See how to configure the settings and purge cache in WP Fastest Cache. It was a winner in my recent Top WordPress Caching Plugins Head-to-Head Tests and is free and easy to use.
Last Update 3/12/18 – WP Fastest Cache continues to make improvements, and I’m always learning, so I’m constantly updating this post.
Following are screenshots of all the basic settings in the free version.
Below the screenshot are more details for settings that have options or more clarification, if needed.
Plus, at the end, you’ll see how to purge the plugin’s cache.
NOTE: Be sure to scroll to the end of the plugin’s settings and click the Submit button to save your changes.
NOTE: If you run MediaVine ads, you will need to hard code the CSP to block non-HTTPS ads from running on your site instead of the Insecure Assets setting in the MediaVine plugin. Contact me for help with this. It’s an easy and quick thing to do. And is way better than using the 2 other caching plugins they recommend if you’re serious about speed and stability with your site!
You wouldn’t believe how many site audits I do where folks install plugins and never configure them, or even turn them on!
You actually get a whale of a lot in caching help just by clicking Enable on this plugin.
Preload compiles all PHP (code) and SQL (database) calls into a static HTML file for faster delivery.
Preload use rule of thumb:
- Do not use if you are also using Cloudflare.
- If not using Cloudflare:
- Less than 10k hits/day, turn on preload.
- More than 10k hits/day, don’t turn on preload.
You might want to monitor your hosting resources, or check with your CDN provider if you are using one other than Cloudflare.
If you do use preload, only turn on the items that get visited the most, like:
This will save on your hosting resources too.
If you need to turn on others, do so, just keep an eye on your hosting resource load.
Logged In Users
WP Fastest Cache already sets a logged in user cookie for:
- Admin User
- Woocommerce User
- Commenter (when comment is held in moderation)
Subscribers, such as on a member site would also be considered logged in Users. And you want them to see the cached version of the site’s content.
So, you want to leave this setting unchecked.
(FYI, I verified all of the above with the plugin dev. I also suggested he create documentation to clarify what counts as a logged in user.)
Leave this unchecked unless you have a totally separate mobile version of your site.
In other words, if your theme is fully responsive, it is resizing for mobile. It is not a separate theme version.
If you do have a separate mobile version, you’ll want to get the Premium version of this plugin so you can create a cache version of it.
As of Sept 2017, Clear all Cache for the whole site is the default setting when you publish a new post. You’ll likely want to leave it set this way due to how many places your new post may display on your site, such as any type of recent post listing.
NOTE: If you notice the cache not updating properly everywhere when you add a new post, then set this to Clear All Cache
When you update an existing post, only select site elements are affected, so I recommend setting the plugin to only clear cache on them, instead of losing speed on the rest of the site.
Minify and Combine
READ this whole section before turning these elements on!!!
Minification and combining static elements can definitely speed up your site.
They can both definitely break some sites, or site functions too!!!
If you choose to use any of these settings, turn them on one at a time and test the beegeebees out of your whole site. Be sure to clear the plugin cache and your browser cache and use an incognito/private window for those tests.
There are two common places to set minification – via a local caching plugin and via a CDN like Cloudflare.
Do one or the other, not both!
The minification in most all plugins is more aggressive than Cloudflare and will generally render better speed.
The free version of WP Fastest Cache has less aggressive settings than the paid version.
The more aggressive settings are grayed out on the free version.
Combining CSS and JS will not yield as much speed improvement on HTTPS sites as it will for non-HTTPS sites. That’s because HTTPS takes advantage of the HTTP/2 protocol, which delivers more elements in parallel by default. As HTTP/2 improves, combining CSS and JS will become less necessary to improve speed. But we aren’t there yet.
Combining also carries the greatest risk of breaking site elements, due to so many plugins having CSS and JS elements, besides those found in just the theme. Files that don’t play well with this setting can be excluded from the combo.
So, while combining works, it may take more tweaking and testing to get it to work well on your site.
Contact me if you need help with these settings.
This type of compression makes a zip version of your site elements, which the browser later explodes. It delivers up to 85% speed improvement.
But, it only works completely on Apache servers.
If you’re on Litespeed, it already has a similar function built in, called APC, which will show up in speed test results as Gzip. Adding Gzip via this plugin will speed up the elements that APC can’t do alone. Just don’t expect as drastic a speed improvement as on Apache, simply because it needs more speed help.
If you’re using Cloudflare, it uses Brotli compression, which is even better than Gzip, but not all browsers support it fully yet. Brotli will also display positive for Gzip in speed tests.
Gzip Use Rule of Thumb:
- Turn on for Apache servers
- Turn on for Litespeed Servers and test again for modest additional speed improvements
- Turn on even if you are using Brotli via Cloudflare
This setting needs to coordinate with your CDN, like Cloudflare, if you are using that.
Turn this on in the WPFC plugin.
Then at CloudFlare, set Browser Caching to Respect Existing Headers.
You may need to run tests to ensure this combo is the one that works best for your setup.
Contact me if you need help with your settings combo.
Definitely turn this on if you don’t use emojis in your content or comments. You’ll get a small speed improvement all over your site.
Render Blocking JS
This setting could significantly speed up your site. But, like all JS related settings, it could also break your site.
Definitely give it a try.
This setting will speed up most sites, as it pushes the calls outside your site to Google way down in the load order.
However, it could also reduce your Google PageSpeed Insight (GPSI) score, depending on how much has to load prior to the Google fonts loading. GPSI wants to ensure that your theme displays default fonts quickly until the Google fonts load.
Lazy loading works on images to provide a smaller placeholder image instead of the actual image, on any images that are below the fold on the device being used by the visitor. This allows Google to index the image attributes without slowing your page load down.
The actual image is loaded once the site visitor scrolls to that section of the post/page.
Lazy Load also works on videos when iframe code is used to embed them, and when the video appears below the fold. It will not work on videos using oEmbed.
You can also select your own placeholder image instead of the one provided by WPFC, but it is sufficient.
FYI: there is no option to turn of lazy load on a per page/post basis. But, when you click the Next button, you will see another screen to Exclude Sources.
These will be applied globally, though.
Save Your Settings
Be sure to click the blue Submit button at the bottom.
You should get a green bar notification at the top that your settings have been saved.
Purge or Delete Cache
Click the Delete Cache tab at the top.
And then click the blue Delete Cache button.
If you turned on minification and/or combine, then you will also need to delete both caches (both buttons shown below) when you make a css or style change to your theme, or one of your plugins that has a style sheet updates.
I would not recommend using the Other CDN Providers setting if you use CloudFlare.
It doesn’t integrate well.
I have not tried the integration settings for MaxCDN or Photon, so can’t say how well they work or not.
WP Fastest Cache does have a premium version available. You have to download and install the free version first, and then you can upgrade from within it. There is a one-time payment per site.
For ultimate speed, it is definitely worth paying for!!
The minify and combine features are far more aggressive in the paid version and there are other features to help with database cleaning and reduction of calls to your database.
Want Even Better Speed?
My site audits go deep and reveal the real drags on your site, plus performance holes that are letting bots eat up all of your system resources, making the site slow too.
Want to learn how to do site audits?
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