WP Super Cache - The Most Popular Free Caching Plugin for Faster Website (Review 2021)
One of the major features that effectively speed up website loading time is cache. Cache speeds the loading process up by storing the most commonly accessed data in temporary storage. Hence, when someone visits your website again, the stored data shows up without loading anymore.
There are a bunch of caching plugins on WordPress, however, not all of them are free to use. In this post, we will review the most popular free caching plugin, WP Super Cache.
WP Super Cache is a free caching plugin by Automattic, a contributor in WordPress. This plugin works to optimize website speed by setting up static HTML pages. As a result, it allows the browser to display the site significantly faster. Not only caching, but WP Super Cache also provides features like page compression, CDN, and cache rebuilt.
With more than 2 million active installations, WP Super Cache is probably the most popular caching plugin on WordPress. The plugin may look a little intimidating due to complex setup options and technical languages used in setup instructions. However, with proper guidance, you can set it up within minutes.
Compared to other caching plugins like W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache is easier to use. Hence, this plugin is suitable for both beginners and experts. Beginners can use the simple mode to get effective caching without taking risks. If you want more in‑depth options, there’s also an expert mode that lets you use more precise settings. However, you need to have enough technical expertise to be able to use this mode safely, as it affects important server files.
What Does WP Super Cache Do?
WP Super Cache offers caching features to improve your website loading time.
Precisely, the plugin serves cached files in 3 ways:
The simple is the easiest way of caching your website because you really don’t need to change or edit any PHP files including
.htaccess file. The plugin will serve a “
supercached” file if it exists and it’s almost as fast as the
mod_rewrite method. However, you still need a custom permalink. Moreover, you can keep portions of your page dynamic in this caching mode.
For experts who understand how PHP scripts and files work, you can use this method. It has the advantages of the fastest method by using
Apache mod_rewrite (or other modules your web server supports) to serve “
supercached” static html files. However, this does require the Apache mod_rewrite module and a modification of your .htaccess file which is risky and may take down your site if modified incorrectly.
This is the most popular way to cache pages for known users, URLs with parameters, and feeds. However, despite being the most flexible caching method, it’s slightly slower. This option works for your predefined or known users. Because your known users are logged in to your site and sometimes comment on your post, you can use this easy to provide cached pages to your site. Set the constant “
DISABLE_SUPERCACHE” to 1 in your wp-config.php if you want to only use WP-Cache caching.
How Does WP Super Cache Work?
WP Super Cache makes a copy of each page on your site in the form of a static HTML file. This way, whenever someone visits your site, they’re served the copied version quickly instead of generating the entire website from scratch.
As a result, your WordPress site’s speed and performance improve dramatically. WP Super Cache plugin skips a lot of steps behind the scenes to ensure that your visitors don’t have to wait for the page to open
What Are the Features of WP Super Cache?
If you don’t want to bother with technical caching setup, WP Super Cache offers simple caching. All you need to do is enable the “Caching On” option under the Easy tab and click the “Update Status” button. Once you’ve done that, WP Super Cache is automatically caching your website.
Besides simple caching, there is Dynamic Caching in the advanced setup if you want to keep certain parts of a webpage dynamic during caching. Enabling dynamic caching is useful in certain situations, especially if you have pages that contain frequently changing content. For example, you can speed up pages that contain ads by allowing dynamic caching.
The preload mode in WP Super Cache allows you to create super cache static files for all your posts and pages and serve a static website. This way, your content will load quickly whenever someone visits your site.
A super cache static file helps conserve server resources, serve an old site that is not being updated anymore, and improve site speed by serving static content only.
Compression allows WP Super Cache to serve cached files as compressed files, which improves load time. These files are downloaded by browsers more quickly due to their smaller size.
Garbage Collection & Expiry Time Set-up
WP Super Cache lets you set up the expiry time and frequency of deleting cached pages from your server.
The ‘Cache Timeout’ tells the plugin to remove the cached page and perform a fresh cache. The plugin will set it to 1800 seconds by default, which is great for a high-traffic website. However, if you have a new website that doesn’t get a lot of traffic, then 3600 seconds is a good starting point.
Other than that, you can schedule a time for the plugin to check for stale cached files and remove them.
Don’t Cache Specified Pages
By default, the plugin will cache all the pages on your site. This can increase the size of your cache files and use more resources. However, WP Super Cache allows you to add pages that you don’t want to be cached. To do that, enter the URL string of the pages that you don’t want to cache in the text box of “Rejected URL Strings”.
With WP Super Cache, you can set up CDN on your website for free. A CDN is a network of geographically distributed servers that help quickly deliver content to your visitors. Hence, you can add CDN without a separate plugin. However, it will require a bit of technical and some experience with CDNs.
There are REST API endpoints for accessing the settings of the WP Super Cache plugin. You’ll need to be authenticated as an admin user with permission to view the settings page to use it. This has not been documented yet but you can find all the code that deals with this in the “rest” directory.
Why Should I Use WP Super Cache?
Free to use
WP Super Cache plugin is probably one of the best caching plugins that is available for free on WordPress. Unlike other caching plugins, you can take advantage of many caching features to speed up your loading page time for free with WP Super Cache.
Even though WP Super Cache doesn’t provide CSS & JS file optimization, it still provides several optimization features. There are desktop cache, CDN support, and GZip compression. Additionally, there are more options like preload mode, garbage collection, expiry time set-up, and don’t cache specified pages to improve functionalities.
Moreover, WP Super Cache offers 3 types of caching techniques: simple, expert and WP-cache caching that are suitable for beginners and advanced users.
Provide CDN support
If you have WP Super Cache installed on your website then you can add a CDN without a separate CDN plugin.
Both beginners and advanced users can use it
Due to the simple and expert way of caching methods, all users can do cache with WP Super Cache. Beginners can start caching with the simple method. As for the advanced users can do caching with the expert method.
Is WP Super Cache Free?
Yes, WP Super Cache is free to use. Unlike most speed optimization plugins that offer their service in both free and premium plans, WP Super Cache is 100% free. With WP Super Cache, you can enjoy a free speed optimization plugin with great features.
How to Install WP Super Cache?
You can download and install WP Super Cache directly from your admin dashboard in WordPress. Go to Dashboard, click “Plugins”, then “Add New”. After that, search for WP Super Cache and click on “Install” and then on “Activate”.
That’s all! Now, you have WP Super Cache installed and activated on your website.
How to Use WP Super Cache?
- Easy to use & set up
- Many caching features
- Rest API Compatibility
- Supports CDN
- Scheduler to Clear Cached Pages
- Limited optimization features
- Do not provide Google Fonts optimization and lazy loading
- No options for JS & CSS optimization
What Are the Alternatives to WP Super Cache?
Besides WP Super Cache, there are several website speed optimization tools that you can use:
- WP Rocket – Best premium speed optimization plugin
- W3 Total Cache – Great caching plugin for developers
- Autoptimize – Powerful free optimization plugin
- NitroPack – Powerful cloud-based speed optimization plugin
- Docket Cache – Advanced object caching plugin
- Fast Velocity Minify – Speed optimization plugin for developers and advanced users
- LiteSpeed Cache – All-in-one site speed optimizer plugin with exclusive server-level cache
WP Super Cache is a popular free caching plugin on WordPress. This plugin offers several types of caching methods to suit the users so that beginners and advanced users can use it at ease. Other than caching, WP Super Cache also offers CDN, Rest API, page compression, and other additional options to provide more functionalities. Even though the setup may look a little complicated, however, it’s not hard to get used to it compared to other caching plugins.
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