In this WP Rocket review post I will be dissecting features of this popular caching plugin because we all love fast loading websites and an excellent caching plugin is a must have to accomplish that.
I am sure you, like many others, when browsing internet land on the website which is taking much time to load, close the site and move on to another site.
We all do same. Have you ever imagined that people do the same for your site? You might be losing your valuable traffic, and you never realized this.
If your blog is speed optimized, you can expect higher traffic and better revenue from your blog. That is why you need a good caching plugin. I use WP Rocket on this site for almost three years now. It does a lot more than increase speed.
For this review, I’ll break all the WP Rocket functions down by what they do for your site. Some of these are fairly standard, but others can dramatically improve your site.
WP Rocket Review – What Features Does it Have?
While being extremely complete, WP Rocket is also very simple to configure even for beginners. Unlike other plugins, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to configure.
It also comes with preload and sitemap preload feature, so that when human visitors come to your site, they immediately get the fast, cached version of the page.
If you’re unfamiliar with page caching, it’s a term that refers to the process in which web pages are stored, in a sense, on secondary storage.
The computer operating system keeps a page cache in RAM, which allows the page content to be uploaded faster than other pages.
Since it doesn’t take any actual physical memory from your computer, you don’t exhibit slower response times or other performance issues for having cached pages.
What does this mean to you? As a WordPress user, caching your pages will allow for fast upload. Caching can reduce your load times, as stated, by up to almost fifty percent. This can greatly reduce lost productivity in waiting time.
If presented as an option on the server, browser caching takes page caching to the next level. Browser caching can store copies of documents that pass through the system, allowing for much faster reloading and recall of the material.
GZIP compression is designed to save bandwidth and increase your site’s speed. If you have a file that’s too big, GZIP can help you shrink it to be compatible across your website.
This can help ensure that your content can load easily and quickly across an array of devices, helping you to reach all of your audience. Instead of sending a bunch of code or another programming to the browser, you send the GZIP file.
Your browser can then open and display the contents on demand. It’s just that simple, and it saves a lot of storage space and loading time to your site visitors.
WP Rocket settings are divided into several tabs. Those tabs are Dashboard, Cache, File Optimization, Media, Preload, Advanced Rules, Database, CDN, Heartbeat, Add-ons, Image Optimization, and Tools.
WP Rocket Dashboard
The main dashboard page lets you quickly clear cache, preload cache or regenerate critical CSS.
Here you can also get help, see account info, agree to share anonymous data with the development team to help improve WP Rocket or choose to be part of the WP Rocket beta testing program.
How WP Rocket Cache Works?
With WP Rocket, you can instantly tailor your content to mobile users, or disable mobile users ability to read your cached pages. There’s also a feature that will allow only logged in users to see your cache, while those that aren’t logged in can’t.
This makes WP Rocket particularly attractive to those who want to have control over who can and can not see their content. You have more control over who can see your content, as well as the ability to select the content you want only to be shown to specific users. In this tab, you can also choose how long a page is to remain cached.
WP Rocket automatically assigns a default time of 10 hours. By adjusting your settings, you can keep a web page cached for longer or shorter periods.
The Cache tab lets you:
- Include/exclude mobile users from seeing cached pages.
- Include/exclude logged-in users from seeing cached pages.
- Enable caching on HTTPS pages.
- Choose how long a page remains cached before the cache gets cleared (the default is 10 hours).
This tab will allow WP Rocket users to set up minification and concatenation functions. Minification shrinks your site’s code by automatically scanning it for redundant characters and removing them. But won’t affect the functional viability of your formatting.
Concatenation physically reduces the number of files that you have stored by combining CSS/JS files into a master file. Along the same lines of saving space, Google font files can be combined as well.
You can also set up some other settings like:
- Eliminate render-blocking CSS/JS (PageSpeed Insights is notorious for yelling at you about this issue).
- Combining Google Fonts files (helpful if you use multiple Google Fonts on your site).
- Remove query strings from static resources (this one won’t have a big effect, but it can improve your GTmetrix score if you care about that).
Remove Query Strings
Query strings are generated by form submissions, user queries, and other internet activity. Why do we want toremove them?
If they’re from static resources, they’re full of nothing. Since they are primarily used to track data, if the origination point doesn’t supply any of the things we’re looking for, it’s just taking up space and loading your operating system.
Defer JS Loading
Why would we want to defer JS? Because if JS is slow-loading, it tends to keep all of the content you have worked so hard to create from loading until it’s found its place.
WP Rocket included this feature in an attempt to create a more blanket approach to solving JS loading issues. This is an important work around, as anyone who has had experience with problematic loading of JS can attest to.
In the Media tab, you can enable lazy loading for images and/or videos, as well as disable WordPress emojis and embeds. One feature that’s nice here is the option to replace YouTube video iframes with a static preview image.
If you embed a lot of YouTube videos on your site, this is a great way to speed up your site without sacrificing much. By replacing the video with a static image, you can ensure that the video won’t play unless prompted to by the viewer.
You can disable emojis/embeds which might seem quaint, but it can improve site speed even for a little.
Lazy loading is another feature offered. You’ve seen this loading style on almost any social media site. The content only loads as the user scrolls. The content loads to match the rate at which the user is scrolling.
WP Rocket allows this feature to be placed on your content, which gives you greater freedom on how your material is presented to the viewer. This also helps to improve your page load time, as your server is only pulling information on demand.
If you tend to put a lot of content in your posts, this could be a game changer. Rather than your page struggling to load text, visuals, and video all at once, it can load at the reader’s speed.
When you enable preloading, WP Rocket will generate the cache starting with the links on your homepage followed by the sitemaps you specify.
Preloading is automatically triggered when you add or update content and can also be manually triggered by the admin bar or from the WP Rocket Dashboard.
WP Rocket lets you preload your cache in two ways. Either sitemap preload to build your cache based on pages stored within your sitemap.xml file, or enable a preload bot that will crawl URLs after you publish your site or update.
Both of these approaches have their benefits, and depending on your site design, you might use them both to achieve your goals. Without preloading, your site only “builds” the cache for a page when someone visits the page.
That means the first visitor after the cache lifespan expires will not see the cached version (because the cache hasn’t been built yet).
Cache preloading lets you ensure all visitors see the quick-loading cached page by “warming” the cache yourself, rather than waiting for someone to visit the page.
If you want more control, you can exclude content on your site from being cached by URLs, cookies or user agents. All you have to do is mark the content you want excluded and it will be left out. This doesn’t delete the content, but it does make it invisible until you decide to change your settings.
If you’re a casual user, you probably won’t ever need to look at this section. But for more advanced users, the Advanced Rules area gives you more control over how your cache functions for specific URLs, cookies, user-agents, etc.
Each time you edit, remove comments or make adjustments, the record is kept in your database. WP Rocket helps you clear out the residue with the database cleaning feature.
Over time, your database will become clogged with much useless information in the form of revisions, trashed comments, transients, etc. This area helps you clean out all that unnecessary junk from your database with a single click.
If you use a CDN like CloudFlare to speed up the global delivery of your site, WP Rocket can help you:
- Rewrite your URLs to use your CDN
- Exclude specific files from your CDN
While you can find free plugins to do the first part, the second part, plus the fact that you can reserve CNAMEs for specific file types, gives you more flexibility than many of those free options.
For example, you could use one CNAME for your images, and another for the rest of your files.
Reducing or disabling the Heartbeat API’s activity can help save some of your server’s resources. The WordPress Heartbeat API provides a connection for real-time data transfer and syncing between the server and the browser.
Examples of where the Heartbeat API is involved include:
- Autosave and revisions in the post editor
- Notifications on WordPress admin dashboard
- Post-locking information when another editor is working on a post
- Real-time data displayed on the dashboard by plugins (e-commerce)
The API runs a set of tasks on an interval or “tick” at every 15-60 seconds and utilizes the file admin-ajax.php on the (dashboard) backend, post editor, or the frontend to perform this activity.
While helpful, numerous admin-ajax.php request on some servers can cause an overload or high CPU usage. And depending on the provider and hosting type (see best cheap WordPress hosting), could lead to performance issues and possibly account suspensions.
To prevent such issues, WP Rocket provides a way to control this activity. By enabling the Control Heartbeat checkbox, you can choose to either Reduce activity, Disable or Do not limit the Heartbeat API.
When you choose to Reduce activity, intervals will be reduced from one hit per one minute to one hit per 2 minutes.
Add-ons tab consists of One-Click Add-ons and Rocket Add-ons:
- Google Tracking addon – WP Rocket will host Google scripts locally on your server to help satisfy the PageSpeed recommendation for Leverage browser caching.
- Facebook Pixel – WP Rocket will host Facebook pixels locally on your server to help satisfy the PageSpeed recommendation for Leverage browser caching.
- Varnish addon – Varnish cache will be purged each time WP Rocket clears its cache to ensure content is always up-to-date.
- Cloudflare addon – Provide your account email, global API key, and domain to use options such as clearing the Cloudflare cache and enabling optimal settings with WP Rocket.
- Sucuri addon – Provide your API key to clear the Sucuri cache when WP Rocket’s cache is cleared.
Here you can import or export your settings, or rollback the plugin to a previous major version, which is useful in case there’s a bug or a conflict.
WP Rocket Pros & Cons
Here are advantages and disadvantages of WP Rocket which I found are worthy to mention.
- Many cache plugins also have free version while WP Rocket comes only in paid.
- WP Rocket’s preload bot can cause CPU overload on some (shared) servers, so lower or disable this setting if it happens to you.
- Friendly and easy to use interface.
- Great support and extensive documentation.
- Full refunds are offered within 14 days if you are not satisfied with the product.
- Simplify your life by eliminating the need to use lots of separate plugins. Everything is in one interface.
- Constant updates and new features.
- Easy to configure compared to plugins like W3 Total Cache.
- Less chance of it breaking your website (a common issue with cache plugins).
How Much Does it Cost? WP Rocket Price
At the time I’m writing this WP Rocket review, the price starts at $39 for one year of support and updates, for one website. The prices might change in the future, so always check their pricing on their website.
For usage on three websites, you will need to pay $99 while for usage on an unlimited number of websites $199. But here comes the impressive part! When you renew your subscription, you get 50% OFF! So, the next year, you’ll pay around $19.5! Just make sure you renew before the subscription expires!
WP Rocket vs WP Super Cache vs W3 Total Cache vs Hyper Cache Comparison
- Quick Setup
- Page Caching
- Cache Preloading
- Sitemap Preloading
- GZIP Compression
- Browser Caching
- Database Optimization
- Google Fonts Optimization
- Remove Query Strings from Static Resources
- Minification / Concatenation
- Defer JS Loading
- CloudFlare Compatibility
- DNS Prefetching
- Mobile Detection
- Multisite Compatibility
- eCommerce Friendly
- Multilingual Compatibility
- WP ROCKET
- Cheapest plan is $39 for one site/yearly
- WP SUPER CACHE
- Available in free version
- W3 TOTAL CACHE
- Available in free version
- HYPER CACHE
- Available in free version
The main difference between WP Rocket and other cache plugins, is the extra performance you get with their preload bot, lazy loading of videos/iframes, and database cleanup (most cache plugins don’t have all these features).
With WP Rocket you can use both Cloudflare and other CDNs at the same time while most cache plugins only have options for one.
The plugin is updated frequently with new features, and you get extensive documentation with fantastic support.
NOTE: Comparison table may be outdated as time goes and plugins get new updates, changes, and features. Always check the official site for the most accurate information.
WP Rocket Review – Is WP Rocket Right Choice For You?
There are many cache plugins developed and released for WordPress. While most other cache plugins are free or come in free and paid option, they might not offer the same extras that WP Rocket does.
The ability to select your content, enable and disable content, preload images, combine and reduce file sizes all help your speed. Automatic cleaning processes also help to reduce the site lag that can keep viewers off your page.
If you’re new to the world of cache plugins, WP Rocket is a great tool to start with. In 3 years, I can’t remember having a problem caused by WP Rocket, and I’ve worked with it on different themes, using various plugins.
Of course, depending on what theme and plugins you are using, conflicts and problems might appear. And while for some WP Rocket can work amazing, for others it could cause issues. It depends on many factors. As alternative to WP Rocket, you can use Swift Performance plugin, 10Web Booster or WP Speed of Light.
Which cache plugin do you use? Have you tried WP Rocket? Let me know in the comments below!
- Friendly and easy to use interface.
- Easy to configure compared to other cache plugins
- Less chance of it breaking your website
- Great support and extensive documentation
- Many features
- No free version
- WP Rocket’s preload bot can cause CPU overload on some (shared) servers
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