When a browser visits your website, they need to request a lot of information from your web host in order for your page to load on their device.
A report by Google states that over 53% users abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo to prefer featuring websites that load faster in their search engine results.
Thus we see it is important that businesses focus on reducing load time and providing a better experience to browsers.
Caching is one of the most effective ways to speed up your website.
Put simply, caching is nothing but creating simple and static versions of your website and serving that to your visitors.
These static pages are delivered quickly to any server and perform better. There are several cache plugins available for WordPress users.
In this article, we will delve into and compare the two most widely used cache plugins for WordPress websites, WP Super Cache (WPSC) and W3 Total Cache (W3TC).
Advantages of caching a website are far-reaching. Cache plugins help in enhanced user experience, improved SEO, reduced bandwidth consumption, reduced the load on your host server and increased website speed. Let us look at the factors we should consider while choosing a cache plugin:
- Price: Most WordPress cache plugins is free and hence solves the problem of price sensitivity. Yet, those looking for premium plugins that have enhanced features may consider price as an important factor
- Updates: Make sure to choose a plugin that offers consistent updates. Using an older version may not help with featuring your website in SERPs
- Ease of Set Up & Usage: It would help to opt for a plugin that is fairly straightforward and easy to set up
- Key Features: Plugins providing additional features such as customizable campaigns, browser caching and cache scheduling
- Speed: The plugin must be most efficient in serving the ultimate purpose of reducing the load time of your web page
Coming to the big question of W3 Total Cache Vs WP Super Cache, let’s start by taking a close look at features of both these stellar plugins.
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is a simple plugin having over a million active installations. It is arguably the most famous WordPress plugin, especially for websites with less bandwidth availability. Its benefits are:
- WP Super Cache offers legacy caching. Simply put, it enables faster loading of your web page even for users who are not logged into your site
- It also integrates with any CDN or Content Distribution Network by requesting website files directly from the CDN instead of your web server, which means you can further boost your site’s speed
- Automatic page compression
- Complete mobile support
- WP Super Cache supports cache scheduling functions
- WP Super Cache helps you transfer your caching settings to additional sites with ease
- WP Super Cache is simple and relatively lightweight. For people who are new to WordPress, WPSC is a safe bet
- WP Super Cache enables you to configure its settings to change the order in which your WordPress plugins is loaded. This means you can prioritize your most important, user-related plugins for lightning-fast loading and improve visitor retention
- Superior support and comprehensive FAQ section on the WordPresss.org web page
WPSC comes with some disadvantages. It requires a lot of homework to be done in terms of optimal settings pre and post-installation. There is a complex list of pre-requirements for installation forcing users to access support forums.
WP Super Cache is not the ideal fit for organizations that are looking for strong caching plugins. It is ideal for simple and easy caching needs but fails to deliver in terms of complex and specific caching requirements for larger web servers.
W3 Total Cache
W3TC is the highest rated cache plugin, offering robust features to help improve website performance and UX. W3 Total Cache scores well on the following:
- Syncs seamlessly with CDN
- Complete mobile support
- Page and object caching is supported
- The premium version offers SSL certificates which give your website brownie points for security and also helps with SEO as search engines prefer secured websites
- The primary strength of W3TC is its pre-caching features. It enables you to adjust the intervals at which caching takes place on your site, both on disc or in memory
- Browser caching is enabled
- W3TC comes with a premium version called W3 Total Cache Pro available for $99 that brings with it a host of features such as third-party access to troubleshooting issues, fragmented caching for extremely powerful WordPress themes, performance auditing and a score of the benefits. This, however, is useful only for websites with various and immense business needs and features.
W3 Total Cache also comes with a few drawbacks.
It is a rather complicated plugin with a slightly steeper learning curve.
If you are new to WordPress caching plugins, this one may take quite some getting used to.
It is a time-consuming plugin involving considerable effort to see benefits.
Also, until you couple W3TC with CDN, you do not see considerable improvement in website speed.
Final Verdict: W3 Total Cache Vs WP Super Cache
Based on user experience, W3 Total Cache scores higher than WP Super Cache.
Starting with set up, once you begin setting up WP Super Cache you run into numerous and complex settings issues and have to seek for help from support forums.
There is even a long pre-requisites document when you begin installing WP Super Cache.
In terms of functionality, support, features, and integration with performance-enhancing software, W3 Total Cache comes out on top.
WPSC is a relatively simple and free caching solution that suffices for basic caching needs but fails to impress when things get complex.
One key advantage W3 Total Cache has over WP Super Cache is compatibility. While W3 Total Cache works with any web host and theme, issues have been reported with WP Super Cache in both respects.
In terms of support, W3TC stacks above WPSC. The support forum is a lot more extensive and helpful. W3TC lets you resolve complex issues quickly and reliably without having to peruse lengthy documentation. It also includes a free option for submitting bug reports.
WP Super Cache scores over W3 Total Cache only for its cost-effectiveness, simplicity and light weightiness.
But W3 Total Cache edges WPSC to emerge as the better caching plugin between the two for overall caching support.
So this is our comparison of two of the most used WordPress caching options: W3 Total Cache Vs WP Super Cache.
Go ahead make your website fast by using any of these plugins!