Need to speed up your website? Searching for the best WordPress caching plugins?
If you want to make WordPress faster, implementing page caching should be at the top of your list. With page caching, WordPress can store the static HTML version of a page and serve that to visitors instead of dynamically processing PHP for every page load. This reduces server processing time, which offers a big increase in performance (and this will also help your site to hold up during periods of high traffic).
Unless you’re using managed WordPress hosting that implements page caching for you at the server level, you need a caching plugin to set everything up.
In this post, I’ve collected ten of the most popular and best plugins that can help you to do just that. At a minimum, all of these plugins make it easy to implement page caching. Better yet, many of them also go further and help you to implement other WordPress performance best practices, such as browser caching, Gzip compression, code optimization, and more.
Five Best WordPress Caching Plugins
FlyingPress is faster than WP Rocket and definitely better than SiteGround Optimizer.
Not only does it address core web vitals, but it’s optimized for real-world browsing speed (as opposed to just “scores”). There are several differences in the way it removes unused CSS, preloads pages, and lazy loads images/iframes compared to WP Rocket or similar cache plugins.
- Remove unused CSS is faster – The remove unused CSS feature in FlyingPress is more effective than WP Rocket. Since this post, Perfmatters added the option for a separate file. Meaning FlyingPress + Perfmatters is most effective.
- Preload critical images – automatically detects images in the viewport and preloads them (Perfmatters also has this). These images are usually different across your site, so manually preloading them is tedious since you don’t want to preload unused images.
- Exclude leading images from lazy load – instead of manually excluding images from lazy load, both FlyingPress and Perfmatters let you set a number (usually 2-3) of images that are typically shown above the fold. Since above the fold images can be different from page to page, this is easier and (usually) more effective. You can also exclude images manually.
- Preload pages – Flying Pages (which is built-in to FlyingPress) does a better job of link preloading than WP Rocket and has smart features to prevent it from causing CPU spikes. Last time I saw, elementor.com was using Flying Pages… that’s when you know it’s good.
- Lazy render HTML elements – similar to lazy loading images only you can lazy load any element (footer, copyright section, and comments are common examples). As shown in the documentation, you’ll open your site in Chrome Dev Tools, copy selectors you want to lazy render, and add them to FlyingPress. I believe it’s the only cache plugin that does it.
- Lazy load background images – FlyingPress lets you add lazy-bg to your background image’s additional CSS to lazy load it. With WP Rocket and many cache plugins, it requires a more tedious process of moving background images to inline HTML, or it’s sometimes not supported at all. This can cause defer offscreen image errors in PageSpeed Insights.
- Host fonts locally – hosting fonts locally is faster especially since you can preload them. Most cache plugins don’t do this and WP Rocket even discourages it which is questionable.
- Self-host YouTube placeholder – if you embed YouTube videos, the thumbnail is loaded from i.ytimg.com which creates an external request. This also means the image can’t be cached, served from a CDN, and will cause errors in PageSpeed Insights. FlyingPress automatically downloads the image and hosts it locally which solves all these problems.
LiteSpeed Cache has one of the highest ratings on WordPress (4.8/5) with 3+ million installations, so why is it #2?
Mainly because you have to use a LiteSpeed server to get access to all the features. Plus, the settings can be difficult to configure. And realistically, most people don’t configure them the right way since it gets a little technical. But if you’re using a LiteSpeed server and know what you’re doing (or just follow my LiteSpeed Cache guide), then of course you should be using it.
It has a lot going for it between server-side caching, QUIC, and Guest Mode settings which optimizes for first time visitors. Plus, it’s completely free when you use a LiteSpeed server.
- Server caching – SiteGround Optimizer is the only other cache plugin with server-side caching, but LiteSpeed is arguably faster than Nginx (and integrates Redis + memcached).
- Guest Mode + Guest Optimization – improves load time for first-time visitors (see their docs). Guest optimization is even more aggressive with page and image optimizations.
- Public + private caching – LiteSpeed has several options to control the public cache (a page that anyone can see) vs. private cache (a page that is changed based on the visitor).
- ESI – controls how specific elements on dynamic pages are cached. I wouldn’t mess with this unless you really know what you’re doing since ESI can also slow down your website.
- TTL settings – most cache plugins don’t have anywhere close to the TTL settings as LSC.
- UCSS – removes unused CSS with faster method of loading used CSS in a separate file.
- Image optimization – the biggest difference in image optimization is LQIP (low quality image placeholder) which reduces CLS by showing a blurred/minified version of images to be used as the placeholder. It can also compress images, remove EXIF data, and use WebP.
- Gravatar cache – this can be especially helpful when your blog has lots of comments.
- Crawler – crawls your website for pages with an expired cache and refreshes them, but should be used carefully and it’s not recommended unless you know what you’re doing.
3. WP Rocket
WP Rocket is basically just copying FlyingPress and everyone else at this point (seems like the settings barely changed the last 2 years).
They’re focusing too much on scores and not real world browsing like FlyingPress + LiteSpeed Cache. I also feel like they’re trying to make the plugin so user-friendly that without the helper plugins, it leaves little room for configuration. They also don’t seem to be innovating as much.
Still no image optimization. No more renewal discounts for first-time customers. Ongoing problems with removing unused CSS. People constantly rolling back to previous versions. And the number of unique features just isn’t comparable to FlyingPress + LiteSpeed Cache. Even when compared to LSC, WP Rocket uses marketing jargon while LSC lists technical details. It shows you who their target audience really is: people who value ‘plugin and play’ over results.
WP Rocket is still a great cache plugin and their documentation is the gold standard. But as far as being the gold standard for cache plugins, they’ve been surpassed for the time being. I try to keep this comparison unbiased but can tell you there was a major difference in browsing speed when I moved from WP Rocket to FlyingPress (and many people who switch also say the same).
- Remove unused CSS – as I already mentioned, WP Rocket is slower because it will inline the unused CSS (instead of loading it in an external stylesheet). It’s also not uncommon for it to break websites, increase CPU usage, or not work at all due to the server going down. I wouldn’t consider this unique since FlyingPress / LSC / Perfmatters do it (and are better).
- Helper plugins – WP Rocket has several helpful plugins to customize how things operate.
The only thing I would use it for is caching (dynamic, memcached, Cloudflare), then disable all features and use something else (just make sure you only use 1 plugin for file-based caching). The reason is because it doesn’t optimize for core web vitals nearly as much as other plugins. It also has similar issues I have with SiteGround’s hosting. They like to hype it up to be the best, but in reality it has many critical issues which SiteGround isn’t willing to take accountability for.
- Dynamic caching – full-page caching from Nginx which SG Optimizer is needed for.
- Memcached – object cache stores database queries which SG Optimizer is needed for.
- Cloudflare full page cache – caches HTML and improves TTFB in many global locations.
For advanced users, the level of control you get with Swift is awesome.
Just beware of scam reports since many people reported getting billed after canceling their subscription. They still have a Lite version and also started offering a “Swift Extra plugin” which gives you many pro features for free. All you have to do is register your website with Swift. It’s been updated for core web vitals, has a plugin organizer, and does a nice job optimizing images.
You really need to go through the settings to see what this plugin is capable of. Just don’t upgrade to the Pro version unless you’re ready to call your bank, and don’t expect support either. Even though some people like WP Johnny swear by it, it’s hard to get behind a plugin when I can’t trust the developers.
- Plugin organizer
- Advanced cache settings
- Warmup + prebuild settings
- Great job with image optimization
- Multiple settings to prevent CPU spikes
The Best WordPress Caching Plugins Ranked
Which caching solutions do you use for your WordPress site? What features do you look for in a caching plugin?
I hope this article helped you find the Best WordPress Caching Plugins and tools for your small business website or blog.
Do you have any questions about The Best WordPress Caching Plugins for your website? Let us know in the comments section below!