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TOP 3 Woocommerce Cache: W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, WP Rocket Comparison

08 June 18
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In this article, we will continue to explore the load speed of the WooCommerce-based online stores and look for the ways to maximize the load speed by cache plugins.

We have briefly reviewed all of the most popular plugins for WordPress and selected three plugins that have shown the best results in our research.

Caching methods used by the plugins

Overall caching of the entire page

This caching method creates a completely cached html page that is displayed to users instead of  dynamic page generating. This significantly reduces the load on the database, since virtually all queries are cached.

It is usually possible to disable caching for the authorized users of an online store.

The flaw of this method is the dynamic elements, such as the cart in the online store. It is displayed via the substitution method after loading through Javascript, which means that the cached version of the cart with zero products appears first, then it is almost unnoticeably replaced by the cart full of the products, selected by the user. The problem lies in this “almost unnoticeable” change, as at a low Internet speed or at a high load on the site, this flashing is very noticeable and distracts the users from purchases. There may also be some problems with the work of other dynamic widgets, such as a wishlist or a list of comparisons, for example.

Caching database queries

This method caches only the queries to the database and returns the result of the cache to the users. This reduces the load on the server base slightly less than in the previous method, but allows you to work with dynamic content without any problems.

Let’s compare the two methods and the plugins that use them.

Cache plugins we are going to review

WP Super Cache for WooCommerce

This plugin has been developed by the official WordPress – Automatic team of engineers. It is available absolutely for free, has no premium version and very simple settings.

Available caching methods: overall caching of the entire page.

You can download it at: WP Super Cache.

W3 Total Cache for WooCommerce

This plugin is also available for free, but it has a premium version with additional support and features. Comparing to the previous plugin, this one has much more settings and flexibility, although due to this, it is much more difficult to manage.

Available caching methods: overall caching of the entire page, caching database queries.

You can download it at: W3 Total Cache.

WP Rocket for WooCommerce

WP Rocket is a premium plugin with a paid license and is average between the first two. It also does not contain a lot of settings, but has several additional features, due to which it ended up in our top 3 list.

Available caching methods: overall caching of the entire page.

You can buy it at the official plugin’s website: WP Rocket.

Test database and testing conditions

For this test, we used the same big database as we used in the previous study: How many products can WooCommerce handle?

Database parameters:

  • The number of products – 50K;
  • The number of categories – 50;
  • The number of products in the category – 1000;
  • The number of attributes – 15;
  • The number of values in the attribute – 7;
  • The number of attributes of the product – 15;
  • The number of variable products – 50К;
  • The number of product options- 1-3;
  • The number of photos of each product – 3.

Testing a product category with the WooCommerce filters cache enabled

First of all, we’ve tested the load speed with the filter by attributes enabled, using the standard WooCommerce widget.

WP Super Cache

PageSpeed Insights:


Load Impact:

The test results:

  • PageSpeed Insights rate for mobile – 71/100;
  • PageSpeed Insights rate for desktops – 86/100.
  • The average page load time with the user load of 50 users is 1.11s.

Conclusion

As a result, we get a good server response speed and the page load speed in general, getting a high ranking from Google Page Speed.

Read also: Woocommerce Import Products Guide

W3 Total Cache

PageSpeed Insights:

Load Impact:

The test result:

  • PageSpeed Insights rate for mobile – 67/100;
  • PageSpeed Insights rate for desktops – 83/100.
  • The average page load time with the user load of 50 users is 1.17s.

Conclusion

As you can see, by testing the database queries only, the page has a slightly longer server response time, according to Google Insights. Plus, there is no automatic CSS minification.

However, the page load speed does not differ significantly from Super Cache.

WP Rocket

PageSpeed Insights:

Load Impact:

The test result:

  • PageSpeed Insights rate for mobile – 75/100;
  • PageSpeed Insights rate for desktops – 91/100.
  • The average page load time with the user load of 50 users is 762.65ms.

Conclusion

As a result, we get almost 2 times better load time compared to the previous caching methods.

Read also: Complete WooCommerce Tutorial Step By Step

Testing a product category with the Premmerce Filters cache enabled

We’ve used the plugin we developed to create filters by attributes (will be available as soon as the testing phase is over).

WP Super Cache

PageSpeed Insights:

Load Impact:

The test result:

  • PageSpeed Insights rate for mobile – 71/100;
  • PageSpeed Insights rate for desktops – 86/100.
  • The average page load time with the user load of 50 users is 726.54ms.

Conclusion

As you can see, the result has improved significantly and went up to the level of Rocket Cache with the standard WooCommerce filters.

W3 Total Cache

PageSpeed Insights:

Load Impact:

The test result:

  • PageSpeed Insights rate for mobile – 67/100;
  • PageSpeed Insights rate for desktops – 83/100.
  • The average page load time with the user load of 50 users is 1.07s.

Conclusion

Overall, the result has also improved, but the response time still does not fit into the scope recommended by Google.

Read also: Top 10 Best WooCommerce Themes 2017 Review and Comparison.

WP Rocket

PageSpeed Insights:

Load Impact:

The test result:

  • PageSpeed Insights rate for mobile – 75/100;
  • PageSpeed Insights rate for desktops – 91/100.
  • The average page load time with the user load of 50 users is 720.85ms.

Conclusion

Generally, the change of the filters did not influence  the category load time with the full page caching by Rocket Cache enabled.

Testing a product page with the caching enabled

We’ve used the same settings and parameters as in the previous research:

  • The number of photos – 3;
  • The number of attributes – 20;
  • The number of options – 2.

WP Super Cache

PageSpeed Insights:

Load Impact:

The test result:

  • PageSpeed Insights rate for mobile – 87/100;
  • PageSpeed Insights rate for desktops – 94/100.
  • The average page load time with the user load of 50 users is 1.05s.

Conclusion

When using WP Super Cache, the product page passes Google Page Speed test and shows a good average page load speed.

W3 Total Cache

PageSpeed Insights:

Load Impact:

The test result:

  • PageSpeed Insights rate for mobile – 79/100;
  • PageSpeed Insights rate for desktops – 87/100.
  • The average page load time with the user load of 50 users is 938.56ms.

Conclusion

In general, the page load speed is practically the same as in the previous caching method, although in this way we do not fit into the server response speed rate recommended by Google.

WP Rocket

PageSpeed Insights:

Load Impact:

The test result:

  • PageSpeed Insights rate for mobile – 79/100;
  • PageSpeed Insights rate for desktops – 93/100.
  • The average page load time with the user load of 50 users is 507.09ms.

Conclusion

As with the previous tests, Rocket shows the best performance on the load speed.

General conclusion

Cache plugins should definitely be used in your online store, as they provide the best load speed rates required by today’s users and search engines.

In general, the research results show a significantly higher page load speed and other metrics with the using caching method for the entire page. The fastest and handiest is the WP Rocket plugin. However, the reviewed plugins with this method of caching do not work very reliably due to the dynamic substitution of data.

In our opinion, caching database queries using W3 Total Cache is the most reliable WooCommerce caching method, although it requires fine-tuning and is a little poorer in terms of the load speed, compared to the other caching methods.

For now, we’ve decided to use W3 Total Cache in our projects, but we have plans to develop a full page caching system, using the Lazy Load method instead of the data substitution. As we develop our other products, we will research this topic in more detail and describe our findings on this blog.

Comments (1)
  • Luke Cavanagh says:

    More actual site speed times, would have been good.

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