Reviewing W3 Total Cache - Best WP Cache Plugin?
In this W3 Total Cache review we will discuss what both the free and PRO version can do for your Wordpress website. With more than a million active installations, W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular and well-known cache plug-ins for Wordpress. Also the average rating on Wordpress.org where the plugin is free for download, is pretty good.
Install W3 Total Cache (Free version)
W3 Total Cache is a free plug-in that can simply be installed via "New plugin" in Wordpress as shown below. W3 Total Cache is one of the fastest and most complete free WordPress performance optimization plugins. W3 Total Cache improves your site's user experience by improving server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing download times and offering a content delivery network (CDN). Immediately after we activate the installation, we can continue with the plug-in settings. Make sure you have removed any other cache plugins beforehand.
Before you start, we strongly recommend that you check your site's performance using Google Pagespeed Insights, GT-Metrix and Pingdom Tools. This will give you a comparison before and after the installation of W3 Total Cache.
W3 Total Cache settings
Okay, let's see what W3 Total Cache has to offer.
The Page Cache must of course be "enabled", and under normal circumstances "Disk Enhanced" as shown below.
Minifying should be used as much as possible, as long as no problems arise on your website (design). This is especially true when combining css or js files. Problems can arise here and in that case you have to restore it. Standard good settings are shown below.
Other cache types
I'm not going to bore you in this W3 Total Cache review with pictures of all different cache types, it more or less goes without saying. Everything can be turned on practically: Opcode cache, Database cache, Object cache, and Browser cache.
In this W3 Total Cache review we are impressed by the large amount of CDN networks that W3 Total Cache works perfectly with. The best choice is for me Stackpath CDN or Cloudflare which is free. As soon as you start paying (PRO) Stackpath is the cheaper choice. Both services are practically equally good when it comes to the premium version.
Lazy Load has a huge positive influence on the loading time of your page and should therefore be on. Images are loaded blurry and become sharper and "beath the fold" images are loaded later.
Import & Export
All versions offer the import and export options with which you can export the settings of W3 Toal Cache to your PC and then upload them to another site of yours. This way you have much less work if you have multiple sites.
What does the Premium Version offer extra?
With the PRO version, you have monitoring in your dashboard, you can connect W3 Total Cache to Google Pagespeed, Disk Optimizing (database). You also have Fragment caching, Lazy Load for Google Maps, Full site caching for CDN, Render Blocking remove CSS (important), suitable for use with WPML, optimized to work with Genesis Framework (60% faster) and of course full ticket support.
W3 Total Cache review conclusion
First of all, thank you for reading my W3 Total Cache review to the end. My personal experience with this plug-in is good, although I find the settings too cumbersome and do not seem optimal for beginners. An easier and also better plug-in to achieve fast loading times is WP-Rocket. Also WP-Optimize is a good alternative. The Premium version of W3 Total Cache costs a whopping $ 99 a year, double WP-Rocket and has no multi-site discounts. So this plugin is outrageously expensive.