Caching has become one of the most
widely-used terms when it comes to improving the performance of a website. It’s
almost become the go-to solution whenever your site is not loading as fast as
you want it to.
It may not be the only solution out there,
but it surely is among the ones that make the most significant impact with so
little effort on your part
Simply put, caching is the ability to store
certain assets of your site on a device like your local PC or browser for easy
access in the future. In WordPress’s case, in general, since there are a lot of
files and dynamic content on your site, caching plugins generate a static HTML
version of your site and stores it for future use.
When a user visits the page again, they
would be served the static site thus decreasing the load times for the page. It
also helps decrease the strain on your server having to re-process and
re-render your site.
In a separate post, we reviewed the top 15 best
caching plugins available. And that can surely give you a glimpse of how many
choices and how much information is available when it comes to caching.
For this article, we’ll be reviewing in detail one of the most widely used plugins in the market that’s made specifically to help you with your “caching” issues. WP Fastest Cache.
What is WP Fastest Cache?
WP Fastest Cache is a WordPress caching plugin that is known for its simplicity and ease of use. Plus it has a free version.
This is surely one of our favorite free caching plugin because it just does it’s job incredibly well. Sure, you would have a lot more options and power with a paid one like WP Rocket, but if that’s not within your budget, this is a great alternative.
But that’s not to say that it’s weak
either. It definitely delivers when it comes to its effectiveness.
Having over 1 million active installs, you
can tell that it’s a crowd favorite among the WordPress space. They have
incredible support and constant updates and you have full control over all of
the caching things.
How Does it Do?
What’s a review without proof right?
So here it is, we’ve created a brand new site with the already stunningly fast Astra theme and imported one of the cutest starter templates in the collection — Pet Services. (Look at that adorable puppy.)
It’s running on WordPress 5.3.2 and PHP
We’re going to test how effective WP
Fastest Cache is when it comes to caching and overall speeding up your website.
Now take note, this is a brand new site
without any other content on it than what’s on the demo. So take these results
and multiply depending on the size of your own website.
Before WP Fastest Cache
Based on our initial homepage speed test, the results are already impressive with 1.9 seconds load time. Most of this speed is mainly based off of the lightweight and highly optimized code of the Astra Theme.
Now let’s see if WP Fastest Cache helps.
After WP Fastest Cache
With caching turned on, there was a significant decrease in the page load time. Down from 1.9 seconds to 0.9 seconds.
Take note that nothing else has been done on the site between these two tests. Although, we did need to set WP Fastest Cache up to perform at its absolute best. Once the plugin is installed, you’d still need to activate a few things for it to start doing its job.
Unlike some other top-performing caching plugins out there, WP Fastest Cache has a free version. With limited features of course, but all the basic items are there like HTML and CSS Minification and Browser Caching among other things.
For a complete list of features visit their website here.
But to be able to maximize all the
wonderful features of the plugin, you can opt for the WP Fastest Cache Premium.
They have different tiers depending on the
number of licenses that you will get:
- Bronze $49 – 1 site license
- Silver $125 – 3 site license
- Gold $175 – 5 site license
- And More
WP Fastest Cache Features
WP Fastest Cache is incredibly feature-filled. It’s surprising how much punch this lightweight plugin has.
As mentioned, the free version alone gives
you so much to work with and if you own just a basic site, this is probably
enough for you.
The free version includes features like:
- Mod_Rewrite which is the
fastest method is used in this plugin
- All cache files are deleted
when a post or page is published
- Admin can delete all cached
files from the options page
- Admin can delete minified CSS
and js files from the options page
- Block cache for specific page
or post with Short Code
- Cache Timeout – All cached
files are deleted at the determined time
- Cache Timeout for specific
- Enable/Disable cache option for
- Enable/Disable cache option for
- SSL support
- CDN support
- Cloudflare support
- Preload Cache – Create the
cache of all the site automatically
- Exclude pages and user-agents
If you want to really have a handle on your site caching system though, the Pro Version for just $49 can give you so much more:
- Mobile Cache
- Widget Cache
- Minify HTML Plus
- Minify CSS Plus
- Combine JS Plus
and deferring all non-critical JS
- Optimize Images – Optimized
images load faster and consume less cellular data
Probably the best feature of this plugin
for me is that it’s incredibly simple and intuitive to use, even if you’re a
How to Set up WP Fastest Cache
We don’t know how many times I’ve said this
but it’s incredibly simple. You don’t need to know a lot about how caching
works to start setting this up.
We’ll show you how we did it on our test
Step 1: Install the Plugin
Once you’ve got the .zip file downloaded.
Just head on to your WordPress dashboard. Hover over to Plugins > Add New.
Once on that page, just click Upload Plugin right at the top. Select
the file from your computer and hit Install
After installing, you will be prompted to
activate it and you’re good to go.
Another and simpler way to install the
plugin is via the WordPress dashboard directly.
To do this, head on again to Plugins > Add New but this time, type in “WP Fastest Cache” in the search box, click Install Now then Activate.
From there, you will be redirected to the
Installed Plugins list and you’ll see that it’s there, installed and activated.
Now to set it up.
Step 2: Set up WP Fastest Cache
To set up the plugin, just head on to your
WordPress Dashboard and look for WP Fastest Cache (yes, the one with the
Once you click it, you’ll be greeted with
this fine collection of checkboxes.
All you have to do is tick the one that you
want to activate, click Submit and
you’re all done.
For this very basic test site that we created,
we enabled everything except Combine CSS and JS. Since this is a very basic
site, there is no harm in activating that, but at the same time, it’s not
If you have a little bit more complicated
set-up though, always remember to back up your site first before making any of
these changes. Since regardless of what plugin you use, there’s always the
threat of your site breaking and being inaccessible.
You also get a lot more options within its
other settings tabs.
If you’re a more advanced user, these would
be very helpful with specifying which option you would need and not need for
A lot of these, however, are available only
on the premium version.
Another nifty feature about this plugin is
that, although you can set it to automatically clear the cache every time a
post is updated or published, you can still do it manually from the admin bar.
This is a particularly useful feature since
a lot of the times, if you don’t clear the cache, it takes a very long time for
your changes to reflect on your user’s screen.
As you can see, it’s not as difficult as a
lot of other caching plugins out there that use a lot more confusing terminology
and a lot of screens.
Out of the box, you get presented with
basic settings, with tooltips that help you know what those settings are for.
And after that, it’s just a matter of ticking a few boxes. Simple, yet
Why Use WP Fastest Cache Over Other Caching Plugins
The basic answer is that it’s really simple
to use. With other caching plugins that are around the same price-point, you
don’t get that much power and control.
With other caching plugins you have to go through screen after screen of setups that it could get incredibly confusing. With this, you have a handy checkbox upfront and a tabbed layout of the other settings.
Plus, I’ve been using this plugin for a lot
of years now and it basically taught me a lot of what we know about caching due
to their handy tooltips.
The idea behind this plugin is to make one
powerful tool to help you with your website caching, but not making it seem
like you’re controlling a space shuttle.
Summary of WP Fastest Cache
WP Fastest Cache isn’t topping any lists when it comes to the number of active installs or ratings from other developers, but it’s power comes from it’s UI, its price, and the features that it comes with right out of the box.
It’s very easy to underestimate this kind
of simplicity, but when you’ve spent hours and hours building a website, you’ll
understand how much it means to set up something so crucial without having to
go through 10 screens of settings.
Also, this is one of the few plugins that
I’ve used that offered close to instant results when we run speed test results
immediately after activating.
The Disadvantages of WP
The only disadvantage that we can see from using this plugin is that although the UI is very simple and easy, it lacks that premium feel when navigating it.
Unlike plugins like WP Rocket or other caching plugins, the UI isn’t fancy nor elegant, which can turn a lot of people off.
Aside from that, we feel that the other
features that are reserved for the premium version should be available to the
free version too. Features like image optimizations, mobile, and widget cache,
and database cleanup. Although, I’d understand why. $49 isn’t that much
compared to other plugins out there that offer the same or even fewer
functionalities as WP Fastest Cache
Final Rating for WP Fastest
We’d give WP Fastest Cache these final
Feature set: 5/5
User Interface: 3.5/5
Ease of use: 4/5
If you’re the type of person who focuses
more on performance rather than fancy colors and text, WP Fastest Cache might
be for you. You don’t get a lot of
colorful settings menus and out of this world terminologies, and for you, that
may be a good thing.
The fact that all we need to do is check a few boxes and it does what we want it to do is reason enough to use WP Fastest Cache.
Although there are a lot more highly rated
plugins out there, if you factor in the performance, price, and usability of
this plugin, you have nothing else to look for. Those are certainly what makes
it stand out.
Pair it with a lightweight and already
blazing fast theme like Astra,
and you’re good to go.
What caching plugin are you using? Let us
know in the comments below.
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