Speed-Up WordPress with These Easy WP Super Cache Configurations

Without massive computing powers, a WordPress-based site with sizable amount of traffic can get slow. With shared hosting, even moderate traffic can slow down your site.

The easiest way to improve WordPress’ speed — on shared hosting or otherwise — is to use a caching plugin. When I first encountered the concept of caching and its plugins, I was kind of intimidated. Maybe because I started with a complicated plugin with a gazillion options. But once I got to know caching, it’s pretty simple — especially with WP Super Cache.

WP Super Cache (WSC) will take HTML snapshots of your pages and serve the snapshots to visitors. Serving HTML snapshots requires significantly less processing power than serving dynamic pages.

Most WordPress-based sites can start serving static HTML instead of dynamic pages without impacting the functionality of the site. So, let’s start.

Install WSC. Now go to the plugin’s admin page. When you go to WSC’s admin page, you maybe greeted by some ugly, yellow, rectangular boxes, and stuff. Don’t worry, they’re harmless. Read them, gather what you will, and move on.

First, turn caching on and click “Update Status >>”

That’s It!

Hmmm, that’s it. Now you have a fast site! But there are more easy things we can do to further improve caching and the speed of your site.

Go to “Advanced” tab. Checkmark the settings that say “(Recommended)” but instead of “Use mod_rewrite to serve cache files.” check “Use PHP to serve cache files.”

wp-super-cache-recommended-advance-settings

Speed Up Your Site in the Eyes of Google

Everything else held equal, Google favors the faster site. So, what I’m about to show you is good for your Google ranking. Actually, it’ll also provide better experience to your human visitors.

WP Super Cache does not automatically create an HTML snapshot of every page on your site. It waits for the page to be visited by someone first and then it creates the snapshot. So, if you have a page that only gets a couple of visits a day or so, those couple of visitors will not experience any improved speeds because every time WP Super Cache creates a snapshot, it’ll expire before the page is visited again.

If you want to make sure that only fast snapshots are served to all of your visitors and search bots, you gotta use the Preload feature of WP Super Cache. This feature periodically creates snapshots of your entire site and serves those snapshots to visitors. It’s a no-brainer to setup, too.

wp-super-cache-preload-settings

Choose your settings like the screenshot above and click “Update Settings.” You’ll have a brand new snapshot of your site created every 1440 minute (which is 24 hours).

And That’s Totally It!

The tips above will substantially improve the speed of your site. I’d say this gives you the 80% of the possible improvements. There are still a few things you can do to go the remaining 20%. Read on.

“I’m a Nerd smile who loves speed. I want more and more speed!!”

Okkaay…well, to improve speed on this site, I also installed WP-Minify (this plugin is no longer available). It combines all JavaScript and CSS files of your site into one, which improves your site’s latency. It also compresses the HTML source-code of your pages and compresses the content of the combined files to reduce file sizes. I also installed the Use Google Libraries plugin to offload bandwidth consumption and improve speed of JavaScript execution on my site.

“What happens when I edit an old page or get comments?”

WP Super Cache is smart. When a new comment is posted or you update an old page, it’ll immediately take a new snapshot of the page — there won’t be no delay.

“But I got lots of dynamic content Crying face!!”

If your site contains dynamic content, like maybe you greet visitors based on referring site or you have a sidebar widget that continually updates based on incoming search keywords or something, then you have to perform extra configurations on your site to make sure the dynamic parts are served correctly despite caching.

The developer of WP Super Cache provides a user-friendly guide for this. Check out the section for “How do I make certain parts of the page stay dynamic?” here.

Beyond Caching

As far as caching and other obvious improvements to page speed in WordPress, that was all of it. If you want speed beyond caching, check out the Quest for Speed guide.

For more WordPress optimization tips from WinkPress, checkout these links:

8 comments. You can post one, too!

  1. Thanks for the tips!

    Regarding cache, what about WP forums like Simple:Press? Do we need some specific setup in order to avoid having cache hiding new user posts?

  2. Thanks a great deal M.K.
    I found this post while searching for more ways to reduce my page speed score. I’ve been using WP Super Cache for some time and installed WP Minify after reading a different blog post. Didn’t notice much difference.It was until after implementing these settings on WP Super Cache, my page score went from 79 to 87 instantly.
    Thanks for sharing this bro. I really appreciate it.

  3. valerio

    Thanx m.k. great article. I have a question for you. Why do you disable mod rewrite to serve the cache ? Mod rewrite is usually better than php.
    Thank you again
    valerio

    • Hi Valerio, Thanks for your comment. I wrote this guide when I was a bit of a newbie to caching and performance optimization. Since then I’ve become less intimidated by all of the WP Super Cache settings and discovered the mod_rewrite mode is faster. However, I was told that it’s only slightly faster than PHP mode—it’s almost unnoticeable.

  4. Thanks M.K.! Another great article that I’ll be sure to bookmark! ;0)

  5. mary

    THANK YOU!

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