Gold Penguin Official Logo

WPRocket Review – Don't Build WordPress Sites Without It

WPRocket is hands down the best WordPress caching plugin I've ever worked with. You can simplify a bunch of plugins into one and tweak settings until you've mastered your sites speed. Here's some of my thoughts after using the plugin for a year and a half

If you're a fan of website speed at some point you've probably delved into the world of caching. Being able to effortlessly turn on site caching with WPRocket (along with its other speedy features) easily makes it the best WordPress caching plugin I've ever used.

In addition to site caching, you also have access to file optimizations, compression, and lazy loading, all contributing to speeding up your WordPress site. It's worth it.

I've been using WPRocket for about 1.5 years now. I've used it for clients, personal, and other random sites I've made. This site is actually using it. I'll show you my personal favorite settings later!

What is a Caching Plugin?

Think of a cache plugin like WP Rocket as a super helpful optimizer for your website.

Usually, when someone visits your website, their computer has to ask your website to put together all the information needed, which takes time.

With WP Rocket, your website remembers what it showed to visitors. So when people come back your site will quickly show them the same information without having to load everything all together again.

Without a caching plugin, the web server will undergo the same process of accessing data from your web server every time a request is made. That's not really optimal.

Faster retrieval of data results in faster loading of your web pages. There are other ways to speed up your site, but having a dedicated caching plugin surely helps a lot.

On top of caching, WP Rocket also includes a number of special tricks to make your website even speedier, scoring high marks on Google’s performance tests, possibly increasing your rankings!

While I wouldn't say installing a caching plugin will rank you top on Google, it will help increase metrics that might otherwise be pulling your site down.

Benefits of Using a Caching Plugin

Time is very crucial, and no one wants to visit slow websites.

But how do fast-loading pages benefit you as a website owner? To start, visitors are very likely to leave your website if its pages take a long time to load. Let's go over the advantages of caching:

Enhances User Experience

In a nutshell, user experience is how a user interacts with pages across your website. It's not limited to ease of use but also in terms of overall efficiency. If your pages load fast, people are happy. I'd consider that a pretty good experience, right?

Possibly Improve Search Engine Rankings

Website speed plays a vital role in SEO. Slow-loading web pages harms the user experience, which is part of Google’s Core Web Vitals report for your website (how they rank sites). I mean, when was the last time you spent more than 2 seconds on a site that didn't load?

Reduces Server load

One of the biggest backend benefits of caching is to reduce the load sent to and from your hosting server. By caching frequently accessed data and resources, caching plugins also reduce the load on the server.

This helps prevent the server from becoming overloaded during peak traffic periods. Very helpful for growing/scaling sites.

Helps Save Money

By reducing server load, caching plugins also help you save money on server bandwidth and resources. Save your bandwidth if you're using a limited plan on your host and dedicate that extra money to other things that help you make money.

What is WP Rocket?

Founded in France in 2013, WP Rocket is a premium WordPress caching plugin that offers a lot of fully automated features and integrations to boost your site speed & reduce server load. The impressive plugin is used by over 3.1 million websites worldwide. Many WordPress experts recognize WP Rocket as the most powerful WordPress caching plugin in the world.

WP Rocket is more than an ordinary caching plugin. You'll generally see a huge increase in site speed and overall performance. Not to mention, it's compatible with almost every hosting provider and page builder.

Who Should Be Using WP Rocket?

Regardless of who you are, if you owns and manages a WordPress website you should use WP Rocket. Time is money. Spend the time you saved with WPRocket doing something more useful for the site. Trust me!

  • If you are a blogger, you'll benefit from people reading your posts smoothly even if your pages have tons of images (lazy loading). And since installation does not require coding skills, installation, and configuration is done with minimum effort. Just a few clicks.
  • If you own an online store, WPRocket can easily be integrated with popular e-commerce plugins such as Easy Digital Downloads, Jigoshop, and WooCommerce. Converting your visitors into customers is works a bit faster, possibly helping bridge that sale.
  • If you are a freelancer or an agency owner who manages multiple websites, you can set each site to have the same settings once you've figured out what works for you. Also the plugin has an unlimited license plan.

WP Rocket Key Features

Page Caching

Once installed and activated, WP Rocket automatically activates the page caching feature. WP Rocket will serve a cached version with static HTML files, instead of generating a slower-loading dynamic page.

If there is no cached version available, WP Rocket will generate a new HTML file and store it in the cache. With the click of a button you can also enable this for mobile devices.

Browser Caching

Like page caching, browser caching is automatically activated once you install and activate the plugin. Also, instead of storing cached versions of your pages on a cache page, your website files are temporarily stored within the user’s browser. These files include HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and additional images.

Once users visit your website again and request the same file, their browser will check its cache to see if it already has a copy of the file and retrieve it. If the cached version of the file is no longer available (has expired), the browser will send a new request to the server to download the latest version of the file, and the caching process starts again.

I personally set the cache lifespan to 10 hours, it gives enough time to settle between high intensity spikes on the site. I wouldn't recommend setting it to 0 (you'll have to manually clear the cache every time you want to reset it).

Database Optimization

Over time, your WordPress database can become bloated with unnecessary data. This includes post revisions and spam comments all which slow down the performance of your website.

WP Rocket's database optimization feature scans your website's database to identify these unnecessary data and removes them. Just be careful if you pull the trigger, you don't want to remove anything you might need later.

Reminder to back up your database before running the cleanup!

Minification

When WordPress developers write code, they make it easier to read by adding line breaks, comments, and white space. However, your browser does not need these additions to process the code. The process to remove these unnecessary characters is called minification, a feature that WP Rocket uses to help improve your website performance.

I'd honestly say this probably does nothing unless you're running a massive website, but it doesn't hurt to try to turn on. If something breaks, just turn the feature off & things should go back to normal.

With the minification feature, the size of the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files of your website are reduced without changing their functionality.

Once the files have been minified, WP Rocket combines them into a single file and serves them to the user's browser. As a result, you might find that web pages load faster.

If you want to get really specific, you can enter the CSS names or URLs of the CSS and JavaScript files you want to exclude from minification. To optimize CSS delivery, choosing ‘Remove Unused CSS’ is recommended for optimal performance. This might break the site though, I personally keep it off.

Lazy Loading

WP Rocket's LazyLoad feature defers the loading of images and videos until they are needed by the user. This technique can significantly reduce the amount of data that needs to be loaded on a page, resulting in faster page load times and improved website performance. Basically, images/videos aren't loaded until they come into the users view. This saves tons of bandwidth and increases loading speed.

When a user visits a page on your website, the LazyLoad feature detects & loads media asynchronously. This means that the images loaded first are those that are only above the fold. Once the user scrolls down the page, that’s when other images get loaded and become visible to the user.

With LazyLoading, the amount of data needed for downloading the images on a page is significantly reduced. This delay in the loading of images does not just help your web pages load faster; it also helps mobile users save some data they don’t need to spend. The feature works on both mobile and desktop.

To enable LazyLoad, go to Settings > WP Rocket > Media. Then, check the boxes for ‘Enable for images’ and 'Enable for iframes and videos,’ where you can choose to replace YouTube iframes with preview images or not. This option is recommended if your page has a lot of YouTube videos.

To help prevent layout shifts and improve the reading experience, you also can check the box for ‘Add missing image dimensions.’ I personally specify almost all image sizes so I don't need the add any missing dimensions. This works great though.

Image Optimization

As a website owner, adding images to your web pages is fun. However, this is also one of the biggest and overlooked issues when it comes to loading speed. WPRocket helps solve this issue by recommending Imagify. I used to use Imagify on all my sites but recently switched to ShortPixel since it worked a lot better with sites that have a lot of content. Both are good though, I can't complain.

However, WPRocket still highly recommends Imagify. Not surprisingly, Imagify was developed by WP Media, the same company behind WP Rocket.

Unlike online image converts, this plugin allows you to have full control over your images. (something you'll also get with most other compression plugins)

CDN Support & Integration

A CDN is wonderful if you attract traffic from across the world. They distribute your content (media, images/videos, etc) across different regions so they get pulled from the closest location to the user at the time of page load.

With WPRocket, you can easily integrate your WordPress website with popular CDN providers such as Cloudflare and Amazon CloudFront. And if you want to avoid complicated configurations, they also have its own premium CDN – RocketCDN. You can also use RocketCDN and Cloudflare together for better security features.

I haven't used RocketCDN, I prefer BunnyCDN, which we wrote about in a WPRocket tips & tricks article if you want to check that out. Integrating a CDN with WPRocket is the same as it would be with any other CDN plugin.

Go to Settings > WP Rocket > CDN. Then, check the ‘Enable Content Delivery Network’ box. You can also add the CDN CNAME(s) on the field for all files (CSS, JavaScript, and images), and even files that you want to exclude during the CDN integration.

WP Rocket Pricing Options

WPRocket does not offer a free trial or account but offers a full refund if you decide not to continue within 14 days of your purchase. The plugin offers 3 different paid plans – Single, Plus, and Infinite:

Single - $59/year for 1 website

Plus - $119/year for 3 websites

Infinite - $299/year for an unlimited number of websites

All plans include product updates and support. After one year, your WP Rocket license will automatically renew unless you cancel your subscription. I started off with the single license but as our agency started crating more websites we transitioned into the infinite plan. Well worth the money spent.

WP Rocket Pros and Cons

PROS

CONS

  • Clean & organized UI

  • Robust features combining a bunch of plugins in one

  • Easy to configure (just a few clicks to setup)

  • Lots of power tweaks & customizations

  • Extensive built-in documentation

  • 14-day money-back guarantee

  • Multilingual compatability

  • Basic troubleshooting guide

  • No free trial/account

  • Can't download manually (you have to purchase and download from their website)

  • No built-in image compression tool

WP Rocket Alternatives

W3 Total Cache

Launched in 2009, W3 Total Cache (W3TC) is a freemium WordPress cache plugin. But due to poor developer support, it's received tons of negative reviews for the last few years. In 2019, W3TC made a great comeback and the plugin since became very popular. The free version is available at WordPress.org (the plugin store), while the Pro version is available to purchase for $99 a year.

Pros

  • Free version is way better than Pro
  • Comprehensive CDN options
  • Compatible with CloudFlare 

Cons

  • No unlimited sites for the Pro version
  • Pricey Pro version
  • Quite confusing UI
  • Free version lacks sophisticated features
  • Free version lacks documentation
  • Not exactly beginner-friendly

WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache was (WPSC) created by Automattic, the parent company of WordPress. Offering a popular caching plugin, WP Super Cache has many similar key features as WP Rocket and W3 Total Cache but works slightly differently as it offers file caching in 3 steps – Simple, Expert, and WP-Cache caching. The plugin is super lightweight and gets right to the point.

Pros

  • Completely free
  • Less complex setup
  • Very easy to configure
  • More beginner-friendly than W3TC
  • Reduced server fetching time
  • CDN support
  • WooCommerce compatible
  • Built-in support options

Cons

  • Features disabled by default
  • Not ideal for power users
  • Lacks enhancement features

Final Thoughts

I really can't recommend WPRocket enough. I'm a site speed junkie so I spent a couple weeks of my life trying to optimize every website I owned.

It paid off quite well, our metrics across Google & GTMetrix are very high on both desktop & mobile, which I attribute a large portion of that to literally purchasing and installing the plugin.

As much as there are a few alternatives to check out, I wouldn't go with another WordPress caching & speed optimization tool than WPRocket. If you want a stress-free way of optimizing & monitoring your WordPress site cache and performance, this is your go-to tool!

Want To Learn Even More?
If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to our free monthly newsletter
where we share tips & tricks on how to use tech & AI to grow and optimize your business, career, and life.
Written by Justin Gluska
Justin is the founder of Gold Penguin, a business technology blog providing the latest news and tools in the artificial intelligence, business, and SaaS world. If it can help you make more money or save you time, he will write about it!
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join Our Newsletter!
If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to our free monthly newsletter where we share tips & tricks on how to use tech & AI to grow and optimize your business, career, and life.
magnifiercross