Caching refers to the process of creating static copies of your site’s content and serving those static files to subsequent visitors after the first hit the post receives.
In WordPress, whenever a page or a post is fetched, there are multiple queries made and returned to & from the database. During this process, WordPress dynamically generates the HTML pages on the go to be served to the user. This process happens every time something is fetched to be served to the user. This process increases the load on the database and also the page load times as it has to send and wait for the queries. Now imagine what would happen if a whole lot of people are accessing your site at the same time! This would make your database to suck like anything slowing down the page load times for everyone online accessing and reading your content. That is disastrous as it can also lead the database failing completely.
What does it do?
What caching does is, once a new post is published and is accessed by a user, it creates and stores a static HTML file of the content in the hard disk or RAM . Next time anyone visits the same page, instead of querying the database again, it will be served from the cache. This would save a whole lot of database queries and PHP code executions. Ultimately, your database won’t be affected at all and also enabling you to provide your visitors with smooth and faster page load times. This is achieved due to the reduced processing load on the server after enabling caching.
Key Benefits of Caching
Caching also helps you speed up your WordPress powered site to a great extent without spending a dime. This is really useful if your site’s hosted on a shared hosting plan where many sites are hosted together on a single server.
Since your site will be loading fast after enabling caching, search engines such as Google will also favor your site. This is because no one like sites which take a century to load and render properly. Site load times are also a key factor taken into consideration by Google. If your site loads slow, you won’t ever achieve the first page of search engine results page (SERPS). This is one of the most important SEO factors for a site to rank well in Google and other search engines. A website that loads faster will always get a better PageRank than a slower one.
Types of Caching :
There are various types of client-side and server-side caching that can be implemented, such as page caching, browser caching, object caching, database caching, etc.,
It simply means saving the dynamically generated HTML files in the server’s hard disk or RAM and serving them from the cache whenever a subsequent request is made after the first hit.
Database caching is a process in which the requests made to the database is cached thereby reducing the number of hits to the database.
It is a way of automatically storing any data from the database (not just objects) in PHP memory to prevent unnecessary queries. but by default WordPress will discard all of those objects at the end of the request, requiring them to be rebuilt from scratch for the next page load. This is not very efficient though.
It refers to the saving of the compiled PHP code between every request, that is, it caches the result of the PHP code compilation to bytecode. This allows us to use the bytecode instead of compiling on every request.
Now that you know what caching is and the key benefits of enabling caching mechanism in a WordPress site, it’s time to look into how it can be enabled in WordPress.
Enabling Caching in WordPress
Enabling caching is as easy as installing and activating a plugin though it requires some additional work to configure it to work in the desired manner. Some of the most popular and free caching plugins that can be installed from the WordPress.org plugin directory are WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, Cache Enabler, Comet Cache and Redis Object Cache.
But if you have got enough money to play with, I would highly recommend you to go with WP Rocket, which is a premium WordPress caching plugin and costs around $39 to $199 – depending upon the number of allowed installations. They come with a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee so that you can play with it and if you don’t find it really promising, you can cancel your license and get back your money. Even Harsh Agrawal of ShoutMeLoud recommends it and so does WPMU DEV in this review.
Hope you found this post useful and learnt what caching is, why it is important in WordPress and how to enable caching in WordPress.