You must use tools to boost your performance if you are among WordPress website owners. To help you choose a cache plugin tool, we’ll conduct a W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache comparison. Improve your speed to convert leads.
W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache are the most popular WordPress plugins. However, they have different features, pricing plans, setup, and configuration processes. In this article, we’ll compare these two cache plugins to help you decide which is right.
What is Caching?
Caching involves temporarily storing data to be retrieved later. For example, browsing a website saves files, images, and files on the hard drive. Therefore, when you return to the site, it doesn’t load all the details from scratch; it can access the recent information from the cache. Because of this, the website information appears much faster on the screen.
Therefore, you need a caching plugin to help save your visitors a static version of the content. Let’s look at what the cache plugins can do.
W3 Total Cache vs. WP Super Cache: What’s The Difference?
According to data by W3Techs, WordPress is used by 43.1% of all websites. And, W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache are the most flexible WordPress plugins. We’ll look at the key differences to see how the two compare with each other.
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache (W3TC) was created by BoldGrid. This cache plugin works for your WordPress site because it improves the Core Web Vitals and SEO. It also improves the user experience by reducing load times and improving website performance. In addition, W3 Total Cache integrates seamlessly with your content delivery network (CDN) to boost optimization.
W3TC differs from WP Super Cache because it’s the only web host agnostic tool. It works well as a caching solution despite your hosting provider. Having been in existence for more than a decade now, this plugin cache is trusted by millions of developers, publishers, and web hosts.
It offers some excellent features, such as rendering, and compression settings, that increase the speed and performance of your WordPress site and lessen download times. W3 Total Cache is more suited for advanced users because it has multiple file-optimized settings. It’s also a good choice if your target audience is the mobile user demographic.
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is a plugin that generates static HTML files for your web server to display on the website. Once the HTML file gets generated, the file will be served, which is faster than processing the costlier WordPress PHP scripts.
These static HTML files will be served to users who have not logged in, who have not viewed password-protected posts, and visitors who have not left comments on the blog. About 99% of your website visitors get served HTML static files.
Additionally, WP Super Cache serves cached files in three ways.
- Expert: This is the fastest method that ensures your website works well under heavy traffic.
- Simple: Although it’s not as fast, it ensures that files get served with dynamic sections.
- WP-Cache caching: This method is for logged-in users and visitors who leave comments. Although it’s the most flexible caching method, it’s slightly slower.
Unlike W3 Total Cache, this plugin is an excellent choice for new WordPress users. It’s easy to configure because it’s lightweight. In addition, it also integrates with your Content Delivery Network (CDN) to help you boost your site’s speed.
W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache have a set of robust features that improve user experience and website performance. However, the features are different in both plugins; therefore, you have to choose the option that you can configure to your site requirements.
Here are the key features of W3 Total Cache.
- Defer images using Lazy Load.
- CDN support
- Compatible with shared hosting and dedicated servers
- Mobile support
This plugin has an advantage over WP Super Cache because it has Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Therefore, your WordPress site can be optimized for users accessing it via a mobile. Additionally, the premium version of this plugin offers Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates; therefore, the cached data is secure. W3 Total Cache has pre-caching features that make it easy to adjust when the caching occurs.
If you are considering WP Super Cache, here are the features you’ll get:
- CDN support
- Different ways of caching
- Static caching, which is faster than processing PHP scripts
- Mobile support
- Page compression
- Scheduler to clear cached pages at set intervals
If you compare the W3 Total Cache vs. WP Super Cache features, W3TC has an advantage. Although it has many features, they can come in handy if you want to boost your site’s performance. In addition, it’s optimized for mobile users; therefore, you can reach more users.
The installation process is similar to other plugins. To add either of them, navigate to Plugins on your WordPress dashboard and then select “Add New.” Search for the specific plugin on the search bar and click “Install Now.” Once the plugin gets installed, you should activate it.
If you install W3TC, you’ll see a new item on the menu named “Performance.” To complete the setup process, click on the “Performance” tab and select “General Settings.”The downside of this plug is that the settings activating process can be quite long. You have to select each setting on offers and save to get started.
If you need help, there is an FAQ section that provides more details about configuring your plugin. There’s also a help section with more information to get you started.
On the other hand, with WP Super Cache, the setup process is much simpler compared to W3TC. Once you have installed and activated this plugin, navigate to Settings and select WP Super Cache on the dashboard. The plugin will prompt you to turn to cache on or off. Select “Caching on” and update to complete the process.
Based on the setup process, WP Super Cache is much more convenient. However, this is because it doesn’t have a lot of features like W3 Total Cache, and it’s ideal for low-powered servers.
Before picking a cache plugin, consider whether it’s easy to use. W3 Total has multiple features that come in handy if you want to optimize your performance. However, this is a disadvantage because the tool is overwhelming to beginners. However, the plugin is easy to use if you are a developer with advanced skills.
W3TC requires users to configure every setting, which takes time. Therefore, if you plan to get this plugin, you should factor in the time it takes to configure it.
In contrast, WP Super Cache is easy to use because it requires minimal configuration. Once you download and activate the plugin, you just need to switch it on, and you are good to go. Because of this, WP Super Cache is more beginner-friendly, especially if you don’t have any technical skills.
Due to the complexity of cache plugins, you must choose one with enough support. Sometimes, it might be challenging to use the features on a particular plugin; therefore, you need to have a way to get assistance.
Both W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache have a comprehensive support system for their users. They have a help section and an updated support forum on WordPress.org that you can use to get answers.
They also have an FAQ section to refer to when you have queries.
If you have W3TC, you’ll notice that it has an extensive support forum and FAQ section. This is because it contains more advanced features than WP Super Cache. You can also check online guides to help you configure your plugin according to your site. Additionally, if you encounter complex problems, there’s a premium support response at $250. Although this is costly, it’s the best option to address the issues faster.
On the other hand, WP Super Cache also has multiple support options. Once you install and activate this plugin. You’ll see the “Need Help” menu. You can use this to get the information you need about the tool. It also has a debug section to guide new users. Additionally, you can check the support forums and links to installation help to sort issues.
If you compare the two, W3 Total Cache has better support options. Although they charge you for it, they resolve issues much faster. In this case, you won’t have to review all the documentation to look for solutions.
Pricing is also a key factor to consider before choosing a cache plugin. Fortunately, both plugins are completely free. Therefore, they are an excellent choice if you have a limited budget for your website speed optimization. The free version has multiple features and is compatible with other software such as Cloudflare and WPML.
However, the plugins have premium versions that get you more features. The W3 Total Cache Pro costs $99 per year. Once you pay for this version, you get additional features such as extensions such as Genesis, which increases loading speeds by 60%. Additionally, you also get fragment caching which extends your caching capabilities. This also allows third parties to troubleshoot issues on your site, which enhances the overall user experience.
Users can also book premium support at $250 to $350. The services range from troubleshooting, performance auditing, and plugin configuration, compatibility issues, and more. Therefore, if you have the budget for these features, you can pay extra for more services.
In contrast, WP Super Cache does not have a premium plan. This makes it ideal for running a simple WordPress website without scalability. However, if you plan to scale your site and add more features, getting W3 Total Cache and paying for the premium features is better.
Why do You Need a Cache Plugin for Your WordPress Site?
If you have a WordPress website, you must invest in a cache plugin. Here are some reasons why.
1. Improve Speed
Websites visitors leave if a site does not load within two seconds. Therefore, you must ensure that your WordPress site loads quickly within this time. Caching comes in handy in this because the frequently accessed files can be fetched much faster than if they were stored in a server.
For instance, if you run an e-commerce, you can improve the page loading times to reduce cart abandonment. When the pages display faster, you are more likely to make sales.
2. Boost Website Performance
If your website is slow, you need to get a plugin to optimize the performance. The features on W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache compress and minify all types of files, reducing lagging issues. Therefore, if your website has room for speed improvement, you should consider getting one of these plugins.
3. To Keep Your Content Available
Cached content will be available and visible to visitors when your WordPress site experiences an outage or network crash. Because of this, cache plugins are a good measure to ensure that your content is always visible.
4. Improve the Website’s SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential if you want to boost your page rankings. If your website is getting more visitors and clicks, it automatically signals the search engines that your content is relevant. Additionally, these engines consider speed as a ranking factor; therefore, using a plugin will work to your advantage.
5. Free Up Server Memory
Since the data is stored in the cache, your hosting server will not be too loaded. Therefore, consider getting a cache plugin to keep the server efficient.
6. Minimize the Bandwidth Consumption
When your WordPress site loads faster and performs better, there’s less network congestion. This means that you are consuming less bandwidth which in turn saves you money. If you have been paying a lot for your bandwidth, consider getting a cache plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache.
From our W3 Total Cache vs. WP Super Cache comparison, it’s clear that both plugins have great features that will reduce your website’s loading time and boost performance. This is why they are among the most popular WordPress plugins.
However, each of them has a different target group. W3 Total Cache is the right tool if you want to configure all the settings to your liking. However, it’s ideal for advanced users such as developers who can navigate the features.
On the other hand, if you want a cost-effective, simpler solution, WP Super Cache will work best. It’s simple to set up and use, and you don’t have to pay for premium features if you have one website.
Therefore, to choose between the two, you should first determine whether you are a casual user or prefer to use advanced features. In addition, you should confirm if you need to scale and get the option with premium features.
Is W3 Total Cache Good?
Yes, W3 Total Cache is an excellent cache plugin for your site. It’s feature-rich which ensures that your website loads faster. It utilizes the content delivery network integration and caching features to improve the server’s performance.
Should I Use WP Super Cache?
WP Super Cache is a good plugin to use if you are looking for an affordable solution. In addition, it’s simple to set up and use, making it ideal for beginners without technical skills. The features will boost your website’s speed and performance.
Is W3 Total Cache Free?
Like most WordPress plugins, W3 Total Cache is completely free. However, you can pay for the premium version to get additional features like troubleshooting, performance auditing, plugin configuration, and addressing compatibility issues.
Which is the Best Plugin for Your WordPress Site?
W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache are excellent plugins for your WordPress site. However, you should choose the option that meets your needs.