Your cache plugin depends on which host you use. On a LiteSpeed server, LiteSpeed Cache is the way to go. On SiteGround, use SG Optimizer. In most other instances, I recommend WP Rocket. Otherwise, if you’re not willing to spend money on WP Rocket, W3 Total Cache or WP Fastest Cache. And I would stay away from NitroPack (blackhat), Swift, and Cloudways Breeze.
In Facebook polls, WP Rocket is usually rated #1 cache plugin. LiteSpeed Cache is usually not since LiteSpeed servers are relatively new and not enough people have moved to a LiteSpeed host like NameHero or A2 Hosting. Give it time and LiteSpeed Cache may overtake WP Rocket.
When I Googled “best WordPress cache plugins” I didn’t agree with any of the other lists. Where is LiteSpeed Cache and SG Optimizer? Why didn’t they mention NitroPack is blackhat?
Hopefully this list gives you more clarification.
1. LiteSpeed Cache
I’m putting LiteSpeed Cache as the #1 cache plugin even over WP Rocket. It uses server-level caching (faster than file-based caching by WP Rocket) and has extensive settings which allow for much better control of speed settings, but does mean it’s slightly more complicated to setup.
The catch is that you need to use a LiteSpeed server to use this plugin. That’s not a bad thing considering LiteSpeed outperforms Apache and is generally one of the fastest types of servers. But that also means you might have to move to a LiteSpeed host like NameHero or A2 Hosting.
QUIC.cloud was also developed specifically to work with LiteSpeed. It’s a free, highly performant CDN I recommend over Cloudflare, StackPath, and RocketCDN (also StackPath). QUIC.cloud is easy to setup with LiteSpeed cache once you request a domain key, activate the CDN, and set it up using a CNAME record. Here’s a nice tutorial on setting up QUIC.cloud CDN.
2. WP Rocket
WP Rocket is the runner up behind LiteSpeed Cache.
This is mainly because it uses file-based caching (slower than LiteSpeed Cache’s server-level caching). The settings are “easy” but they don’t give you as much control as LiteSpeed Cache since it doesn’t have as many features. I use WP Rocket on my own site only because I’m not using a LiteSpeed server (I’m using Cloudways Vultr HF). Otherwise, I would be using LiteSpeed.
FlyingPress was developed by Giji Varghese from WP Speed Matters.
Gijo has a strong following in his Facebook Group who uses this plugin as well as Gijo’s other speed plugins which are highly rated on WordPress, so people had somewhat high expectations.
During the first release, there were quite a few bugs which Gijo has been sorting out. However, tons of people reported getting even better results than WP Rocket and even LiteSpeed Cache.
4. SG Optimizer
SG Optimizer is a great cache plugin, but I don’t recommend SiteGround.
Their TTFB has gotten slower and they’ve become quite the unethical company: banning accounts in countries who don’t make them enough money, becoming admins of Facebook Groups so they can moderate what people say about them, and using their TOS (section 9) to threaten affiliates who write bad reviews about them. Bad form of reputation management.
Before I left SiteGround in 2019, I gave their team tips to improve SG Optimizer which they implemented. They added things like heartbeat control, browser resource hints (prefetch, preload, preconnect), database cleanup, and other features. After the update, it made sense to remove WP Rocket (what most people were previously using) and use SG Optimizer instead.
5. W3 Total Cache
I would only use W3 Total Cache if you’re looking for a free alternative to WP Rocket and you’re not using LiteSpeed or SiteGround.
However, it’s complicated to setup for the average user. It wasn’t actively maintained until recently which makes you question how much the developer will continue to release updates.
Even with extensive settings, W3 Total Cache lacks features like browser resource hints, database cleanup, heartbeat control, and other things most cache plugins have. So you would need to install a few extra plugins (or add them manually) if you want to get these optimizations.
6. WP Fastest Cache
WP Fastest Cache has great ratings, but there’s a catch.
It hasn’t had a serious update since core web vitals and doesn’t address current speed metrics (cumulative layout shift, largest contentful paint, or specific items in Lighthouse + PageSpeed Insights). Plus, only the pro version addresses render-blocking resources and has database cleanup. So if you’re going to spend money on a premium cache plugin, I’d go with WP Rocket.
You only time I would use WP Fastest Cache is if you’re running a small website and don’t want to spend a lot of time configuring the settings, since WP Fastest Cache is probably the easiest plugin to configure in this list, but it’s not great for large websites with complex configurations.
7. WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is a cache plugin developed by Automattic.
The settings are divided into 2 main sections (simple and advanced) but otherwise, there are not enough settings where I would use this plugin myself. Advanced controls are just not there.
If you currently have WP Super Cache installed and it’s giving you good performance, by all means keep it. But I would lean towards one of the other highly rated cache plugins in the list.
Breeze only works when using Cloudways.
While I use Cloudways for hosting, I’ll admit this is not a great cache plugin. Breeze has a history of breaking websites and causing issues as reported in reviews. Most people (including myself) use WP Rocket on Cloudways. Breeze settings are somewhat minimal and they need to make some major updates if they want to get better reviews and catch up with WP Rocket/LiteSpeed.
9. Swift Performance
Swift Performance is one of the last on the list because of scam reports.
Many of their customers pay for the pro version but when they cancel, they still get billed. There have been numerous complaints of this which still exist as of writing this, and the developer seems to have done little about it. For this reason alone, I don’t recommend Swift.
Swift was once a very popular plugin in Facebook Groups. But after it blew up, it stopped getting recommended just a fast. While it does have lots of settings that look promising, the scam reports + poor support from developers make this plugin belong at the bottom of the list.
NitroPack is last because it cheats PageSpeed scores by moving elements off the main thread which many tests don’t report. While tests might not show it up, other tools like Chrome Dev Tools will. It’s basically hiding things from tests just to fulfill your need of getting “great” scores.
It will likely give you amazing scores in PageSpeed Insights, but it won’t actually make your site much faster. Plus, it can result in FOUC issues and is crazy expensive. Totally not worth it IMO.
I haven’t tested the plugin myself but have seen numerous complaints about it being blackhat. I think it’s a shame Matthew Woodward wrote a great review and mentioned nothing about this.
Which Cache Plugin Is #1 In Facebook Polls?
WP Rocket has been rated the #1 cache plugin in Facebook polls for some time, but in a recent poll, LiteSpeed Cache was #1. Which goes to show that once LiteSpeed servers catch on (and they probably will), it’s possible that LiteSpeed Cache will overtake WP Rocket as the #1 plugin.
Do You Agree?
Let me know in the comments. Obviously cache plugins and their speed results can vary on each website, but I at least suggest trying out a few out and see which one works best for you.
Keep reading the article at Tom Dupuis. The article was originally written by Tom Dupuis on 2021-10-13 19:20:43.
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