This article was originally published on Sitehip.com, a site that I have since taken down. I created Sitehip as an experiment. The idea was to have a blog dedicated to WordPress tutorials etc. However there are only so many hours on the day, so I have decided to close up Sitehip and focus on this site.


This is part 3 of the series How to Speed Up WordPress on Bluehost. If you haven’t already read the first 2 parts click on that link and start there.

I’ve already spent a good amount of time setting up the free version of W3 Total Cache and the results were excellent (see part 2 of this series for details). Now I want to compare it to WP-Rocket.

Setting Up WP-Rocket

Wp-Rocket is a very popular premium caching plugin for WordPress. One big selling point is that it is super easy. They claim that on most WordPress sites you can just install and activate it and for the most part you are good to go.

WP Rocket is the only cache plugin which integrates more than 80% of the web performance good practices even without any option activated. Its options can be defined as a bonus, since their activation is not mandatory to improve the website loading time.

WP-Rocket Getting Started Guide: http://docs.wp-rocket.me/article/59-getting-started

Compared to W3 Total Cache, which features a ton of options and a rather involved and time consuming set up for optimum performance, setting up WP-Rocket is a breeze.

Before installing WP-Rocket I completely removed W3 Total Cache from the site and ran a few more Pingdom Tools tests. This one is pretty typical of the results:

Pingdom Tools test before installing WP-Rocket. See full results.

WP-Rocket Settings

As I already mentioned, there are not nearly as many settings options in WP-Rocket as there are in W3 Total Cache. But it did take me quite a while and a ton of testing to find the best configuration for my site. And, as you will see, the results are rather surprising.

For the record, I am using version 2.10.12 of WP-Rocket.

Basic Settings

Lazy Load:
Enabled for both images, and iframes and videos

Mobile Cache:
Enabled for mobile, seperate cache for mobile devices

User Cache:
Not enabled (this not necessary for this site.)

SSL Cache: Not enabled. There is no SSL in place yet. I would enable this after installing the SSL.

Emoji Cache:
– Enabled

Embeds: – Enabled “Disable WordPress Embeds”

Cache Lifespan: 10 hours (default setting)

Static Files

Minify Files: Enabled for all. Note that this didn’t cause any issues on the site, unlike W3 Total Cache CSS minify which broke the site.

Combine Files: None enabled. To be honest I haven’t really settled on the Google font for the site yet. I would consider testing this further once I do. I found that combining the CSS and JS files with WP-Rocket actually made the site load slower. You might have different results though, so I urge you to experiment and see what works best for you if you use WP-Rocket.

Exclude CSS/Exclude JS: Since I didn’t combine files I did not do anything with this. Once again depending on your site theme and plugins, your configuration might require it.

Remove query strings from static resources: Enabled

Render-blocking CSS/JS:
Enabled all: Load CSS files asynchronously, Load JS files deferred, and Safe mode.

Critical Path CSS:
I had nothing to add here.

Advanced

I had no need for anything here. If your site is a standard blog you probably won’t either.

Database

At this point I just left this alone.

I do like to keep my database as small as possible and optimized. But I am not comfortable having it done automatically. Its always best to take a backup of your database before you do anything like this. If things go wrong database changes are permanent.

I have had great success with the Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions plugin. There are many options to backup your database. You can use a plugin like https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-database-backup/, or you can get a back up from the cPanel.

Preload

Activate sitemap-based cache preloading: Enabled

Yoast SEO XML sitemap: Enabled because I use Yoast SEO on this site.

Sitemap crawl interval:
500ms

Varnish Cache

There is no Varnish Cache so nothing to do there.

The rest of the tabs do not apply.

The Final Result

As I already mentioned the results surprised me. This is the best of many, many tests:

Pingdom Tools test with WP-Rocket. See full results

Compare that to the W3 Total Cache results:

Pingdom Tools test with browser cache settings. See full results.

Conclusion

No question, I am going with W3 Total Cache.

My domain has transferred to Bluehost, and I am really anxious to get the actual version of Sitehip live, so before I go any further I am going to get it all set up.

Note that moving forward I will not have the test page. But stay with me as I set up the SSL, Cloudflare, and test MaxCDN and KeyCDN.

For an affordable, reliable, and as I am going to show you, fast loading hosting account for your WordPress website, please click here.