Optimizing our website's speed is crucial. A second of waiting time can become an eternity, which apart from hindering our position, it will make us lose views and users. There are many ways to optimize our WordPress, and we'll gloss over one we have to implement as soon as possible, which is a good cache plugin as well.
What is cache?
Generating content to be visualized in the browser is a long process which takes a lot of resources from our server. When a user visits a webpage, the server needs to consult the database several times and process the results before giving an answer back. Many of these requests are repeats, which is why it makes sense to store these answers for some time, so as to have further requests answered much more quickly.
This precisely is the cache's main function, to store recieved requests and the generated page, in order to then be able to respond immediately when the same request is given. Depending on how complex our website is, it can turn out to be a significative time save.
What am I looking for in a cache plugin?
First of all, it should increase response speeds, that is its main goal. We'll find many options in the official repository
and most of them do their job rather well. If we Google "cache plugin", we'll find many reviews, comparisons and scorings which will help us make our choice.
Going from the basis that performance will aid in the plugin's usage, what I think marks the difference is:
Ease of use: The default configuration should be capable of outputting good results, settings have to be intuitive and the fewer there are, the better.
A light plugin: there's no doubt that each plugin increases our server's resource consumption, so we need to look into reducing this aspect to the minimum.
It's best if it's free: I don't have anything against using a paid plugin, but I always try to look for free solutions which fit my necessities.
Optimize with Cache Enabler
To this day I used W3 Total Cache in my installations. Although, in comparisons WPRocket tends to have higher scores, I've gone for the free plugin. On the other hand, W3 Total Cache has the con of a complex configuration.
This is its configuration screen, which we can find within Settings once we've activated the plugin.
The settings are highly intuitive, we simply turn on those we want and check out the results. If at any point we need to empty the cache storage, we just head over to configuration and save the settings. This really is a proper plug-and-play plugin.
Of course, I wanted to compare the results before and after activating Cache Enabler. These are the scores in Page Speed.
GTMetrix nos ofrece los siguientes resultados
As we can see, Cache Enabler does its job perfectly, no complications whatsoever. It doesn't offer controls as in-depth as other plugins, but I really don't think it's necessary in most cases. If we're looking for a light, simple and free plugin, this is it. It has earned its spot in the must-have list.
To conclude, I find it interesting that, according to the developers, its based in HTTP/2, which is why it doesn't offer the option to combine CSS and JS, something which is commonplace in the rest of plugins. Despite this, its results are incredibly good. We can complement it with Autoptimize and improve our site's speed even more (something I'll look into soon enough).