Usually, the best and fastest caching plugin is the one with the fastest TTFB, serves the purpose without breaking your website, is easy on system resources, etc. Here, I’ve put the focus only on the cache feature. Minifying CSS / JS, combining them or similar tweaks are not mandatory, and in many cases redundant. The benchmark scores were taken with GTmetrix and Pingdom Tools.
System and infrastructure
Caching tests have been performed on Shared Hosting – Cpanel, Apache with mod lsapi, Memcached ON (Use Memcached).
Website A: Newspaper theme with only theme-related plugins.
Website B: Bridge theme, Plugins: Bridge core, WP Bakery, WP Bruiser, Common WP, Gonzales, DoLogin Security, and CF 7.
Both websites perform fast; front-end and back-end.
Why shared hosting?
It’s because It is hard to determine which plugin has the fastest TTFB on VPS. Any normal VPS has a great response time, therefore TTFB is low. Additionally, on a VPS, plugins can use more resources which makes the benchmark unfair. But on shared hosting, if you don’t use caching plugin, your website hosting server will not have a fast response time (TTFB), and the resources are less available. The plugin which can optimize your website using low resources and a super-fast consistent response time will be declared the winner. Please have in mind that “VPS caching plugin league” would have a few plugins tested of which you may be never heard of. Let’s leave that for some other time.
Caching plugins tested
- WP Fastest Cache
- WP Rocket
- WP Performance
- Cache Master
- WP Super Cache
- Cache Enabler
- Comet Cache
- Hyper Cache
- W3 Total Cache
- Swift Performance
- Yasakani Cache
WEBSITE A test Results:
|Plugin name||Gtmetrix test 1||Gtmetrix test 2||Gtmetrix test 3||Pingdom test 1||Pingdom test 2||Pingdom test 3|
|WP Fastest Cache||1.7||1.8||2.1||0.668||0.689||0.781|
|WP Super Cache||2.0||1.9||1.9||0.897||0.878||1.23|
WP Fastest Cache took first place by performing equally well all the time during the tests.
WP Performance got 2nd. Its results are simply amazing considering the low plugin popularity.
WP Rocket, WP Super Cache, Comet Cache, and WP Optimize took 3rd, double 4th, and 5th, all four providing slightly different overall scores. WP-Optimize had the fastest Pingdom scores ever made during all the tests which would put it on top, but its GTmetrix scores ruined it by placing the plugin in 5th place.
Cache Master and Yasakani are awesome as well, which is incredible how well they behave considering slow updates and popularity.
All the other plugins are solid players, but the biggest disappointment is the all-popular Cache Enabler. However, the W3TC failed for some reason.
What do I personally think? Cache Master is good for 3rd place, everything else looks right.
WEBSITE B test results and overview:
|Plugin name||Gtmetrix 1||Gtmetrix 2||Gtmetrix 3||Pingdom 1||Pingdom 2||Pingdom 3|
|WP Fastest Cache||2.8||3.1||2.6||1.15||1.65||1.45|
|WP Super Cache||2.6||2.8||2.5||1.25||1.57||1.89|
Website B overview
In this test, please consider disqualifying the WP Rocket, because I simply forgot to disable all of its other features used to optimize the website further. But even if don’t, the benchmark scores were not good enough for the first place.
The First Place goes to WP Optimize. Its Pingdom scores were not the fastest (this part goes to Cache Master), but the GTmetrix scores were much better this time which was enough for the fastest overall benchmark score.
The second place should go to WP Performance but something unusual happened during the second test (taken at the same time) which ended with a much slower loading speed giving it 3rd place. Therefore, the 2nd place is shared by the Cache Master plugin and Cache Enabler.
All the other plugins performed very very similarly except for the W3TC (totally slow). As for the Yasakani, Hyper Cache, and Swift Performance, they completely failed to work. Swift Performance even caused WSOD.
What do I personally think? I think WP Performance had some bad luck, it should be the best here. The performance is super stable.
1WP Fastest Cache – The fastest TTFB
This is the best caching plugin, for real. Every time I test a website with this plugin serving the cache, TTFB (time to first byte) is always super fast. This is good for SEO. There are even more features within the plugin dashboard to optimize your website. All in one place. Considering the speed of its cache engine, I strongly believe all its other features are well performant as well. From now on, WP Fastest Cache is my first choice.
2WP Performance – Overall the best performing plugin in any situation
In some cases where the no.1 plugin doesn’t perform well (WP Fastest Cache), this plugin is the best choice you can get. There are dozen of great optimization features, it is super easy to use and it looks nice too. If the WP Performance would get as much attention as some other more popular plugins, it would flourish and blow all other cache plugins away. Great job by Ante Laca.
3WP-Optimize – Simple, yet powerful
This plugin is well known for optimizing databases and dealing with the DB tables. Later on, it got upgraded and some new features appeared. One of those features is page caching. Even today the caching engine in this plugin is underrated. For quite some time, I use it as the main caching plugin on some websites. The cache itself doesn’t have many options, but it is fast, like really fast. If you don’t need complicated caching plugins, then WP optimize is for you. You probably have it installed anyway for database optimization, why not try its fast cache engine, it is faster than most popular or premium caching plugins like WP Rocket. Oh yes, WP-Optimize is faster than WP Rocket.
4Cache Master – a Unique Underdog
Cache Master with just above 300 installations seems like a totally unpopular caching plugin. A true Underdog. It supports up to 10 cache drivers such as File, Redis, Memcache, Memcached, APC, APCu, WinCache, MySQL, SQLite, and MongoDB. This is wonderful for VPS. I ran tests using a simple File caching method, and the speed was great, especially Pingdom scores. With flawless performance, this is a ‘no brainer’ if you want to test your high-performance databases as a cache engine. You can even utilize your RAM to serve the cache. Simply great and unique.
5WP Super Cache – well coded and works great with any theme
WP Super Cache is a plugin that performs well anywhere and anytime. It is super stable and does what it says. If you are using this plugin then just keep using it. It is slightly slower than the top caching plugins on this list, but the good thing is that it’s updated on regular basis. The plugin offers great features all related to caching and nothing else. Perfect. Well, almost, it does lack the Browser caching feature, but you can do this yourself, 1 min job. I am not sure tho if some other caching plugins on this list are missing this feature, but it doesn’t matter, it is simple to implement.
6WP Rocket – Premium but worth every penny, if you don’t know any better
WP Rocket is a premium plugin. I tested it because I have a license, which is expired tho, but works. This caching plugin does a few extra things on its own after activation and slightly improves your score on GTmetrix and Pingdom. The speed results were not the best but still fast. There are a bunch of optimization features which include: CDN, image and database optimization, assets optimization, and other stuff. So, if you are looking for a well-coded plugin with all the features you will need to optimize a website, this is it! Please note that I had major issues recently with site navigation disappearing while the rocket caching was ON. I solved the problem by switching to WP Optimize cache, which is faster btw.
7Comet Cache – There is something about this one, simplicity, power, and reliability
Comet cache is the only caching plugin on the list which feels unique. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because of the old-school, yet cool, interface, or maybe a bunch of phenomenal features made so simple and easy to set up. Whatever the reason, the cache engine is fast and stable. The downside is that most of the phenomenal features require a Pro license, but that is not important, since we are here to determine how good is the caching engine. The caching engine in this plugin is great, so go for it.
8Hummingbird – the best all-rounder for beginners
This is the best plugin for beginners, but only if they need other optimization features, which is usually the case. This plugin is well coded and makes it utmost easy for absolutely anyone to optimize their website in just a few clicks – the plugin does everything for you automagically. The speed it delivers (without other optimization features) is not far behind the top caching plugins. Everything is stable and well performant. If I was a newbie, I’d go with the Hummingbird plugin. When I think about it, I might go with it anyway. I think I like it. Saves a lot of time. There is even a Pro subscription somewhere, which gets you a bunch of other optimization and cool plugins. Don’t waste your time optimizing websites manually if you can do everything in a few clicks with these guys.
9Cache Enabler – solid caching but not the best on shared hosting
Cache enabler is a popular plugin. However, it didn’t prove itself enough to be a ‘go-to’ solution in a shared hosting environment. Unless you plan on using KeyCDN (the plugin is theirs), you should just avoid this one and go with a better option, such as WP Performance and WP Fastest Cache, or w/e but not this one. This is probably not the case if used on a VPS hosting, which remains to be seen in a few weeks.
10Yasakani Cache – Superb plugin, for VPS
Yasakani Cache is a super advanced caching plugin, but not the way you think. It is unique because of its more advanced caching method (there is a simple method, and an advanced – a lot faster method), which for some reason doesn’t work on shared hosting. Probably because of the permissions. However, this is a golden plugin if you are on VPS. It is still fast on shared hosting while using its simple caching method. Works like a charm.
11Honorable mentions: Hyper Cache, Swift Performance, W3TC
Hyper cache plugin is a nice plugin that for some reason works better on VPS.
The same can be said for W3TC which was ultra slow performant, but there is a community version that should work better. I did not test it simply because it is not on the WordPress repository.
The Swift Performance plugin is a solid plugin with solid caching. What makes it popular are a few additional asset tweaks. Nothing special if you ask me. There are better cache plugins than this one, with similar features. I find its caching engine just okay.
Conclusion – use what works best for you
The test results mean nothing if the fastest caching plugins break things on your website. You should always go with the best solution, meaning that the solution (cache plugin) doesn’t break anything while providing a fast loading speed. Some people simply must use CSS/JS optimization tools, and their first choice could be a plugin with additional features beside caching. The plugins such as WP Rocket, Comet Cache, and even WP Fastest Cache have many asset optimization tools. But if you work with well-coded themes that take care of their assets optimization, then, a caching-only plugin should be your first choice, whereas plugins like WP-Optimize, Yasakani, or Cache Master are a great choice.
So, it is all up to you and your setup. The benchmark results are just to help you out.
Thanks for reading.