Pros and Cons of WordPress Cache Plugin
What is a WordPress cache plugin?
One of the issues that every website is concerned with is how fast the site loads for visitors. A website that loads pages slowly will most likely lose visitors. In general people will wait a few seconds and then move on if a site hasn’t loaded. When a visitor comes to your site, WordPress will first process the PHP code and then output HTML for display on their web browser. WordPress may go through this process up to as many as 200 times per page for a visitor. A WordPress cache plugin works by saving the dynamically generated HTML files and serving them from the cache whenever a request is made. This is much faster than loading all of the PHP scripts each time. If you are using WordPress as your content management system you almost certainly want to be using some kind of WordPress caching plugin.
Once you have decided to speed up your site with a caching plugin, it isn’t a simple matter of installing the plugin and watching pages load faster. Using a WordPress cache plugin could have a negative impact on your website. The following are some difficulties that could occur using a WordPress caching plugin:
- Conflict with the WordPress theme or other plugins: Not every WordPress plugin works with every other WordPress plugin and theme. Sometimes conflicts occur that could result in anything from some minor problem up to crashing your entire website.
- Installation issues: Some caching plugins can be a little difficult to install if you are not completely familiar with them. An incorrect installation will cause more harm than good, so extra care must be taken during the installation process.
- Not displaying updates to your site: If the cache isn’t cleared from time to time, visitors may not see updates to your site. Rather they will be served older pages stored in the cache. This is easily remedied by clearing the cache but is something to look out for
- Security vulnerabilities: WordPress plugins are sometimes vulnerable to hackers, and make it possible for them to gain access to your sit.
The benefits of using a WordPress caching plugin include
- Faster loading time for your site
- Improved SEO: Google includes page loading time in its algorithm for ranking websites
- Lower bounce rate: One study showed that over half of viewers leave a page that takes more than three seconds to load
- Increased sales: Amazon reported that a .1 second decrease in loading time translated to a 1% increase in sales
Ultimately the benefits derived from a WordPress cache plugin outweigh the potential negatives. By selecting the right plugin the potential negatives can be avoided for the most part.
The best WordPress cache plugin is going to vary depending on your requirements. Some things to consider when selecting a cache plugin include:
- Complexity: How difficult is it to use? An inexperienced user will want a plugin easy to install and use
- Cost: How much do you want to spend?
- Features: Many plugins offer additional features which may or may not benefit your particular site
- Support: Ideally a caching plugin should offer good customer support
WP caching plugins alternatives
Improving website performance through caching plugins is not the only solution to speed up your website. One of the leading website management platforms Pantheon.io proves that reverse proxy and object caching, that lie in the core of the Varnish and Redis software, may accelerate performance of large websites, especially when it comes to huge WP websites with over 100 connections at a time. Research done by Joe Hoyle proves that the load of concurrent connections below 100 may be handled by both a WP plugin and reverse proxy with the same efficiency, but upon increase to over 100 concurrent connections, response time in case of Batcache plugin starts growing exponentially, while with Varnish software it remains pretty stable.
Feel like you need to build WordPress plugin? Have a look what you need to consider.