WP Rocket: caching extension for WordPress
The loading speed of a website is crucial for both users and search engines.
Indeed, there is nothing more annoying than a website with slow-loading pages. You have probably experienced it yourself: when a site takes too long to load, you just leave…
Well, it’s the same for everyone! So, if your website is slow, it will have a disastrous effect on its performance…
Fortunately, improving the loading speed of website pages is quite easy. You simply need to have the right plugin. And one of the best in its category is WP Rocket.
Available exclusively on WordPress, this plugin is a powerful tool that will allow you to quickly improve the performance of your websites. Quite interesting, isn’t it?
So let’s get started and discover it together!
But before we dive in, here’s a quick recap of the main information if you’re in a hurry:
|Functionality||– Page caching- Image optimization|
– CSS and JS file minification
– Features to preload your website as : Cache preloading, font and link prefetching, and DNS prefetching
– Lazy loading of images and videos
– Database optimization
– CDN integration
|Benefits||– Intuitive and user-friendly interface|
– No complex configuration required
– Significantly improves loading speed
– Compatible with most WordPress themes and plugins
– Responsive customer support
|Drawbacks||– Paid (no free option)|
– Some users may require more advanced features not included
|Pricing||– Single: $49/year for one site|
– Plus: $99/year for 3 sites
– Infinite premium: $249/year for unlimited sites
Presentation of WP Rocket
Offered by the French startup WP media, WP Rocket is a caching plugin that optimizes a website’s performance.
But let’s take a closer look at it!
WP Rocket: A must-have cache plugin for WordPress
As you may have guessed, WP Rocket is a cache plugin. But what exactly is cache?
Simply put, the function of cache is to store in memory the already loaded pages of websites. This allows them to be displayed more quickly to users without the need to generate them every time.
The WP Rocket plugin acts on two types of caches:
- Secondly, the WP Rocket plugin acts on server cache: It generates a static HTML page, avoiding any PHP processing.
In short, all of these operations result in an improved website loading time.
But the WP Rocket plugin is not limited to caching. It goes beyond that.
A plugin that optimizes your website’s performance
The WP Rocket plugin includes various additional features that help boost the performance of your WordPress websites. Some of the key features include:
- HTML code minification,
- and more.
In short, it is a comprehensive tool (but we’ll come back to that) that will clearly enhance your website’s performance. After discovering everything a high-performing website can offer, you will want to equip yourself as soon as possible…
Also read : Gravatar on WordPress: why and how to use it?
Why is website performance important?
Website performance is important for many reasons:
- Improves user experience: A slow website seriously affects the user experience. To give you an idea: half of the users leave a site when its pages take more than three seconds to load. A smooth and fast user experience is essential for satisfying visitors.
- Boosts your SEO: The loading speed of a website is one of the main factors considered by search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) for ranking websites. A faster website will tend to rank higher in search results, which can result in more traffic.
- Improves your conversion rate: A fast and efficient website can help increase the conversion rate. When a website is too slow, users may abandon their shopping cart and make their purchase on another site.
- Optimizes the mobile experience: More and more internet users access the internet from their mobile phones. However, mobile users often have slower connections and less powerful devices. It is therefore essential that websites are optimized for mobile performance.
- Reduces bandwidth consumption: An optimized website consumes fewer resources, which can reduce hosting costs and make the site more accessible to users with slower internet connections.
- Improves your reputation: A website’s performance can affect the perception of the brand or company. A slow and inefficient website can give the impression that the company is negligent or unprofessional.
So now you understand why using a cache plugin is essential to optimize the performance of your WordPress website.
Are you fully convinced of the usefulness of cache plugins? Do you want to install one? Let’s see right away how to do it with WP Rocket!
How to install WP Rocket on WordPress?
Before installing the WP Rocket extension, you must first purchase it. However, be careful, as it is a premium extension, you will not find it in the WordPress catalog. Therefore, you will need to go to the extension website and click on the “BUY” button in the top right corner to acquire it.
After purchasing the extension, you can proceed with the installation. To do this, you will need to follow these few steps:
- Download the extension. You will see a button in the sidebar of your WP Rocket dashboard named DOWNLOAD WP Rocket. Click on it to download the extension. The installation files are compressed. So, you will get a zip file at the end of the download.
- Go to the administration of your WordPress site. Go to the PLUGINS menu and click on ADD NEW, then on UPLOAD PLUGIN.
- Browse your storage and select the compressed file you downloaded from the WP Rocket website. Then, install it.
- Now, proceed to the activation of the extension. Once installed, the add-on will be found with the other plugins in the EXTENSIONS menu of WordPress. Search for it and click on ACTIVATE.
And voilà, you have now equipped your site with WP Rocket! Now, all you have to do is explore it. But let’s save some time and discover it together…
WP Rocket features
If WP Rocket delights users so much, it is because it has practical, simple, and effective features. By default, some features are enabled when the plugin starts, while others need to be activated manually.
Default features and settings
When you install WP Rocket, some options will be enabled by default. This includes:
- File management, which reduces the number of requests and optimizes files for browser caching;
- Optimization of all Google Font files;
- Caching of all pages;
- GZIP compression, which reduces bandwidth.
In addition to these features, which don’t appear on the WP Rocket dashboard, some settings are also activated by default. These include:
- Mobile cache;
- Disabling of embeds and emojis;
- Option to preload some elements;
- Cache cleaning option every 10 hours.
But these options are far from being the only ones available. You can also activate many others. Let’s discover them together.
In its cache tab, WP Rocket offers 3 options:
- First, there is the mobile cache. This option promotes caching for loading pages on mobile devices.
- Second, the plugin offers the user cache. Activating this option allows caching for the administrators of your WordPress site. If you don’t have any users, this option won’t be useful to you.
The last option is the cache clearing delay. By default, the delay is set to 10 hours. Therefore , the files in the cache will be cleared every 10 hours. If the update of your website does not happen regularly, this delay can be increased.
In this section, the features are divided into 2 groups:
- There is CSS file optimization,
CSS File Optimization
For CSS file optimization, WP Rocket offers the following features:
- Minify CSS files: This option helps in reducing the size of the CSS code files of your site. In order to make a CSS file readable for a human, the developer adds spaces, line breaks, etc. But for a computer, all these characters are unnecessary. The minify CSS files option removes these characters and reduces the code size.
- Combine CSS files and optimize CSS loading: This option is reserved for websites using the HTTP/2 protocol. It is a protocol that improves security and browsing speed. In simple terms, this option improves the user experience.
- Remove unused CSS: This feature allows you to lighten your page by removing unused CSS resources.
Here, you have 4 parameters to configure.
- Lazy-load allows elements to load on your pages only when they appear on the screen during scrolling.
- The image dimensions option adds height and width attributes to images that are missing them. This avoids layout changes and improves the user experience.
- The embed code tag is used for embedding multimedia content on a web page. With the embeds option, the WP Rocket add-on will disable article embeds. This avoids generating additional HTTP requests.
- The last option in this section is Webp compatibility. This allows creating a separate cache file to serve your images in Webp format.
In order to enhance your website’s performance, the WP Rocket plugin also offers preloading features, such as:
- Cache preloading that enables cache generation starting from various links located on your homepage;
- Link preloading that allows background downloading of a page’s HTML code when a user touches its link for at least 100 ms;
- DNS request preloading which facilitates DNS resolution before your external resources are called;
- Font preloading which promotes the advance loading of your layout fonts.
Database Cleaning Features
The database contains all your content. It stores parameters of:
- Your templates,
- Your plugins,
Which means that over time and with storage, it will end up becoming bloated and slowing down your website. So, in order to maintain excellent performance, database cleaning is vital.
Here again, WP Rocket has thought of everything by offering you three options:
- Content cleaning.
- Cleaning of transients and the database.
- Automatic cleaning.
This option allows for the deletion of drafts, comments, and revisions contained in the database.
Cleaning Transients and Database Cleaning
Transients allow you to cache data for a certain period.
To relieve congestion in the database, it can be beneficial to delete transients.
The plugin facilitates automatic database cleaning. You can choose daily, weekly or monthly cleaning depending on your needs.
The CDN (Content Delivery Network)
To improve the speed at which pages display on your website, you can use a CDN.
CDN is a service that allows you to store your files on several servers located across the world.
In real terms, when a user seeks to display a website that uses CDN, the network sends files that are stored on the server closest to them. Therefore, this significantly helps with displaying your site!
What’s more, WP Rocket offers functionality enabling this feature.
If you decide to use it, you’ll find that Rocket CDN is incredibly easy to use. You don’t even need to configure it. However, this feature does carry a charge so you will have to pay for it.
The HeartBeat API allows you to optimize server performance by monitoring its reactivity and adjusting its use according to needs.
This API is accessible to anyone with valid access and plays a crucial role in server-polling. It ensures a regular connection flow between the website and the server for real-time updates.
Does WP Rocket really improve a site’s performance?
When you compare a WP Rocket equipped site to one that isn’t, the observation is clear. With the plugin activated, the website’s load time improves by an average of 50%. The number of requests decreases, as does the page weight.
However, it should be noted that the plugin cannot constantly solve everything.
That’s why, if you want to maintain your site’s performance, you should adopt good practices such as:
- using SEO optimized templates;
- avoiding using too many plugins;
- using not-too-heavy images;
- prioritizing webp format for images;
- choosing a good host.
If everything you’ve read has convinced you that WP Rocket is the plugin for you, then one aspect probably has your interest: the price!
What is the price of WP Rocket?
WP rocket does not offer a free version. To try it out, you need to subscribe to one of three packages available on the plugin’s site:
- The Single plan at $49. It allows you to enjoy the plugin’s performance on one site.
- The Plus plan at $99 for using the plugin on three sites.
- The Infinite package at $249. This license allows you to use WP Rocket on an unlimited number of sites.
Each package gives you access to a year of updates and support. You also have a satisfaction or money-back guarantee valid for 14 days. For renewal, WP Rocket offers a rate 50% cheaper if you renew within 30 days before your license expires.
As you can see, equipping yourself with WP Rocket does require a bit of budget… So, it’s better to be sure before purchasing. To help you weigh pros and cons, here are some we’ve thought about.
What Are the pros and cons of WP Rocket?
WP Rocket is an indispensable plugin if you really want to enhance your website’s performance. However, it does have some weak points.
The WP rocket plugin possesses a great number of advantages.
It is more than just a simple caching plugin
The extension is a combination of several options including:
- database optimization;
- the CDN;
All these features improve the performance of a site when used together. This plugin is an all-in-one solution.
Simple and easy to use
With this extension, there is no need to deal with complex settings. The configuration is minimal and the results are immediate.
Responsive customer support
The support, available in English, is very efficient. The technical team provides precise answers and helps you resolve any problems you may encounter.
An extension accessible to everyone
Beginner, intermediate or expert… No matter your level, WP Rocket can adapt. Yes, even if you have no coding skills, the plugin is accessible to you.
All the features offered are available in the same extension. Hence, there can be no compatibility issues. In addition, WP Rocket has clean code that respects all WordPress CMS standards. Therefore, you can activate and use it without any problem, regardless of your theme.
Updates are the key to an efficient site. On this side, there is no need to worry, WP Rocket updates automatically at regular intervals.
Despite undeniable assets WPR still has some negative points…
No free option
Most WP rocket competitor plugins offer at least one free version. This is not the case with WP Rocket. This remains a small downside.
Some bonus features are too technical
The technical level of some features is quite high. Hence, beginners may have some difficulty understanding and using them.
Find WP Rocket too expensive? Not convinced by the features offered? That’s okay, there are alternatives!
What are the alternatives to WP Rocket?
Several extensions compete with WP rocket. Among the most popular ones are:
W3 total cache
This site optimization and caching plugin is one of the most used extensions on WordPress. It offers features similar to WP Rocket, such as browser caching, file minification, and support for Content Delivery Networks (CDN).
However, it differentiates itself from most other extensions by giving the user complete control.
WP Super cache
This is one of the free caching extensions available in the WordPress directory. It installs and activates easily. Its configuration is also simple and it offers several site optimization features like CDN, mobile device support, etc.
Autoptimize focuses on performance optimization by minimizing scripts and styles, optimizing images, and implementing other techniques to improve load speed.
This plugin offers a variety of performance optimization features, including caching, image optimization, and file minification. It works particularly well with LiteSpeed servers.
Aside from these alternatives, there are also extensions like Comet Cache and Hyper Cache. All these extensions are free.
WP Rocket in a nutshell…
As you’ll have understood, WP Rocket is an indispensable plugin for WordPress users. More than just caching your site’s data, it contributes fully to enhancing its overall performance.
- WP Rocket is a caching plugin that keeps already loaded pages in memory for faster display.
- Optimal performance improves user experience, SEO, conversion rates, and mobile accessibility.
- The plugin offers a multitude of features:
- Deferred loading.
- Embed management and Webp compatibility.
- Cache preloading, link preloading, DNS request preloading, and font preloading.
- Database cleaning to improve performance.
- WPR is available starting at $49 / year.