Everybody hates slow websites. Even Google itself hates them and tends to unrank those slow pages in search results. So, slow sites are both harmful to your search engine rankings as well as the user-engagement. That’s why everyone is behind those caching plugins and database optimizers that considerably increase the performance of the websites. They will optimize your WordPress website to be enough fast as possible resulting in higher search engine ranking as well as improved user engagements.
Today, we have the WP Rocket cache plugin which is familiar to almost of the WordPress users. Many websites calling it one of the best or probably the best caching plugin to speed up WordPress websites. So, we’ve decided to have a thorough look into the plugin and test whether the plugin is the best in its field or some others like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache take over it. Here we will be presenting a complete review of the WP Rocket to let you know more about it. Have a look.
What is Caching?
Caching is a process of generating and storing the website files as static content and serving them to the users upon request. This helps to reduce the number of requests made between the server and user’s browser in order to assemble the website parts. As the number of requests made is low and the size of the data to be transferred is also less, the web pages will load at an instance when compared to the non-cached copy.
WP Rocket does the same like many other popular caching plugins. It will
- Cache all the content on your site
- Enable browser caching
- Enable Gzip compression
- OptimizeGoogle fonts
- Defer loading of images
- and does many more.
Any time you update your content, the WP Rocket will automatically regenerate the contents which you made changes. All other untouched contents will be served from the cache increasing the performance considerably.
What is WP Rocket
As mentioned already, WP Rocket is a caching plugin from WP Media which founded by Jean-Baptiste Marchand-Arvier, Jonathan Buttigieg, and Julio Potier. The plugin power packs almost of the features required to speed up any WordPress website. The features like Lazy load made it unique while almost of the competitors not having this crucial feature. The plugin got huge welcome by the visitors and excellent rating as per a large number of trusted websites.
As per the company, there are 169975 websites currently using the WP Rocket to speed up their website. If they true their words, it is definitely not a small number.
WP Rocket Interface
WP Rocket has a very simple interface with nothing difficult to notice. The tabs clearly diverse different sections for caching and optimizing your website. The Basic Options tab includes almost of the essential features such as Lazy load, Minification, Mobile cache, etc. which will itself speed up your website. The basic page cache will be automatically enabled upon the plugin activation. Be sure to read the warnings given under the check boxes. It will help to avoid any problems or site conflicts. These warnings are unique from other caching plugins and helpful to the extreme.
The built in CDN functionality lets you add CDN right to the caching plugin. The CloudFlare can be also enabled from this section. The FAQ section lists the useful documentation links in case you have any doubt. Another catchy feature is you can directly submit a ticket from the plugin itself. You don’t have to visit their website every time in order to contact the support team. All in all, we felt that the interface of the WP Rocket is very easy to use and there is nothing difficult at all. However, it missed some advanced functions as we’ve seen in W3 Total Cache plugin.
WP Rocket Features
WP Rocket has almost all features to speed up your website. Simply enabling the plugin will activate the essential caching on your WordPress website. Once someone visits a web page on your site, the plugin will automatically generate a cache file of the page. The next time any other user visit that same page, the cached copy will be served instead of the original one. So, the process is very quick, and you have to do nothing special in order to cache your website pages. However, looking further to the details will give you complete control over the plugin. Have a look.
All Basic Features
WP Rocket consists of all the basic features to speed up WordPress sites. As mentioned earlier, the page cache will be automatically enabled upon the plugin activation and the plugin will automatically start capturing the web pages. You could experience the speed increase of your website upon the plugin activation itself even without doing anything on the plugin.
Minification and Concatenation
Mobile, SSL and Feeds Cache
Using the plugin, you will be able to seamlessly enable or disable mobile, SSL, or feeds cache. The mobile cache is very useful in speeding up the website on mobile devices. From our test, we got considerable improvement in the mobile performance of our website. The feeds cache may create conflicts in some cases, so we do no recommend enabling it.
Prefetch DNS Requests
If you ever got errors saying a lot of DNS lookups during the page load, you could simply copy paste those URLs to the “Prefetch DNS Requests” section. Now, the WP Rocket will anticipate the DNS resolution of external domains from your site resulting in a better load time.
Optimize and Cleanup Databases
Optimizing databases can sometimes improve the performance of your website. Especially if your website is very old and already installed and uninstalled a lot of plugins and themes. All of those plugins may leave some unneeded database tables on your website. So, every time the browser have to search throughout those tables and pass to the useful ones. So, simply optimizing the databases and cleaning them up can considerably improve the WordPress website performance. You could also clean up the post revisions, spam comments, drafts, etc. from the Database tab.
Lazy Load is one of the most loved features by website speed optimizers. There is no need for loading an image at the end of a 3000-word article before user scrolls down. So, the Lazy Load feature does the same by only rendering the visible content to the users significantly increasing the website performance. The contents will be loaded as users scroll down. You could lazy load both Images and Iframes & Videos using WP Rocket.
Different from other plugins, you could find out help yourself from the Faq tab of the WP Rocket plugin. Numerous tutorials and help guides are listed in that section making it easier to find help for any of your doubts. The WP Rocket has an appreciable amount of help articles and documentation for their plugin. You could visit their documentation section to learn more.
Custom Cache Lifespan
You could set custom lifespan for the cached content. By default, all cached content will be rechecked once in 24-hours. If any changes were made to the content, the cache would be refreshed with the new one. You could set it as per your mode of operation with your website. For the business or personal websites which are not touched for long, it is better to choose large cache lifespan.
Updating cache plugins is always a headache. We personally experienced a lot of struggles while updating the cache plugins like W3 Total Cache. It sometimes resulted in a complete mess, and we were forced to reinstalling the plugin by deleting all the previous cache. To help in such situations, the WP Rocket has a built-in feature to Rollback any plugin update. If you found the latest released version creates conflicts with your website or other plugins, you could easily roll back to the previous version with a click of a button.
WP Rocket Speed Test
We conducted the speed test on one of our websites which hosted on the Siteground cloud server and running Genesis Framework theme. The website was already pretty fast, and the results were this before enabling the WP Rocket cache plugin.
Then we just enabled the WP Rocket cache and tested it again. The results were surprising. We even didn’t touch anything inside the plugin configuration, but the website already speeded up.
Now, it was the time to tweak something inside the plugin configuration, and we started with the first one, the Lazy load. We enabled both Images and Iframes & Videos options.
and the results was nothing much different but the load time decreased slightly.
It was the time for the next section, the File optimization (Minification and Concatenation.) We got some warnings while trying to enable them saying that it may cause some websites to break and may create problems with other plugins. But in our case, it caused no problems, and everything was working fine.
Note: If you are using a well updated and popular theme like Genesis and some good plugins, you don’t have to worry about conflicts. If you are still using some bad tools, you should think twice especially before enabling the CSS and JSS minification. In case your website breaks, uncheck these options.
Now, the results got some great improvements, and it looked like this.
After this, we directly jumped into the advanced tab of the plugin and enabled the “Reducing the number of minified files in one file on” option for the CSS and JS files.
Now, the performance increased a little more
We haven’t done any changes in the Database tab as it may cause problems in rare cases. But if you wish, you could optimize or cache your databases after taking a backup. Now, it was the time to move to the final steps. We now moved into the CDN tab of the WP Rocket and enabled the CDN alongside Cloudflare (It is a good combination).
Note: We used MaxCDN as our CDN and the CloudFlare Free version in the process. You can setup the Cloudflare by ticking the checkbox “Enable CloudFlare settings tab” in CloudFlare section. After saving the settings, an extra tab will be added to the interface where you could set up the CloudFlare.
Now, it is the time for the Final Result. And this is how it looked like.
The results were amazing, and our website is now loading in just a few milliseconds, to be exact in just 0.6 seconds! We also tested the results using multiple tools like Pingdom, Webpage test, etc. and the results were nothing different. We haven’t posted the entire screenshots due to the limitations.
WP Rocket Pricing
As you can see in the above screenshot, the WP Rocket will only cost you $39 for a single site license. If you have multiple sites, you could always go for the better plans. They offer a 30-day money back guarantee to the users. In case if you are not satisfied with the plugin, you could always get your money back. Buying a license will provide you with 1 year of updates and support from the WP Rocket team. So, Yes. WP Rock really does speed up WordPress websites.
- Packs almost of the features required for speeding up websites
- Good support
- User-friendly interface
- The Lazy load feature which is missing in almost all caching plugins
- Huge collection of documentations for the plugin
- Not free while many big competitors with almost same features are free
- No much control over the Advanced configuration like W3 Total Cache
After having a thorough check for an entire week, we’ve found that the WP Rocket is one of the best caching plugins for WordPress websites. The plugin is simple, elegant, and specially crafted to fulfill all the caching needs of the WordPress users. Even if it is a premium plugin, it worths the price. The improvements we got after enabling this plugin was amazing as you already saw in the speed test section of this article. So, you should give it a try. You could do that using the button given below.