W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is one of the best caching plugins for WordPress. It greatly improves the user experience by serving static HTML files instead of processing the resource consuming PHP code.
List of features in the free version is:
- Page cache: Converting PHP code into static HTML for faster page loading time.
- Minify of CSS, Java script and HTML: Minify removes any comments, spaces and combines different CSS and Js files and load them asynchronously.
- Browser cache: Improves page load time when it is loading repeatedly by caching it in the browser.
- Database cache: Database cache greatly improves post, page and feed creation time.
- Object cache: Object caching further reduces execution time for common operations.
- CDN: It also has a support for most popular Content Delivery Networks.
- Free extension: You also get support for free extensions however some extensions are only for pro users.
W3 Total Cache Pro $99 /year
W3 Total Cache Pro is an upgrade that brings more features and improvement to the plugin.
List of features in the Pro version is:
- Fragment Caching: Fragment caching module improves performance for plugins and themes that use the WordPress Transient API. It also provides a framework for increasing for developers that specifically use it like StudioPress’ Genesis Framework.
- Pro extensions: W3 Edge claims to provide up to 60% performance improvement in the Genesis Theme Framework by StudioPress using the extension for W3TC’s Fragment Caching Module.
- Full Site Content Delivery Network (CDN) Mirroring: It is an upcoming feature which will allow enhance user experience by hosting full HTML pages and RSS feeds with (supported CDNs) high performance global networks.
Should you upgrade?
Well. It depends on what your needs are. If you are hosting a small site upgrading might not be the best option specially if you are not using Genesis framework because at the time of writing this post only Genesis framework has implemented fragment caching and has an extension for it. On the other hand if you have a big site and you have a lot of plugins in it and you use Genesis framework upgrading to the Pro version will definitely reduce your page load time.
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