Amazing wordpress cache

Photo by Viernest, on Flickr

Photo by Viernest, on Flickr

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.

The other major stumbling block was minification of css and javascript. I couldn’t get it to work with URL rewriting and comment/line break removal, but disabling these works and now my site is lightning fast! Some css and javascript code breaks when it is minified, like the SyntaxHighlighter I use, so if your site breaks after you install the plugin switch minification to manual mode and use the minification help wizard to select which scripts should be managed. It took me a while to find the help button so have a look at image below if you can’t figure out it’s location.

W3 Total cache minification help wizard.

W3 Total cache minification help wizard.

Unfortunately disabling minification of these JavaScript files also increased the load time of the site by several seconds for my blog, so it doesn’t load in 1.6 seconds anymore…

Update: I noticed I was getting a bunch of errors related to Page Cache preconstruction and the solution is available here:

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.

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