WP Rocket is a plugin for WordPress that helps your website to be as fast as possible, not only for attracting new visitors but even for keeping the existing ones.
Now, there are several ways that you can improve your website’s speed, but caching is generally considered one of the easiest ones to pull off. And, if you use a WordPress website, you can make it extra simple by using this handy little plugin called WP Rocket.
Let’s see how WP Rocket works and if to implement it on your website.
What Is Caching?
Before we start talking about WProcket itself, let’s start by explaining what caching is.
Simply put, whenever you have a visitor to your website, your website communicates with their device. The user sends a request for data, and your website recognizes it and responds by sending that data.
The two continue to communicate, which results in a lot of information constantly traveling back and forth. All of this happens in seconds, but the more data there is to send and receive, the slower the process is, especially if your hosting provider is not the fastest.
Caching is a process where you create a static version of your website and all of its content. It is like freezing a page of your site and quickly delivering it when a new user comes along, instead of generating the entire page from scratch.
This, of course, takes significantly less time to do, which should be satisfying to the visitor, and they will get to check out this original portion of your website before they can keep exploring it.
Typically, visitors will not be able to notice any difference between the static and a dynamic versions of your site, apart from faster loading speeds. And, if you use caching plugins like WP Rocket, you can automatically update your static version of the site as soon as you make some changes to the site itself.
What Is WP Rocket
As mentioned, WP Rocket is a caching plugin. As a matter of facts, it is considered to be the best caching plugin for WordPress by a lot of its users. The plugin is rich with features, it is very user-friendly, and it does its job perfectly.
That job, of course, is to speed up your site, and it promises to make it a lot faster in only a few clicks. This may sound like an empty boast, but it is mostly true, and because of that, it is being used on more than 1,156,000 websites.
The plugin does several things, which includes:
- Compressing files
- Creating page caches
- Browser caching
- Detection and support of numerous 3rd-party plugins, hosting environments, themes, and alike
- Image lazyload
- and more.
Of course, WP Rocket is rich with all kinds of features. Let’s review some of the most notable ones, and see how they all fit together to make your site(s) as fast as it can be.
WProcket Main Features
1. Very Simple Interface
Installing WP Rocket is very simple, and the plugin is able to start doing its thing as soon as the installation is complete, and you activate it. Its interface will also tell you this.
More importantly, its interface, which you will see as soon as the plugin is set, is extremely user-friendly and clean. However, it offers all kinds of options and features for advanced caching and similar options.
This is great, as the plugin manages to satisfy the needs of first-time users and advanced clients alike.
In other words, if you have never used such a plugin before, you won’t have any trouble with finding your way around. Meanwhile, if you are an experienced user, you will find quite a few different options that will satisfy your specific needs.
Of course, you can use WP Rocket in its default, out-of-the-box mode. However, there is a whole lot more to it than that, and if you are experienced, you will figure it out pretty quickly. If you are a novice, but you would like to learn all that it can do and how to do it, there are plenty of video guides, tutorials, and more.
You can find them all within your own WordPress dashboard, so basically, the plugin comes with a very detailed and handy instruction manual in video form for your convenience.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about the thing you are really getting WP Rocket for, and that is caching. When it comes to caching, we have two different types — page caching and browser caching.
Page caching is the most basic feature of this plugin, and it works pretty much how we explained above. You select a page on your website, and its contents get stored within a plugin. Then, when a user comes to this same page, the plugin will load the static, recorded version of the page, which will load much faster for the visitor.
You also get to configure caching settings within the plugin and make some changes if you wish. This is easy enough to do by going to Settings on the WordPress’ left-side panel. Then, click WP Rocket, and you will easily spot the settings area.
Once there, simply click on Cache, and you can change various aspects of the caching. You can modify things such as:
- Mobile caching
- Cache lifespan
- User caching
If you go to Advanced Rules, you can also modify the settings even further, and set up the plugin’s behavior in case there are pages you want to exclude, and alike.
As for browser caching, the idea is similar enough, only the website’s static version of the page gets stored within the browser. As soon as the visitor returns to the page, the static files will be ready for them, as they don’t need to be re-loaded, but they get withdrawn directly from the browser.
Also, we mentioned mobile caching, which is also an important aspect, especially in this era of smartphones, where so many people prefer to browse the web via their mobile device, rather than sit at a computer.
3. Compatibility with Content Delivery Networks
There are some websites that value speed more than others, and if you are searching for multiple solutions that will boost your speed, you will be happy to know that WP Rocket works with CDNs.
As you may know, CDNs, or Content Delivery Networks, are solutions that boost your speed even more. They are basically companies that have points of presence in multiple regions across the world. Whenever a visitor to your website tries to load it, they retrieve the information from the point of presence closest to their physical location.
That way, the data doesn’t have to travel around half the world, which further improves the loading speeds. A great thing about WP Rocket is that it is fully compatible with CDNs, and you don’t have to worry about experiencing any sorts of issues along the way.
4. Media Optimization
WP Rocket imedia optimization is really useful if you have large image files on your site.
Such files can slow your website down considerably, but WP Rocket comes as a great solution here, as well.
As mentioned earlier, the plugin offers a feature called LazyLoading, which allows you to delay the loading and display of media files such as images and videos. They will still load of course, but not before the user scrolls down the page they are viewing, and finds them in their position.
Without WP Rocket, such files would start loading as soon as the user lands on the page, which would slow down the loading process considerably.
WP Rocket also deals in smaller media files that can impact the loading screen, such as emojis. It does this a bit differently, as it loads them from the visitor’s own computer, instead of downloading them from WordPress.
So, basically, you can now fit as many images as you want on any of your pages, and they will not load until observed. That will only leave a small portion of the page that needs to be loaded at any single time, which will be much quicker.
You can manage settings for this in the Media tab, which is where you need to go to enable Lazy Loading, or disable emojis and embeds, and decide what to keep and what to disable, in general.
5. Database Optimization
Of course, your website is not only being slowed by the existing limitation of technology, such as loading speeds. Another important factor is the unnecessary clutter that gets stuck in your database and needs to be processed, while not contributing in any way.
These files have a tendency to pile up over time, as your WordPress database continues to grow. There is no helping its accumulation, but you can at least remove it when it starts having an impact on your loading speeds.
WP Rocket also offers data optimization, which allows you to clean up your database and remove the unnecessary junk. It even allows you to set up a cleaning schedule for your database if you prefer it to be automatic, or you can choose to do it manually whenever you want.
You can also set up the deletion of older post revisions, trashed posts, drafts, comments that were deleted or marked as spam, and alike.
As for automatic cleanups, you can set them up in a way that will make them happen daily, weekly, or even monthly, depending on the amount of traffic your website sees, or the need.
6. Reducing the File Size
We already spoke of WP Rocket’s ability to not load media files before they are actually needed, but another way to reduce the impact on loading is to reduce the size of images, and similar files.
However, if you leave it on, it will remove a lot of unnecessary things, such as comments, whitespace, extra characters, and line-breaks, all of which are commonly found in the code of various files that make up your site.
Reducing the size of these files results in less bandwidth being needed, and therefore, the faster loading speed. This is another way for you to get your website to load faster, apart from caching, that WP Rocket can also help you with.
7. Decide on the Cache Lifespan
Back to caching-related features, we have another that can help you provide your visitors with the best experience.
As mentioned before, whenever you publish some new content or change something on your website, WP Rocket will clear the cache and set up a new version of it, which will contain these changes. That way, you don’t have to worry about your visitors loading the outdated version of the page, which doesn’t contain the newest changes.
However, you can also set up a specific schedule when you would like the cache to delete the files it contains, and make a new recording. You can even do this manually whenever you want. That way, you can be sure that your users will always run into the most up-to-date version, and that an older one will not load by mistake.
WP Rocket is very eCommerce-friendly, which is also important, especially now, when online shops are a major trend. Every other website offers some sort of merchandise that they wish to sell, and you need to know that your caching plugin will not mess it up.
Well, there is no need to worry about such things with WP Rocket. This plugin is very eCommerce-friendly, and if you have your own online store or simply wish to sell a few items here and there, you can easily do that and still keep this plugin at all times.
It will exclude the view cart and checkout pages automatically, meaning that they won’t be included in the caching process. That way, attempts to speed up your site will not mess with other processes, and your site can continue to work efficiently and quickly at the same time.
In fact, this is part of the another feature that allows you to exclude any content from caching, as some aspects should not be cached in the first place. Shopping carts are a good example, but you can opt to exclude anything you want. All you need to do is enter the address of the page, or even a specific post, and similar content. That way, the plugin will know to skip it, and you won’t have to worry about ever having an outdated version of it, or about having conflicts between different processes.
How Much Does It Cost?
One last thing left to talk about is the price of using this plugin. WP Rocket is a premium plugin, meaning that you will have to pay its fee in order to use it.
It has three different plans, each of which comes at its own price, and you can opt to get the one that fits your needs. There are:
- Single plan — $49 (1 year of updates and support for 1 site)
- Plus plan — $99 (1 year of updates and support for 3 sites)
- Infinite plan — $249 (1 year of updates and support for an unlimited number of sites)
Of course, most people will be covered with the Single plan, or maybe the Plus plan, if they have multiple sites to maintain. The Infinite plan is really meant for companies that create websites for their clients, or those who have numerous websites of their own.
This is also a good plan for freelancers who may offer their own website-building services, so your choice really depends on your needs.
As we have just seen, WP Rocket is a very handy caching plugin that will let you do a lot more than caching itself — all for the purpose of speeding up your website.
It is very user-friendly and its default version is fully capable of doing its job as soon as you activate it. However, it also offers plenty of advanced versions that will really let you see the difference.
Not only that, but it is also compatible with things like CDNs and eCommerce, which means that you can use such additional functionalities with no conflict with this plugin. For these and other reasons, it is one of the best choices for speeding up your site.
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