A fundamental issue when creating a website with WordPress is that it must load as fast as possible. It is possible that if a website takes too long to load, you will leave quickly or even not wait for the load to finish.
The faster the page loads, the better your user experience will be, and you will probably stay longer on it and navigate through more menu items. As a website owner, slow loading can lead to a loss of potential customers or sales, so loading speed becomes critical.
Another issue to take into account is the positioning in Google and other search engines. There are a number of factors in determining a page’s position in Google search results, and the loading speed is an important one. Keep in mind that Google allocates certain resources (time, data transferred, etc.) to track each website, so the faster you load, the more information you can read from it.
There are hundreds of cache plugins to optimize WordPress. In this article, we talk about one of the best cache plugins for speed optimization, which is WP rocket. WP Rocket is a caching plugin for WordPress; currently, at the time of writing, WP Rocket is the best caching plugin for WordPress.
What Is WordPress Caching?
WordPress is a content management system that dynamically generates the pages that are loaded in the browser. To do this, it executes PHP code and queries the database. From this, it generates a page in HTML format and returns it to the browser.
All this process can take a time of execution, which can slow down the server’s response time, which is the time that passes from when a user makes a request for a page from his browser until he receives the first content. This will be especially noticeable if we have many plugins installed, a paid theme, or a lot of data in the database.
The caching systems save a file in HTML format for each of the web pages. These files are generated at the moment in which each page is requested.
In this way, when a user wants to see a page of our WordPress, the cache plugin will first check if they already have a cached version of that page. If so, it will return said file, reducing the response time. The only disadvantage of this will be the space that the cache occupies (files of each cached page), but we can control this.
|Easy to configuration Plugin||No free trail|
|All caching options|
|Great WP Rocket support team|
|Include advance settings|
Benefits of WP Rocket
First of all, we will list the three main advantages that WP Rocket has over other competitors.
- Learning curve and configuration difficulty: The first thing that WP Rocket has done is that the configuration is much easier than in the other plugins, simplifying the process and bringing the cache.
- Technical Support and Help: The technical support and customer care from the WP Rocket team are AMAZING. In addition, they deal with cache issues and deal with JS and CSS code optimization, tweaking, etc.
- Efficiency and stability: WP Rocket is an excellent option for efficiency and stability since it usually does not fail, and its support responds very quickly. Responses from cache are fast, and the plugin does not consume many resources.
It should also be noted that, through Imagify (another WP Media plugin ), WP Rocket itself allows us to easily implement webP in an effective way. WP Rocket also has its own CDN service, called RocketCDN, which we can autoconfigure using WP Rocket. This for technical users is “irrelevant,” but for NON-technical users, it implies being able to implement a CDN in WordPress easily.
How To Use WP Rocket for Optimizing Your Site
To configure WP Rocket, we will have to go on the WordPress administration side to Settings> WP Rocket. In this way, we access the main page of the plugin.
The main message that is displayed indicates that WP Rocket is already working. This is so because, unlike other cache plugins, you do not have to activate the cache for it to work, but it begins to act as soon as we have activated it.
On the left side, we will see several tabs with the different configuration sections of WP Rocket (cache, optimize files, media, etc.), which we will go through one by one.
In the central part, we will see the license that we have contracted and the expiration date. From that date, we will no longer be able to update the plugin, although it will continue to work. On your right, we have a button where we can access our WP Rocket account. Here we can renew the license if necessary.
Below we have 2 options that we can activate or not: with Rocket Tester, we can test beta versions of future releases of WP Rocket. Since this is a beta, errors are possible, so I do not recommend activating it on a production page. The advantage will be that you will have new functionalities.
With Rocket Analytics, anonymous information will be sent from your website to WP Rocket support. The plugin development team will use this information to apply future improvements, and here you are free to leave it activated or not.
WP Rocket features and Dashboard
WP Rocket is a browser caching plugin and ensures that numerous small optimizations are performed on your WordPress website.
By default, it does these 5 things as soon as you activate the plugin:
- Page caching (static HTML file cache)
- Browser caching (on Apache)
- GZIP compression (on Apache)
- Cross-Origin support for web fonts (on Apache)
- Support for external plugins, themes, and your WordPress hosting
You can then adjust the following settings yourself within the interface:
- Cache preloading – this allows you to build the cache so that your website is consistent and fast.
- Minification – this helps to minify and combine your CSS and JS files.
- Remove question mark strings from static sources.
- Lazy load – this slows down the loading of images or videos below the fold until a user starts scrolling the page.
- Postpone JS loading
- Disable emojis/embeds
- Combining Google Fonts files
Once you have installed and activated WP Rocket, all the functions described above will be automatically implemented within your website. In the home screen of the dashboard, you can easily empty the cache of the entire WordPress website or preload the entire site in one go.
If you select the cache tab, you can determine how the page caching works at a basic level. You have the following options:
- Include/exclude mobile users from WordPress caching
- Include or exclude logged-in users from seeing cached pages
- Enable caching for HTTPS pages if you are using an SSL certificate.
- Set how long a page remains in the cache. The default setting is 10 hours.
What you see in the image above is the content of the “Cache” section. The configuration, normally, is left as in the photo for static webs or blogs.
In the “Mobile cache” section, we mark the first option called “Enable cache for mobile devices” so that it will obviously serve cache to mobile devices, but we leave the option “Separately save files for mobile devices” unchecked. This is because currently, unless you have a specific version for mobile phones (which is not currently implemented), this option is useless.
In the next section and the option “Enable the cache for users connected to WordPress,” we always leave it unchecked unless we know exactly what we do. This option is normally used for websites with login such as WooCommerce, membership areas, or communities, but always be careful not to serve cached personal content to other users.
As for the last section and the option called “Specify the time after which you want to delete the global cache,” we must put a different value depending on the project and its needs.
On normal blogs or corporate websites, putting 0 and relying on cache flush policies is ideal. However, on more dynamic websites, specifying a value between 4 and 12 is fine, to “purge” in case a problem appears in the stored and served cache.
There is nothing more to touch in this section, so we move on to the next one.
- Minification reduces the size of the site’s code by removing unnecessary characters (white space) without affecting your WordPress website’s operation.
- Concatenation (concatenation) the number of files on your site reduces several CSS / JS files together to combine.
There are also a number of more advanced things to set on this page, such as:
- Disable CSS / JS with render-blocking
- Combine Google Fonts files (useful if you use multiple Google fonts on the website)
- Remove query strings from static sources (the effect of this will not be great, but it can improve your GT-Metrix score)
Our advice is to activate as many of the suggested options as possible. It is important to do this per option, especially with the advanced options. You will also notice that WP Rocket itself comes with the advice to test it and turn off the option if there are any problems.
3-Media and Lazy Loading
You can enable lazyload for images and/or videos in the Media tab and disable WordPress emojis and embeds.
One of the good features in this tab is replacing YouTube video iframes with a static preview image. If you embed a lot of YouTube videos on your site, it is a great way to speed up your site without losing many usabilities.
If we do not use preloading on the site, our website only builds the cache for a page when someone actually visits this page. It makes sure that all visitors see this cache page by caching the cache itself instead of waiting for someone to visit the page with preloading.
One of the advantages of WP Rocket is that it offers you two different ways to preload your cache. You can preload with a sitemap or via a preload bot. The first is my own preference because it is quite simple to perform without problems. Using a preload bot can cause problems on weaker (budget) servers.
5-Advanced Rules section
In the “Advanced Rules” section, we can configure exceptions in the WP Rocket cache. This part is intended to “play” with the cache and select in an advanced way the parts that are not going to be served from the cache and what criteria to follow.
Here we will not explain exactly what you should put in this section because each project is different and what must be configured in each case varies a lot.
In eCommerce cases created with WooCommerce, we recommend that you enter the URLs of “My account” and the cart pages. However, it is assumed that WP Rocket is already prepared to detect session pages and that it should add them automatically. WP Rocket allows you to filter by cookie, user-agent, query-string, and by URL.
The database option is useful for revisions, deleted comments, and other junk that pollutes your database. In this tab, you can clean your entire database with 1 click. This option saves you huge time and website space.
If you’re using a CDN to speed up the site’s global delivery, WP Rocket can help with that too. Simply explained, with a CDN, you can ensure that you retrieve the images of your website from another server. This reduces the load on your own server and makes the website work faster again.
For example, you can use one CNAME for your images and another for the rest of your files.
If you’re using a CDN such as Cloudflare, WP Rocket also includes a special Cloudflare add-on that can help you set up Cloudflare and control certain aspects of the Cloudflare service directly WP Rocket interface.
The Heartbeat API is functionality that WordPress incorporates with which connections are made between the browser and the server where the web is hosted to perform certain automatic tasks. All this without having to load the page. These automatic connections are made through the wp-admin / admin-ajax.php file.
Among the functions performed by the Heartbeat API would be the automatic saving of entries when we are editing them, notifications in the WordPress administration, blocking a page or entry when it is being edited so that another user cannot do it, etc.
In the “Add-On” section of WP Rocket, we have some interesting options, but we will only focus on two.
- Google Tracking: If we activate it, it allows us to save the Google Analytics JS file locally, and that means that we can specify “browser cache.”
- Facebook Pixel: The same as the above. Save the Facebook Pixel JS locally to be able to specify “browser cache.”
These two things are necessary because, in many cases, they are the ONLY two files detected by Google PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix as having unadjusted browser cache values.
In this section, we can find several more options:
The integration of WP Rocket with Varnish so that the Varnish cache can be flushed from the WordPress control panel happens when it detects the OPCache.
- Integration with CloudFlare as CDN and optimizer allows us to automatically empty Cloudflare cache and from the control panel. This way, we get both WP Rocket and CloudFlare to sync perfectly.
- The integration with the Sucuri proxy, which does more or less the same as the Cloudflare integration.
In any case, the configuration depends on the project.
WP Rocket Pricing
The WP rocket WordPress plugin comes with 3 different price plans. Go to the Wp-rocket.me to buy this plugin.
- $49 Single: The single package is for one website that has one year of support.
- $99 Plus: The plus package is for three websites, and that has one year of support.
- $249 Infinite: The infinite is best for unlimited websites that have one year of support.
The difference between the plans will be in the number of installations you can make of WP Rocket. If you only have one website, the cheapest plan will work for you. On the other hand, if you maintain many websites or are a developer, your option will be INFINITE.
Keep in mind that the license is valid for one year, during which you can update your WP Rocket whenever necessary. Once the license expires, the plugin will continue to work, but you will no longer be able to update it. That is why it is advisable to renew the license when it expires.
Once the purchase process is finished, you will go to a page where it will be reported that the order has been completed successfully. In addition, you will see a button with which you can download the plugin.
WP Rocket Toolbar
When we have WP Rocket activated in our WordPress, we will see a list of tools in the bar displayed at the top of the web, as long as we have logged in with an administrator user. It has several useful options:
- Settings: accesses the WP Rocket settings
- Clear Cache – Clear all WP Rocket cache. This option should only be used when you need it or when the plugin itself recommends it, for example, after installing another plugin.
- Clean this entry / Purge this URL: the text changes depending on whether we are editing an entry or seeing it in the front of the web. It is very useful. Clear only the cache of the page we are viewing. This allows for a much more efficient erase.
- Regenerate the critical path of the CSS: it will only be shown if we have activated the Optimize CSS delivery option in the OPTIMIZE FILES tab. Forces the CSS code that will be loaded in the header to be regenerated. It can be used if we see design errors on any page.
- Preload the cache: launches the automatic cache generation process that we had seen before.
- Documentation, Frequently Asked Questions, and Support: we can access different WP Rocket website pages with documentation on the use of the cache plugin.
WordPress users are usually quite reluctant to pay for a plugin, especially if there are free options. In WP Rocket’s case, I really think it is worth it, considering its low cost and everything it offers us.
WP Rocket is one of the plugins that we have been using for a long time and is still very satisfied. It is not without reason that the plugin is included as standard (including optimization) with our managed WordPress hosting and maintenance packages from Swipe Business.
Of course, you can use a free plugin, but to have the same as with WP Rocket, we will have to install 3 or 4 additional plugins.
It is much better to have an all in one. First, because everything it incorporates is useful and, second, because we avoid possible incompatibilities. Remember, a fast website generates more income and ranks better in Google.