8 Best WordPress Caching Plugins Compared for 2022

Excessive load times can harm your website in more ways than one. There are quite a few ways to improve your site’s speed but caching has the greatest impact.

With the above in mind, in this article we’re going to evaluate the performance of the top eleven caching solutions for WordPress. We will also look at the features each one has on offer to help you determine which one is truly the best.

Here’s the lineup: WP Rocket, W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, WP Fastest Cache, WP-Optimize, Cache Enabler, Hummingbird, Swift Performance, FlyingPress, LiteSpeed Cache, Breeze, and Super Page Cache for Cloudflare.

Note: while this post was originally written in 2015, we completely re-tested all of the plugins in February, 2019, then again in August 2020, and most recently in April 2022. We have updated the testing data sections and the conclusion section to reflect this new testing data.

Quick Picks: Best Caching Plugin in 2022 and Beyond

Below, we ran our own performance tests for almost all of these plugins, so keep reading if you want to see all of the data.

But if you’re in a hurry, here are our recommendations based on the data.

Overall Best Caching Plugin

The overall best performer was WP Rocket, in large part because WP Rocket goes beyond just caching and also offers other optimization features, most notably features to improve your Core Web Vitals metrics.

If you want the absolute best performance in the simplest way possible, you should use WP Rocket.

The only “downside” is that it only comes in a premium version, which might not be an option for everybody.

Best Free Caching Plugin

If you’re specifically looking for the best free caching plugin, the top performer in our testing was the free version of WPMU DEV’s Hummingbird plugin.

While it didn’t do quite as well as WP Rocket, it still had very good performance and it won’t cost you a penny.

So if you don’t want to spend the money on WP Rocket, the free version of Hummingbird is still a very good option to create a fast-loading WordPress site.

How We Evaluated the Caching Plugins

To test how these caching plugins actually perform, we installed each one* on a test site and ran tests using WebPageTest. To eliminate single-test variability, we configured WebPageTest to run nine separate tests and then took the median of those nine tests. This median is the number that you see in our comparison tables.

*There were a few plugins that we weren’t able to test, which we’ve explained below.

Before installing any plugins, we took also baseline reading of our test site without any caching plugin installed.

For reference, our test site is using the popular Astra theme as well as one of its full starter sites built with the native editor.

Other than that – there’s nothing special going on. Nor have we made any performance enhancements prior to the caching plugins that we’ll be testing. It is hosted on a well-optimized cloud VPS from DigitalOcean, however, which gives it a pretty strong foundation.

As for the caching plugins, we’re going to try to configure each plugin to optimize the performance as much as possible. In many cases, this means that we’ll activate more than just the page caching features.

We want to show you the performance improvements that you can expect if you’re taking full advantage of the plugin’s features.

For reference, here are the details for our test site before installing any of the caching plugins:

  • TTFB: 0.288 s
  • Largest Contentful Paint: 0.674 s
  • Fully Loaded: 0.721 s
No caching plugin

Best WordPress Caching Plugins

We’ll start by going over the plugins and sharing the test data for each plugin. Then, we’ll put everything together in a comparison table at the end of the post.

These plugins are in no particular order for now. We’ll order them in the comparison table in the next section.

  • TTFB: 0.040 s
  • Largest Contentful Paint: 0.141 s
  • Fully Loaded: 0.307 s

WP Rocket is one of the best caching solutions for WordPress and the only 100% premium plugin on our list. It is tremendously user-friendly and a lifesaver for webmasters who find technical terms and web programming to be perplexing.

The plugin will function correctly after activation; as a result, you won’t be smacking your head against the wall trying to configure it. Those of you who are technologically literate can dive into its advanced options and set up a custom configuration.

WP Rocket is a premium plugin – it starts at $49 for use on a single site and ranges up to $249 for use on unlimited sites.

Features

WP Rocket is a feature-rich caching plugin that offers cache preloading, browser caching, GZIP compression, and options for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript minification and concatenation.

Here’s what you get:

  • Simple, fast, and intuitive setup
  • Page caching is immediately activated
  • Google Fonts Optimization minimizes HTTP requests
  • Code optimization (minification and combination)
  • Remove unused CSS on a page-by-page basis
  • Delay JavaScript execution until user interaction
  • Integrates seamlessly with Cloudflare
  • Heartbeat control
  • Lazy loading for images and videos
  • GZIP compression

Speed Tests

WP Rocket test results
  • TTFB: 0.040 s
  • Largest Contentful Paint: 0.290 s
  • Fully Loaded: 0.421 s

W3 Total Cache is the most feature-rich (and complicated) caching plugin on our list.

The first thing you need to know about this plugin is that its settings area is divided into 16 pages. Whoa! This may be quite overwhelming (even for some developers) but the important thing to remember is that you don’t have to manually configure the settings to make the plugin work – its default settings work pretty great too.

W3 Total Cache has a dedicated settings page for every type of caching – page caching, object caching, database caching, browser caching, etc. The level of customizability that you get with W3 Total Cache is difficult to find elsewhere.

W3 Total Cache has a pretty powerful free version at WordPress.org. There’s also a Pro version that costs $99 per year.

Features

  • Tons of small configuration options
  • GZIP compression to optimize web browser rendering.
  • Minification and concatenation of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files.
  • Support for content delivery networks (CDN).
  • Compatible with Cloudflare.

Speed Tests

W3 Total Cache
  • TTFB: 0.041 s
  • Largest Contentful Paint: 0.377 s
  • Fully Loaded: 0.471 s

WP Super Cache is a free caching solution available for WordPress. It comes directly from Automattic, the same company behind WordPress.com and WooCommerce.

In addition to page caching, it also includes a few other optimization tactics. However, in general, it’s pretty simple.

WP Super Cache is 100% free.

Features

  • Page caching.
  • Support for content delivery networks (CDN).
  • Caching for visitors using a mobile device.
  • Browser caching.
  • Scheduler to manage deletion and re-caching at given intervals.
  • GZIP compression.

Speed Tests

WP Super Cache
  • TTFB: 0.052 s
  • Largest Contentful Paint: 0.443 s
  • Fully Loaded: 0.352 s

According to its developers, the WP Fastest Cache plugin is “the simplest and fastest WP Cache system”. It offers an easy-to-enable page caching feature along with other optimization tactics such as minification, GZIP compression, browser caching, and an option for combining JavaScript and CSS files together to reduce requests from your server.

WP Fastest Cache has a free version at WordPress.org that will work for many sites. There’s also a premium version that starts at $59 per year for use on a single site.

Features

  • Mod_Rewrite which is the fastest method is used in this plugin
  • All cache files are deleted when a post or page is published
  • Supports CDN
  • Enable/Disable cache option for mobile devices and logged-in users
  • Block cache for specific page or post
  • Code minification
  • GZIP compression

Speed Tests

WP Fastest Cache
  • TTFB: 0.041 s
  • Largest Contentful Paint: 0.475 s
  • Fully Loaded: 0.396 s

WP-Optimize is a WordPress caching plugin from the same developers as the popular UpdraftPlus backup plugin. It started as a tool to clean your site’s database before morphing into a full caching and performance optimization solution.

In addition to caching and database cleaning, it also includes an image compression feature.

WP-Optimize has a free version at WordPress.org that will work for many sites. There’s also a premium version that starts at $49 per year for use on up to two sites.

Features

  • Page caching
  • Automatic or manual database cleaning and optimization
  • Image compression
  • GZIP compression
  • Browser caching

Speed Tests

WP-Optimize
  • TTFB: 0.039 s
  • Largest Contentful Paint: 0.461 s
  • Fully Loaded: 0.377 s

Cache Enabler is a lightweight caching solution for WordPress that really only focuses on page caching. Because of that, it’s definitely the simplest option on this list – it literally only has a few settings.

Cache Enabler is 100% free.

Features

  • Page caching
  • Display of the actual cache size in your dashboard
  • Cache exclusion rules

Speed Tests

Normally, we recommend tag-teaming Autoptimize with Cache Enabler. But to keep the test fair, all we did was enable Cache Enabler.

Cache Enabler
  • TTFB: 0.042 s
  • Largest Contentful Paint: 0.232 s
  • Fully Loaded: 0.449 s

Hummingbird is a WordPress caching and performance plugin from WPMU DEV. It offers a well-designed interface along with tons of features that you can use to optimize your site.

Hummingbird has a free version at WordPress.org that will work for many sites. There’s also a premium version that starts at $60 per year for use on a single site.

Features

  • Page caching
  • GZIP compression
  • Browser caching
  • Code minification
  • Option to eliminate render-blocking resources

Speed Tests

Hummingbird
  • TTFB: N/A (read below)
  • Largest Contentful Paint: N/A (read below)
  • Fully Loaded: N/A (read below)

LiteSpeed Cache is a free caching plugin designed to pair with the LiteSpeed Web Server, which comes in both a free open-source version (OpenLiteSpeed) and an enterprise version.

The plugin is a full-service performance plugin that includes caching, code optimization, image optimization, and more. It’s much like WP Rocket in that respect.

However, the important thing to understand is that your web server must be using LiteSpeed Web Server in order to benefit from the caching functionality in the LiteSpeed Cache plugin.

The LiteSpeed Cache plugin is 100% free.

Features

  • Use the server-level caching from LiteSpeed Web Server
  • Code optimization for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Connect to QUIC.cloud CDN (kind of like Cloudflare)
  • Image optimization
  • Database cleaner
  • Heartbeat control

Speed Tests

Our test site does not use LiteSpeed Web Server, so we were unable to test this plugin. However, if your web host does use LiteSpeed Web Server, we highly recommend using this plugin over the other options on this list.

Some popular hosts that use LiteSpeed Web Server include GreenGeeks (our review) and A2 Hosting (only on the higher-tier Turbo plans).

  • TTFB: 0.041 s
  • Largest Contentful Paint: 0.188 s
  • Fully Loaded: 0.418 s

FlyingPress is an all-in-one WordPress performance plugin from Gijo Varghese, who runs a blog about WordPress speed optimization.

It includes page caching as well as a number of other performance optimization tactics for code optimization, image optimization, and more. There’s also an optional FlyingCDN add-on that can speed up global delivery of your site by integrating a CDN.

FlyingPress is a premium plugin – it starts at $60 per year for a single site.

Features

  • Page caching
  • Remove unused CSS
  • Delay JavaScript execution until user interaction
  • Other code optimization such as minification and defer JavaScript
  • Database optimization
  • Google Fonts optimization
  • Image optimization (especially when paired with the developer’s Flying Images plugin)

Speed Tests

FlyingPress test data

Note – I went very aggressive with FlyingPress’ settings, which was causing some issues with CLS on my test site. On a real site, you might need to tweak which scripts to delay to avoid issues with layout shift.

  • TTFB: 0.063 s
  • Largest Contentful Paint: 0.404 s
  • Fully Loaded: 0.472 s

Breeze is a free WordPress caching plugin from Cloudways, a popular web host that we’ve reviewed. However, you do not need to be a Cloudways customer to use it (though Cloudways users do benefit from the plugin’s added integration with Cloudways’ Varnish caching system).

In addition to page caching, Breeze includes features to optimize other parts of your site’s performance, such as your site’s code.

Breeze is 100% free.

Features

  • Page caching
  • Varnish caching integration for Cloudways users (or other hosts that use Varnish)
  • Code minification
  • Delay JavaScript execution
  • Lazy loading for images
  • Heartbeat control

Speed Tests

Breeze caching plugin test result
  • TTFB: N/A (read below)
  • Largest Contentful Paint: N/A (read below)
  • Fully Loaded: N/A (read below)

Like LiteSpeed Cache, Super Page Cache for Cloudflare (formerly WP Cloudflare Super Page Cache) is another unique option that goes beyond just regular page caching.

Instead of implementing page caching on your site’s server, Super Page Cache for Cloudflare lets you fully cache your site’s pages on Cloudflare’s global network of servers.

The advantage of this is that your visitors will experience equally fast load times no matter where they’re browsing from because the full page will load from the nearest Cloudflare edge location.

If you’re familiar with Cloudflare APO, it’s the same basic idea. However, the key difference is that Super Page Cache for Cloudflare is free and lets you keep using the free Cloudflare plan.

Features

  • Full-page caching on Cloudflare’s network
  • Lets you still use the free Cloudflare plan
  • Cache busting to ensure logged-in users don’t see cached content
  • Automatically purge the Cloudflare cache when changing content

Speed Tests

Because of the way that Super Page Cache for Cloudflare works, it’s not really possible to do a 1:1 speed test comparison with the other caching plugins on this list, which is why we haven’t included test data.

However, we recommend testing it yourself if your site has a global audience. We’ve tested it in other situations and it leads to impressive global page load times.

Comparison Table

Here’s a comparison table of the performance of all eight caching plugins that we tested. We’ve ordered them by the Largest Contentful Paint time.

Plugin LCP TTFB Fully Loaded
No Cache Plugin 0.674 0.288 0.721
WP Rocket 0.141 0.040 0.307
FlyingPress 0.188 0.041 0.401
Hummingbird 0.232 0.042 0.449
W3 Total Cache 0.290 0.040 0.421
WP Super Cache 0.377 0.041 0.471
Breeze 0.404 0.063 0.472
WP Fastest Cache 0.443 0.052 0.352
Cache Enabler 0.461 0.039 0.377
WP-Optimize 0.475 0.041 0.396

This table does not include LiteSpeed Cache or Super Page Cache for Cloudflare because we didn’t test them for the reasons noted above. However, they’re both options worth considering depending on your situation.

The Best Caching Plugins Ranked

After running nine separate performance tests for each caching plugin, we can make these recommendations.

Overall, WP Rocket had the best performance, while Hummingbird had the best performance for a free caching plugin. This is why we recommended those two plugins at the beginning of this post.

If you’re on a budget, Hummingbird (or one of the other free plugins) will still make a big improvement to your site’s load times.

If you’re willing to pay, WP Rocket is a great option if you want the best performance, especially when it comes to Core Web Vitals metrics.

FlyingPress also performed quite well and was nearly neck and neck with WP Rocket, so it’s another good option (though it’s a little more expensive).

Which caching solutions do you use for your WordPress site? What features do you look for in a caching plugin? We’d love to hear from you so let us know in the comments section below.

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