W3 Total Cache for Stunning Speed for WordPress Site – A Step by Step Guide

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Do not miss a caching plugin if you are looking to speed up your website. The best plugin used is the W3 Total Cache. While the plugin is so popular among one million plus WordPress users, it also requires a watchful setting for people who are starting out.

In this post, I am going to show you how you can set up your W3 Total Cache for stunning speed in WordPress Site and how you can make it lightning fast.

Watch this video before we dive deeper into the settings.

Caution: W3 Total Cache is not compatible with WP Touch and AMP and minification can break your site. You can tweak and check compatibility as there are more plugins such as WP Super Cache and WP Rocket. Get an informed idea before installation.

W3 Total Cache Setting

Go to your Dashboard and click Add New installation button. Once installed, activate the plugin and you are ready to get started.

Plugin dashboard

Now, you will notice a new item Performance added on the Menu as well as on top toolbar of your WordPress dashboard as shown by the arrows in the image below:

 

Your next step is to click on Performance in your dashboard sidebar and browse through the plugin menu to get an idea of all the various feature. The following items are pulled and displayed:

The big list may tend to raise your hair but do not worry. You are not going to deal with all the items shown.

Compatibility check and emptying all caches

You will now head over to the General Setting and click Check Compatibility. The result shows what the plugin can or cannot do with your current server configuration.

And accordingly, you can enable the plugin options that you see are required or need additional server support for some settings.

If your website comes with shared hosting, you may not be able to fix some compatibility issues. But that’s ok. Do not stress much on that count.

Let’s get our hands a little dirty on configuring it now.

W3 Total Cache Setting

The W3 Total Cache Settings is where you get to enable or disable the plugin’s individual functions. You also can refine each function under the respective menu item later on

.

Clicking the links take you directly to the section of General Settings on the same page. We will be taking up only the W3 Total Cache settings relevant to a shared server setup.

But it must be noted here that some settings such as Opcode cache and Fragment cache are applicable only to premium plans. And some others like Reverse Proxy are more relevant to a private server environment or you may require additional software to activate them.

  • General Setting

It is always safer for you to try the Preview Mode before going live with them. You can view the changes in a separate browser and they won’t take effect until you deploy them. See the image below:

 

As you can see above, there are two buttons for the Preview Mode one at the top and the other on the bottom. I clicked both to see if there was any difference between the two but got the same result in separate browsers. This indicated that things are on the right track.

It’s a good idea to always use the Preview Mode first as functions like minifying can break your site sometimes.

  • Page Cache

This section is really the center of the plugin. Fortunately, it’s easy to set up – simply check the Enable box and select Disk: Enhanced for the method.

 

  • Minify

Minification can sometimes break your site, so you should take some caution here. If you are using WP Touch for mobile users, W3 Total Cache should be configured to work with WPTouch.

 

Ensure to preview after choosing this setting to make minification isn’t causing any issues on your site. If you are still skeptical about the setting, you may leave the step and proceed on to the next.

Go here to read how you can configure the distance gap of the two plugins to work properly.

  • Database Cache

This one caches the results of common database queries. It can hog server resources and, on a shared server, may actually work against you. It’s best to skip this option. Keep the box unchecked.

 

  • Object Cache

Object cache too can draw heavily on server resources so it’s a good idea to keep it disabled on most shared hosting plans.

 

  • Browser Cache

This tells visitors’ browsers to save a copy of the page and reduces calls to your website. You should definitely keep this option enabled.

  • Content Delivery Network(CDN)

If you are currently using a content delivery network like Cloudflare or Incapsula, enable this one. Consult your CDN’s support. Ask them how you can actually input the information as the process depends on the type of CDN.

  • Miscellaneous

This covers a bunch of settings, the first one enables a Google Page Speed dashboard widget and requires an API key. Ena

It is up to you to enable it or opt out of it because you can always check and test your pages manually in Google.

The default setting allows you to get your API keys. It also keeps you checked with the verify rewrite rules otherwise, there’s an install tab to configure active settings.

The rest of the other features can be skipped as they have no relevance other than increasing your site speed. To make things even better, you are encouraged to read some reviews before implementing the plugin.

There are recent cases of reports that had caught conflict in the installation. A case study of AMP for WP is given for reference below:

I hope that this article helped you to understand W3 total Cache for stunning speed in WordPress site and how you can install it for your website for the fastest load time.

Check your theme and get an informed idea to avoid installation and configuration problems with the plugin.

You may want a further reading in the matter by going here You may also want to know what is CDN and which one is free?  And do not forget to read what is the low hanging fruit principle.

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1 thought on “W3 Total Cache for Stunning Speed for WordPress Site – A Step by Step Guide

  1. Thanks for a such a super detailed article about W3 Total Cache. I am a software engineer and I have to say your post about W3 Total Cache is very good. It will be super helpful for the non-tech and tech-savvy audiences.
    I used to use W3 Total Cache before, however, I decided to switch to WP-Rocket due to the ease of setup as well as the features that WP-Rocket supports. Maybe it’s just me who did not know how to use the plugin properly so it will be good if you can write a detailed comparison post about WP-Rocket vs. W3 Total Cache in the future. 🙂

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