Do you know that if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you may lose up to 50% of your potential visitors? No one likes a slow website, me too.
Speed is vital for websites, and now it’s a ranking factor too. As per the latest update, Core Web Vitals are an essential ranking factor. If your blog is not fast enough, you will lose your SERP ranking.
But how do we improve our website speed? We all know that having good hosting, a good theme can speed up our websites. But is that enough?
The answer in, NO. You need a cache mechanism in place to achieve a good speed for websites. That is why we are here with the review of one of the best cache plugins for WordPress called WP Rocket.
In this WP Rocket review, we will touch upon various features of WP Rocket, and we will also explain the best settings of WP rocket to achieve optimum speed. So let’s get into it.
But we get into WP Rocket review, we need to what is caching for websites and how does it work? I know most of you may already have enough about it but a bit of refreshment is not bad though. What do you say?
What Is Web Cache?
Caching is a method of storing data in a computing environment. The stored data can be access online or offline later depending upon where the data is stored.
When a visitor visits your website, all files are fetched from the origin server. Those files are then stored either in browser cache memory or the server-side cache memory based on how you set the cache mechanism.
How long those files will be store depends on how much time set for the expiry of HTTP headers.
Next time, when the same visitor visits the same page, files are fetched from the cache memory instead of the origin server. That is why your website content will load very fast when it is fetching data from the cache as there is less load on the origin server.
Types Of Cache
There are two types of Cache avalable.
- Server Cache
- Browser Cache
Server Cache Vs Browser cache
Often I heard people asking that my hosting company has cache in the server. Do I need a cache plugin for WordPress? The answer is, Yes. Server cache and browser cache are completely different.
Server cache stores website files when a visitor visits your website. That does not mean that those files will be store by the user’s browser cache memory or not because that is the job of the browser cache.
Next time, when the visitor visits the same webpage, the date will be served by the server cache instead of the origin server. NGNIX Reverse Proxy, Varnish are the two most popular server cache software.
On the other hand, if you have a browser cache implemented using any cache plugin, the data will be stored in the browser cache, and the same will be server from the browser for repeated visitors. WP Rocket, WP total cache, WP super cache are a few of the most popular browser cache plugins
So server cache and browser cache, both compliments each other. You need to have both to get a good website speed.
WP Rocket Overview
A couple of WordPress enthusiasts developed WP Rocket in 2013 after they are frustrated with the loading speed of their own websites. To date, WP Rocket has more than 1.5 million websites, and they have close to 200K happy customers.
WP Rocket is a premium-only plugin, no trial version or free version. Still, they could able to reach the top. This is hard because the WordPress plugin was dominated by free plugins WP Total Cache and WP Super Cache.
As WP rocket could beat those free contenders, this plugin must have something that we should explore. WP Rocket still the number one choice of WordPress cache plugin by industry leaders like WP Beginners, WP Explorers, and many more.
WP Rocket In Action
I was using WP Super Cache and Autoptimize for over a year before I moved to WP Rocket and you can easily see the difference. My sites now load much faster and pages are lightweight too.
You will notice that in all the testing tools, WP Rocket shows at least 50% speed improvement.
|Page Size||417 KB||320 KB||23%|
WP Rocket Features And Best Settings
In this section of the article we will discuss about various features and the best settings of WP Rocket.
Images shown are with the best possible setting to get the best speed. You can play around with those settings to see how it suits your requirement.
1. Page Caching
We have already discussed what is caching and how caching works. Caching is one of the basic tasks that WP Rocket does. Due to that, as soon as you install the plugin and activates the caching function, you will see a drastic increase in speed.
You can also enable a separate cache for mobile devices if you want and you can also control if you want to do caching even when a user is logged in. You can also set the cache lifespan after which the cache files will be deleted. Ideally, I prefer 10 hours cache life span.
You can exclude some URLs for caching, you can decide if you want to cache cookies or not under the Advanced cache rules section as shown.
2. Cache Preloading
As the name suggests, cache preloading means the cache files will be preloaded in your browser so that when the user actually visits the page, they get a quick response. Cache preloading in WP Rocket loads all links available on the home page first followed by all links available in the sitemap. WP Rocket supports site links generate by most of the SEO plugins like Yoast and Rank Math etc.
Cache preloading will come into action in the following scenario.
- When the cache lifespan is over
- When you update the content of your blog
- When you first install WP Rocket and activates cache preloading
- When you manually clean the cache from the WP Rocket admin bar
Do you know that WP Rocket also preloads fonts? Under the preload font section, if you give the font URL, WP Rocket will preload those font files so that the page loads very fast.
3. File Optimization
Following are the optimization task that WP Rocket is capable of doing.
- Minify CSS files
- Combine CSS files
- Optimize CSS Delivery
CSS File Optimization
Minify CSS files remove unnecessary characters, spacing, and other junk elements from the source code, and make the CSS file lightweight. After minification, multiple CSS files are combined into a single file so that it reduces the HTTP requests. On top of that, WP Rocket also ensures that none of the CSS files is causing render-blocking using optimized CSS delivery.
If you wish, you can also exclude certain CSS files from the minification process.
4. Media Optimization
Images are the most resource-hungry elements of any website. Optimization of images is required to get a good loading speed. Unfortunately, WP Rocket does not come with any hardcore image optimization features like reducing the image file size, or loading imaged through CDN, however, it has some useful image optimization features that we have explained below.
You need to buy a separate plugin named ” Imagify ” to optimize your images. Imagify is developed by the same company that developed WP rocket.
- Lazy Load for images
- Lazy load for iFrames and Videos
- Automatically add missing image dimensions
- WebP Caching
Enabling ” Lazy Load For Images ” is no longer required as WordPress has this feature by default. What it does basically is that it loads only those images that are in the viewpoint. When you keep scrolling down, other images are loaded as the viewpoint changes.
For example, if you have 10 images on a page and if you are accessing that page on a screen that is capable of showing only 5 images, then only 5 images will be loaded at any given point in time.
Lazy loading for iFrame and videos is a very good feature especially if you are embedding YouTube videos. Instead of loading the complete video, it just converts the thumbnail into a static image and lazy loads that image.
Do you know that WP Rocket can add image dimensions automatically? This is a very important feature as you need to control image sizes using any CSS code.
5. Database Optimization
WP Rocket does not have any advanced database optimization features. But it can do the basic database optimization jobs for you. Although you may not see a drastic improvement in speed but that will definitely reduce the database file size.
Following database optimization features are available in the WP Rocket plugin.
- Deleting auto draft posts
- Deleting trash posts
- Cleaning expired transients
- Cleaning all transients
- Optimize tables
- Automatic scheduled database cleanup
Out of all those basic features, one feature that I like most is the automatic scheduled database cleanup. This option will clean your database automatically as per the time interval set by you.
6. GZIP Compression
Another amazing feature that you will get in WP Rocket Cache Plugin is the GZIP Compression. It is one of the most popular lossless data compression methods currently available on the web.
If your site has bulky size HTML Pages, CSS style sheets, and scripts. No need to worry, as the GZIP compression feature in WP Rocket will compress the file size before delivering that to the visitors. Reduced file size means faster load time.
If you are using an Apache server, then WP Rocket will automatically add Gzip compression rules in your .htaccess file using the mod_deflate module. There are no separate settings for this in the dashboard.
Make sure you have writing access to the .htaccess file and the module mod_deflate is install on your server. If you are using NGINX or Lite Speed cache, you need to raise a support ticket to get the Gzip compression rules codes.
Here is a sample .htaccess file with Gzip compression rules added.
7. CDN Integration
CDN means content delivery network. CDN delivers contents from the closest possible server. And thus the latency is low and the page load much faster than loading the same page from the origin server.
WP Rocket integrates with all the CDN services available in the market. The only thing you need is the CDN CNAME value and that’s it. CDN integration complements WP Rocket capabilities as you will see improvement in speed after you integrate CDN with WP Rocket.
WP Rocket has an option to integrate with Cloudflare also. You just need the API keys from the Cloudflare account and the zone ID. Once integrated, you can control various settings of Cloudflare from the WP Rocket dashboard itself. In fact, you can clear the Cloudflare cache from WP Rocket. Is not that great?
To access cloudflare integration you need to head over to Cloudflare Dashboard-> Add Ons-> Cloudflare
8. WP heartbeat Control
As the name suggests, Heartbeat API is a communication protocol between the web browser and web server. It uses AJAX calls to communicate. If so many plugins use heartbeat API, a huge number of AJAX calls will be made to the webserver. This, in turn, slows down the website loading speed
WP Rocket has a dedicated option to control the frequency at which API calls will be made through heartbeat API. If you select the ” Control Heartbeat” option, API calls will be made every 2 minutes instead of 1 minute.
If you decide to disable the heartbeat function, no API calls will be made and you may see improvement in your website loading speed.
Must Read: How to control Heartbeat API In WordPress
9. Google Analytics Integration
By default, you can not cache Google Analytics scripts as those are controlled by Google. If you test your website for speed, you may notice that Google Analytics code is a bottleneck for speed.
WP Rocket has an add-on for Google Analytics that saves the analytics code locally and can be cached also. That improves the website loading speed. To access Google Analytics integration, you need to go to WP Rocket Dashboard-> Add on -> Google Tracking
10. Support for varnish And Securi
If your web host is using Apache web server and Varnish cache, then WP Rocket can integrate with Varnish and clear varnish cache whenever required from the WP Rocket dashboard.
If you use the Sucuri WordPress plugin, then WP Rocket can easily integrate with the plugin and can clean cache if there is a need. For that, you don’t need to go to Securi dashboard.
To access both the options, you need to go to WP Rocket Dashboard -> Add Ons
How to install WP Rocket
Installation of WP Rocket is the same as any other plugins. First of all, you need to buy the plugin. Once you buy the plugin, you need to download it after logging in to the WP rocket account.
Now login to your WordPress dashboard and upload the plugin by going to Plugin-> Add new. Install and activate the plugin. That’s it.
WP Rocket Pricing
WP Rocket is a premium plugin, so no free version and no premium trial. However, if you are not satisfied with the plugin you can claim a refund within 14 days.
WP rocket Single Plan
Single Plan is available for $49. You will get one year of support and updates. it can be used only on one website.
WP Rocket Plus Plan
Plus plan is for those who want to use the WP Rocket cache plugin on 3 websites. Other than that, you will get everything that a single plan offers. The price of the Plus plan is $99
WP rocket Infinite Plan
This plan allows you to install the WP rocket plugin on unlimited websites. Comes with one year of support and updates and costs $249. This plan is great for agency owners
WP Rocket offers a 30% renewal discount on all their plans. However, please buy this plugin during WP Rocket Black Friday Deals or WP Rocket Cyber Monday Deals if you want to save more.
WP Rocket Support: WP Rocket Review
You will only get email support from the WP Rocket team. You need to wait at least a day to get a response to your email. However, the plugin is so well coded that you don’t even need support. I had to raise only one ticket in three years of WP rocket use.
WP Rocket Positives [ Key Features of WP rocket]
- Quick setup [ Less than 5 minutes]
- page caching
- Cache preloading
- Sitemap preloading
- Google Font preloading
- Gzip compression
- Browser caching
- Database optimization
- Image lazy load
- Lazy load for videos
- Code minification
- Combine files
- Remove query strings
- Cloudflare compatibility
- WooCommerce compatibility
- Excellent support
What I don’t like about WP rocket?
- No image optimization option. You need to buy Imagify to optimize images
- Database optimization options are limited
- No lifetime subscription plan. You need to pay every year
- Should have a support forum
Conclusion: WP Rocket Review [ Best WordPress Speed Plugin]
I think this WP Rocket review has enough information to decide whether WP Rocket is good for you or not. Despite there are too many free cache plugins available, WP Rocket has made its stance tall.
Speed is the most important factor in terms of SEO rankings and conversion rates. With a core caching system, WP Rocket ensures great loading times.
So if you are looking for a all in one cache solution, then you should choose WP rocket. Trust me, investing in WP Rocket is worth.
Best Alternatives To WP Rocket
Though WP Rocket is the best cache plugin that offers great optimization and improves the speed of your website. Yet it has some negatives. So, It is always better to look for alternatives. I here listed the two best alternatives to WP Rocket. One is W3 Total Cache and the other is WP Super Cache.
W3 Total Cache
For a long time, WP Total Cache is the preferred choice of bloggers for their cache solution. It has almost all the features that WP rocket has and it’s free of cost. But the problem is that it is a user friendly as WP rocket and often you will face different issues. Since it’s a free plugin, support is also kind of not existent.
WP Super Cache
I was using this plugin for a long time before I moved to WP Rocket. This is a free plugin developed by Automattic, the same team that developed WordPress.
You will see a drastic improvement in your website speed as soon as you install it and activate the caching option. Though options are very limited in this plugin it is a very powerful plugin.
If you use WP Super cache along with Autoptimize plugin, then you may not need WP Rocket also..
Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ) On WP Rocket Review
What Is WP Rocket
WP Rocket is a premium cache plugin for WordPress that drastically improves the loading speed of your website by caching pages, optimizing codes, combing codes, and optimizing images.
Does WP Rocket have A Free Trial?
No, WP Rocket does not have a free trial. However, if you are not happy with the plugin, you can ask for a refund within 14 days of purchase.
What If I Don’t Renew My WP Rocket Licence after A Year?
You can still use the WP rocket plugin. But you won’t get any update or support
Does WP Rocket have a lifetime license plan?
Unfortunately, there is no lifetime licence plan for WP Rocket.
Can I upgrade my WP Rocket license anytime?
You can upgrade the WP Rocket licence anytime by paying the extra amount for that upgraded plan.
is there any renewal discount for WP Rocket?
Yes, There is a 30% renewal discount available in all plans.
Can I use WP Rocket with SG Optimizer?
Yes, you can use. But make sure you don’t activate same features in both the plugins. For example, if you activate lazy load in WP Rocket, don’t activate Lazy load in SG Optimizer.
What are the best alternatives to WP Rocket
The best alternative to WP Rocket is WP Total Cache, WP Super Cache, WP Fastest Cache, Hyper Cache, Autoptimize. All those are free plugins but the premium version is also available. But none of the plugins can outrank WP Rocket.
The only plugin that can beat WP Rocket is Nitropack. However, Nitropack is way too costly.