12 Best WordPress Caching Plugins Compared

Best WordPress Caching Plugins

What is WordPress caching?

Whilst caching isn’t the most interesting of subjects when it comes to running a website – it is something you should be taking at least a little interest in, even if for the sake of your website visitors!

Before we get into WordPress Caching Plugins let us talk about what caching is and how it can help your website.

Caching is basically performed at a software or hardware level and involves creating what is basically a ‘static’ version of your webpage or webpage assets.

Usually, when a visitor comes to your website and requests a page to load, WordPress goes to the database and asks for the page details, scripts used, the content, what images are attached to it and so on – it performs what is known as ‘queries’ to the database to get this information and it then returns it, complete with all the associated assets (Javascript, HTML, CSS and images) back to the browser to display it.

If you repeat this frequently with a lot of visitors at once, you’ll find your website might start slowing down – this is down to the bottleneck of the database being able to answer the queries (and in a lot of cases depends on your web host).

One of the below WordPress caching plugins solves this issue by either pre-caching pages in advance of them being visited or creating a cached page when the first visitor visits that page. Then, the second visitor will see a much quicker response, this is because the cached page (again, all the assets that make up the page) will already be fetched from the database and stored as static files that are then just fed to the browser much quicker.


Why WordPress Caching Plugins?

Depending on your hosting choice, you may benefit from some server or hardware-level caching, this is software or hardware that sits in between your website and your visitors, it will save a cached copy of a page so your next website visitor will benefit from it loading quicker and it will not even speak to your website (depending on the cache settings).

However, not all hosting platforms offer this and sometimes what they offer might just take a small load off your website, additionally, as it will be set the same for all customers you will not have a way of fine-tuning it (i.e. you might not want certain pages caching).

Most WordPress caching plugins allow you to finetune your caching and set the length of time you want the cache to sit around for (certain WordPress pages will always be served live – such as shopping carts for example).


Alternatives to WordPress Caching Plugins

You can run a WordPress website without any caching whatsoever, many WordPress sites on the internet run with no caching at all and are fine.

However, depending on the amount of traffic you have (and the hosting you have too) – you will either start seeing your site slow down when it is busy or you’ll exceed the resources allocated to you when your site gets busy. This can result in your site appearing ‘offline’ to your users and to Google, which may damage your SEO.

Without WordPress caching plugins you’d also find that many sites run a lot slower – this is because of the number of scripts and extra data some plugins add to your site (even the best plugins add extra weight to your pages in some instances).

We recommend a host like Kinsta (who we use for WP Champion) or another good managed WordPress hosting provider we would recommend is WP Engine. These hosts have server-level based caching and also support additional WordPress caching plugins too.


Best WordPress Caching Plugins

Our round-up of WordPress Caching Plugins gives you plenty of free/freemium and premium-only choices – whatever your budget or web hosting platform.

Generally, you should always experiment with the free or freemium versions first to see if they work for you. However, you will generally find some of the premium plugins have a better user interface and perhaps offer more detailed options for caching your website – they also include premium support for times you get stuck!

Additionally, don’t just stop after trying one plugin – if you go from no caching plugins to suddenly having one, you will notice huge speed improvements usually – but it doesn’t mean it is the best one for your site. Try another one and see if that is even better!

One word of warning though. Do not run more than one caching plugin at once on your website – you will cause problems for yourself! Disable any other caching plugin before enabling the next one.


WP Rocket

WP Rocket is one of the most popular and well-respected WordPress caching plugins available (in use on over 1.8 million sites according to their website). Although they don’t offer a free version, the pricing for one site is $49 and they do offer a 100% money-back guarantee within 14 days.

The plugin itself is just installed via the dashboard via uploading the zip file after purchase, from there it is quite easy to toggle on/off most settings (there are sufficient warnings before you break anything – but always test and test again!)

WP Rocket has a fairly simple user interface and a nice setup sequence that lets you work out what is best for your site. It also has added support for external CDNs if needed too.

WP Rocket
WP Rocket

WP Rocket is one of the WordPress caching plugins we recommend for most site owners because it works across many hosting platforms and suffers the least of incompatibility issues with plugins, especially eCommerce ones.

Why is this one of the best WordPress caching plugins?

  • Easy setup for novices and professionals
  • Straightforward pricing from 1 to Unlimited sites
  • Frequent plugin updates
  • Good, in-depth guides on their website
  • Helpful support
  • Compatible with the most web hosts and plugins
LicensePrice
1 website$49
3 websites$99
Unlimited websites$249
WP Rocket Pricing

As well as a slick user interface and plentiful features, you’ll find that WP Rocket’s official documentation is pretty in-depth (again, this is one of the advantages of a paid plugin – they have the resources to make extra content). They have some great sections for beginners, but also some really in-depth sections on file optimization methods for professionals too.


W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache is a freemium plugin with over 1+ million active installs – it has a great wizard which will help you choose the best type of WordPress caching for your site (and platform you are hosted on) from disk caching to Redis or Memcache caching engines (these are not available by default on most hosting platforms).

W3 Total Cache splits up caching into three parts generally. Page, Database and Object caching – these are the three elements that build up a ‘webpage’ that is served to your browser. Depending on the type of site you have you may find you have more of one type than another (database for example when it comes to WooCommerce stores)

W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache

The plugin offers a compatibility checker, caching statistics (Pro only) and dedicated technical support too (also Pro only). You’ll find the plugin is broken down into nineteen sections which can help you work methodically through your site settings to get the best out of it.

Why is this one of the best WordPress caching plugins?

  • Great setup wizard
  • Variable caching methods depending on type (Page/Database/Object)
  • Freemium version – try before you buy
  • Popular plugin with over 1+ million active installs
  • CDN integration (Pro)
  • Caching Statistics (Pro)
  • Integration with caching engines such as Redis and Memcache
LicensePrice
Free version (unlimited sites)$0
Pro version (1 website)$99
W3 Total Cache Pricing

W3 Total Cache is a great plugin to try for beginners and professionals who have never used any WordPress caching plugins before – the wizard helps new users from becoming too overwhelmed and even with the most basic settings on, you’ll find your site much faster than without any cache whatsoever.


WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache is a free plugin by Automattic (WordPress.com) – it has over 2+ million active installs, which puts it near the top of the biggest WordPress caching plugins currently in use.

This plugin generates static HTML files from your WordPress website, after it has generated each file it will then serve those files to website visitors instead of dynamically creating the content each time – saving a workload on your database instantly.

The files will work on most posts/pages as long as there isn’t a dynamic element to them (i.e. stock quantities, comments or password-protected posts).

WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache has an Easy and Advanced setting option which makes it ideal for those who don’t know what they are doing – but want to improve site performance quickly and easily with the minimum of fuss.

Why is this one of the best WordPress caching plugins?

  • Free plugin
  • Easy to setup
  • Very popular – over 2+ million installs
  • Well-supported plugin by Automattic
  • Good debug settings / log viewer
  • CDN support
LicensePrice
Free version (unlimited sites)$0
WP Super Cache pricing

WP Super Cache is one of the easiest WordPress caching plugins to get started with, and it still has some fairly extensive features considering it is free. With added CDN support and a good debug section it is ideal for testing amongst some of the other more feature-laden plugins to see if it meets your immediate needs.


WP Fastest Cache

WP Fastest Cache is a freemium plugin that is in use in over 1+ million websites. It is split into two parts – the caching of pages and objects and the optimization of CSS, Javascript and HTML (Pro only).

Whilst this plugin is not for the faint-hearted (no easy setup wizard, unfortunately) – it is pretty powerful and with the right settings, it can help a busy website regain some speed back again.

WP Fastest Cache
WP Fastest Cache

WP Fastest Cache also has an Image Optimization module (Pro) that allows your images to be processed and compressed by them for further optimization. This is only available in the Pro version and each image does cost one credit (credits can be topped up $1 = 500 credits for example).

Why is this one of the best WordPress caching plugins?

  • Popular plugin with over 1+ million installs
  • Freemium version – try before you buy
  • CDN integration with multiple providers
  • Pro version pricing is one-off, not annual
  • Database cleaner (Pro)
  • Image Optimization (Pro)
LicensePrice
Free (unlimited sites)$0
Pro (1 website)$49.99
Pro (3 websites)$125.00
Pro (5 websites)$175.00
WP Fastest Cache pricing

WP Fastest Cache is up there with the most powerful WordPress caching plugins, but it is hindered by a complicated setup for new users and most of the useful modules (minification, image and DB optimization) are locked into the Pro version.


Swift Performance

Swift Performance is a freemium plugin with around 20,000+ active installs and is perhaps one of the lesser-known WordPress caching plugins.

The plugin offers a helpful setup wizard to guide you through the best settings for your site (or even import settings from another site if you wish).

You can choose from preset caching settings, such as simple caching all the way up to maximum optimization or simply pick the auto-config option and the plugin will work out what is best for your website.

Swift Performance
Swift Performance

Swift Performance works by creating static HTML pages of your website

  • Freemium plugin – try before you buy
  • Many options included in the free version
  • Great setup wizard to guide you through the optimal settings
  • Plugin organizer – Decide which plugins should load on which page
  • CDN support
  • Database optimization
LicensePrice
Free (unlimited sites)$0
Pro (1 website)$49.99
Pro (4 websites)$99.99
Pro (Unlimited websites)$239.99
Swift Performance pricing

Swift Performance is one of the more powerful WordPress caching plugins on our list and we recommend that you try the free version with your site. There are a lot of options available at first, so the auto-config option is best to try whilst you get to know the software!


Comet Cache

Comet Cache is a freemium plugin with 50,000 active installs of its free version. The plugin is split into fourteen sections initially, which might be a little overwhelming to those new to WordPress caching plugins.

However, on the first section of the configuration screen, it does say that 95% of users just need to enable this one section and it will take care of the rest as the default settings cover the vast majority of all websites.

The pro version of the plugin offers further fine-tuning of all the settings and offers extra features such as CDN support, HTML compression and an Auto-Cache Engine (which clears the cache based on rules you setup)

Comet Cache
Comet Cache

The Pro version also comes with a handy Import/Export config option which allows you to set up the perfect configuration for your WordPress site and then roll it out to multiple sites you own or manage within a small amount of time.

Why is this one of the best WordPress caching plugins?

  • Freemium version – try it before you buy it
  • Well-supported and popular plugin
  • Good knowledgebase
  • Easy to get started if you are in a rush
  • Pro pricing is one-off, not annual
LicensePrice
Free (unlimited sites)$0
Pro (1 website)$39
Pro (3 websites)$99
Pro (Unlimited websites)$139
Comet Cache pricing

Whilst the number of sections to configure at first may seem a little overwhelming, this plugin works fast and straight away as soon as you install it and click just one button. The fine-detailed options for Auto-Clearing custom URLs, Browser Caching and Logged-In user caching which are found in the Pro version are worth the upgrade price if you decide to use this plugin.


WPOptimize

WPOptimize is a freemium plugin with over 1+ million active installs. The plugin, brought to you by the same team as Updraft Backup, so you are in good hands.

Whilst this plugin concentrates more on the optimization of your site (database cleaning, comment pruning and such), it does also offer a caching option too.

The free version has an ‘Optimize’ button which in essence goes through your site setting some of the most optimum features to make it run as fast as possible.

WPOptimize
WPOptimize

The Pro version of the plugin allows WordPress multisite support, optimization of individual database tables (should be used with caution if you are not an advanced WordPress user!), removing orphaned images and more.

Why is this one of the best WordPress caching plugins?

  • Freemium version – try before you buy
  • Good track record of plugin creator with other products
  • Free version offers plenty of features to get you started
  • WP-CLI version (Pro)
  • WordPress Multisite support (Pro)
  • WPML and Woo Multi-Currency support (Pro)
LicensePrice
Free (unlimited sites)$0
Pro (1 website)$49
Pro (5 websites)$99
Pro (Unlimited websites)$199
WPOptimize pricing

WPOptimize does fairly well across the three things it offers: Database optimization, image compression and caching. However, it is not a pure caching plugin and extra features such as the WooCommerce auto Geolocate option for extra currencies may be added extras some will not see the use for.


Cache Enabler

The Cache Enabler plugin is a free plugin provided by the CDN provider KeyCDN.

This basic plugin is just one page of settings – so even the newest WordPress caching plugin users shouldn’t get too confused – especially if combined with the Cache Enabler documentation that KeyCDN provide.

With over 100,000+ active installations and a large brand behind it, this plugin is well-supported, if lacking a few features for a full caching solution.

Cache Enabler works like some of the other plugins by creating static HTML pages of your content – these pages are then served up to your website visitors instead of calling your WordPress database and assets repeatedly.

Cache Enabler
Cache Enabler

Whilst some of our other WordPress caching plugins offer a fully-featured dashboard offering everything from database to image optimization, you’ll have to add additional plugins to your site to get these features with Cache Enabler.

Why is this one of the best WordPress caching plugins?

  • Free plugin
  • Well supported by large brand
  • Simple, one page settings
  • WordPress multisite support
  • WP-CLI support
LicensePrice
Free (unlimited sites)$0
Cache Enabler pricing

Cache Enabler might be the ideal solution for those that want to add some quick caching without having to worry about a huge host of features to keep tinker with. It does what it says and works well.


Autoptimize

The Autoptimize plugin is a free plugin with over 1+ million active installations. This plugin works very well with the previous plugin on our list, Cache Enabler or WP Super Cache.

Autoptimize minifies scripts, CSS styles and HTML which then another plugin can cache as static files on your server which will be served to your users quicker than directly from WordPress.

Autoptimize
Autoptimize

Why is this one of the best WordPress caching plugins?

  • Free plugin
  • Over 1+ million installations and frequently updated
  • Works well with Cache Enabler or WP Super Cache
  • CDN Support as standard
  • WordPress Multisite support
LicensePrice
Free (unlimited sites)$0
Autoptimize pricing

Autoptimize is a great plugin for optimizing your WordPress website. However, you will need a separate caching plugin to manage your cache (and to clear it out frequently too – something this plugin does not do as standard). Combine it with one of the plugins we mentioned above to get the best results.


Breeze

Breeze is one of the few WordPress caching plugins that is installed by default with all new WordPress websites if you use Cloudways. However, you don’t need to be hosted with them to use this plugin!

This free plugin has over 100,000+ active installations and is well supported by the team at Cloudways (a managed WordPress hosting provider).

There are six sections to the plugin – including some basic and advanced options which include database optimization and CDN configuration.

Breeze
Breeze

Why is this one of the best WordPress caching plugins?

  • Free plugin
  • Well-supported with large install base of 100,000+ installs
  • Simple settings across two pages initially
  • CDN support as standard
  • Database optimization settings
  • Varnish support if hosted at Cloudways
LicensePrice
Free (unlimited sites)$0
Breeze pricing

Whilst the added Varnish support (a type of caching engine) is great – there isn’t a huge amount of detail in the plugin to explain what does what. However, Cloudways does have some extensive built-in FAQs to help you out.


LiteSpeed Cache

LiteSpeed Cache is another plugin that is worthy of a mention in our WordPress caching plugins list – but it is more frequently paired with web hosting platforms that run LiteSpeed Server as their web server software.

That said, it can be used without the server software on generally most hosting platforms without issue and is worth doing for the massive set of features it offers.

The plugin has over 2+ million active installations which make it one of the very top WordPress caching plugins on our list – and – it is totally free!

LiteSpeed Cache
LiteSpeed Cache

The software is split into nine sections and includes built-in Object Cache settings (if your hosting platform supports either Redis or Memcache). You can finetune some of the caching details down to the second if you wish!

If you pair the plugin with their QUIC.cloud you’ll also get a CDN, image optimization and additional WordPress security features too.

Why is this one of the best WordPress caching plugins?

  • Free plugin and well-supported
  • Over 2+ million active installs
  • Fine-tune caching in detail
  • Built in Object Cache control
  • Built in CDN mapping
  • Extensive Toolbox section
LicensePrice
Free (unlimited sites)$0
+ QUIC.cloud (CDN/Optimization)$5-$100
LiteSpeed Cache pricing

LiteSpeed Cache should be one of the WordPress caching plugins you look at on your shortlist because of all the options it offers. You’ll get even more features if your hosting platform supports LiteSpeed Server, but without it is incredibly powerful and, totally free.


Redis Object Cache

Redis is actually a type of caching engine. Whilst we have listed it in our Best WordPress Caching Plugins guide it is only part of the puzzle needed to help your WordPress website work faster.

In fact, you will need a web host that supports Redis running as a service for this plugin to connect to. You can actually upgrade to Redis Object Cache Pro (where they provide the Redis server for you) for a monthly fee.

Redis Object Cache
Redis Object Cache

Redis is an object caching engine which means it helps to cache your database. For smaller sites, this isn’t an issue, but a busy WooCommerce site can gain massive performance benefits by using an object cache, such as Redis.

Why is this one of the best WordPress caching plugins?

  • Free plugin with over 90,000+ active installs
  • Very quick setup
  • Caches database objects for quicker response
  • WP CLI support
LicensePrice
Free (unlimited sites)$0
Redis Object Cache Pro$79/mo
Redis pricing

Whilst this plugin isn’t for everyone – it is a fantastic plugin if you have a WordPress website that has a large database. Using Redis can cut down on the amount of frequently accessed data that has to be read from the database each time a visitor comes to your site.


Final Thoughts

When it comes to choosing one of the many WordPress caching plugins the landscape can look a little overwhelming! Thankfully, the majority of the plugins out there offer a free version for you to try before you buy.

You should try several to see which ones not only work best for your site but also are easy for you to understand and are well-supported (i.e. frequent updates).

When testing your plugins, you must make sure you test absolutely everything on your site – from galleries and contact forms to popups and shopping carts! Sometimes it is just the odd plugin or script that needs excluding from being cached to fix any problems.

We hope you enjoyed our Best WordPress Caching Plugins guide – let us know in the comments or over in our Facebook Group ‘The WordPress Lounge‘ what you thought of it and which is your go-to plugin!.

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