Blogging, WordPress, Web hosting & SEO Tips
W3 total cache is one of the best performance optimization plugin that make your WordPress site load faster. It is currently considered as the powerful caching plugin available for WordPress. However W3TC has a lot more built-in features, it requires a lot more technical to configure properly for optimum performance.
Note: Don’t change anything if you are unsure of what you’re doing. Because W3 Total Cache may even slows down your website if not configured properly.
I spend more time acquainting myself with the W3 Total cache for best settings which is really lightweight for sites on shared hosting. This guide will give your site a lightweight caching settings for better performance without causing load on your shared hosting server.
About “W3 Total Cache”
W3 Total Cache was developed by Frederick Townes (CTO of Mashable). Recommended by many, W3 total cache is used by several popular WordPress websites like Mashable, Smashing Magazine, Matt Cutts & yoast.com.
Why w3 total cache is recommended?
W3 Total Cache is the mother of all caching plugins. It has a lot of functionality in a single plugin, which improve your website performance and user experience. Since Google and other search engines put more emphasis on speed as a factor in their ranking algorithms, W3 Total Cache help you do everything to improve your website’s performance (and Page Speed and YSlow scores).
W3 Total Cache does everything more than just caching:
- Page Caching
- Object Caching
- Database Caching
- Browser Caching
- CDN Integration
- Google page speed results
Enabling all options usually leads to reaching the CPU limit then it will increase a lot of load on shared hosting server.
Recommended W3TC Settings for Shared Hosting
If W3-Total Cache is your cup of tea, use with extreme caution, especially if your website hosted on a shared server. The shared servers do have rules against using too many resources. On the Shared hosting environment, you’re probably sharing your server with several hundred people, you have no ability to use more options because of the limitations of the hosting provider.
The best lightweight caching options for websites on shared hosting.
- Page Cache
- Browser Cache
- Leave Minify, Database and object caching disabled
Because, not all servers provide optimized results with Minify, Database and object caching settings. Minify has a high possibility of crashing your themes and plugins. However Database and object caching are resource intensive and can sometimes cause speed related issues for sites. Some web hosting companies likehostgator recommends disable Object Cache and Database Cache since it imposes a lot of load on their server for no real benefit. Before you start, ask your hosting provider what cache settings you must use, just to be on safe side. If they allow you to do so, go ahead and take advantage of these options, because it ought to help speed up your website a bit.
Install W3 Total Cache:
- Go to your WordPress Dashboard.
- Go to Plugins > Add New.
- Search for “W3 Total Cache” by Frederick Townes.
- Click Install Now.
- Click Activate Plugin.
- Now Click on the Performance tab to configure settings.
Configure W3 Total Cache Settings
- Make sure the preview mode is disabled.
The page cache is the biggest performance boost. It decreases the response time of your website.
- “Enable” Page cache.
- Page cache method: “Disk: Enhanced”
Minify reduce load time by decreasing the size and number of static files (such as CSS and JS files).
However, minify has a high possibility of crashing your themes and plugins, we recommend disabling minify and use cloudfare’s minification instead (which would be safe, setup is amazingly painless & no crashes).
If you are on a shared hosting, Database cache will slow down your site instead of making it faster. It is effective only for VPS / Dedicated hosting.
Object caching is generally not recommended for Shared hosting.
It helps in leveraging browser caching, thereby increase your Google page speed score.
- CDN (Content Delivery Network) is not a free service. Leave this disabled.
Network Performance by Cloudfare
W3TC includes built-in integration with Cloudflare functions for speed optimization. CloudFlare is a website optimization service which will cache some of your website content to servers around the world, which helps promote speed, stability, and protection for your sites.
To utilize this service, you will need to sign up for CloudFlare account, where you will get API key to integrate with your WordPress website.
Note: Do not use more than one minify option on your site (for example, don’t use CloudFlare’s minification and minify plugin at the same time). A conflict will eventually arise. If you’re already minifying on your site, then definitively turn off CloudFlare’s Minification as well.
If you want to see your Google Page Speed report on your WordPress dashboard, enable this option.