So you clicked on a link and now you are waiting for what seems like an eternity for the website to load. Exasperated, you eventually hit Back without ever visiting that website.
We’ve all done it.
But you don’t want that to happen with your WordPress website. At all.
Excessive load times of your site will not only hamper your traffic, but it will also lower your Google search rank significantly and decrease your website’s overall potential.
But don’t sweat it! A caching plugin is all you need.
A caching plugin is the easiest, most effective and pocket-friendly way to deal with the time lag and related problems. In layman’s terms, they help produce and save a static version of your website. So instead of loading all of the PHP scripts and making SQL calls to the database, it is the saved copies that a visitor views and this makes your website load much faster.
Why WP Super Cache
Now the best WordPress caching plugin in town is WP Super Cache. Why? There’s a lot of reasons for that. Briefly stating:
- It’s free of cost.
- Super user-friendly
- Extra features without any additional cost
- Really good support
- Automattic develops it, the same company that makes WordPress. So you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues.
And that it is the most downloaded caching plugin in the market, this is just another proof to its awesomeness.
It is very easy to install and get started with, even for the most beginner users.
Simply search for “WP Super Cache” from the plugins section of your WordPress dashboard, and then click on Install Now.
After activation, you will get a notification from WP Super Cache that caching is not enabled on your website at the moment. Go to Settings > WP Super Cache, and click the Caching On button under the Easy tab to enable caching. Click Update Status.
You can also click on the Test Cache button to test the cache. If the time stamps on both your pages match, then caching is working properly.
Kudos! If you have done this much, you are already enjoying a significant boost in your website’s load time.
But that’s not it. The Advanced section gives you further options to customize the plugin.
The Next Step – Going Advanced
Go to Settings > WP Super Cache and click on the Advanced tab.
Check the first box. Next, you have the option to choose from any of the three ways to cache files depending upon your server configuration: mod_rewrite, PHP and legacy caching.
Explaining in layman’s words, mod_rewrite presents the saved HTML version of your website to a visitor without starting the PHP process, which decreases the site’s load time and thus makes it the most suitable option to choose.
The PHP service is chosen by default, and although it is fast enough as it serves the HTML version of the website using the PHP process, it is slower than the mod_rewrite option.
The Legacy option caches the pages of your website, but it still initiates the PHP process and uses the normal database to get content, hence reducing its efficiency. It is generally used for logged in users and visitors who have commented on your site.
Therefore we highly recommend using the mod_rewrite option.
Click the Update Status button to save the changes.
You would now get a notification that says Rewrite rules must be updated. Scroll down and click on the Update Mod_Rewrite Rules button.
Next, you have several other options to choose from and modify.
Enable compression of pages
Check the option that says Compress pages so they’re served more quickly to the visitors. This will serve the cached files as a compressed file which will further reduce the load time of the site.
Don’t cache pages for known users
What this does is that users who are logged into the website, will be be served non-cached pages. Now contrary to what may seem to you in the first impression, this feature is really beneficial for those who use the website often. Let’s say you’re logged in while doing some updates, so you will be able to see pages with those updates applied, instead of the cached version of the pages without the updates.
But if all this seems a bit daunting and confusing to you to do, don’t worry, for you can always tick the “recommended” options and get the best of the plugin.
Expiry Time & Garbage Collection
This lets you set up a time and frequency for garbage collection of the cached files from the server. New cached files will be created and sustained according to the schedule you define. There are the default options chosen, so you can leave it as it is if you want.
You are mostly done till here, but if you want, there is more to explore. The different tabs in the Settings page of WP Super Cache give you several further options to customize your website.
Setting Up CDN
Under the CDN tab, check the box that says Enable CDN Support. In Off-site URL enter the URL of your pullzone. You can enter other CNAMES of your pullzone that you have created in the Additional CNAMES field. Check the box that says Skip https URLs to avoid “mixed content” errors and hit Save Changes.
Here you can view the stats related to the cached files. You also have an option to delete the expired cached files too.
The plugin generates the new cached files when any visitor visits a particular page for the first time. To the first visitor, a non-cached page is displayed. If you click on the Preload Cache Now button in the Preload tab, the plugin will create the cached version of all the pages even before a visitor visits the page. This will ensure that all your site visitors get to see the cached files only.
You can choose the options available according to your needs.
A really appreciable advantage of WP Super Cache is that it caches selected plugins too, which allows those plugins to load faster than the others. These plugins will be displayed on the Plugins page of your WordPress dashboard under WP Super Cache folder. You can always try caching the different applicable plugins by checking the Enabled option and hitting Update next to the respective names.
This tab should preferably be dealt in case you are experiencing a problem with the plugin. In the IP address box, you can enter the IP addresses you want to be logged. This log will be saved in /wp-content/cache/ as a .txt file. Here you can track bugs if any. You can detect when your server or database becomes abnormally slow, and other similar snags.
You can enable the Cache Status Messages and then review the page generation time and database server’s speed. Note that the page generation time is not the same as your website’s load time. It’s the time taken by WordPress to put together the HTML files and cache the page.
The Check front page every 5 minutes option can also be activated. It searches for a specified keyword on your website to makes sure no page is blank due to any glitch whatsoever. Press Save when you are done.
We hope you found this guide to set up WP Super Cache helpful. If you ever get into a hitch or if you don’t know about a particular feature, WP Super Cache has an amazing support forum and a really informative FAQ section to help you out.
So what are you waiting for? We’ve told you about the most loved WordPress caching plugin which has an enormous fan-cum-user base of more than 1 million active users globally. Install it, customize it, and sit back and enjoy the responses from your happy visitors and get a great Google ranking!