Speed is an essential ingredient in a successful website. You only have a few seconds to grab the attention of visitors and if your landing page does not load quickly enough, users will simply move on to another site. There are different things that affect the speed of a site – good hosting and compatible plugins help a great deal, as does caching.
The W3 Total Cache plugin is a powerful plugin used by many of the top ranking WordPress sites and is a plugin that will help dramatically improve performance by caching your website in its entirety. In this guide, we will show you how to install and configure W3 Total Cache to speed up your WordPress blog.
Installing W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is most powerful and most popular plugin of its kind and is available as a free download. If you currently have other cache plugins installed on your website, be sure to uninstall them before proceeding. This will prevent two similar plugins conflicting.
To install the plugin go to Plugins > Add New and enter “W3 Total Cache” in the search field. When the results appear, click on Install Now and Activate when the plugin has installed.
Configuring W3 Total Cache
In terms of options, W3 Total Cache has more than most. For a beginner the range of settings available can be confusing, but by following our guidelines, the plugin will be configured accordingly.
To access the W3 Total Cache settings go to Performance > General Settings. From here, you should configure each setting as follows:
- In Page cache, check the box for Enable.
- From the Page cache method drop-down menu, leave the setting as Disk: Enhanced.
- Next to Minify, check the box for Enable.
- In the Minify mode section, select Auto.
- From the HTML minified drop-down menu, leave the setting as Default.
- From the JS minified drop-down menu, leave the default setting in place (JSMin).
- In the CSS minifier list, leave the setting as Default.
- In Database cache, check the box for Enable.
- From the Database cache method drop-down menu, select the option for Disk.
- In the Object cache area, check the box for Enable.
- From the Object cache method drop-down menu, select the option Disk.
- In the Browser cache area, check the box for Enable.
- In the Miscellaneous area, click Optimize disk enhanced page and minify caching for NFS.
With all of the settings successfully configured, click on Save all settings to confirm the changes.
W3 Total Cache will now work quietly in the background caching all aspects of your website and improving the overall speed and performance of your web pages.