When it comes to your blog’s performance, one of the easiest (and least expensive) ways to see a tremendous lift is through the use of a cache plugin. There are several available through WordPress’ plugin directory, and for many years one of the most popular was a program called Quick Cache.
Released in 2010, Quick Cache was one of the easiest and most effective caching plugins available, which is why it was downloaded more than 1 million times.
Quick Cache worked by taking real-time, static snapshots of your entire WordPress site, including every page, post, category, RSS Feeds, etc., and storing them in a special cache directory. When a visitor’s web server requested content from your site, Quick Cache sent them the cached version, which could be provided much faster than the dynamic PHP content.
Quick Cache was also able to differentiate between a traditional user and someone that should see custom content, such as a logged-in user or a user who has left comments, and could quickly determine whether to send them the cached page or the dynamic page. It also featured double-caching, allowing for client-side browser caching alongside its own caching system, to maximize a viewer’s potential speed.
To top all that, Quick Cache was also incredibly easy to setup. While most caching plugins involve a complicated configuration process, Quick Cache was up and running the moment you enabled it.
A pro version of Quick Cache was also available with several additional features, such as the ability to cache logged-in users, an auto-cache function which pre-cached the website every fifteen minutes, a quick “clear cache” option, and premium technical support.
Quick Cache Alternatives
Unfortunately, Quick Cache was discontinued in 2015. Fortunately, there are plenty of caching alternatives available, including Quick Cache’s successor, Comet Cache. Each of the plugins listed here handle caching in slightly different ways and offer their own unique features and customization options, but all of them should provide a performance boost for your site:
If you’re looking for the same functionality and features you had with Quick Cache, this is the most obvious choice.
Five years and over a million downloads after launching Quick Cache, it still had the reputation for being merely a “simple” caching program. As a result, the company wanted to develop a much more robust product. So they changed the name to Zen Cache and introduced several new features, including CDN integration. Unfortunately, a year later, the name conflicted with Zendesk, and so it was changed to Comet Cache.
The plugin continues to provide all of the original Quick Cache features and CDN integration, as well as several new features, including GZIP Compression compatibility, an advanced cache system for developers, debugging mode, support for subdomain and domain mapping, and the ability to create multiple versions of a cached page (for pro customers only). And it’s still just as easy to set up.
Download: Comet Cache.
WP Super Cache
The idea behind WP Super Cache is fairly simple. This free plugin creates static html pages from your dynamic blog. Once crated, those static pages will be sent in place of the larger PHP scripts.
This method doesn’t always work, so the program also uses two alternative methods for caching. Their PHP caching method allows for static pages to be delivered via PHP. While not as fast as sending HTML pages, it is supported by more servers. If this doesn’t work either, it relies on a slower legacy caching process. WP Super Cache also features page compression and offers CDN support.
WP Super Cache does have some reported compatibility issues with other plugins and some themes, and it does not offer significant performance advantages for logged in users, as it is unable to provide customized content via static HTML pages. However, it’s a very effective caching plugin for most users.
Download: WP Super Cache.
WP Fastest Cache
Like WP Super Cache, this plugin also creates static HTML pages for your PHP files.
WP Fastest Cache offers multiple compression features, CDN support, and SSL support. It can also leverage browser caching, providing an additional performance boost for return visitors, and it is supported in over a dozen languages.
Download: WP Fastest Cache.
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache considers itself a WordPress performance optimization framework, rather than a simple caching tool.It guarantees at least 10x increased performance when taking advantage of all its optimization features.
Download: W3 Total Cache.
Hyper Cache is deal for the less tech-savvy. It offers very simple installation, and a clean uninstall feature that won’t clog up your directories with old files or configuration settings.
It offers a double cache system for mobile and desktop sites, performs on-the-fly compression to improve download times for non-cached pages, supports CDN, isolates comments in order to send cached pages to frequent visitors or commenters, and can even send expired pages to bots to increase a blog’s perceived speed.
If you’re concerned about space, Hyper Cache features an automatic cleanup function to reduce its disk space usage, and its cache folder can be relocated to outside of your blog folder, so it doesn’t have to be included in site backups.
Download: Hyper Cache.
As with anything WordPress related, there are plenty of options, so take your time, check reviews, and take some different plugins for a test drive before you settle. Before you begin, test your page performance using a site like WebPageTest, so you can track your gains with real data.
Regardless of which caching plugin you decide to go with, using any of the options above you should see improvements in your site’s performance, which will make your visitors happy.
Further Reading and Resources
We have more guides, tutorials, and infographics related to coding and development:
- You Get What You Pay For: WordPress hosting is free, but there are reasons why you might want to pay for it.
- How to Backup Your WordPress Blog: learn how to keep your website safe for those times when things go wrong.
- How Big is the WordPress Economy? The WordPress economy is a lot larger and more varied than you probably realize.
How to Speed Up WordPress
There’s a lot more to speeding up WordPress than caching. Check out our infographic, How to Speed Up WordPress. Learn about databases, content delivery networks, and more.