The WP Super Cache is a powerful plugin and comes with many advanced options (as well as basic). These settings can improve and optimize the performance of your website, alleviate the features of your WordPress Hosting, and even allow your visitors to have faster browsing experience.
Caching your existing WordPress installation is a variable factor and depends on your current WordPress environment. This tutorial describes one of the easiest ways to implement smart and powerful caching in WordPress. If you are on a shared hosting this tutorial should meet your needs.
The settings and tips I am showing in this tutorial have been gained with a lot of experience. You will find in this article a perfect setup for optimizing your WordPress site on most hosting servers. Many professionals even charge a very high value for such a configuration, because it is an optimized, comprehensive and constant configuration.
Configure WP Super Cache
To install WP Super Cache Plugin, go to Plugins> Add New. In the search bar type “ WP Super Cache ” (without quotes), then install and activate the plugin. You can also download the plugin from the repository at WordPress.org.
WP Super Cache Notifications
It is important to display these notifications as they need to be resolved first , or at any time , for the plugin to work correctly and securely on your website. So be sure to check them all out.
Here you will see a notification at the top of the plugin page as soon as you activate the plugin.
Click on the link ( plugin admin page ) that takes us to the WP Super Cache plugin administrative page , so we can start the configuration process.
Incorrect Permalink Structure
If you are receiving another notification asking you to change the structure of your permalink , click the indicated link or go to Settings> Permalink and choose any option other than the first one. You can use the one we use here on CanalWP.
WP Super Cache Warning
If an index directory is found in your website cache, the WP Super Cache plugin will display a message.
NOTE * : If this is the first time you see this message do not worry as it is normal. In this case, go through this step and follow the tutorial.
This message is a serious problem and should be treated as such. This means that Login Cookies have been found in your Website Cache which makes it easy for any Hacker who wants to use this advantage to access your server. To resolve this click ” Logout “. This will remove all active users and request a new access except you. You will continue to visit the website normally, remember to clear the cache and generate a new one just to be sure.
Now that we have solved this, let’s open the WP Super Cache settings. Go to Settings> WP Super Cache. The first thing you will notice is a yellow box.
This is normal. However, this yellow box should not appear every time you open WP Super Cache settings – it’s a one-time message. If it appears every time, simply follow the ” Troubleshooting Guide ” link to resolve this issue.
WP Super Cache | Easy
In the Easy tab under Settings> WP Super Cache> Easy Tab you can quickly and easily enable Cache in your WordPress. However, we will lose several powerful options that can make your site even faster. If you want to test advanced settings, continue to the next step.
Enables or disables WP Super Cache plugin caching. Remember that disabling or enabling will not generate another cache file ; if you disable and enable, the cache served to your visitors will remain the same. For this tutorial we will configure the plugin with caching disabled, so check Caching OFF and save if not by default.
To test the cache on your WordPress click the “Test Cache” button, and you should get a message like in the image.
In this option you can delete cache files so that a new cache is generated and served to visitors with updated content.
WP Super Cache | Advanced
Here we will use the powerful options of this plugin to optimize our website cache. This is probably the part you were hoping for to start true optimization. So, come on!
Important: While we are performing this setting our cache must be OFF , keep your settings the same to continue with this tutorial.
Caching Delivery Method
Here we must define how we will serve the cache to visitors and how it will work on our server.
Simple or Expert
We could cover all parts for each of these configurations, but the important thing is to use the best option for our need, which is to achieve the best possible speed.
So let’s choose the option that allows us to do this easily and comprehensively, EXPERT.
Select EXPERT in this option.
Let us understand a little more about these configuration options and show you which option to choose to achieve constant, balanced and optimized optimization for your website.
1 – Don’t Cache Pages for Know Users
Cached pages are not ready for users who comment or regularly log in to your website. So allowing cache pages to be served to known users is not a good option. This option allows the administrator or another user to see the actual data without any cache. Leave this option checked.
2 – Don’t Cache Pages with GET Parameters
Cached pages should not contain content with GET Parameters, as these must be updated frequently. Cached pages do not do this, so check this option to make sure these pages are not cached.
3 – Compress Pages
This option allows pages to shrink before being sent to cache. This option decreases the size of your pages, further optimizing the cache that will be served to your visitors. Leave this option checked.
4 – Cache HTTP Headers with page content
Allows your HTTP header to be served along with the page cache, Leave Marked.
5 – Cache Rebuild
Serves an old cache file for anonymous users while the plugin refreshes the cache with more up to date information. This option is great for websites that have members or subscribers. Remember that users are not visitors, they are visitors logged into your system (there is a difference). Leave this option checked.
6 – 304 Not Modified Browser Caching
Here you can enable the plugin option that indicates when a cached page has not been modified since your last request. As we are using the Expert method in our configurations this option should not be available to you. If you are NOT using it, check this option.
7 – Make Know Users Anonymous
This option is the opposite of what we have in the 3rd option. It will ensure that any user (including admin and others) receives only cached pages. This option is only recommended when you have a website where you don’t use comments and don’t update often.
8 – Proudly tell the World
Add a message to your site’s Footer that your website is optimized by the WP Super Cache plugin and its author. Leave unchecked if you do not want to display the message.
The advanced part of the plugin consists of rules and functions specific to different types of needs that we will cover below.
1 – Enable Dynamic Caching
This option allows you to save dynamic data from your website. Only the first visit will use server resources with this option, the rest will be served with dynamic cache. As we are using EXPERT mode this option will not be available , if you do not use it, leave it checked.
2 – Mobile Device Support
Here we can enable cached pages for mobile devices. This way your visitors using this type of device will also be served with cached pages. Having a much more efficient experience. Leave it checked.
3 – Remove UFT8 Charset
This option removes Charset UTF8 from yourhtaccess file. Only check this if you are seeing strange characters on your website, which is very difficult to happen. Leave unchecked.
4 – Clear All Cache Files
Deletes all cached files when a new post or page is published or updated. Generating a new file with the most up to date data. Leave it checked.
5 – Extra Homepage Checks
Sometimes the WP Super Cache cache for some unknown reasons “forgets” to cache your site’s Homepage. This option checks if the homepage cache has been updated. If it has not been updated, it updates and send to the cache file. Leave it checked.
6 – Refresh Current Page (Comments made)
If a comment is made on your page or post, the cache will be deleted and a new one will be generated with the new comment and most current data. This option is important because it only updates that individual post or page without deleting the entire cache file. Leave it checked.
7 – List All Cache Pages
List all cached pages in this plugin configuration page so you can see which files are cached and which are not. It depends on whether you need to know if a page is cached or not. Leave unchecked.
8 – Coarse File Locking
First I want to say that this option can cause many problems on your server if not used correctly. What it does is create a padlocked current throughout the cache process. This option is only used when we expect a large amount of visits to our website, such as a TV campaign or some online SHOW that will attract many visits in a short period of time. Leave unchecked!
9 – Late Init
Displays cached files as soon as WordPress loads. This option works best with Simple mode, which we are not using in this tutorial. Leave unchecked.
Here you can define where you want to cache your website files. I recommend that you leave the default value and do not modify this option.
Mod Rewrite Rules
Now that we are done with all the settings on the Advanced Tab , click the Update Status button.
When you click the refresh button you will see just below the advanced settings a Mod Rewrite (EXPERT Mode) rules update notification in yourhtaccess file.
Click the ” Update Mod_rewrite Rules ” button to update the rules in yourhtaccess file automatically without having to do it manually.
As soon as you click the button and the page refreshes you should see an image like this:
Expiry Time & Garbage Collection
Now let’s define the time and frequency that the cached data on your server will be valid.
By default, in terms of garbage collection the cache timeout is 3600 seconds. If you have a large number of articles on your site then set a longer time.
Here you must set for a specified time (3600 seconds) or choose a time of day for the garbage cache to be collected. You can set every hour, once a day or 2 times a day.
If you would like to receive a notification email each time garbage collection is completed check this option.
Accepted Filenames & Rejected URIs
Here we can define which file types and URIs should NOT be cached. This is important when you have a file type that uses frequently updated data and you don’t want that data to be cached for visitors or users.
The other settings may be default as we will not need to use them in our configuration.
WP Super Cache | CDN
If you use a CDN service like MAXCDN then we can configure the settings for your website here. If you do not use a CDN server on your website go to the next step.
Enable CDN Support
Check this box to enable CDN support and for the settings below to take effect on your website.
Here we should put the CDN URL provided to you as soon as you create a PULL ZONE in your CDN settings. Something similar to this sitename.businessname.netdna-cdn.com. If you have set up a CNAME then your URL might look like this cdn.website.com , image.website.com, js.website.com, css.website.com and so on.
Remember that when adding the URL it must have the http://protocol.
Directories to include in the static CDN files. By default we will only use wp-content and wp-includes. Leave the options as default.
Exclude if Substring
In this option we can define which file type should NOT be included in the static CDN files .php comes standard by default, if there is another type of file you do not want to be served by CDN add the extension with the “.” (dot) here.
Skip https URLs to avoid “mixed content” errors
This option should only be used if you use SSL on your website. It will prevent static content from being served incorrectly. If you do not use SSL on your website, leave it unchecked.
WP Super Cache | Preload
We skipped the Contents tab because there is nothing we need to configure there.
What is Preload?
Preload will cache each post and page published on your site. It will create a SuperCache of static files so that unknown visitors (including bots) are served with cached files.
Preloading creates batches of files. Caching is done from newer to older post, so consider adding only newer posts if you have many (10,000 ). This is especially important in shared hosting. I will show you how to add a specific amount of posts later.
Refresh Preload Cache
You should not leave this option ZERO unless you want to manually delete your cache each time. I recommend leaving it in 720 minutes so that the cache is cleared and Preload can update the cache automatically.
Preload “all” posts
Here you can define how many posts should have your files cached. As explained above, pay attention to the amount of posts. If you don’t have so many posts just select all and you will be fine. If you have many posts, select an amount that you believe is reasonable and sufficient to improve your server performance and your visitors and users’ experience. Something around the first 1000 posts is enough.
If you want Mode Preload to work , this option must be checked. Remember that as we are using Mod_Rewrite the cache created via Preload will NOT be deleted by the garbage collector. This is why it is important that you set the time in “ Refresh Preload Cache ”.
If you want Preload mode to cache your categories, tags, and other taxonomies, check this option. It is strongly recommended to leave marked.
Send Me Status
Here you can define when to receive email messages when preloaded files are updated with the new cache.
Now that you have configured your settings click on “ Update Settings ”. DO NOT CLICK ” PRELOAD CACHE NOW “! I will explain later.
Optimizing Files and Images
Congratulations, you have successfully set up the WP Super Cache plugin. Now is the time to optimize our files and images.
If you believe that just using this plugin is enough to make your website lightning fast, well, you’re wrong. When it comes to our website there are several guidelines that we should consider when dealing with something delicate like speed.
Now we will complete our tutorial with two tips that will take your site’s speed optimization to another level.
In order to optimize our files and make them more efficient beyond the settings made in this tutorial, we will use another plugin to complement our optimization.
We will need to install and activate the BWP Minify plugin to get our files optimized as much as possible. Setting up this plugin is very simple and quick, so pay close attention to the following steps.
Once you activate the plugin, in your WordPress panel you can see a new option called ” BWP Minify “, click it. Now that we are in the general plugin options, select the boxes as in the image above.
Minify Library Settings
At the bottom of the page under “ Minify Library Settings ” select the options according to the image above and click on “Save Changes”.
Note: If you notice after the end of this tutorial that some functions, design, or transitions are not working as they should try turning off the “Minify JS Files” or “Minify CSS Files” option in “Plugin Functionality” in the BWP Minify settings.
Be sure to use “Flush Cache” in the BWP Minify and WP Super Cache Cache options before you see if the issue has been resolved.
Now all our files are minified, fully shrunk and optimized for caching. Remember our cache is OFF so far? The reason is exactly because we need to optimize files and images before they are sent to cache. This way we guarantee that only the most optimized content will be uploaded.
We have already covered this tutorial on Optimizing Images in WordPress with the WP Smush Plugin. And that’s exactly what we are going to use here to finalize our image optimization. The plugin is very simple to use, only the optimization process that can take longer.
We are ready to begin the image optimization process :
Here we can see how many images we need to optimize on our site.
Click ” Bulk Compress Now “.
Wait for the optimization process and do not close this browser tab until the process has finished.
It’s important to note that in our example we had only 21 images that needed optimization. If you have more than 50 images the process will require you to press the button again , this goes for every 50 images optimized if you are not using WP Smush PRO.
This is done so that free users do not exhaust the resources of the server that optimizes images.
If the process goes smoothly you should see the following message:
With all our content completely optimized we just need to enable caching for our setting to take effect:
Testing Your Website
Let’s go to the fun part of the tutorial which is to test the speed of your site!
Log out or use your browser anonymously and visit your website to find out how fast your page is loading.
Remember to visit your site first to generate the cache and then press F5 or click on your site logo to visit with the cache set.
If you want you can take a look at our list of WordPress Speed Testing Tools.
The WP Super Cache plugin is powerful and simple to use. Besides being very versatile for those who need a few different settings in their cache. With the tips I gave you above you will see how this plugin can be more powerful than you thought. Give it a try with our settings and we are sure you will be surprised how it can help you optimize the speed and experience of your visitors the easy way.
If you found this article interesting or if it was helpful in any way, consider sharing on social networks. You can also leave your comment below to share your thoughts on our settings, or even leave tips that we may have missed.