W3 Total Cache can be pretty intimidating at first, so I’m going to try to make this easy with a step by step of basic settings.
Don’t know what W3 Total Cache is? It is a popular WordPress Caching Plugin used to speed up WordPress sites.
Why speed up WordPress?
- Matt Cutts said so. “Google incorporating site speed in search rankings“
- It can affect your bottom line as shown by this Site Speed Infograph
And most importantly you don’t want your visitors to wait for content. We live in an “on demand” kind of world, make sure your content loads fast to ensure a positive user experience.
Let’s Get Started
The very first step is to test your site and save your score along with the notes you get back about where to improve.
The next step is to install W3 Total Cache.
You will now have a new tab in your Admin CP labeled Performance. Click on that and we’ll dig in.
Each section in bold will show you what to enable.
- Page Cache and Select Disk: Enhanced
- Minify and Select Auto
- Browser Cache
Now save all your settings (but do not hit Deploy yet- we aren’t done!)
Page Cache Settings:
- Don’t cache pages for logged in users
- Cache Home Page
- Cache Feeds
The advanced settings should be fine. If you are on a quick hosting environment like VPS or Dedicated, enable Cache Preload with default settings. I have tried it on a shared environment with page intervals set to 5-7 on medium traffic sites with positive response.
- General: Enable Rewrite URL Structure
- HTML & XML: Enable Inline CSS and JS
- JS: Enabled
- CSS: Enabled, @import set to Auto
If you have a preferred @import handler to use with Minify, here is where you would select it.
Browser Cache Settings:
- Enable Set Expires Header
- Cache Control Header
- W3TC Header
- GZIP Compression.
Default settings will be fine for most sites.
Save all settings and click Deploy!
The fun part now is to re-test your site and see how your score improved and where else you can improve at.
I’ve witnessed most sites get into the mid to high 80’s without a CDN and fine tuning.
Post up your results in the comments please!