I have installed and setup W3 Total Cache and the performance increase is amazing. My site which, on a bad day, used to load pages in 5 to 7 seconds now loads them in closer to 1.5 seconds! The end result far surpases my expectations and thats without all the bells and whistles that W3 Total Cache supports in the form of CDN and advanced cache servers.
I will admit that it was not as easy to setup as I had hoped… Extended disk caching doesn’t work on my host – reading support discussions this seems to be a general issue. Basic disk caching does work – so just setting that up solved that issue. The error that clued me into it was this message:
It appears URL rewriting is not working. If using apache, verify that the server configuration allows .htaccess or if using nginx verify all configuration files are included in the configuration.
Update: I noticed I was getting a bunch of errors related to Page Cache preconstruction and the solution is available here: http://wordpress.org/support/topic/plugin-w3-total-cache-call-to-undefined-function-after-update?replies=3#post-2308798
Update 2: Be aware that caching and post scheduling do not play nicely together!
Update 3: Caching and post scheduling do play nicely in W3 Total Cache – I had an issue with the WordPress MU Domain Mapping plugin in conjunction with W3 Total Cache which caused issues with automatically purging cache files when updates where published. I will write about this separately.