Installing & Setting up WP Super Cache for WordPress Caching

Welcome to the next chapter in the WordPress Caching series, where we will learn how to implement WordPress caching. In the previous topics, we discussed how WordPress works internally, what caching is, and how WordPress caching works. Today, we will transform that theoretical knowledge into practical use.

Caching your existing WordPress installation depends on your current WordPress environment. This tutorial describes one of the easiest ways to implement WordPress caching. Whether you’re on a shared host, VPS, or even a dedicated server, this tutorial should fit your needs. If you’d like to take it up a notch, have a look at Pro WordPress Caching with W3 Total Cache + APC (coming soon).

Please note that if you’re using managed WordPress hosting services such as WPEngine, this tutorial won’t be of much use to you since WPEngine employs their own super complex and effective caching algorithms – called Evercache technology! WPEngine is probably the best managed WordPress hosting provider you’re going to find.

We will be using one of the most popular free WordPress caching plugins available – WP Super Cache. It’s one of the oldest plugins out there and is easy to use.

Installation is easy. You can either download, extract, upload, and activate the plugin or search and install it directly from the WP dashboard.

Once installed, we need to configure the plugin. The first tab we want to cover is the Advanced Settings Tab. It contains three groups of settings: Caching, Miscellaneous, and Advanced. The options are self-explanatory, and we’ve checked the optimal settings for each group in the screenshots provided.

The preload settings make the plugin cache all your site’s posts and pages periodically. You can set the time interval between each cache refresh. This time interval is a crucial setting. In shared hosting environments, you should optimally set it to once a day – that’s every 1440 minutes. If you update your site twice a day, then you can set the time interval between each cache refresh to 720 minutes. In the latter setting, the preload cache will be refreshed twice a day. This would incur additional server load. If you’re on a VPS or a dedicated server – you can set the refresh rate as low as 60 minutes.

The Contents tab in WP Super Cache shows you the number of cached pages in your WordPress site. This data should correlate to the preload cache refresh interval you’ve set in the Preload tab. Sometimes, you might not find current/accurate cache stats. To view the latest/most accurate cached pages statistics, hit the “Regenerate Cache Stats” button.

Once everything is configured correctly, test the cache by clicking on the “Test Cache” button. If everything is configured correctly, you should see a message indicating that it works.

Congratulations, you’ve successfully implemented caching in your WordPress site. Your site should be considerably faster now! In the next post in the series, we’ll explain how to integrate MaxCDN with your existing WordPress site. MaxCDN with caching combined will have a profound effect on your site’s performance.

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