Cache Enabler: Speed up Your WordPress Website with Efficient Caching and Image Compression
Cache Enabler is a lightweight caching plugin for WordPress that makes your website faster by generating static HTML files plus it is one of the first caching plugins to make use of WebP support. It was created by the company behind KeyCDN a Content Delivery Network service which works with WordPress. The plugin has been designed to be light-weight and take minimal setup time.
Cache Enabler has the ability to create 2 cached files. One is plain HTML and the other version is gzipped (gzip level 9). These static files are then used to deliver content faster to your users directly via PHP without any database lookups or gzipping as the files are already pre-compressed. You can also use their advanced configuration snippets to even bypass PHP calls required to fetch the static HTML files.
When combined with Optimus, another service / plugin created by KeyCDN, the WordPress Cache Enabler allows you to easily deliver WebP images. The plugin will check your wp-content/uploads directory for any JPG or PNG images that have an equivalent WebP file. If there is, the URI of these image will be cached in a WebP static file by Cache Enabler. It is not required for all images to be converted to WebP when the “Create an additional cached version for WebP image support” option is enabled. This will not break any images that are not in WebP format. The plugin will deliver images that do have a WebP equivalent and will fall back to the JPG or PNG format for images that don’t.
- Efficient and fast disk cache engine
- Automated and/or manual clearing of the cache
- Display of the actual cache size in your dashboard
- WordPress multisite support
- Custom Post Type support
- Expiry Directive
- Support of 304 Not Modified if the page has not modified since last cached
- WebP Support (when combined with Optimus)
- Supports responsive images via srcset since WP 4.4
- HTTP/2 Focused
Using The Plugin
Setting up this plugin is actually very easy, simply activate the plugin and then visit the settings page located under “Settings” > “Cache Enabler”.
From here you can set the cache expiry time, in hours – by default is zero which means it will not expire. This is probably best if you have content which doesn’t change very often.
The “Cache Behaviour” section is where you can set the cache to clear on a new post, on a comment, pre-compress the cached pages and there is a cache exclusions box so you can enter any page or post IDs to be missed from caching, good if you have a page with dynamic content that changes frequently.
Finally you have a Cache minification option so you can choose to minify the HTML or HTML and inline JS, this removes any whitespace from the files making them load faster.
Once you click the “Save Changes” button, the plugin will start caching your site, you can check it is enabled correctly by viewing source on your page. You will see a message at the bottom like so :
Optimus is a service which provides a free plugin, which will compress your files uploaded to WordPress
When you combine Cache Enabler with Optimus, the WordPress Cache Enabler allows you to easily deliver WebP images. The plugin will check your wp-content/uploads directory for any JPG or PNG images that have an equivalent WebP file. If there is, the URI of these image will be cached in a WebP static file by Cache Enabler.
Let’s run some tests and see how Cache enabler affects site loading speeds. For this I used two tools – Pingdom and GTMetrix. I ran the test on my own Louis WordPress theme which can you can view here.
With no plugin installed, these were the results from testing my theme with no cache plugins active.
A great improvement in speed was observed using the plugin.
Results for GTMetrix were very similar to testing the theme with no plugin installed.
WP Super Cache
As you can see, WP Super Cache was slightly slower load time than Cache Enabler, I retested quite a few times to make sure and WP Super cache was always around the 800+ ms load time. I didn’t manage to achieve a load of time in the 700ms range that Cache Enabler achieved.
As you can see from these results, WP Super Cache achieved a slightly faster load time on GT Metrix.
Cache Enabler + Optimus
With Cache Enabler and the Optimus plugin enabled, I managed to achieve the fastest loading time – 706ms, you can see the Optimus plugin slightly reduced the total page size through optimizing the images, the theme is not too image-heavy – one hero image and some post thumbnails. With a site with more and larger images I could see this being even more effective.
Again, a slight improvement for GTMetrix when combined with the Optimus plugin.
As you can see from the results, using a caching plugin definitely makes a big improvement to your website load times – It would be crazy to not use one, they are simple to install, free and make a big difference to your site speed. The choice then comes down to which plugin to choose, as you can see from the results above their is not a huge amount of difference between the two plugins tested – 800ms range for WP Super Cache vs 700ms range for Cache Enabler.
Once you have a cache in place, greater speed improvements will be made from things like better hosting, utilizing a CDN, proper image optimization. Image optimization is an area where Cache Enabler stands out, it’s the first plugin to make use of WebP when combined with their Optimus plugin.
One area where the Cache Enabler plugin shines, is ease of setup – simply activate the plugin choose a couple of options and it starts working. WP Super cache has more things to configure, and other plugins like W3 Total Cache have a lot more options to setup – I didn’t include it in these tests as I see that for more advanced users and there has been some discussion lately about whether it has been abandoned by it’s developer.
Cache Enabler is certainly the new kid on the block when it comes to caching plugins, but from what I’ve seen reviewing it and from the tests I’ve made it definitely looks promising, I recommend you take a look at it if you want a very simple and light-weight option to add caching to your WordPress website.