The speed of your website is important for both user experience and SEO / Online findability.
An effective way to increase loading speed (pagespeed) of a WordPress website can be improved by website caching apply. We will discuss exactly what caching entails later in this article.
However, there are many different caching plugins for WordPress on the market and a wrong setting can kill your entire website.
In this review, we look at one of the most accessible as well as powerful caching plugins for WordPress: WP Rocket.
What is caching?
Before we dive into the power of a caching plugin like WP Rocket, it is good to first understand what exactly caching is.
In simple terms, caching is a technique whereby frequently used data (such as a page on your website) is stored and therefore can be presented faster to the website visitor.
This is because visiting a website takes time and computer power from the server to your device and vice versa. Using a cache can save time.
The applying cache can, especially in the case of WordPress websites, make the difference between a slow, frustrating website and a fast, pleasant website experience.
What benefits does caching offer?
Applying cache offers several convenient advantages:
- Pages load faster
- Pleasing impact (UX) user experience through fast load times
- Positive for online findability
- Increased conversion rate
In addition, our stress arcs are getting shorter and shorter. We are used to getting our information in a quick way.
Does a website take a long time to load? Then we often look for the next website that does.
So having a fast website is a crucial part of your SEO strategy. Combine this with a strong internal link structure And you have powerful weapons in the arsenal.
What is WP Rocket?
WP Rocket is a caching plugin for WordPress. It is considered the best caching plugin by the power and simplicity of this plugin.
Through a few simple clicks, a WordPress website can be sped up tremendously through WP Rocket. Sometimes up to several seconds faster.
Where other caching plugins are difficult to set up properly, simplicity is the strength of this plugin.
Because beware, misconfiguring a caching plugin can lead to a non-functioning WordPress website.
Functionalities of WP Rocket
WP Rocket is full of useful features that speed up your WordPress website. Below I will highlight the most important features.
- Caching for both mobile devices and desktop users
- LazyLoad for media (images, iframes)
- Image dimensions
- Preloading cache, links, files and fonts
- Cache exclusions
- Ability to link CDN
- Support WebP images
In addition, when you activate the plugin, you already get a lot of options set up automatically to make it as easy as possible for you.
Consider the following elements:
- Page caching
- GZIP Compression
- Cache preloading
- eCommerce optimization
- Browser cache
- Perfect compatibility with plugins & themes
Browser caching for mobile & desktop
In terms of cache, WP Rocket offers several powerful options:
- Seperate mobile cache
- User caching
- Cache age
One of the first features of WP Rocket has to do with 'Browser Caching'. It is possible to generate a separate cache for mobile devices.
This can be useful in some cases when specific functionalities or themes are used for mobile devices. In practice, this is not common.
In addition, WP Rocket offers user cache. This is useful when you have user-specific content on your WordPress website. Think of member sites or web shops where the pages are optimized for a user.
In addition to mobile cache & user cache, WP Rocket gives you the option to adjust the lifetime of your browser cache. By default, the lifetime is set to 10 hours. Files older than the lifetime are automatically deleted to save space.
Do you set the lifetime to 0? Then WP Rocket does not empty the cache automatically.
But why set a cache lifetime at all? This has to do with available storage in your hosting package.
Do you have a smaller server room? Then it is advisable to leave the life time at 10 hours. Do you have more space? Then you can potentially increase the lifetime.
Optimization of web files
File optimization is one of the most important factors in speeding up your website.
WP Rocket allows you to Optimize HTML, CSS & JS files.
In doing so, it uses some important techniques like file resizing, also called "minify". This technique removes all spaces and enters from the generated files to make even smaller files.
In addition, it also offers a technique called "merging" in which it merges files in order to reduce the number of requests to the server. Which in turn works positively for the loading speed.
Lazyload for media
Lazyload is a Web term used to indicate that a file is not loaded until it is needed on the website.
In practice, that means WP Rocket ensures that files such as images or embedded YouTube videos are not loaded until the user has scrolled to that point on the page.
This saves a lot of "heavy" requests to the server(s) and in turn makes the website faster.
In addition to lazy loading of media such as images and videos, WP Rocket has another useful functionality: Image dimensions.
With the image dimensions option, the plugin adds missing height and width attributes to images on the websigte. This keeps layouts from sliding and in turn helps this with the UX (User Experience) of your website. this in turn increases time-on-site and you guessed it..... Online findability.
Preloading links, files & fonts
Another powerful technique this cache plugin includes is the ability to preload links, DNS requests, files and fonts.
With cache preloading, WP Rocket automatically goes through the site's sitemap to save all URLs to the database in advance. In this way, all URLs that can be visited are cached and thus lightning fast for the visitor.
The same goes for Fonts & DNS requests. By specifying these, WP Rocket can pre-download them and more easily serve them to the website visitor.
Link preloading ensures that when you hover your mouse over a link, the browser already tries to fetch the page. This makes for a lightning-fast user experience.
Advanced cache rules
Want to fine-tune the caching of your WordPress website even further? Then WP Rocket also has advanced rules.
The advanced rules allow you to address the following topics:
- Exclude URLs from cache
- Do not cache cookies
- Not caching certain user agents
- Always empty certain URLs
- Query Strings caching
WP Rocket in combination with CDN
WP Rocket is good to use in conjunction with a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
For example, it offers its own network called RocketCDN. Taking this service costs $7.99 per month.
In addition, you can also use external CDN services such as Cloudflare, Amazon, Cloudfront, MaxCDN, KeyCDN or Sucuri.
Support WebP images
Finally, I want to address the support to cache WebP files. WP Rocket will use the available WebP files show if the browser is capable of doing so.
However, generating WebP files is not done by WP Rocket itself but by external file optimization plugins such as Imagify, ShortPixel or WebP Express.
Why WP Rocket?
If you have used other caching plugins like W3 Total Cache, you know why WP Rocket is the best choice as a cache plugin.
Where other cache plugins are cumbersome to use and bursting with options that potentially break your website, WP Rocket can be set up with a few simple clicks.
In addition, despite its simplicity under the hood, it does a tremendous job of speeding up load times where we often apply it for sites in our own portfolio.
WP Rocket offers a handy manual in addition to its easy setup, and the support they offer is very good through the ticket system.
Finally, WP Rocket is not pricey and provides a 14-day no-quibble money-back guarantee.
What are best settings for WP Rocket
Despite its simplicity, we can understand that you still like to "check off" what the best WP Rocket settings are for your WordPress website.
Every WordPress website is different; A different theme, different composition of plugins and different content. So there is no one-sided answer to this question.
However, I do like to steer you in the right direction, for example, WP Rocket has a short starters guide written to find the best settings for your situation.
Yes there are alternatives, but they are not nearly as easy to use. Consider W3 Total Cache, Hyper Cache & Hyper Cache.
Yes. WP Rocket is a powerful caching WordPress plugin. So it is designed specifically for WordPress websites.
WP Rocket sometimes has discount codes / coupons available.
Emptying the WP Rocket cache on your WordPress website is quite easy:
After installing the WP Rocket plugin, you have added the "WP Rocket" option in the black admin bar at the top.
When you hover your mouse over it, a sub-menu comes up. Here is the "Clear and preload cache" option. Select this if you want to clear the entire cache.
Want to clear only a specific page. Then go to the page in question, follow the steps above and select "Clear this post."
Testing the load time of your page can be done through one of many free online tools.
Herewith the most popular:
Be sure to check carefully from where testing is done. A test from USA or Canada will take longer than a server from the UK or the Netherlands.