Make Your Site Respond Faster with W3 Total Cache

Make Your Site Respond Faster with W3 Total Cache

These days speed is a big factor on the web. Your website taking a couple more seconds to load can mean bad news, and there’s no doubt you’ll see the results by optimising your site’s code and loading times. After optimising mine, I noticed a decrease in bounce rate the next day, so it does make a difference. Search engines are starting to take this in as well so practising these SEO skills will help in the long run.

Luckily, if you’re using one of those content management systems that have extremely wide ranges of support options and extensions such as WordPress, then there are some simple solutions. There are a lot of plugins available that claim to instantly speed up your website, so there’s a lot to name, but none of them compares to W3 Total Cache. With all my experience in bespoke web development where I have to optimise static or dynamic websites that don’t have these plugins available; this one for WordPress does cover all the important factors as makes the biggest difference compared to the rest.

Super charge your website with W3 Cache

So What’s So Good About W3 Cache?

This plugin has been worked very hard on and deserves all the credit it gets. I’m surprised the plugin isn’t be sold instead of being available for free. Just by configuring the plugin properly, you can save 80% of your bandwidth and improve the loading times for your pages by at least ten times. It also gives you a Yahoo! YSlow A Grade which ranks your optimisation on some factors, YSlow is the website speed debugging tool by Yahoo! just like Google has PageSpeed and even in PageSpeed you’ll notice massive improvements in your score. It can integrate perfectly with shared hosting servers, but if you’re using a VPS, dedicated server or a cluster based service, then you can make good use of the amount of power available by using Opcode or Memcache for multiple servers which are compelling caching services.

Features and Settings

And that’s only half the story! Each feature categorises the W3 Total Cache settings. The first one is Page Cache; it caches all your pages that make queries using up server resources and time so a static one can instantly be produced to a visitor. The second one is Minify; I don’t use this one, so I left the box un-ticked meaning Total Cache will minify nothing. I had some problems using this feature because I didn’t notice anything being minified what-so-ever when debugging and have always had this problem. A lot of other people have had this problem, and the cause of the issue is yet to be investigated, but I found a better solution for this anyway so there’s no point.

While having the Minify feature disabled in Total Cache, I’ve got the WP-Minify plugin installed which is useful, it minifies all the CSS and JavaScript files into two separate documents and then presents them in the code with a ‘pretty URL’ without parameters, so it works out well. I was a bit disappointed because the W3 Minify features allow you to move separate stylesheets and scripts to different parts of the document and can be removed from a certain page if not used, so it’s even more optimised. Nonetheless, the other plugin does the job quite well, and I’ve never had any problems with it.

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