You know you need a fast website. Your visitors don’t want to wait, Google rewards speed, and you just want to create the best site you can.
We previously talked about some strategies for speeding your site in our article How to Optimize Your WordPress Site’s Performance. One key strategy we covered in that article is caching.
Once you start googling the topic, you find that it becomes quite complex, and there are a lot of caching solutions out there. Which one should you choose?
In this article we’ll explain the options and help you make a decision.
How Does Caching Speed Up My Site?
There are a lot of benefits to using WordPress for your website. It’s easy to add new posts, tweak the way your site looks, and add new functionality. It’s definitely the way to go, and why it’s the most popular CMS in the world, powering almost 75 million sites, or over 25% of the web.
But all of that convenience comes at a price. Your web site has more work to do when someone visits your site, making it slower. Scripts need to be run, your database accessed, your theme displayed, your plugins run.
Caching changes all that.
A cache is a place to store temporary data. It takes your dynamic, easy-to-change website, and stores it as static HTML files, which are much faster to read. Each time your site is modified, the cache needs to be cleared and regenerated, which is normally triggered by a WordPress plugin.
What Are the Benefits of Caching?
There are three major benefits to using a WordPress cache:
- Caching enhances the speed and performance of your website, particularly page load times. Your visitors will spend less time waiting, and more time reading.
- Caching reduces the load on your web server. Your database doesn’t need to be accessed as often, and less system memory is used. This can make a big difference on a limited shared hosting plan.
- You will rank better on search engines. All other things being equal, Google punishes slow sites by ranking them lower in search results. Your site will become more discoverable, which may lead to an increase in traffic.
So, should you be using a WordPress caching solution? For most people the answer is a resounding “Yes!” It’s the one thing you can do that give a huge performance boost to your site, especially when you have high traffic.
When shouldn’t you use a cache? When you want your site to display differently to each visitor. One example is an ecommerce site, where the shopping cart will be updated differently for each user.
But these are special cases. For most WordPress sites a cache is a great idea.
So where do you get one? There are two options: pre-packaged, or roll your own.
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