Learn to install and configure the w3 total cache WordPress plugin for the general cache and shared hosting to reduce page loading time and increase website performance.
Everyone wants to know the secret behind the fast loading of any website. Along with the best hosting service provider and with good theme management, even one may not reduce the loading time of its website. Then there is some cache plugin that plays a vital role to optimize the website by its fast loading.
Although WordPress super cache is also using by a number of webmasters but still then w3 total cache plugin is considered as one of the best cache plugins among all the bloggers and webmasters. I have personally used both cache plugin and finally found w3 total cache the best due to its user-friendly and advanced features.
Before proceeding it is recommended to check the loading time of your website by visiting Google Page Speed and Pingdom Tool, by visiting these two sites you will actually know about hidden secrets as well as loading time info about other as well as your own site.
Table of Contents
How to Install and setup w3 total cache WordPress plugin:
w3 total cache is the fastest and most commonly used by many top websites around the globe. This caching plugin improves the user experience of your website by optimizing many aspects of your websites and help its fast loading.
So follow the steps with screenshots to install and configure this cache plugin:
- Go to admin panel > Plugins > Install new Plugin and search for the w3 total cache.
- Install and activate the plugin and see at the left vertical bar in the admin panel for “Performance“
- Leave the “Dashboard“, since it is mainly to urge for Premium version and other related services, the first option need to discuss is “General settings“
This tab generally for the beginners and normal operation (mainly to on/off an option), the horizontal bar will show the direct link to each of the options by scrolling down. So First will come to the Page Cache:
- Page Cache:
- Just check the box option to Enable it. as Page Cache: Enable
- Page Cache Method: Disk: Enhanced
- Minify: Enable
- Leave other option as default.
- Database Cache:
- Database cache: Enabled
- Database Cache Method: Disk (this option is by default and mostly used by the shared hosting, however, if you are using dedicated servers you can select the one)
- Object Cache:
- Object Cache: Enabled
- Object Cache Method: Disk
- Browser Cache:
- Browser cache: Enable
- CDN: (Content Delivery Network) By enabling this option you will be able to direct your image files and other to specially dedicated servers, which results in a decrease in load at the server and hence will provide fast page loading. Usually, it is a paid service but you can try Cloudflare which is free service.
- Reverse Proxy: just left it as default
- Monitoring: Just left is the default (unchecked)
- Enable Google Page Speed dashboard widget: Enable (enter page speed API key to monitoring your page speed directly in the dashboard)
- Verify rewrite rules: Enable
- Enable file locking: Leave it (Don’t check it)
- Optimize disk enhance page and minify Disk cache for NFS: Enable
- Debug: uncheck all option because it will give users the info about the nature of cache and other info (usually by viewing the view page source Ctrl+U at the end )
- Import/Export Settings: Just leave it as default
you have done all the General settings, just click the “Save all settings” button and have general settings of this cache plugin.
Advanced Settings of W3 Total Cache WordPress Plugin:
By enabling this option in the General settings the page cache will work.
How Page Cache works: Page cache is responsible for creating static pages for the users, every time when a user visits any page, then WordPress runs PHP script and MySQL queries to the database to find the requested page. Then PHP processes the data and generates a page.
This process takes server resources and may slow down the loading time of the page. So by enabling it will generate a cached copy of that page and whenever any other visitor or visitors come to see the page then the server resources will only use that cached copy generated by the w3 total cache and hence significantly decrease load time. But this cached copy will work until you will make any change on that page to generate a fresh cache copy.
Minify reduces the size of static pages by reduces js and CSS files. It is very useful because it will reduce the server resources. But sometimes it may cause conflicts with the theme and another plugin. So if you found that by enabling it the pages load quickly but may cause some problem then do disable it.
Database cache reduces the server load by cache the SQL Queries that are sending automatically to the server. This will reduce the time to process the queries and put a significant positive effect on load time. But some of the service providers do not think right for them. So again use it at your own will especially if you are using shared hosting. See if you found any problem then just turned it off from General settings of W3 total cache Plugin.
if you have a highly dynamic site like a news or some forum site then by enabling this you will get the cache of every object of your web page. Usually, for normal sites, it will keep off.
Browser cache will save a copy of the website for the session you are working for that specific page, so if you visit that page again then WordPress will not send further queries to server to load that page and hence will save a lot of server resources.
That’s all there are other options on the menu, you can use them as your desire.
W3 total cache Settings for Shared Hosting:
The above-stated settings are generally applicable for all hosts. But If you are running on Shared Hosting then simply disable the database and object cache from the General settings.
These settings are necessary to avoid any overload on your shared server, because instead of reducing loading time it may increase it by overloading your server resources.
But if you are running some dedicated server then these settings may be helpful for you.
It is also recommended to check the above settings (database & object) one by one and let it be work for the best.
How to know if w3 total cache WordPress plugin Settings are working:
So by following the above steps you have installed and configure the best WordPress cache plugin settings, the next thing is to ensure whether the plugin is working. For this just check the thing:
- Go to Performance > Debug and enable (check) all the options shown, now click save settings button, that’s all.
- Now open the webpage and Right click > view Page source (or press Ctrl+u).
- New windows will appear, scroll down at the end of the page and see something info (usually in green color, if so then your cache plugin is working quite fine.
Although W3 Total Cache is a third-party plugin and is widely used by many websites and blogs but if you found any change in display or conflict with other themes then do recheck the cache options especially page cache,minify and browser cache, try to disable them one by one and see if you have improvement in site performance. Also, try to empty all cache/or specified cache and update media query string.
You may Google to get help from Plugin owners and other followers.
so you will configure w3 total cache plugin to optimize web page by decreasing its load time.
Do comment if you have any query.