Oct 12, 2015
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[WP] W3 Total Cache settings with Cloudflare GUIDE

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W3 Total cache is a WordPress Performance Optimization framework that is designed to improve user experience and page speed.  It is recommended by many web hosting providers, and used by countless major websites such as mashable.com as well as many others.

W3TC  improves the user experience of your site by increasing web server performance by reducing website loading times, as well as providing content delivery network (CDN) integration.  Some of the features are as follows:

  • Significant increase in overall site performance
  • Improved conversion rates and “site performance” which affect your site’s rank on Google.com
  • “Instant” subsequent page views: browser caching
  • Optimized progressive render: pages start rendering quickly
  • Reduced page load time: increased visitor time on site; visitors view more pages
  • Improved web server performance; sustain high traffic periods
  • Up to 80% bandwidth savings via minify and HTTP compression of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and feeds

INSTALL THE W3 TOTAL CACHE PLUGIN

The plugin is not compatible with other caching plugins, so make sure these have all been uninstalled before proceeding further.

To install the Plugin, simply go to the “Plugins” option in the left hand menu of your WordPress Admin panel, and then select Add New.  In the search box type “W3 Total cache” and press enter.  You can see a screenshot of the screen you should see below.

Install the Plugin

Click the “Install Now” button and then click “OK” to confirm in the subsequent pop up box.  Once Installed, click the “Activate Plugin” link, as shown below:

Activate the plugin

The plugin is now installed and activated.

W3 TOTAL CACHE SETTINGS

This is where things start to get a little more complicated.  Thankfully, to get the plugin working you could just enable everything on the General Settings screen, and use the defaults provided.  To get the best results though, going through the Advanced settings in detail is a must.  Fortunately, we will take you through all the advanced settings as well in this tutorial.

Later in the article you will find a downloadable file that you can import into the Plugin Settings to make applying our recommended settings very simple and easy.

Each of the headings below refer to the different configuration sections within W3TC.

2.1 GENERAL SETTINGS

You will find the General Settings option in the admin panel under the Performance menu item, as shown boxed red in the screenshot below:

General Settings

We have taken a full screenshot of all the completed settings (which we have set out in text format below) in order to help you easily configure the General Settings section.

2.1.1 PREVIEW MODE

General Settings Preview Mode

Preview mode is extremely useful, and something we recommend you use (so click Enable now).  It basically sets it so that only admin users can see the effects of any W3TC Settings.  When disabled, the effects are made public.  This is very useful as you will be able to check the settings prior to releasing them as some settings have the potential to cause display issues (i.e. Minification).

 

  • Preview Mode – Click Enable.

Don’t forget to disable this once you are happy with your configuration.

2.1.2 PAGE CACHE

Page cache is pretty much the most powerful feature of W3TC.  Usually when you request a copy of a web page, the server will run all the PHP scripts contained within WordPress as well as retrieve all requested information from the database.  This obviously takes time, and server resources.

What page caching does, is take a copy of the page after it has been formed, so that subsequent copies of the page can be retrieved using that copy instead of having to run all the PHP scripts and database queries again. This has the benefit of not only speeding up the page load time significantly, but as it reduces server usage you will be able to serve more traffic on a shared hosting plan.

 

  • Page cache – Tick the box to Enable.
  • Page cache method – Select “Disk: Enhanced”.
2.1.2.1 Different Cache Methods

As you will see when you configured the Page Cache above, there were various options to choose from (although most would have been greyed out, and not selectable).  Because these settings will also apply to future sections it is a convenient time to quickly run through the choices available:

Shared Servers:
  • Disk: Basic – This method will invoke a PHP script to serve the cached page.
  • Disk: Enhanced – This method will modify the .htaccess file to direct Apache to a Cached static version of the page, so is much faster, and recommended.

If for whatever reason your site slows as a result of using Disk:Enhanced then we recommend you find a new host.  It is very rare that this happens, but it is not unknown.

Dedicated / Virtual Server

Whilst, the majority of hosts does not offer these on shared hosting, there are some exceptions, especially on the more expensive plans such as Business Hosting or Semi-dedicated hosting.

  • Opcode: Alternative PHP Cache (known as APC Cache) – This caches the PHP code into RAM, and for a long time was the PHP Opcode Cache of Choice.  It is now used much less as it is no longer supported, and will only work with PHP 5.4 and below.  There are no plans to make it work with PHP 5.5. and 5.6.
  • Opcode: eAccelerator – A not so common Opcode cache, but one you will see from time to time.  Again, it will store compiled PHP scripts into shared memory and will execute code from it speeding up dynamic websites.
  • Opcode: XCache – This is now the go to Opcode cache of choice.  It is well supported, and updated and works with all versions of PHP.  XCache has both a PHP Cache component that works to cache the php files directly into RAM, and a Variable Cache component which works off the W3TAPI to cache the data that is subject to change.  This is our recommended choice.
  • Opcode: WinCache – This is an Opcode Cache for Windows servers.
Multiple Servers
  • MemcachedMemcached is a distributed system that you will often see when web hosts have multiple server configurations.  It speeds up dynamic web applications by reducing database load by storing chunks of data from the results of database calls.

2.1.3 MINIFY

We have tested using Minification in W3TC extensively, and find that leaving all the minification to Cloudflare works much better.  Cloudflare, intelligently minifies and combines javascript , as well as re-ordering its loading to ensure an optimized page load time (via its Rocket Loader).  In addition, it does not combine CSS which is a common issue with site display problems, and only minifies it.  There is absolutely no need to duplicate the minification here.

 

  • Minify – Leave disabled.

2.1.3 DATABASE CACHE

The database cache will store the results of any database queries to increase the speed of your site by allowing your server to retrieve the data faster.  On some budget hosting servers using the database cache can slow down your site, so it is worth checking the speed with and without this configured to see what works best.

 

  • Database Cache – Tick the box to Enable. If you are using Ningx Varnish you should disable database caching as this will be done at the server level.
  • Database Cache Method – Select “Disk”.  If you are on a VPS you should be able to select an Opcode Cache such as XCache, as this is better.

 

Note: If you are using our recommended host Siteground, with their Supercacher (not their Startup Plan) you should keep this disabled.  Their Supercacher does this at the server level and is much faster.

2.1.4 OBJECT CACHE

By default, WordPress has a caching system as standard called Object Caching.  Object Cache will store anything into cache utilizing this WordPress Caching API to reduce the amount of calls needed to the database and thus speeding up your site.  Coupled with an Opcode caching system (rather than disk) or via SiteGround’s own RAM based solution this can make load times insanely fast.

 

  • Object Cache – Tick the box to Enable.
  • Object Cache Method – Select “Disk”.  If you are on a VPS you should be able to select an Opcode Cache such as XCache, as this is better.  

 

Note: If you are using our recommended host Siteground, with their Supercacher (not their Startup Plan) you should keep this disabled.  Their Supercacher does this at the server level and is much faster.

2.1.5 BROWSER CACHE

This is a very powerful option that stores a copy of the web page in the User’s browser, so that if they revisit the page it will load from their own computer via the browser cache rather than requesting the page from the server.

In addition this option will carry out other optimizations by enabling HTTP compression to reduce the size of files, reducing the download time of the web page.

 

  • Browser Cache – Tick the box to Enable.

2.1.6 CDN

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network.  As the name suggests a CDN will distribute your static files to various servers around the world, so that when a user requests the web page those assets will be served locally rather than from the main server.  This can significantly speed up the load time of your site from users that are located a large distance from the server.

Cloudflare implements a CDN, but it is dealt with under a separate extension (which we will look at later).  Therefore there is nothing to configure here.

 

  • CDN – Ignore
  • CDN Type – Ignore

2.1.7 REVERSE PROXY

Reverse proxy is a type of server that retrieves resources from one or more other servers and can have many benefits such as distributing the load between multiple servers, compressing content or speeding up the serving of dynamic content.  Of course this depends on individual configuration of the server.  Such a setup can include Varnish Cache (which is what SiteGround uses in their Supercacher).

 

  • Enable Varnish Cache Purging – Ignore

2.1.8 MONITORING

New relic is a third party service that will provide detailed performance statistics of your site and server.  Unless you have specific reason to use this, we recommend you keep it disabled.

 

  • New Relic – Ignore

LICENSING

If you have purchased the Pro Version of W3TC then you can add the license key here to enable additional functionality, such as Fragment Cache for Genesis theme.

 

  • Licence – Ignore

MISCELLANEOUS

We are against enabling functionality (such as the Dashboard widgets, or plugins) that are not important, as this in itself can cause your site to slow down.

 

  • Enable Google Page Speed Dashboard Widget – Ignore
  • Verify Rewrite Rules – Keep enabled
  • Optimize disk enhanced page and minify disk caching for NFS – Keep disabled
  • Enable edge mode – Do nothing.  This is not recommended for a production environment so keep disabled.

DEBUG

When you enable the Debug mode detailed information about your caching gets added to the HTML source code, which is publicly viewable.  As such this will increase the size of your page, and create more work for your web server.  You should only enable this when you are trying to troubleshoot an issue.

 

  • Debug Mode – Keep disabled

IMPORT / EXPORT SETTINGS

You can easily import and export your settings files so that you can easily and quickly configure your W3TC settings.  This is very useful if you have spent 30 minutes or so configuring your settings, and want to back them up, or alternatively if you wish to take a copy before making changes so you can easily revert them.

 

  • Import configuration – Importable Settings file coming soon!

You will now have configured all the basic W3TC Settings that will significantly improve your page speed performance, however, by proceeding to customize your settings below you can squeeze out some additional performance.

2.2 ADVANCED SETTINGS – PAGE CACHE

Page Cache

GENERAL

 

  • Cache Posts Page – Enable
  • Don’t cache front page – Disable
  • Cache feeds: site, categories, tags, comments – Enable
  • Cache SSL (https) requests – Enable (if you use SSL)
  • Cache URIs with query string variables – Enable (if available)
  • Cache 404 (not found) pages – Disable
  • Cache requests only for the www.yourdomain.com site address – Enable
  • Don’t cache pages for logged in users  – Enable
  • Don’t cache pages for following user roles – Disable

There are a couple of points to note with the settings above, and you may want to change our recommended settings depending on your own cirmcumstances.  In some cases the “Cache URIs with query string variables” can cause some issues such as page cache not refreshing properly.  If you have pages using query strings then you may want to test this option.

If you ever find that when you log out of WordPress but you still see the admin bar at the top, then you may not have the “Don’t cache pages for logged in users” enabled.  We see this more than you think, and you will find more information on this problem in a separate post here.

By Caching feeds, categories, tags etc you will significantly reduce the server load and speed up the formation of these pages, so they are recommended.  You can choose which pages to purge from the cache upon specified events (such as new posts etc) later .

CACHE PRELOAD

 

  • Automatically prime the page cache – Enable
  • Update interval  – 1000 seconds
  • Pages per interval – 15 (although if you have a more powerful server of VPS, you can increase this)
  • Sitemap URL – Enter the URL of your sitemap
  • Preload the post cache upon publish events – Enable

This is one of the most powerful features which really helps to speed up the site.  What happens is that the Cache only lasts for a specified amount of time, after which new visitors will not be served a cached page.  If your site is not very busy this can significantly negate the effects of the plugin.  The Cache Preload gets around this by priming the cache at the specified interval.  You should add the location of the Sitemap here.

PURGE POLICY: PAGE CACHE

 

  • Specify the pages and feeds to purge when posts are created, edited, or comments posted – Enable Front Page, Post page, Blog feed.
  • Specify the feed types to purge – Enable Rss2 (default)
  • Limit page purging – Enter 15 (although more powerful servers can handle a higher number if required.
  • Purge sitemaps – There should be a default regular expression here.  Leave it as is.

When you create a new post, or change content or even add comments unless you update the cache the changes will not be immediately viewable on the pages that list all your posts.  This is where you set what pages to refresh upon specified events.

ADVANCED

 

  • Use late initilization – Disable
  • Compatibility mode – Leave unticked
  • Charset – Leave unticked
  • Reject HEAD requests – Leave disabled
  • Garbage collection interval – 3600 seconds (although this will be greyed out if not caching to disk)
  • Comment cookie lifetime – 1800 seconds
  • Accepted query strings – leave blank
  • Rejected user agents – leave blank
  • Rejected cookies – Keep default
  • Never cache the following pages – Keep default
  • Cache exception list – Keep default
  • Non-trailing slash pages – Keep default
  • Specify page headers – Keep default

Some people will recommend enabling “Compatability mode” even though it may decrease performance because in some cases where hosting stacks are used (different networks combined together) it can actually help.  We have never seen the need to use this.

The Garbage Collection Interval is the time when old cache files are deleted.  If you have a very busy site, you may want to reduce this.

Sometimes you may not want to Cache Certain pages, because the data changes regularly or otherwise.  You can add any URLs in that box.

2.3 ADVANCED SETTINGS – MINIFY

You can ignore this section, as we use Cloudflare to carry out all the minification tasks.

2.4 ADVANCED SETTINGS – DATABASE CACHE

The Database Cache will store the most commonly used queries used by your WordPress site to reduce the time it takes to load the dynamically generated parts of your site.  If you use SiteGround’s Supercacher, then you will not have this section enabled, and you can ignore these settings.

GENERAL

 

  • Don’t cache queries for logged in users – Tick to enable

ADVANCED

 

  • Maximum lifetime of cache objects – Enter 180 seconds
  • Garbage collection interval – Enter 3600 seconds if caching to disk, otherwise it will be greyed out.
  • Never cache the following pages – Leave blank
  • Ignored query stems – Leave as default
  • Reject query words – Leave as default

If you are using Disk Caching then if you have a high lifetime for cache objects then you may use up a fair amount of disk space.  The recommended settings is 180 seconds to combat this.  However, you may want to significantly increase this if you have a small or quiet site.  We have this set to 7200 seconds on our own site to give you some idea, but then we use RAM based caching (xCache) that doesn’t use up disk space (similar to Siteground’s Supercacher).

USING THE PLUGIN WITH WOO-COMMERCE

If you are running Woo-Commerce then you should add the following to the Ignored Query Stems section:

_wc_session_

2.5 ADVANCED SETTINGS – OBJECT CACHE

The object cache will store the results of common runtime operations that again will reduce CPU usage and in turn also speed up your site.

ADVANCED

 

  • Default lifetime of cache objects – Enter 180 seconds
  • Garbage collection interval – Enter 3600 seconds if caching to disk, otherwise it will be greyed out.
  • Global groups – Leave as default
  • Non-persistent groups – Leave as default

If you are using Disk Caching then if you have a high lifetime for cache objects then you may use up a fair amount of disk space.  The recommended settings is 180 seconds to combat this.  However, you may want to significantly increase this if you have a small or quiet site.  We have this set to 7200 seconds on our own site to give you some idea, but then we use RAM based caching (xCache) that doesn’t use up disk space (similar to Siteground’s Supercacher).

2.6 ADVANCED SETTINGS – BROWSER CACHE

This whole section deals with how the users web browser stores data so that upon subsequent page views the data is retrieved from their saved copy in the browser rather than querying your server again.  This can significantly enhance the users experience as they browse the site, especially for repeat visitors.

GENERAL

 

  • Set Last-Modified header – Tick to Enable
  • Set expires header – Tick to Enable
  • Set cache control header – Tick to Enable
  • Set entity tag (eTag) – Tick to Enable
  • Set W3 Total Cache header – Tick to Enable
  • Enable HTTP (gzip) compression – Tick to Enable
  • Prevent caching of objects after settings change – Leave Blank
  • Prevent caching exception list – Leave Blank
  • Disable cookies for static files – Leave Blank
  • Do not process 404 errors for static objects with WordPress – Leave Blank
  • 404 error exception list – Leave as Default

CSS & JS

 

  • Set Last-Modified header – Tick to Enable
  • Set expires header – Tick to Enable
  • Expires header lifetime –  Keep it as 31536000 seconds
  • Set cache control header – Tick to Enable
  • Cache Control policy – Select “cache with max-age (“public, max-age=EXPIRES_SECONDS”)
  • Set entity tag (eTag) – Tick to Enable
  • Set W3 Total Cache header – Tick to Enable
  • Enable HTTP (gzip) compression – Tick to Enable
  • Prevent caching of objects after settings change – Leave blank
  • Disable cookies for static files – Leave blank

HTML & XML

 

  • Set Last-Modified header – Tick to Enable
  • Set expires header – Tick to Enable
  • Expires header lifetime –  Enter 10000 seconds
  • Set cache control header – Tick to Enable
  • Cache Control policy – Select “cache with max-age (“public, max-age=EXPIRES_SECONDS”)
  • Set entity tag (eTag) – Tick to Enable
  • Set W3 Total Cache header – Tick to Enable
  • Enable HTTP (gzip) compression – Tick to Enable
  • Prevent caching of objects after settings change – Leave blank
  • Disable cookies for static files – Leave blank

MEDIA & OTHER FILES

 

  • Set Last-Modified header – Tick to Enable
  • Set expires header – Tick to Enable
  • Expires header lifetime –  Enter 31536000 seconds
  • Set cache control header – Tick to Enable
  • Cache Control policy – Select “cache with max-age (“public, max-age=EXPIRES_SECONDS”)
  • Set entity tag (eTag) – Tick to Enable
  • Set W3 Total Cache header – Tick to Enable
  • Enable HTTP (gzip) compression – Tick to Enable
  • Prevent caching of objects after settings change – Leave blank
  • Disable cookies for static files – Leave blank

2.7 ADVANCED SETTINGS – USER AGENT GROUPS

MANAGE USER AGENT GROUPS

 

  • Group name “High” – Keep disabled
  • Group name “Low” – Keep disabled

2.8 ADVANCED SETTINGS – REFERRER GROUPS

MANAGE REFERRER GROUPS

 

  • Group name “High” – Keep disabled

2.9 ADVANCED SETTINGS – CDN

 

  • Ignore all – This guide sets up CloudFlare instead.

2.10 ADVANCED SETTINGS – MONITORING

 

  • Ignore all

SPEED TEST RESULTS – BEFORE AND AFTER SETTING UP THE PLUGIN

These test results are using SiteGround Hosting (our no. 1 recommended host), without the use of its Varnish Memcached based Supercacher. with just the above Settings.

BEFORE:

W3 total cache settings speed test siteground

Amazingly, a completely unoptimized WordPress install on Siteground is as fast as an optimized one on many of the other web hosts we have tested.

AFTER:

speed test after implementation of the plugin

You may have noticed that we have been speaking very highly of SiteGround, which uses its own Supercacher for Database and Object Caching, as well as Static File delivery.  The above tests are carried out at SiteGround with the Supercacher turned off, but just check out the speeds once we utilise their Supercacher instead:

Website speed test supercacher siteground

As you can see, having the database and object caching being served from RAM at the server level can make a massive difference, and something we highly recommend.  If you want to try SiteGround, we have an exclusive offer for Best Host News readers below (make sure you purchase either the Growbig or GoGeek plan for RAM caching for the Database and Object cache):

DOWNLOAD OUR W3TC SETTINGS

TO REVEAL THE DOWNLOADABLE SETTINGS FILE PLEASE SHARE.

The file will appear as soon as you share our tutorial.  Thank you for the support!

Once downloaded extract the php file from the zip file.  Then go to the General Settings section, scroll down to the bottom of the page and import the file as shown below:

import w3 total cache file

Once you have clicked the “Upload” button, everything will be setup.  You may want to quickly read through the settings in case you wish to modify any from our recommended ones.  In addition, under Page Cache -> Preload you will need to specify the location of your Sitemap URL.

 

If you are using SiteGround thanks to their new NGINX based Supercacher you no longer need to configure W3 Total Cache – see https://www.besthostnews.com/siteground-supercacher-replaces-varnish-with-nginx-for-ssl-support/

 

SETTING UP CLOUDFLARE

cloudflare

First of all you will need to sign up to CloudFlare.  Depending on your hosting provider there are two ways of doing this:

  1. Firstly, if your Hosting Provider has partnered with CloudFlare, then you will find a one-click install button within your hosts admin dashboard.
  2. Otherwise, you will need to manually configure the DNS settings.  Simple add the domain to CloudFlare.  It will do some checks to test your Server settings, and then will setup all the DNS entries for you.  All you need to do is point your domain at CloudFlare’s nameservers.  Note that this may take up to 24 hours to propagate, although you should not experience any downtime in this period.

You can read more about the features of CloudFlare here.

cloudflare-settings

SETTINGS OVERVIEW

 

  • Security Profile – Select Low
  • Performance profile – Select Custom
  • Automatic IPv6 – Select Safe
  • SPDY – If you have a “Pro Plan” this will be enabled
  • Always Online – Select On
  • IP Geolocation – Select On
  • SSL – Select Flexible SSL
  • Mobile Redirect – If you have a mobile site, then you can enter the settings here.

SECURITY SETTINGS

 

  • Security profile – Low

INDIVIDUAL SECURITY SETTINGS

 

  • Advanced DDoS protection – This is for Business Enterprise plans only.  Useful to note, if you ever are under a DDoS attack.
  • Basic protection level –  Low (although if you have problems with bots, or spam, you can raise this).  Edit:  We have since raised this to “Medium” to try and reduce the amount of spam comments we have been receiving.
  • Challenge passage TTL – Set to 1 week.
  • E-mail address obfuscation – Select On
  • Server side exclude (SSE) – Select On
  • Browser integrity check – Select Off
  • Hotlink protection – Select Off (unless you have a problem with people embedding your images on their sites directly)
  • Advanced security (Web Application Firewall) – If you have a “Pro Plan” this can help against comment spam, and other application insecurities.

SETTINGS OVERVIEW

 

  • Performance profile – Custom settings

INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE SETTINGS

 

  • Caching level – Set to Aggressive
  • Minimum expire TTL – Set to 8 Days
  • Auto Minify – If you have W3TC configured for minification turn it off here.  We have found that it runs much slower that if W3 Cache handles it.
  • Rocket Loader – Set to Automatic.
  • Website preloader – If you have a “Pro Plan” turn this on
  • Mirage 2 – If you have a “Pro Plan” turn this on
  • Polish: image optimization – If you have a “Pro Plan” select “Basic + JPEG”

CLOUDFLARE EXTENSION

Now you have set up CloudFlare, you can configure the Cloudflare extension so that you can manage the basic functionality and purge the cache without having to log in directly at Cloudflare.com.  In order to see this extension you will need to activate the CloudFlare extension under the “Extensions” section, which you can see in the side menu.

cloudflare extension

 

  • CloudFlare – Enable
  • CloudFlare account email – Enter your email you use with your CloudFlare account
  • API key – Enter your API key
  • Domain – Enter your domain
  • Security level – Select “Low”, unless you are having a problem with spammers bots, in which case you can choose a higher level.
  • Rocket Loader – Select Automatic
  • Minification – If you are using W3TC for your minification ensure this is set to OFF
  • Development mode –  Select OFF

Rocket Loader is what does all the magic with Javascript, by combining and changing the load order.  This has a massive effect on speeding up the load time of your site.  With regard to the security level, we have agreat tutorial for dealing with Comment Spam here utilizing Cloudflare security.

Whilst we have given basic settings here for Cloudflare which can be changed within the plugin, you are advised to actually log into the Cloudflare admin area at Cloudflare.com, and adjust your settings to suit.  In particular we recommend the “Aggressive” performance setting under the Performance tab as this cannot be changed from within the Plugin settings.

 

SPEED TEST RESULTS – WITH CLOUDFLARE

Speed Test Results coming soon.

 

WHY YOUR WEB HOSTING SERVER MATTERS!

Having tested many web hosting providers over the past few years (using these settings) it is actually amazing how much they differ, especially with some of the more bloated themes.  The following are just some factors that you may wish to look out for:

  • SSD Hosting – SSD databases are the most important, but for files as well is nice too.
  • Opcode Caching – This can make a massive difference in speeds for dynamic websites such as WordPress.  APC cache used to be the most popular, but now xCache is taking over due to better support.  This is done via the API, so not quite as good as Server level caching.
  • Varnish Caching – This is one of the best things to have for a fast website, as it will cache your PHP queries at the server level.
  • Memcache – This caches your database queries at the server level.

To some extent the  settings we will go through will cache your PHP and database queries, but depending on your settings only to disk.  RAM is much faster than even SSD’s and if this is done at the server level (rather than opcode caching) you will be stunned at the speeds you can get.

There is only one host we truly recommend at the current time for the fastest speeds possible and has all the power of a RAM based W3 Total cache configuration without needing W3 Total Cache is SiteGround.  You will see that this is our no. 1 recommmended host for lots of reasons (such as their developer features, and fast support etc), but for speed they use NGINX Caching and Memcache with their custom built SuperCacher technology.  You can read more about that here.  You will want the GrowBig plan, or if the developer features take your fancy the GoGeek Plan.

 

Update 1st July 2015 – Since Siteground changing their Supercacher from Varnish to NGINX technology, it now works for SSL driven sites, and incorporates full page caching meaning that no W3 Total Cache is required.  You can read more here.

 

OTHER FACTORS THAT CAN EFFECT LOAD TIME

Before we go into the exact settings we use you need to bear in mind that there are other factors that will affect your page load time.  Removing bloated plugins and scripts (such as bloated social share plugins, google maps), as well as excessive images will also have an influence.  In addition, some of those feature rich themes you see on Themeforest can load many scripts on every page load, even if you are not using that functionality.  The Genesis theme is specifically built for speed.

Having said that, adding W3TC with the correct settings, combined with CloudFlare, can significantly speed up your site and in our experience will decrease load times by over half!

Before you install the plugin, and configure your settings we highly recommend you test the performance of your site via Pingdom Tools. Be sure to select the closest location to your websites audience (Netherlands, New York, Texas), so you can accurately test the change in performance.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

The settings above are what we actually use, and we have demonstrated that they work extremely well by posting our page speed.

If you compare our settings with some of the other tutorials you will see that they recommend MaxCDN over CloudFlare.  The main reason we do not, is that CloudFlare offers a free plan, plus CloudFlare with the Pro version offers some very nice speed optimizations, and as such we prefer it over MaxCDN.  Of course, we have nothing against MaxCDN, so feel free to try that also.

If you try out the settings above, and have any questions please feel free to ask in the comments below.  We will be more than happy to help.

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