WP Rocket is a wonderful premium cache plugin that we have been using on websites since 2016 and we also install on clients sites for free when optimizing their websites. It costs $49 a year, but that is a very small price for what it offers. To catch up, we first started using WP Super Cache, then the cache system that our server uses and now for most of our new webs WP Rocket.
The reason for these changes is basically because we can’t stand still and we also like to try everything new to give you my point of view but we can summarize why we use this on in just one sentence.
This plugin achieves an optimization level, which wuld only be acheivable in another way, if you installed several plugins, as well several manual optimizations that are not simple for someone with little knowledge.
And it doesn’t matter if you have a website, blog or WooCommerce store.
Well WP Rocket has just gone through a major update. Here are the major changes:
- RocketCDN, their new CDN service:
With its ultra-simple setup and its optimized compatibility with WP Rocket, RocketCDN is the essential tool to make your website reach the stars.
Until March 20, RocketCDN is available at a limited launch price: $6.99/month and per domain for the first year (instead of $7.99/month).
- Mobile Preloading:
They have extended the preloader to preload pages for mobile. From now on, first-time visitors on a mobile device will be served the cached version and will enjoy the blazing fast performance benefits of WP Rocket.
- Remove jQuery migrate:
You can now remove jQuery Migrate, which will eliminate the loading of the Migrate file and reduce your HTTP requests.
There are further enhancements that they have made as well:
- Delete licence-data.php file after licence validation. Prevents license theft by anyone with access to FTP.
- Launched in 2006, Varnish is an HTTP accelerator, also known as a reverse proxy. A software that, installed on the HTTP server, allows for compensation for the loss of speed of a web page due to the increase in traffic. The Varnish add-on has been completely rewritten & improved.
- The Cloudflare CDN (see our article Why your WordPress Site so Slow to Load for more details) has been rewritten & improved.
- Stop clearing the whole cache on user creation/update/deletion. Now clear the user cache specifically on update/delete if the user cache option is enabled. This reduces process time and server load.
- A custom path can now be defined for the WP Rocket config file.
- Backend performance has been greatly improved by removing unnecessary database queries.
- Add data-skip-lazy and skip-lazy class to lazyload exclusions list as part of the interoperability initiative between lazyload plugins (again see
- Why your WordPress Site so Slow to Load for more details)
Why WP Rocket and not another cache/optimization plugin?
One of the reasons that led me to change is because it is very simple to use. As mentioned before, it integrates the functions of several plugins in a single entity. The key performance enhancements are:
- The cache plugin makes HTML copies of the pages to deliver them much faster
- Only loading the images when the image is displayed or what is called lazyLoad.
- Plus several adjustments added to the .htaccess file to considerably improve the speed, up to the direct optimization of the database.
If we compare WP Rocket VS WP Super Cache, you should be aware that the latter is just that, a cache plugin that creates static copies of the web.
It is missing all the functions that you will see in this tutorial.
But also, if we compare it only in the cache function, in WP Rocket you will not need to make special adjustments to work well with WooCommerce.
- WP Rocket VS W3 Total Cache: W3 Total Cache is a super known cache plugin that many people use, being totally free. Although it is very complete we have moved on for several reasons but the first and foremost is its use of resources, which is far higher than WP Rocket. It also lacks some functions and also that the control panel is somewhat messy.
- WP Rocket VS Swift Performance: Swift Performance promised to be a great cache/optimization plugin and we tried it for a few months and ended up very disappointed
- WP Rocket VS LiteSpeed: LiteSpeed is a great technology, but it has a flaw and is that your hosting must have it, which most do not have. In addition, the mere fact of having it, will not make your website 100% optimized since there are many more tasks to do.
- WP Rocket VS Autoptimize: Autoptimize is a well-known plugin to optimize the JS and CSS scripts and although we have used it a lot. In addition to WP Rocket already having many of these features and with better options, Autoptimize creates too many scripts which can be a drag on resources.
- WP Rocket VS Google AMP: Google AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages, is a Google technology to make websites load faster. However AMP pages are different versions of the same that are loaded from Google’s servers, but you still have users who visit normal pages and these need to be optimized.
WP Rocket and WooCommerce
WP Rocket is fully compatible with WooCommerce without any configuration. WP Rocket does not cache either the cart, the payment page or the “my account page”, very important so that others users cached pages are not served instead of the current user’s pages!
Also published on Medium.