plugins

WP Optimize is one of the most-used and popular speed optimization plugin in WordPress.

 It is an all-in-one optimization plugin that: 

  • Cleans your website’s database,
  • Compresses images,
  • Caching,
  • Saves cash, among others. 

WP-Optimize is renowned as a WordPress database clean-up plugin, with tens of millions of downloads (from wordpress.org), and over 2 million active installs.

Ruhani Rabin developed WP Optimize in 2016 in a bid to simplify the process of WordPress optimization. 

WP Optimize is managed by Updraft Plus.

Key features 

Key features in WP Optimize are: 

  1. Multi-site support.
  2. Cloudfare integration.
  3. Detection and removal of unused images.
  4. Advanced user power tweaks.
  5. Loads webpages faster with Lazy Load.
  6. Minifies. 

Please, visit https://getwpo.com/ to get the WP Optimize plugin or check the WordPress repository from your website’s dashboard. 

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights BEFORE activating WP-Optimize

Below are the mobile and desktop performance metrics of the demo Site (https://wp-optimize.marketindicator.xyz/) on Google PageSpeed Insights before activating the WP Optimize plugin.

(Mobile Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights BEFORE activating WP-Optimize

(Desktop Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights BEFORE activating WP-Optimize

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix BEFORE activating WP-Optimize

Below is the performance metrics of demo Site (https://wp-optimize.marketindicator.xyz/) on Gtmatrix before activating WP Optimize plugin.

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix BEFORE activating WP-Optimize

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights AFTER activating WP Optimize

Below are the mobile and desktop performance metrics of the demo Site (https://wp-optimize.marketindicator.xyz/) on Google PageSpeed Insights after activating the WP Optimize plugin.

(Mobile Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights AFTER activating WP Optimize

(Desktop Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights AFTER activating WP Optimize

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix BEFORE activating WP Optimize plugin

Below is the performance metrics of demo Site (https://wp-optimize.marketindicator.xyz/) on Gtmatrix before activating WP Optimize plugin.

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix BEFORE activating WP Optimize plugin

Pricing 

WP-Optimize gives three pricing plans. 

  1. Starter Plan – costs $49 yearly. Gives product updates and premium support for 1-2 WordPress websites. 
  2. Business Plan – costs $99 yearly. Gives product updates and premium support for 3-5 WordPress websites. 
  3. Unlimited Plan – costs $199 yearly. Gives product updates and premium support for unlimited WordPress websites. 

Pros

These include: 

  1. Has an excellent database management system.
  2. Compresses images in a free plugin.
  3. Gives a decent caching and minification.

Cons

These include: 

  1. Does not have advanced options for caching or minification.
  2. Does not support a third-party CDN.

3. WP Fastest Cache

WP Fastest Cache Best WordPress Caching Plugins

WP Fastest Cache is another major WordPress caching plugin you may consider for your website.

 This caching plugin was developed by Jan Dembowski in 2014. 

WP Fastest Cache has over one million installs. Please, visit https://www.wpfastestcache.com/ to get WP Fastest Cache plugins or check the WordPress plugins directory. 

WP Fastest Cache Key features 

These are the key features in WP Fastest Cache:

  1. Mobile cache
  2. Desktop cache
  3. CDN support
  4. Widget cache
  5. Database cleanup
  6. Cache statistics
  7. Minify HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  8. Image optimization
  9. Browser caching, etc. 

WP Fastest Cache Pricing 

WP Fastest Cache has four pricing plans with a one-time payment:

  1. Bronze Plan – $49
  2. Silver Plan – $125 
  3. Gold Plan – $175
  4. Platinum Plan – $300

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights BEFORE activating WP Fastest Cache plugin

Below are the mobile and desktop performance metrics of demo Site (wp-fastest-cache.marketindicator.xyz) on Google PageSpeed Insights before activating WP Fastest Cache plugin.

(Mobile Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights BEFORE activating WP Fastest Cache plugin

(Desktop Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights BEFORE activating WP Fastest Cache plugin

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix BEFORE activating WP Fastest Cache plugin

Below is the performance metrics of demo Site (wp-fastest-cache.marketindicator.xyz) on Gtmatrix before activating WP Fastest Cache.

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix BEFORE activating WP Fastest Cache plugin

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights AFTER activating WP Fastest Cache plugin

Below are the mobile and desktop performance metrics of demo Site (wp-fastest-cache.marketindicator.xyz) on Google PageSpeed Insights before activating WP Fastest Cache plugin.

(Mobile Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights AFTER activating WP Fastest Cache plugin

(Desktop Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights AFTER activating WP Fastest Cache plugin

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix AFTER activating WP Fastest Cache plugin

Below is the performance metrics of demo Site (wp-fastest-cache.marketindicator.xyz) on Gtmatrix before activating WP Fastest Cache plugin.

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix AFTER activating WP Fastest Cache plugin

WP Fastest Cache Pros

A few pros of WP Fastest Cache are:

  1. It gives a 30-day money back guarantee. 
  2. It gives a free version. 
  3. It is simple to use.
  4. It focuses on page caching.

WP Fastest Cache Cons 

These include: 

  1. It has not been updated to specifically address Core Web Vitals. 
  2. It does not have some features that many competitors like WP Rocket gives.

4. W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache Best WordPress Caching Plugins

W3 Total Cache is a WordPress caching plugin created by Frederick Townes in 2009.

 This plugin is one of the best plugins you can use to improve your website’s performance and speed.

So far, W3 Total Cache has been installed on over one million websites.

 This plugin is managed by W3 Edge (now, Boldgrid). Kindly visit the WordPress plugins repository to get W3 Total Cache plugin or check the official website.

W3 Total Cache Key features 

W3 Total Cache features are categorized into three namely:

  1. Caching features,
  2. WebP image conversion, 
  3. Security features, and
  4. Minification features 

W3 Total Cache Pricing 

W3 Total Cache has three pricing plans:

  1. The first plan costs $99 per year with one site license. 
  2. The second plan costs $350 yearly with five site licenses. Each license costs $70.
  3. The third plan costs $500 per year with ten site licenses. Each license costs $50. 

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights before activating W3 Total Cache plugin

Below are the mobile and desktop performance metrics of the demo site (w3-total-cache.marketindicator.xyz) on Google PageSpeed Insights before activating the W3 Total Cache plugin.

(Mobile Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights before activating W3 Total Cache plugin

(Desktop Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights before activating W3 Total Cache plugin

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix BEFORE activating W3 Total Cache plugin

Below is the performance metrics of demo Site (w3-total-cache.marketindicator.xyz) on Gtmatrix before activating W3 Total Cache plugin.

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix BEFORE activating W3 Total Cache plugin

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights AFTER activating W3 Total Cache plugin

Below are the mobile and desktop performance metrics of demo Site (w3-total-cache.marketindicator.xyz) on Google PageSpeed Insights before activating W3 Total Cache plugin.

(Mobile Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights AFTER activating W3 Total Cache plugin

(Desktop Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights AFTER activating W3 Total Cache plugin

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix AFTER activating W3 Total Cache plugin

Below is the performance metrics of demo Site (w3-total-cache.marketindicator.xyz) on Gtmatrix before activating W3 Total Cache plugin.

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix AFTER activating W3 Total Cache plugin

W3 Total Cache Pros

These include:

  1. Gives multiple caching options.
  2. Gives Google PageSpeed Insights. 
  3. CDN support in its premium version. 

W3 Total Cache Cons 

These include:

  1. It is not easy to use. 
  2. It is expensive.

5. Lite Speed Cache

Lite Speed Cache Best WordPress Caching Plugins

Lite Speed Cache is a WordPress Caching plugin founded by George Wang in early 2002. 

The plugin is managed by LiteSpeed Technologies, based in New Jersey, USA.

Lite Speed Cache is a plugin for WordPress with server-level caching and website optimization features.

 Lite Speed Cache is compatible with most popular plugins like WP Rocket. 

Please, visit the official website to get the Lite Speed Cache plugin or check the WordPress plugins directory. 

Lite Speed Cache Key features 

Lite Speed cache has many features. These are the major ones: 

  1. Cache crawler
  2. Server-side caching
  3. Edge Side Includes (ESI)
  4. CDN integration
  5. eCommerce support
  6. Intelligent caching
  7. Database optimization

Lite Speed Cache Pricing 

Lite Speed Cache is free for Lite Speed server users.

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights BEFORE activating Lite Speed Cache plugin

Below are the mobile and desktop performance metrics of demo Site (https://litespeedcache.marketindicator.xyz/) on Google PageSpeed Insights before activating Lite Speed Cache plugin.

(Mobile Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights BEFORE activating Lite Speed Cache plugin

(Desktop Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights BEFORE activating Lite Speed Cache plugin

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix BEFORE activating Lite Speed Cache plugin

Below is the performance metrics of demo Site (https://litespeedcache.marketindicator.xyz/) on Gtmatrix before activating Lite Speed Cache plugin.

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix BEFORE activating Lite Speed Cache plugin

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights AFTER activating Lite Speed Cache plugin

Below are the mobile and desktop performance metrics of demo Site (https://litespeedcache.marketindicator.xyz/) on Google PageSpeed Insights before activating Lite Speed Cache plugin.

(Mobile Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights AFTER activating Lite Speed Cache plugin

(Desktop Performance Metrics)

Performance of Site on Google PageSpeed Insights AFTER activating Lite Speed Cache plugin

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix AFTER activating Lite Speed Cache plugin

Below is the performance metrics of demo Site (https://litespeedcache.marketindicator.xyz/) on Gtmatrix before activating Lite Speed Cache plugin.

Performance of Site on Gtmatrix AFTER activating Lite Speed Cache plugin

Lite Speed Cache Pros

A few pros of Lite Speed cache are:

  1. It has a free version. 
  2. Has many advanced CSS and JS optimization options. 
  3. Faster than PHP-based plugins. 
  4. Has a single-click database optimization. 

Lite Speed Cache Cons 

These are:

  1. Lite Speed Cache cannot operate with other plugins well. Particularly, it isn’t compatible with WP Rocket Caching plugin.
  2. Lite Speed Cache has too many controls that may not be easy to use, especially by beginners.  

What is the overall best WordPress Caching Plugin?

To determine the overall best WordPress Caching Plugin, I tabulated the PageSpeed Insights ‘performance metrics for mobile, desktop and gtmetrics’ performance metrics below for the 5 sites tested for before and after performance.

PageSpeed Insights & Gtmetrics Performance Indicators (BEFORE activating caching plugin)

SITE/DEVICESMobile (PSI)Desktop (PSI)Gtmetrics
wprocket.marketindicator.xyz738497
wp-optimize.marketindicator.xyz689580
wp-fastest-cache.marketindicator.xyz759081
litespeedcache.marketindicator.xyz769699
w3-total-cache.marketindicator.xyz699499

* PSI = PageSpeed Insights

PageSpeed Insights & Gtmetrics Performance Indicators (AFTER activating caching plugin)

SITE/DEVICESMobile (PSI)Desktop (PSI)Gtmetrics
wprocket.marketindicator.xyz8096100
wp-optimize.marketindicator.xyz769481
wp-fastest-cache.marketindicator.xyz769183
litespeedcache.marketindicator.xyz759172
w3-total-cache.marketindicator.xyz799699

* PSI = PageSpeed Insights

Difference between PageSpeed Insights & Gtmetrics Performance Indicators for BEFORE and AFTER activating caching plugin)

Here, I subtracted the AFTER PageSpeed Insights & Gtmetrics Performance Indicators from the BEFORE PageSpeed Insights & Gtmetrics Performance Indicators. 

  • “+” sign means increased performance
  • “-” sign means decreased performance
  • “0” sign means no performance
SITE/DEVICESMobile (PSI) *diff.Desktop (PSI) *diffGtmetrics *diff
wprocket.marketindicator.xyz+7+12+3
wp-optimize.marketindicator.xyz+8-1+1
wp-fastest-cache.marketindicator.xyz+1+1+2
litespeedcache.marketindicator.xyz-1-5-27
w3-total-cache.marketindicator.xyz+10+20

* diff = difference

From the table above, WP Rocket scored the highest overall performance value with a mobile performance gain of +7,

 a desktop performance gain of +12, and the gtmetrics gain value of +3 which is the highest for all the 5 plugins.

This means that activating WP Rocket plugin, the site performance significantly improved for mobile devices, desktop devices compared to other plugins, 

which either gave a slight increment in performance or drastically reduced the site’s performance as in the case of LiteSpeed Cache plugin on litespeedcache.marketindicator.xyz.

So, based on this analysis, WP Rocket is the best WordPress caching plugin and is therefore highly recommended.

Conclusion

The outcome of this review has proved that WP Rocket is the best WordPress caching plugin. 

WP Rocket beat the other plugins out of the water under the similar conditions. 

Thus, I highly recommend you use WP Rocket on your site. However, in doing so, please only get the official PRO version of the plugin to get the best result.

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