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10 Best WordPress Caching Plugins in 2021

Last Updated on October 6th, 2021

Published on July 25th, 2017

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WordPress caching plugins are an essential addition to your website if you don’t want to be penalized by Google for having poor page loading speed. They can significantly improve how quickly your site visitors see pages, which helps SEO and enhances user experience.

This article explains what caching plugins do and suggests some of the best currently available in 2021.

What is Caching?

Your WordPress site comprises data stored on hard drives or in other ‘permanent’ storage devices, usually at your site host. When a user visits the site, their computer ‘requests’ data from your host so that they can see access your site, and pages are generated for every request. That involves numerous complex operations and data exchanges, each contributing to a reduction in the speed of your site.

Caching is a means of speeding up these processes by putting frequently used data into temporary storage (a ‘cache’), allowing for quick, multiple access without constantly going through the full-page generation process.

What Are WordPress Caching Plugins?

Typically, cache plugins temporarily store copies of entire pages, and WordPress displays those temporary cached versions instead of generating entirely new ones for every visitor. That drastically reduces processing times and data consumption, resulting in much faster page load times, particularly when your site has many visitors active at the same time.

What is the best WordPress caching plugin?

As with all plugins, there is no one outright best WordPress caching plugin, as many factors come into play, such as what budget you have (if any), type of site, etc.

However, here we present ten of the most popular cache plugins available in 2021. Some of these are entirely free, some premium, and others freemium. Either way, you should find one in this list that works well for your site.

All of the listed plugins have been tested with WordPress version 5.8.1 and were recently updated.

WP Super Cache

We kick off with the immensely popular WP Super Cache, which boasts over two million active downloads coupled with a user rating of 4.3/5.0 stars.

This entirely free plugin works by generating static HTML files from your WordPress site, which runs dynamically. Those static files are then used instead of the WordPress PHP scripts, meaning faster loading times for most users. Each static file is then available for repeated re-use whenever the same information needs presenting to users.

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Despite its zero-dollar price tag, WP Super Cache gives you:

  • Caching in three ways: Expert, Simple, and WP-Cache
  • Preload files for the posts, categories, and tags of your website
  • Configurable garbage collection settings for periodic clearing of the cache to free up server space
  • Content delivery network (CDN) support
  • Hooks for custom caching
  • REST API

What we like about WP Super Cache is it simple and does what it says on the tin. Its primary disadvantage is caching is only done for desktop but not mobile sites. However, it is undoubtedly a plugin to consider if you are looking for a free and easy way to improve page loading speed on your website.

Get WP Super Cache

WP Fastest Cache

WP Fastest Cache is a freemium plugin that also has a considerable number of active downloads in operation – over a million, in fact, and it has earned a very impressive 4.9/5.0 stars average user rating. Setup is easy, and once installed, your visitors will enjoy lightning-fast page loading speeds.

The free version of WP Fastest Cache offers great functionality, including:

  • Fast desktop caching using Mod_Rewrite
  • Ability to minify (compact) HTML and CSS
  • Ability to combine CSS and JS
  • GZip compression
  • Browser caching
  • Configurable garbage collection settings for periodic clearing of the cache to free up server space
  • SSL, CDN, and Cloudflare support

Of course, the WP Fastest Cache Premium version adds many more features, including:

  • Mobile and widget caching
  • Ability to minify (compact) HTML Plus and CSS Plus
  • Ability to combine CSS Plus
  • Render blocking JS
  • Image optimization – 1,000 credits included with the Premium package (further credits cost $0.01 each, or $15 for 10k)
  • Convert WebP
  • Caches statistics
  • More garbage collections, such as cache log deletion and database cleanup
  • Google Fonts async
  • Image lazy loading
  • Unlimited future updates
  • 30-day moneyback guarantee

WP Fastest Cache Premium costs $49.99 for a single site, $125 for three, and $175 for five domains. Those prices are for a lifetime and are not annual subscriptions, making them exceptional value for money.

Get WP Fastest Cache

WPOptimize

WPOptimize

WPOptimize is a freemium WordPress caching plugin that also cleans the database and compresses images. It boldly claims to be built around “the world’s fastest caching engine,” which we cannot comment on but given it has a user rating of 4.8/5.0 and over a million active downloads, we cannot dispute it either.

In its free guise, WPOptimize offers the following features:

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  • Cache preloading
  • GZip compression of HTML, JS, and CSS
  • Device-specific and browser cache
  • Advanced cache exclusion rules, e.g., exclude logged-in users, cookies, or specific URLs
  • Minify and asynchronise CSS and JS
  • Database statistics, including an indication of potential space savings
  • Various image compression configurations, including bulk compression, restore originals, auto-compress, etc.
  • Configurable garbage collection settings for periodic clearing of the cache and the WordPress database to free up server space
  • Data retention during cleanups to avoid accidental data loss

The premium version of WPOptimize costs $49 per year for up to two websites, rising to $199 per year for unlimited sites. Those prices include the following additional features over the free version:

  • WordPress Multisite support
  • Advanced optimization and scheduling options
  • Unwanted image removal and lazy loading
  • Individual table optimization
  • Enhanced logging and reporting
  • Multilingual and multi-currency compatible caching
  • Geolocation and tax country for WooCommerce stores
  • Compatible with tracking queries (utm_*)
  • Automatic Cloudflare cache purging
  • Preloading of key requests
  • Updates and premium support

WPOptimize is a great option to try for free, and if you crave more features, you can invest in the premium version as your site scales.

Get WPOptimize

Autooptimize

Autooptimize

Autooptimize is a free plugin that speeds up your site by concatenating, minifying, and compressing scripts and styles, amongst many other things, all behind the scenes. What’s more, it also minifies your site’s HTML code, thereby making your pages very lightweight.

Features-wise, you get all of this for free:

  • Caching and optimization by aggregating, minifying, and caching scripts and styles, injecting CSS in the page head, deferring  CSS, moving and deferring footer scripts, and minifying HTML
  • Image optimization and lazy loading with support for WebP and AVIF formats
  • Google Fonts optimization
  • JS async
  • API for customization

Over a million active downloads of Autooptimize exist, and the plugin has a very respectable 4.7/5.0 star user rating. It is compatible with virtually every website and is a great way to boost site speed for free.

Get Autooptimize

W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache is yet another caching plugin for WordPress that has over a million active downloads in operation. The plugin can significantly improve your site’s SEO while enhancing user experience. Thanks to content delivery network (CDN) integration and the latest caching techniques, you can expect decreased loading times and increased overall performance.

The free version of W3 Total Cache provides the following features:

  • Content delivery network (CDN) management
  • Mobile, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) support
  • Caching includes minifying and compression of pages and posts, CSS and JS, feeds, search results pages, database objects in memory or on disk, etc
  • Utilizes the latest caching methods, e.g., Redis, APC, Memcached, eAccelerator, XCache, etc.
  • Deference of non-critical CSS and JS for faster page rendering
  • Image lazy loading
  • Browser caching
  • JS grouping by template and non-blocking JS embedding
  • Multiple CDN integrations for image optimizations
  • WP-CLI support
  • Caching statistics
  • Customization and expansion via an extension framework, e.g., Cloudflare, WPML, etc.
  • Nginx or Varnish reverse proxy integration

The Pro version of W3 Total Cache costs just $99 per year and adds:

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  • Advanced caching statistics
  • Fragment caching
  • Full site delivery
  • Rest API caching
  • Support for extensions like Genesis Framework, WPML, etc.
  • Lazy load for Google Maps
  • 30-day moneyback guarantee

W3 Total Cache has earned a respectable 4.4/5.0 star user rating in the WordPress directory. Trying it is entirely risk-free, too, given that you can opt either for the free version or the premium one with its 30-day moneyback guarantee.

Get W3 Total Cache

Hummingbird

Hummingbird WordPress caching plugins

Hummingbird may not have amassed the million+ active downloads of all the other cache plugins we have listed so far, but it is still very worthy of inclusion in this list. In common with most of the others we have spoken about so far, Hummingbird will optimize your website’s speed by caching, minifying, and deferring various bits and pieces. The resultant improvements in page speed will please both Google and your site visitors.

In its free form, Hummingbird comes bundled with the following core features:

  • Website scan and one-click fix to identify and correct things that are slowing it down
  • Full range of caching tools
  • Browser caching
  • Performance reports
  • Asset optimization, i.e., minify and combine Javascript, CSS, and Google Font files
  • GZip compression
  • Save your preferred performance settings as a configuration to use on other sites
  • Compatible with Smush image optimization plugin from the same developer

A Pro version of Hummingbird is also available, costing a very reasonable $60 per year. Upgrading to that will augment the free plugin with:

  • Full caching suite
  • Automated cleanup of the database
  • Scheduled performance scans
  • Advanced asset optimization and JS and CSS asset CDN
  • Cloudflare integration
  • Automated reporting
  • Uptime/downtime monitoring and reporting
  • Updates and support
  • Seven-day free trial

Over 100k active downloads of Hummingbird are in operation, and users are very pleased with how it performs as they have given it an average rating of 4.8/5.0 stars.

Get Hummingbird

Cache Enabler

Cache Enabler

Cache Enabler is a lightweight, powerful caching plugin for WordPress that will bring significant improvements to your site’s loading time and overall performance. In addition, setup is a breeze, requiring only the scantest configuration. It works by creating static HTML files of your site’s frontend pages which are then available for immediate use whenever a user visits your site.

Despite being free, Cache Enabler comes with great features, including:

  • A fully featured cache engine
  • Manual, WP-CLI, and smart automatic cache clearing
  • Configurable cache expiry
  • WebP support to convert images to WebP
  • Mobile support
  • Brotli and GZip support
  • Minification of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Cache size displayed in real-time in the WordPress dashboard
  • Support for custom post types

Even though Cache Enabler is entirely free, the developer provides links to extensive user documentation on the plugin’s WordPress page, which is often lacking even with premium plugins.

Since its introduction, Cache Enabler has been downloaded over 100k times from the WordPress plugin directory, where it has a 4.4/5.0 stars user rating.

Get Cache Enabler

Comet Cache

Comet Cache

Comet Cache is a freemium caching plugin that’ll boost your site’s loading speed and increase overall site performance. Setup is easy thanks to the configuration panel it adds to your WordPress dashboard. Furthermore, the plugin is smart enough to know which pages should and should not be cached.

The free version of Comet Cache will give you the following features:

  • Easy setup and configuration
  • Caching of posts, pages, categories, tags, feeds (Atom, RSS, and RDF), and 404 (Not Found) requests
  • Browser caching (client-side)
  • Configurable auto-expiration time
  • Various exclusion patterns, e.g., URL cache, user-agent, HTTP referrer, etc.
  • GZip compression compatible
  • WP-CLI compatible
  • Developer tools including advanced cache plugin system, debugging mode, hooks, etc.
  • Translation support
  • Multisite network compatible

The Pro version of Comet Cache costs between $39 and $139, depending on how many websites you need to cover, and adds the following extra features:

  • Cache clearing includes manual or auto (intelligent) clearing, a ‘Clear Cache’ button, auto-clearing of a custom URL list, configurable user permissions, etc.
  • HTML compression, JS and CSS concatenation, and minification, cache preloading
  • Caching for logged-in users
  • Mobile adaptive
  • Canonical URL enforcement
  • Dashboard notifications can be enabled or disabled
  • Import or export plugin configurations for use on other sites
  • Analytics and reports, including server load monitoring
  • CDN integrations e.g., Cloudfront, MaxCDN, etc.
  • Support and integral updater for automatic updates
  • 14-day moneyback guarantee

Comet Cache is an excellent option as even the free version offers plenty of features, with the Pro version adding loads more for relatively little money. The plugin has been downloaded over 50k times and has a 4.5/5.0 stars user rating.

Get Comet Cache

Hyper Cache

Hyper Cache WordPress caching plugins

It’s great that there are plenty of free caching plugin options available, and Hyper Cache is another.

This plugin will maximize the speed and performance of your WordPress regardless of the hosting provider and will work with every website as it is based purely on PHP. Setup is straightforward, and you won’t be stuck with any legacy settings that are hard to remove should you ever decide to remove the plugin.

Hyper Cache gives you the following key features:

  • Caches desktop and mobile versions of websites
  • HTTPS ready
  • Theme switch with detection for mobile devices
  • The plugin can serve expired pages to bots, thereby increasing the site speed perceived by the bots
  • On the fly compression for non-cached pages
  • Configurable cache bypasses, e.g., matching cookies, matching URLs, etc.
  • Cached pages can be served to visitors who have left comments on the site
  • Possibility to exclude cache folder from backups
  • Cache cleaning controls, including auto-clean
  • CDN support
  • bbPress-specific integration

Sure, Hyper Cache is pretty basic, but what do you expect for free? That said, it does what it needs to, so if you have no budget to play with, it could be the perfect option for speeding up your site loading time.

Over 20k active downloads of Hyper Cache exist, and the plugin has earned an impressive 4.5/5.0 stars user rating.

Get Hyper Cache

WPRocket

WPRocket WordPress caching plugins

Unlike all other plugins we have listed, WPRocket is a premium-only plugin. It is not available through the WordPress plugin directory, so you need to purchase directly from the developer. It costs between $49 and $249, depending on how many domains you need to cover.

As a premium plugin, you can expect WPRocket to have all the functionality necessary to optimize your site’s loading times while pleasing both Google and your visitors in the process. Therefore, your $49-$249 will buy you the following key features:

  • Fast, easy setup
  • All features needed to increase site performance, including caching (page and browser), lazy loading, preload, delay JS, unused CSS removal, etc.
  • GZip compression
  • Compatibility with most hosts, themes, and plugins
  • eCommerce optimization
  • Multilingual compatible
  • Fine-tunable cache rules
  • Database optimization
  • CDN integration
  • Varnish Cache, Cloudflare integration, and Sucuri integration add-ons
  • GDPR compliant
  • Detailed technical documentation
  • Premium support

WPRocket is available with a 14-day moneyback guarantee, so you can try it risk-free.

Get WPRocket

What Is Your Favorite WordPress Cache Plugin?

Nowadays, a fast-loading time is essential on every website, given the fact that it is a criterion used by most search engines when determining page rank.

All the plugins we have suggested will help speed up your site considerably. That will improve your page rankings, ultimately drawing in more visitors and keeping them engaged for longer.

Do you already use a cache plugin on your WordPress site? If so, in your opinion, what is the best WordPress caching plugin currently available? Are there any we have not listed that you think should also be mentioned? Please leave your comments down below.

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A team of WordPress experts that love to test out new WordPress related software, WordPress plugins and WordPress themes.