A cache is a hardware or software storage layer used to store data to allow for quicker retrieval as needed.
Every time someone visits your website, there is a request made to the server in order for elements such as fonts and images to be relayed on the visitor’s end.
Websites that are clunky or those with loads of data may take longer to load which can result in poor user experiences. Furthermore, slow loading websites may rank less favourably on SERPs.
On your WordPress website, there are pages which are frequently visited. During each visit, the same content is served to users. Instead of their browsers loading all the data on the website and its pages afresh with every visit, WordPress caching instructs the server to store data for easier retrieval.
Do you need a WordPress cache plugin for your website? This depends on your hosting provider. Some hosting companies offer caching with their packages. This is why it’s important to choose a reliable hosting provider.
A WordPress cache plugin is recommended if you’d prefer not to do the technical work of configuring your site. Let’s examine the best free and paid options.
1 Best Free WordPress Cache Plugin: Cache Enabler
WEBP has quickly become the format of choice for most websites. Unlike bitmaps & PNGs, WEBP files maintain high quality without taking up lots of storage. They, therefore, load much faster and result in better Core Web Vitals scores which means better SERP ranking.
Cache Enabler works with plugins such as ShortPixel and Optimus to convert media files to the WEBP format with ease.
To round it off, the plugin is relatively easy to use.
2 Best Premium (Paid) WordPress Cache Plugin: WP Rocket
WP Rocket is a paid caching plugin that costs about £34.50 ($39) per website, £87.58 ($99) for three websites, and £176.04 ($199) for an unlimited number of sites. While it doesn’t come with a free trial, there’s a 14-day money back guarantee.
The charge is quite worth it for several reasons.
WP Rocket is easy to set up and offers a simple user interface. Impressively, it manages to offer an experience that’s not too complicated for beginners while offering enough for developers to work with.
It’s super fast and works well with e-commerce websites which in many cases have the greatest need for caching given the high number of visual assets they serve up to visitors. Additionally, WP Rocket offers WordPress database optimization, lazy loading, CloudFlare compatibility, and Google Fonts optimization.
3 Comet Cache (Free + Paid)
The Comet Cache is available on both a free and paid tier which has a one-time cost ranging from £34.50 ($39) to £176.04 ($199).
One standout attribute of Comet Cache is the documentation available to guide you on all you need to know about caching.
It has an easy set up process, caching for pages, posts and even tags, a robust free feature set, and automatic caching and clearing on the paid version.
4 WP Super Cache
The WP Super Cache plugin is free and open source. Unlike other options such as Comet Cache, WP Super Cache doesn’t require continuous updates.
WP Super Cache is suitable for both average and expert users. It comes with a Simple Mode which is what most users need while offering developers Expert Mode which allows for modifications to .htaccess files.
A highlight of WP Super Cache is its automatic cleaning process. Over time, cache builds up taking more storage on user devices as well as your site’s server. With this feature, WP Super Cache automatically clears cached files regularly.
5 WP Total Cache
WP Total Cache is another free to use plugin that’s open source. It’s popular, having millions of users and thousands of reviews.
It reduces bandwidth usage, HTTP compression, and optimised page loading. That said, less experienced users may find it difficult to navigate its settings.
All the same, it gets the essential job of caching done at no cost.
Caching can speed up your site and offer improved performance for a great user experience. Instead of incurring subscription costs for a WordPress caching plugin, choosing a reliable hosting provider that offers minimal downtime, speed, and high performance is essential.