Simple Cache – Free, yet Effective WordPress Optimization Plugin
7 minutes reading
Site speed has a direct impact on the visitors’ experience and overall impression of your brand. A well-performed optimization will consequently have an impact on the time spent on your site, will increase the potential of successful conversions, and last but not least will improve your SEO ranking. Taking all that into account, it is not surprising how much time and effort website owners invest in optimizing the loading speed of their websites.
How does one speed up their website, you might ask? There are various elements to consider – such as code optimization, content, theme, and image polishing and not least of all – a static content caching type.
WordPress is truly a remarkable application with a fantastic community, dedicated to making it as best as possible. The vast aggregation of people working on plugins certainly makes it hard to imagine something that is yet not available for it. In this post, we will introduce you to a unique plugin, which caught our attention and is slowly creeping up the ladder of amazing performance enhancers for WordPress – Simple Cache!
Simple Cache Overview
Simple Cache came to be with one idea in mind – ease of access! Taylor Lovett – the developer of the plugin – intended to avoid the typically long list of confusing configuration settings. Hence, to provide new users with the ability to set up the plugin in an effortless and straightforward way. With a single button click, every website owner can activate the plugin and benefit from reliable, robust static content caching.
For advanced users, this plugin offers an option to exclude URLs from the cache and easy integration with an Object cache such as Memcached or Redis as long as they exist on the server.
To give our readers an idea of what this plugin is capable of, we will perform a “Before” and “After” installation tests on a WordPress website set up with the Avada theme. The sample data includes pages, images, videos, and various types of content so that the test can be as objective as possible in illustrating how a fully functional website would behave with the same plugin.
How to install the Simple Cache Plugin
The plugin’s installation is done in the same manner as most of the plugins are installed – through the WordPress Administrative Area!
Once logged in, you need to navigate through the left-hand menu to Plugins > Add New. This action will redirect you to the plugin installation page where you can use the search tool and enter “Simple Cache” into the intended field.
As soon as the result is presented, you need to press the “Install Now” button and then “Activate” to enable it on your site.
Optimal Simple Cache Configuration
To view the configuration options for the Simple Cache plugin, please navigate to Settings > Simple Cache.
If you have ever used another WordPress caching plugin, you will be surprised by the fewer option you will find under the configuration page.
This plugin does its job well without any need to adjust its settings, and this is what makes it so great. We will briefly discuss the settings and cover all the options you have there, despite them being so few.
- Enable Cacheing – Please use this drop-down to enable or disable the cache. By default, it is DISABLED, so if you want to take advantage, please go ahead and activate it. There is a handly button above this drop-down called “Turn On Cache”, which you need to click.
- Expire the cache after – Use this option to set the expiry time for the cache. The default setting is 24 hours, and this is great if your website does not receive regular updates. You may reduce it based on consistency in which you add content.
- Enable Compression – This setting is awesome if your server does not have Gzip compression enabled by default. If you use HostArmada, you do not need to enable it, as Gzip is activated for all our users by default!
- Enable Advanced Mode – Using this drop-down, you will be able to activate the plugin’s advanced mode, unveiling a few additional options. We will cover them below.
- Exception URL(s) – In this content box, you can add URLs which you want to exclude from the cache. If there are multiple URLs, please add them on separate lines. If you wish to use Regular Expressions, you can enable this option from the drop-down underneath the content box.
- Enable In-Memory Object Caching – When you set this drop-down to “Yes”, this will let you choose an object caching service. The options available are Memcached or Redis. Note that these services must be enabled on a server level. Otherwise, you will not see this option active. If you are hosting your website on HostArmada’s Speed Reaper plan, Memcached will be available at your disposal.
- In Memory Cache – This drop-down will become available once the above is activated. Choose the object caching system which is available on your server.
There you have it, all the configurations for this plugin. Hopefully, are you not prejudiced by the lack of configuration settings. At least not before you see the results which are coming up next!
Before Optimization Test
Now comes the part we believe you are most interested in – the tests! Before any optimizations by the plugin, the result is not that spectacular.
The loading speed stands at about 4 seconds, and the scores are quite decent.
After Optimization Test
After the plugin was enabled, you can see that the difference in the page load time was cut down by half, and the TTFB went down from 600 milliseconds to about 100 milliseconds!
You may say, “But that is not that impressive, and the score remains the same!”. Do not forget that this plugin was installed and activated. That’s it. Nothing more. Considering how easy it was to set up, the performance you get is truly amazing. We are sure that many people can be pleased with it, without going through the hassle of setting up a complex caching plugin with an overwhelming amount of configurations.
We hope that this post was as useful to you as exciting it was for us to write! It is incredible how much WordPress has grown in the last couple of years and expanded the vast number of options available – from ones for the absolute newcomers who have just gotten into web development to the website gurus with over a decade of experience in the field. This specific plugin targets enthusiasts who are just getting into WordPress and could use a robust and straightforward caching solution.