One of my tutorials on Tuts+ talks about top 10 wordpress optimization tips. Some of the tips in that post mention using cache plugins, compressing CSS and JS, optimizing images and so on.
In this post, I’ll give you a brief overview of the best plugins you can use to do all that and more with relative ease.
1. LiteSpeed Cache
LiteSpeed Cache is one of the best if not the best plugins out there for optimizing your website. Don’t be fooled by the name of the plugin. It actually does a lot more than just cache content.
- It supports lazy loading of images with the ability to use responsive image placeholders while the images are loading. You can also lazily load iframes.
- You can optimize images with lossless as well as lossless compression. The plugin also provides support for converting images to WebP format.
Some optimization and caching features require careful integration of the server with the plugin. Therefore, they are only available on servers with LiteSpeed installed on the server.
- You can set up automatic page caching to load pages much faster. There is even support for private cache for logged in users.
- Caches will become stale after a while. LiteSpeed understands this and allows you to schedule a cleanup of specific URLs. You can also set up some related pages to be automatically purged based on certain events such as after publication.
The only downside to LiteSpeed Cache is that it requires you to spend some time learning what all the options related to website optimization do.
2. W3 total cache
The W3 total cache plugin also called W3TC is a web host agnostic WordPress optimization plugin. One major advantage of using this plugin is that it will work equally well with all types of sharing services such as a shared hosting, dedicated hosting or private hosting.
- This plugin comes with support for caching mobile version of pages based on user agents. It also works with AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages.
- You can also cache data for categories, tags, comments or search results in memory or on disk as well as on CDN.
- There is support for caching database objects and fragments in memory or on disk.
3. WP fastest cache
The WP fastest cache plugin is another option for people who want to optimize their website. It’s easy to set up and uses a bunch of techniques to improve website performance.
- As you may know, generating a web page in WordPress requires some PHP processing as well as fetching data from the MySQL database. Repeating this process for each page visit will consume CPU cycles that could be used elsewhere. The WP Fastest Cache plugin solves this problem by caching a static HTML version of your WordPress posts.
The free version of this plugin is enough for basic optimization, but you will need to use the premium version to access more features.
The premium version offers dedicated cache for mobiles and widgets. It also allows you to optimize images by compressing and converting them to more efficient formats such as WebP. You can also lazy load your images with the premium version.
While WP Fastest Cache is a great plugin, I feel that its free version is lacking compared to other available options.
4. WP optimize cache
The WP optimize cache plugin is a feature-rich WordPress optimization plugin that uses multiple techniques to make sure your website performs at its best.
There are three things that can slow down a WordPress site – lack of a proper caching mechanism, a clogged database and unoptimized images. The WP-Optimize Cache plugin solves all these problems for you.
- You can configure this plugin to clean the database regularly. This step involves multiple actions, such as deleting unnecessary data, such as comments and posts that are junk. You can also defrag your MySQL tables to improve query speed.
- You can also configure browser cache related options with this plugin so that pages load much faster with repeated views. What if you don’t want to cache certain specific parts of your website? You can easily exclude them from the cache using the advanced cache exclusion rules.
- WP-Optimize Cache also offers impressive image optimization features. You can apply lossy compression to large images to significantly reduce their size. It is possible to perform bulk compression on multiple images at once and if you don’t like the result, there is an option to restore original images. You can also tell the plugin to automatically compress any new images uploaded to the site.
Some features like lazy loading of images and quick deletion of unused or unwanted images are only available in the premium version of the plugin. The premium version also offers WP-CLI support, multisite support as well as advanced scheduling capabilities among other features.
5. Super Page Cache for Cloudflare
Anyone who knows what a CDN is has probably also heard of Cloudflare. This Super Page Cache plugin by Cloudflare is incredibly easy to use. All you need to do is provide your Cloudflare account’s API key. The default settings pre-applied in this plugin work great out of the box. However, you can also adjust some options if you are not satisfied with the results and want to experiment.
This plugin works great in conjunction with other optimization plugins I mentioned above. You just need to make sure that the page cache feature is disabled on those plugins, while all other optimizations work as usual. All the aspects of page caching will be handled by this plugin.
If you’re using a web host that has LiteSpeed installed on its servers, you should go ahead and install the LiteSpeed cache plugin without a second thought. This plugin does an excellent job of optimizing your WordPress site. It will take you some time to figure out what all the available options do, but the effort is definitely worth it.
If you’re using a web host that doesn’t have LiteSpeed installed, I’d recommend using the WP-Optimize Cache plugin along with the Super Page Cache for Cloudflare plugin. Using both together will really improve your site’s performance.