February 17, 2020

Why is WordPress Caching Critical for your Website

Imagine that you own an online store, an eCommerce one.

There are plenty of items in the product list, all of them of top quality. Your website is decorated with themes and the interface is near perfect.

Even better, you have been successful in launching ad campaigns. For that matter even managed to divert users from your marketing campaigns back to your store. 

WordPress Caching

However, in spite of all of this, your website isn’t experiencing decent sales. In fact, the bounce rate of your website is pretty huge. 

Have you wondered why? 

Around 47% of the customers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or maybe less. Failing the above, they are bound to make a switch abandoning your website. 

What’s worse? Google flags websites that take too long to respond, affecting your search engine rankings. In fact, the speed of a website along with the response time is among the major factors affecting Google’s SERP.

This means that WordPress website speed is not just important to retain your visitors but also, for safeguarding your search engine rankings. 

Now, given that a standard webpage loads a minimum of 1.96MB of data, the time taken to download the same is bound to be more and this is where we introduce the concept of WordPress caching. 

An excellent technique to reduce the upload speed of a page, or load pages faster, WordPress Caching is the key to optimizing the performance of the website. In case, your website has been suffering from poor speed, this article will cover all that you need to know about the topic. 

What is WordPress caching?

Wordpress cache - increase page load speed

WordPress caching is a process where a static version of the website is created and fetched, every time a user asks for it.

In simple terms, WordPress cache is a temporary storage location where the frequently-accessed website files are stored.

So, the next time a visitor initiates a request for a particular page, it is retrieved from the cache, speeding up the process.

And to technically execute the above, WordPress caching plugins are used.

Installing the caching plugins facilitates the process of creating a cached version of the page. When a visitor places a request, the data is first looked up in the cache. If a cached version exists, it is sent back to the browser without perusing the actual database.

What are the types of Caching?

There are two different kinds of WordPress Caching:

  1. WordPress Browser Caching or Client-Side Catching: Here, the browser stores static content of the website so that it doesn’t need to download the content repetitively. A WordPress browser caching plugin facilitates the above. In simple terms, a local copy of the website is stored by the browser in the hard drive of the device. This accelerates the pace at which a website is loaded by the browser.
  2. Server-Side Caching: Occurring on the opposite end, this includes all of the WordPress caching protocols and they are:
  • Page caching: The easiest of all, page caching stores the dynamically created HTML files in the memory or the hard disk of the server. Requests are then served from here.
  • Database query caching: The result of a query is cached to the database and further, stored on the webserver for quick access.
  • Opcode caching: WordPress website has PHP files that need to be compiled in a code that is then executed by the device accessing it. Opcode caching saves a copy of the code in between the requests to eliminate frequent compilation and amplify the server response time.

Benefits of WordPress Caching

There are, in fact, plenty of benefits of WordPress Caching. The most prominent ones include: 

  1. Speed: Static pages that are cached using the WordPress cache plugin tend to load faster and quicker. This improves the response time of the site, upscaling the website performance. 
  2. SEO Benefits: As stated earlier, website load time is one of the key factors of Google SERP. Websites that load quickly have a better search engine ranking, enhancing the visibility of the site 
  3. Improved User Experience: Faster loading websites save a lot of time and enhance the browsing experience of the user. Also, the file size of static pages is less as compared to the dynamic user request, saving significant user bandwidth.

Worst-case scenarios of not setting up WordPress Caching

To have a better understanding, let us see how things work without a WordPress cache. 

A user visits your website. To access the same or peruse through your website, he/she would initiate a request asking the browser to render the information.

The server would look for the files or the data in the database, compile them in the form of an HTML page and send it back to the user. 

Now, as WordPress is a dynamic website, the content requested is always new.

Now, this process of locating files, gathering them and then compiling, consumes a lot of time. Even though the information asked for, remains the same, the browser needs to execute the same process time and again

All of this is bound to take a considerable amount of time, lowering the page loading speed.

It is pretty obvious that in the absence of a WordPress cache plugin, the speed, as well as the performance of the website, dramatically suffers, degrading user experience. Not to mention, the rising bounce rates, the dropping conversions and the falling Google search ranking that follows.

WordPress caching plugins you can choose:

1. W3 Total Cache

W3 Total cache

One of the widely used WordPress Cache plugins, the plugin has more than a million downloads with a 4.3 user rating. It is recommended and used by prominent WordPress websites like wpbeginner.com.

Key Features: 

  •  Provides transparent CDN management with the Media Library and WordPress
  • Enables caching of objects in disk or memory.
  • It comes with non-blocking Javascript embedding

2. WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache

Developed by Automattic, the developers of WordPress itself, the plugin has an active community contribution, and is regularly maintained.

Key Features:

  • Static HTML files instead of heavy PHP scripts to decrease page load time
  • Page compression supported
  • Rebuilding cache at regular intervals

3. WP Rocket

WP Rocket

WP Rocket is a powerful WordPress cache plugin. It works great for high traffic business websites. It’s clean code, lots of hooks, and lazy loading techniques make it a favorite among WordPress users.

Key Features:

  • Quick and easy configuration; no programming knowledge required
  • Cache preloading for improved indexing on search engines
  • Page caching for faster page load speeds

4. WP Fastest Cache

WP Fastest cache

Another freely available WordPress cache plugin, this is one of the fastest caching plugins with additional features like CDN support and SSL support. It is a complete caching solution with Mobile and Widget cache in addition to Desktop cache.

Key Features:

  • Browser caching to minimize page load time for repeat user
  • Minify resources like HTML, CSS, and JavaScripts for performance optimization
  • Enable caching for Desktop, mobile and widgets

5. WP-Optimize

WP Optimize

WP-Optimize is a multipurpose caching plugin you can use to optimize your website. The plugin helps you take care of everything from the database to image optimization. 

Key Features:

  • Cleans the database and allows you to retrieve the lost space due to data fragmentation.
  • It allows you to compress every single image on your computer.
  • Optimize any site or combination of sites using the Multi-Site support option

Recommended for you: 7 Best WordPress Cache Plugins

A brief note on CDN caching

CDN caching is a concept where the website content is cached to a proxy server, one that is in close vicinity of the user location. This reduces the time taken to serve the request and respond to the user. Every time a request is sent by the user, content gets fetched and is then, stored for future requests. 

Final Word 

It is pretty clear that WordPress caching is not an option but a necessity. With more and more websites surfacing over the web, competition is getting tougher and you cannot afford to miss even a single visitor, let alone the fact of falling conversion rates. 

Do let us know if you have any tips on leveraging caching better and what your pick of caching plugin is. Write to us in the comments!

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