WP Rocket Review – Is this Plugin Better than W3 Total Cache? 
WP Rocket is a WordPress cache plugin and is probably one of the best in the market currently. Despite the fact that it is not free, it has been downloaded by over a million websites. 1.2M active installs to be precise. Read all about it in the our WP Rocket Review.
The sheer volume of the active website running a paid plugin even when free options are available, only speaks of how this plugin improves the performance and overall load times.
The most important factor that exploded its download rate is its intuitive interface, beginner-friendly settings, and round the clock support to users.
I have seen WordPress site owners ditching the Free W3 Total Cache plugin and switching over to WP-Rocket.
How does WP-Rocket compare to W3 Total Cache plugin?
Let me be honest with you here. Both W3 Total Cache and WP-Rocket are made primarily for ‘Site caching.’
And they both perform their tasks more or less equally. Both of them offer page cache, browser cache, HTML, JS, CSS minification, asynchronous file loading, G-Zip compression, etc.
But why would anyone spend $49 on a plugin for just caching?
The short answer to this is – extra optimization features and ease of usage offered by WP-Rocket.
The extra optimization features of the WP-Rocket plugin make it better than any other cache plugin for WordPress.
To understand this in perspective to W3 Total cache, I’ve made a quick comparison table to compare W3 Total Cache with WP Rocket.
The table below contains some of the noteworthy features to give you a brief idea of how both plugins compare to each other.
|W3 Total Cache
|Lazy Load Images/ Videos
|Control WP Heartbeat
|Cache Outside Scripts
|Can break Site
WP Rocket takes the lead by miles if you compare WP Rocket to W3 Total Cache in terms of the features. W3 Total Cache does not offer Lazy Loading or Database Cleanup, which is essential for significantly improving the site load time. WP Rocket also offers to cache outside scripts such as Google Analytics or Facebook pixels.
Overall, here is a list of features that WP-Rocket provides additional to the cache features:-
- Optimize database with table optimization.
- Optimize database with post-cleanup, comment cleanup, transients cleanup.
- Control WordPress’s heartbeat.
- Enable/ disable WordPress embeds.
- Enable/ disable iframes Preload option for preload cache/ fonts/ DNS requests.
- Improved browser cache for Google Analytics and Facebook pixel scripts.
WP Total Cache is hard to Configure
I must not forget to mention that it takes much longer to set up and optimize the site with W3 Total Cache, and then pray that it doesn’t break your site.
There is no doubt that W3 Total cache is a great plugin, and I don’t want to demean it in any way. But the level of settings that W3 Total Cache provides can literally make any beginner scratch his head. There are so many options in W3 Total Cache that are confusing and hard to configure.
WP Rocket Review – A look Inside
Now, since we are pretty convinced that WP-Rocket makes much better sense for your site, let’s dive into more specifics and see how the WP-Rocket dashboard looks from inside.
Like I mentioned before, WordPress Plugins can sometimes be too complicated to set up. But with WP Rocket, the setup is super easy and only take a couple of minutes.
Once you have purchased the plugin, All you have to do is click on ‘Add New’ located under Plugins and then click on ‘Upload Plugin‘ and choose the zip plugin file. The zip file is only 2.5MB and should get loaded within few seconds.
Hit the ‘Install Now’ and ‘Activate Plugin’ button, and the page caching will automatically start. As soon as you activate the plugin, 5 features are automatically activated:-
- Page Caching
- Browser caching
- GZIP compression
- Cross-Origin support on web fonts, and
- 3rd party plugins, themes and hosting environment detection.
But, you can do much more. You can access all the features from the Settings menu in the left side panel.
Click on ‘WP Rocket’ under the Settings menu to access all its tools and features.
Fundamental Features – Page Cache, Browser Cache & Minify
Probably the most essential and fundamental feature in any cache plugin, the plugin stores the page contents after a user visits the page for the first time. After some time, if the same user revisits the same page, the cache is recalled.
You can configure this from the first option on the features list – ‘Cache‘. Here you can modify the mobile cache, user cache, and cache lifespan.
You can also exclude specific pages, purge URLs, and much more from the ‘Advanced Rules’ page.
Minification shrinks the web pages’ size by removing any unwanted characters without affecting the site’s functionality.
On the other hand, concatenation reduces the total files on your website by merging CSS and JS files. WP Rocket also offers extra features such as eliminating render-blocking CSS and JS and combining or removing Google Font files.
Unlike W3 Total Cache or most of the other plugins, WP-Rocket allows you to optimize the site database, delete spam comments, trashed comments, etc. to reduce its size and ultimately improve the load time.
You can either do it manually or set up a schedule to automatically let the plugin do the dirty work for you (Schedule Automatic Cleanup option is located at the bottom). You can access these features via the ‘Database‘ tab.
Moreover, you also get the options to remove revisions, auto drafts, and trashed posts too. After everything has been set up, hit the ‘Optimize‘ button, and you’re good to go.
With WP Rocket, you can configure lazy load for images, videos, and iframes from the Media section. You can disable emoji to reduce external HTTP requests, disable embedding of contents, and WebP caching. These features are not available in W3 Total Cache.
Usually, the user needs to visit the page for the cache to be built. But with cache preloading, the cache is built even if the user hasn’t visited the particular page yet. With WP-Rocket, you can preload cache or even preload the fonts.
WP Rocket even lets you prefetch DNS requests to make the external files load faster and preload fonts to improve browser performance when locating fonts in CSS files.
Control WordPress Heartbeat
If you aren’t aware of WordPress’s heartbeat, I suggest you read this post and how it impacts the server loads. Thankfully WP-Rocket eliminates all the coding stuff and you can enable or disable ‘Heartbeat‘ with a simple click.
Cache Outside Scripts
WP-Rocket solves this problem by hosting the cache of these scripts on your server locally, thus allowing us to achieve the perfect gtmetrix score.
WP-Rocket Review – Should You Buy or Not?
Even though WP-Rocket is not a paid plugin, it is undoubtedly one of the essential plugins that you must add to your WordPress tool kit right away.
You have a couple of pricing options to choose from. All one-time purchases for one year of support and updates, depending on the number of websites.
- Single plan – $49 (for 1 website)
- Plus plan – $99 (for 5 websites)
- Infinite plan – $249 (for unlimited websites)
And they all carry 14 days money-back guarantee.
Compared to other caching plugins, configuring WP-Rocket is a piece of cake. Most importantly, it’s not bloated with too many settings for site owners/users, making it easy to configure and use.
WP Rocket team’s pride is off the roof when talking about the feedback from the WordPress users. The credit goes to this great product.
What do you think of this plugin? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
To know about other WordPress cache plugins, you can refer to this post.