This is a step-by-step guide/tutorial with images on how to install, setup, configure and use the free version of ‘WP Super Cache’ WordPress plugin.
It is in use by 2+ million active websites with 4.5 star review rating .
The ‘WP Super Cache’ is of the most popular WordPress plugin to increase your WordPress website loading time. Learning how to speed up WordPress is very important since the mobile use of internet is increasing each year.
WordPress performance optimisation cache plugins are a one way solution. Optimising your WordPress theme and page settings will improve much more your WordPress website speed. The less website elements are loaded, the faster your website becomes.
How to Install WP Super Cache
To install, go to ‘Plugins > Add New’ and on the top right corner next to ‘Keyword’ type ‘WP Super Cache’. Wait for the plugin to appear and then click its ‘Install Now’ button. Wait again until you see the its ‘Activate’ button and click it.
Start WP Super cache configuration by clicking the ‘Settings’ link.
WP Super Cache Settings Tab: Easy
It is recommended to make a database backup before you use any plugins, as a typical precaution. You may use the popular UpDraftPlus plugin to make the backup.
In the ‘Easy’ tab enable ‘Caching On’ and click the ‘Update Status’ button.
Every time you make a new setting change, click the ‘Test Cache’ and ‘Delete Cache’ and then run 3 times the GTmetrix speed test tool to check level of improvement. ‘Delete Cache’ empties the static page files created by the plugin. This way you see the latest version of your page after the changes you made.
WP Super Cache Settings Tab: Advanced
In the ‘Advanced’ tab, you may enable the WP Super Cache ‘Recommended’ settings. So, tick the options:
- Caching: ‘Enable Cache‘
- Cache Delivery Method: ‘Simple‘
- Miscellaneous: ‘Disable caching for logged in visitors‘ + ‘Compress pages so they’re served quickly to visitors‘ + Cache rebuilt‘ + ‘304 Browser caching‘
- Advanced: ‘Extra homepage checks‘.
Click ‘Update Status’. Delete cache.
WP Super Cache Settings Tab: CDN
CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a service that optimises website loading time for worldwide visitors. If you have enabled in your hosting control panel or purchased CDN elsewhere, then you can use the ‘CDN’ tab to configure CDN. In the ‘CDN’ tab, activate the ‘Enable CDN Support‘. In the ‘Off-site URL’, enter the specific CDN URL that your CDN provider gave you. Ask them which one it is if don’t know it. Activate the ‘Skip https URLs to avoid ‘mixed content‘ errors so that if some links on your website are non https, then this option will cover you. Click ‘Save Changes.’
CDN Setting Verification
To make sure that you CDN configuration works ok, open your website and force reload it by pressing Ctrl+F5 . Open its source code with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+U. Check if the text/image links contain the CDN URL you entered in ‘Off-site URL’.
WP Super Cache Preload Feature
Instead of manually loading a page so that it caches for faster loading for new visitors, the preload function take cares of that. It’s important to know that this function will load additionally your hosting server’s CPU. So, if you have 100’s of pages, finish first your optimization and then activate it. To enable the preload function, go to ‘Preload’ tab, activate the ‘Preload mode’ and if you wish to know how long it took to do that, then select from its drop-down menu the entry ‘Many emails, 2 emails per 100 posts‘.
How to Check WP Super Cache Speed Optimisation Results
To test the results of your settings, use website speed tools like GTmetrix, Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom Tools or WebPageTest. GTmetrix produces realistic results and includes the function Waterfall (tab) to see a number of elements loaded and their loading time.
Speed Testing Considerations
1. Start by using the default settings of the plugin.
2. Run GTmetrix website speed and performance optimization testing tool to analyse website loading time. Run Gmetrix on a specific website page 3 times to get a realistic analysis.
3. Make one more setting change/addition in the plugin and repeat step 2.
4. Check the GTmetrix Waterfall tab to see which website elements load. Inspect their size and loading time. Try to reduce website the number of website elements and their size.
5. Use only the necessary tracking scripts since they really affect loading time.
6. Don’t install too many or slow plugins.
7. Use image lazy loading to improve speed.
8. Reduce image size with compression before you load it on your website page.
9. Use default fonts instead of google fonts, if possible.
10. Prefer gif images since they are smaller in size, if possible.
There are many WordPress cache plugins and methods to reduce loading time. Speed improvement is important but don’t waste too much time of speed optimisation. Try to get the website loading within 3 seconds and focus mostly on content creation and promotion.
Website performance also depends on hosting package. VPS and cloud hosting is faster that shared hosting. Some hosting providers provide features like varnish, OP cache and Redis that improve loading speed even further.
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