How do WordPress caching plugins work, and which are the best caching plugins to speed up sites built with Elementor? In this post, we've collected the five best WordPress caching plugins for Elementor sites.
If you want to speed up the WordPress sites that you build with Elementor, a good cache plugin is a great way to improve your site’s performance and lessen the load on your server.
However, there are a ton of different caching plugins out there, and it’s hard to know where to start. To help, we’ve collected the five best WordPress caching plugins for Elementor sites.
In addition to showing you how each plugin works, we’ll also share some basic speed tests to give you an idea of how each plugin performs.
What Do WordPress Caching Plugins Do, Anyway?
If you’ve ever read a post about how to speed up WordPress, you know that caching plugins are a mainstay technique for cutting your site’s page load times.
However, what you might not know, is what caching plugins actually do.
At a basic level, “caching” is just the idea of storing important data in an accessible spot so that it can be more easily and quickly served up to visitors when needed.
There are lots of different kinds of caching (even for WordPress sites), but usually when you see the term “caching plugin”, it’s referring to page caching.
Note – if you’re using managed WordPress hosting, you might not need a separate WordPress cache plugin because most managed WordPress hosts implement caching at the server level.
Are There Any Problems With Page Caching?
For static content (i.e. content that doesn’t change and is the same for all users), caching is a great way to speed up your site and lessen the load on your server.
However, caching can be a little trickier for dynamic content, because storing a page in the cache will break any server-side dynamic functionality.
For example, the WooCommerce cart and checkout pages are two common troublemakers. Because the contents of both of those pages will vary for each visitor based on what each person is purchasing, trying to use static page caching on those pages will break those pages’ functionality.
As a result, you need to make sure that you exclude any dynamic content from being cached. This is a common issue, and many caching plugins can automatically do this for you in common situations. For example, WP Rocket automatically excludes the WooCommerce cart pages.
The 5 Best WordPress Caching Plugins for Elementor Users
Now that you know what these plugins are doing, let’s dig into the best caching plugins to speed up the sites that you build with Elementor.
Beyond sharing each plugin’s features, I’ll also run a quick speed test for each plugin using WebPageTest and share the results at the end.
Active on over one million sites, W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins at WordPress.org.
In terms of depth of functionality, W3 Total Cache has the most options of any caching plugin on this list (by far).
In addition to page caching, it also supports:
- Opcode cache
- Database cache
- Object cache
- Browser cache
- CDN integration (e.g. serve static files from your CDN instead of your WordPress server)
- Fragment cache
That’s a double-edged sword, though, because in addition to having the most functionality, W3 Total Cache is also the most complicated to configure…by far.
See all those options on the left? Each menu option has its own detailed settings area, and going through everything can definitely feel a little overwhelming:
So if you want all that flexibility, W3 Total Cache is a great option. You’ll have a ton of control over exactly how caching works on your WordPress site.
But if you’re not sure what object cache and database cache even mean, you might be happier choosing a different plugin on this list, as other options offer a much simpler setup process and can still get your site loading fast.
Here’s how W3 Total Cache performed using only page caching:
WP Fastest Cache is another popular option with a much simpler interface than W3 Total Cache.
While it also lacks W3 Total Cache’s advanced settings, it still gives you options that go beyond page caching, with support for:
- Minification and concatenation
- GZIP compression
- Browser caching
- Cache preload – normally, your site only “builds” the cached version of a page after a person visits the page for the first time. Preloading lets you create the cache without waiting for a visit.
To get started, all you do is check the boxes for the features that you want to use. The Delete Cache and Exclude tabs also let you clear your cache or exclude content from being cached:
Here’s how WP Fastest Cache performed with just the page caching active:
WP Rocket is the only caching plugin on this list that doesn’t have a free version at WordPress.org, but it makes up for that with a really user-friendly interface and a convenient pack of features.
As soon as you install and activate the plugin, WP Rocket automatically activates the page caching functionality:
Then, you can also go through and configure the other functionality, including:
- Cache preloading (two different methods)
- Browser caching
- GZIP compression
- Database optimization
- Minification and concatenation
- DNS prefetching
- Lazy loading
Do you need to pay to get a good caching plugin? No, definitely not.
But is WP Rocket more convenient than trying to do everything yourself? Yeah, most people would agree with that.
So if you’re willing to pay for convenience/ease of use, it’s a great option.
WP Rocket starts at $49 for use on a single site.
Here’s how WP Rocket performed in WebPageTest:
WP Super Cache is the most popular cache plugin at WordPress.org. It also comes from Automattic, the same team behind WordPress.com and Jetpack.
The big benefit of WP Super Cache is simplicity. If you want, you can just turn the caching functionality on and call it a day:
However, you also have the option to configure a few more advanced settings, though the functionality is not as deep as any of the three previous plugins.
- Exclude specific content from being cached
- Integrate with a CDN
- Enable cache preloading functionality
- Add browser caching
- Configure other smaller settings:
Here’s how WP Super Cache performed in WebPageTest with the default settings:
Cache Enabler is a super simple page caching plugin from the folks at KeyCDN, a popular CDN service.
Like WP Super Cache, the great thing about this plugin is just how simple it is. You literally just:
- Set the cache expiration
- Choose when to automatically clear the cache (for example, you can automatically clear the cache when you update a post)
- Choose what content to exclude from being cached
While Cache Enabler is simple, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work well. In running lots of tests over the years, I’ve always found Cache Enabler to perform near the top of the pack.
For best results, pair Cache Enabler with the Autoptimize plugin. The two play nice together and Autoptimize can handle minification and concatenation for you, which is another helpful performance optimization tip.
Here’s how Cache Enabler performed in WebPageTest:
Recap: Best WordPress Caching Plugins for Elementor Users
To recap these plugins, let’s take a look at all that WebPageTest data:
No Caching Plugin
W3 Total Cache
WP Fastest Cache
WP Super Cache
WP Fastest Cache was indeed the fastest, and WP Rocket and Cache Enabler were neck-and-neck for second place (though the differences are by no means huge).
Beyond the page load times, you also have the usability factor. In terms of simplicity and ease of use, they go roughly in this order, with the simplest option first:
- WP Rocket
- Cache Enabler
- WP Super Cache
- WP Fastest Cache
- W3 Total Cache
The gap between WP Rocket and WP Fastest Cache is much smaller than the gap between WP Fastest Cache and W3 Total Cache.
Finally, remember that a good caching plugin is not a bandaid for other performance issues. While intelligent caching plays an important role in speeding up your WordPress site, it’s not a hall pass to ignore all the other parts of speeding up a WordPress site.
Do you have any questions about the best way to use a caching plugin or how caching works with Elementor content? Ask away in the comments!