WP Rocket is easily one of the best (if not the best) WordPress performance plugins available. The plugin is extremely easy to install and configure and does most of the work for you. We have recently switched over to it after using other free WordPress plugins and instantly saw fantastic improvements. In speed tests such as on GTMetrix we now get an A (94%) for the PageSpeed score and C (76%) for YSlow Score. Keep reading to learn why we would recommend this plugin, key features, our tips when installing and more.
Here’s a little video you might like on YouTube:
Why we would recommend WP Rocket for WordPress websites?
- The plugin is extremely easy to configure with well organised and easy to navigate settings.
- Once installed and your content starts being cached you should start seeing instant improvements with your load times.
- Heartbeat control which helps with your server resources.
- Compatibility with WooCommerce to exclude caching of the cart, checkout and my account (dynamic pages).
- There’s integration with CDN services such as Cloudflare.
- Well-written and easy to use help guides.
- 14-day money-back guarantee if you’re not happy.
Key features of WP Rocket
- Page caching
- Database optimisation
- GZIP compression
- Cache preloading
- Browser caching
- E-commerce compatibility
…and more. See all features.
Who would WP Rocket be good for?
We would recommend WP Rocket for anyone with a WordPress website, whether you’re a travel blog such as this, or another type of theme or website. With website speed becoming more and more an important ranking and usability factor, there is an even bigger incentive to ensure you have the best performance optimisation possible.
Our tips when installing and using WP Rocket
Here are our tips when installing WP Rocket. These are just our opinions though so be sure to do your own tests and further research:
- Cache preloading – Once installed we’d recommend you click the button in the dashboard to start building your cache. If you don’t preload or build your cache then it won’t be built until after the first user access.
- Speed tests – We’d recommend doing some speed tests on your homepage and other key pages before you install, then do some tests afterwards so as to see if you’ve had an improvement.
- Admin – Be sure to check speeds and performance when logged out of admin or in Incognito mode.
- Full cache deletion – If you make changes to the categories, tags, changing the theme options, changing menus or sidebar widgets this will clear the cache. You may then need to go to the dashboard and click the “Preload Cache” button. We had set the cache to automatically preload in the settings but haven’t found that works properly after a full cache deletion.
How to check your page speeds
There are various online tools allowing you to check your page speed as well as your TTFB (Time to First Byte).
- GTMetrix – GTMetrix is a fantastic tool which we’ve also been using for years. You simply paste in your URL and wait for the results and analysis. The results will consist of various scores for Page Speed and Yslow as well as letting you know the load time, page size and number of requests. As well as this you’ll get a list of recommendations as well as their importance to fix. It’s worth noting that not all recommendations are possible (such as third-party browser caching), but many of them will be.
- PageSpeed Insights – This is a tool by Google and will give you further insights and recommendations into your website performance and ways to improve your speed.
- Chrome Developer Tools/ Network Tab – You can use the Network Tab of the Chrome Developer tools to check the speed of a page as well as the TTFB. It might look a little complicated at first but doesn’t take too long to get the hang of. TTFB is essentially when you’ve sent the request to the server and the response is returned and starts being downloaded by the browser. To check TTFB right click on the page and click Inspect. Then navigate to Network, click on your page, then timing and you’ll see the TTFB. Outside of this you can also filter by size, time and status which is helpful for finding issues.
Free vs Premium WordPress performance plugins
Before WP Rocket we were using W3 Total cache which has a free option. But we were never particularly happy with the performance and often got frustrated with our page speeds. We would still recommend W3 Total Cache though and are very grateful that they offered a free version. But if you have a high traffic website, with lots of pages and categories, or you even have commercial pages such as a shop then it’s very important to invest in the best performance plugin possible. Of course, you might try other free performance plugins and find they deliver the results you want. But overall we have found that since investing in WP Rocket (and it’s pretty cheap) it’s one of the best decisions we’ve made.
If you have just one website then you should get the $49 “Single” licence. If you have 2-3 websites then get the $99 “Plus” licence, and if you have a lot of websites then you might want to get the $249 “INFINITE” licence. These licences include 1 year of support and updates.
When purchasing you also get a 14-day money-back guarantee should you not be happy. Note that these prices are correct at time of writing but are subject to change.
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