LiteSpeed Cache vs WP Rocket: Why LiteSpeed Is Faster With Server-Side Caching, Redis, Image Optimization, ESI, And More Optimizations

I’ll be blunt: LiteSpeed Cache is better than WP Rocket – at least for most sites.

I broke down each plugin’s features and show you exactly why LiteSpeed Cache is faster than WP Rocket. Sure, I could have thrown up some before & after GTmetrix reports “comparing” them both, but you really have to test them yourself since each website is obviously different.

I actually switched to FlyingPress since Cloudways Vultr HF (my current host) doesn’t use LiteSpeed. But I seriously wish I could use LiteSpeed Cache since I know it’s the better cache plugin. I’ve had plenty of time to mess around with it on other sites and always had great results.

I also cover which CDN you should use, links to tutorials on configuring each one’s settings, links to their Facebook Groups, and other helpful info. Leave a comment if I missed anything.

Litespeed cache vs wp rocket

 

1. LiteSpeed Cache Requires A LiteSpeed Server

You can use LiteSpeed Cache on any server, but LiteSpeed’s exclusive features (shown on the plugin page) are only available when you use a LiteSpeed server. And since it includes key features like automatic page caching and HTTP/3 & QUIC, you really want to use a LiteSpeed host to get the most out of it. WP Rocket can be used with any server and doesn’t limit features.

You must use a LiteSpeed host to use all LiteSpeed Cache’s features. I recommend NameHero (aff link) over other hosts like A2 since they’re faster with better support, feedback, and have a 4.7/5 TrustPilot rating. Hostinger writes fake reviews and is bad.

Namehero 1 litespeed
NameHero is the LiteSpeed host I recommend

 

2. LiteSpeed Cache vs WP Rocket In Facebook Polls

WP Rocket used to be the #1 cache plugin in Facebook polls – until LiteSpeed Cache came along. As more people move to LiteSpeed servers, LiteSpeed Cache has quickly been making its way to the top spot in at least a few polls. LiteSpeed is still relatively new but is steadily growing to a more mainstream option. I have a feeling it will soon become just as popular as WP Rocket.

Best cache plugin with oxygen

These are older polls on “the best cache plugin” where WP Rocket is #1. Since around 2019, LiteSpeed has seen huge growth, so make sure you’re looking at recent polls and not old ones.

 

3. Features Comparison

The main differences between LiteSpeed Cache vs WP Rocket are:

  • LiteSpeed Cache’s server-side caching is faster than WP Rocket’s file-based caching. This may (or may not) improve core web vital scores, but the faster caching can result in a noticeable speed increase when clicking through pages.
  • LiteSpeed Cache is “more” compatible with Cloudflare’s APO, WP Rocket is not.
  • LiteSpeed Cache and QUIC.cloud can optimize images. WP Rocket doesn’t support image optimization, so you would need to install a separate plugin.
  • LiteSpeed Cache does Redis/memcached object caching, WP Rocket does not.
  • LiteSpeed offers QUIC.cloud CDN which has a free/paid plan and supports HTTP/3. RocketCDN uses StackPath which isn’t great. Both can use Cloudflare.
  • WP Rocket is easier to configure. While LiteSpeed Cache has more settings, it gives you better control of how certain things are optimized (i.e. logged-in users). It also has more features (i.e. Guest Mode, ESI, image optimization, object cache).
  • LiteSpeed Cache + QUIC.cloud CDN are free, WP Rocket + RocketCDN aren’t.

 

4. Server-Side Caching

LiteSpeed Cache uses server-side caching which is much faster than WP Rocket’s slower file-based caching. It uses LSAPI for PHP processing which is faster than PHP-FPM and other forms of PHP. Very few cache plugins use server-side caching (SiteGround Optimizer and Kinsta’s MU plugin are some of the only ones). Even though faster caching may not directly improve your PageSpeed scores, you should see a noticeable improvement when clicking through your site.

Litespeed cache server-level cache

 

5. Image Optimization

WP Rocket doesn’t include image optimization which means you would need to install an extra plugin like ShortPixel or Imagify.

LiteSpeed Cache and QUIC do an excellent job with image optimization. They have settings for lazy loading, WebP, placeholders, LQIP, and others. It does just as good of a job as most image optimization plugins, so there’s no need to use a separate plugin when using LiteSpeed Cache.

Litespeed cache image optimization settings
LiteSpeed Cache image optimization settings

 

6. Redis + Memcached Object Cache

LiteSpeed Cache provides Redis and memcached for object caching (I prefer Redis especially for reducing memory usage, speeding up the admin, and for WooCommerce or larger, complex websites). WP Rocket doesn’t provide object cache at all, so this is a bonus for LiteSpeed Cache. Redis/memcached can be found in LiteSpeed Cache’s object settings (only one can be enabled).

Litespeed cache object cache memcached redis
Activate Redis or memcached in LiteSpeed Cache (I prefer Redis)

To pass the connection test, you’ll need to activate Redis or memcached in your hosting account. In cPanel, you would usually do this under Select PHP Version → PHP Extensions.

Namehero redis
Activate Redis in your hosting account (i.e. cPanel) to pass the connection test

 

7. CDNs: QUIC.cloud vs. Cloudflare vs. StackPath

Which CDN should you use?

  • QUIC.cloud – freemium CDN built specifically to work on top of LiteSpeed Cache. It has 70 PoPs and supports HTTP/3, image optimizations, page optimizations, and security features. QUIC.cloud offers a free plan but also has a paid plan with additional features. If you do decide to use QUIC.cloud, NameHero’s YouTube video has nice setup instructions.
  • Cloudflare – free CDN with many optimizations (Argo, firewall, 200+ PoPs, APO, etc.) which improves both speed and security. Regardless if you use Cloudflare’s CDN, you should consider using them for your DNS (by changing nameservers and updating DNS records) since they’re one of the fastest DNS providers shown on dnsperf.com. To activate their CDN, go to the DNS settings and change your website from “DNS Only” to “Proxied.”
  • RocketCDN – paid CDN which uses StackPath who has 45 edge locations. StackPath isn’t the most performant or reliable CDN and were actually removed from cdnperf.com after they had major issues and were constantly in the red. There are better CDNs available.
  • BunnyCDN – third-party CDN not related to LiteSpeed Cache or WP Rocket, but highly recommended in Facebook Groups, what I use, and fast/reliable on cdnperf.com. You will need to create a pull zone, copy your CDN URL, and use the BunnyCDN plugin to set it up.
Litespeed cdn poll
Source: LiteSpeed WordPress Community Facebook Group
Quic. Cloud vs cloudflare
QUIC.cloud + Cloudflare feedback
Cdn feedback
RocketCDN + BunnyCDN feedback

 

8. Guest Mode

The guest mode in LiteSpeed Cache can greatly improve load time for first time visitors.

It does this by saving time reading cookies, looking for cache varies, and processing ESI. It has great feedback in FB Groups, but it can increase CPU and doesn’t work with Cloudflare’s APO.

WP Rocket doesn’t include guest mode or similar options.

Litespeed cache guest mode optimization

 

9. ESI

LiteSpeed Cache uses ESI, WP Rocket does not.

ESI (edge side includes) lets you cache eCommerce pages by “punching holes” on a page, are filled with shopping cart data and other private content, then the mixed-content page can be fully cached. This is one reason why LiteSpeed Cache is better for large/WooCommerce sites.

Litespeed cache esi settings
LiteSpeed Cache ESI settings

 

10. Better Security

WP Rocket doesn’t secure your site at all, but LiteSpeed (specifically QUIC.cloud CDN) has built-in security against brute-force attacks, DDOS protection, WAF, among other features.

 

11. Cloudflare APO Compatibility

Cloudflare’s APO is “kind of” compatible with LiteSpeed Cache, but not with WP Rocket. You may need to do research and read some forums on using APO with LiteSpeed, but it’s definitely possible. I recommend starting by reading their APO instructions which are summarized here:

  • Install and activate the Cloudflare WordPress plugin.
  • Enable Automatic Platform Optimization in the plugin.
  • Clear any server cache used via other plugins.
  • The Guest Mode setting must be disabled in LSC.
  • Verify that your origin starts serving the response header “cf-edge-cache: cache,platform=wordpress”.

Cloudflare apo litespeed cache

 

12. Database Optimization

Both LiteSpeed Cache and WP Rocket clean your database of post revisions, transients, spam comments, etc. The main difference is WP Rocket lets you schedule ongoing database cleanups while you have to do it manually with LiteSpeed Cache. However, LiteSpeed Cache lets you control post revisions better by setting a max number of post revisions and the age they expire.

Neither plugin let you go through your database tables and remove tables left behind by old plugins you deleted. I recommend WP-Optimize for doing a better cleaning of your database.

Litespeed cache database optimization settings
LiteSpeed Cache can control post revisions and their max age

 

13. Better Control (But Harder Configuration)

The main downside of LiteSpeed Cache is that it’s harder to configure than WP Rocket.

It takes time to learn what each setting does and whether it should be enabled or disabled. Make sure you follow an in-depth tutorial on configuring their settings since it’s different for each website and may require some testing in PageSpeed Insights. While LiteSpeed Cache gives you better control, the extensive settings can be a big con if you’re not familiar with the terms.

 

14. LiteSpeed Cache Is Free

LiteSpeed Cache is free when you use a LiteSpeed server. WP Rocket is $49/year for a single website. And if you use QUIC.cloud or Cloudflare, you don’t need to pay for RocketCDN either.

WP Rocket does have a 10% off coupon if you sign up for their email list (they also give discounts if you renew early), but it’s an extra cost that could be put towards something else.

Wp rocket coupon
You can get 10% off WP Rocket on their coupons page

 

15. How To Setup LiteSpeed Cache’s Settings

Below are “quick settings” to setup LiteSpeed Cache, but use my full LiteSpeed Cache tutorial to configure all them. There are lots of settings, so make sure to go through each one carefully.

  1. General settings → request domain key.
  2. Link to QUIC.cloud after enabling QUIC.cloud CDN.
  3. General settings → guest mode → On.
  4. General settings → enter your server’s IP address.
  5. Cache → disable cache logged-in users + commenters.
  6. Cache → enable cache mobile if you’re using guest mode.
  7. Cache → object → Enable memcached or redis (I like redis).
  8. Cache → object → disabled cache wp-admin (you can test this).
  9. Activate redis or memcached extension in cPanel (see instructions).
  10. Cache → browser → browser cache → On.
  11. CDN → QUIC.cloud CDN → On.
  12. Sign up for QUIC.cloud and login to dashboard.
  13. QUIC.cloud dashboard → CDN → enable CDN.
  14. Use CNAME record for setting up QUIC.cloud.
  15. Copy address provided by QUIC.cloud.
  16. Login to cPanel → Zone Editor → Manage.
  17. Change www domain record to QUIC.cloud address.
  18. Enable static cache + QUIC Backend in QUIC.cloud.
  19. Test QUIC.cloud to make sure it’s working and test results.
  20. Image optimization summary → do this after configuring settings.
  21. Image optimization settings → auto request cron → On.
  22. Image optimization settings → optimize losslessly → On.
  23. Image optimization settings → preserve EXIF/XMP data → Off.
  24. Image optimization settings → image WebP replacement → On.
  25. Image optimization settings → WebP for extra srcset → On.
  26. Page optimization → minify HTML, CSS, JS → On.
  27. Page optimization → load CSS asynchronously → test.
  28. Page optimization → load JS deferred → deferred (test).
  29. Page optimization → DNS prefetch → prefetch third-party domains.
  30. Page optimization → DNS prefetch control → On.
  31. Page optimization → lazy load images → On.
  32. Page optimization → lazy load iframes → On.
  33. Page optimization → add missing sizes → On.
  34. Page optimization → inline lazy load images library → On.
  35. Page optimization → gravatar cache + cron → On.
  36. Database → clean your database once in a while.
  37. Database → revisions max number → 10 is fine.
  38. Toolbox → heartbeat → enable all, then 120, 0, 60 respectively.

 

16. How To Setup WP Rocket’s Settings

You can either watch my YouTube video or read my WP Rocket tutorial.

 

 

17. Join The LiteSpeed + WP Rocket Facebook Groups

Join the LiteSpeed and WP Rocket Facebook Groups – both are super helpful!

I did a good amount of research in these groups when comparing LiteSpeed Cache vs. WP Rocket, but feel free to search the groups yourself. They have conversations on Cloudflare’s APO, using the plugins with WooCommerce, and other very specific questions/answers. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for there, feel free to leave me a comment with any questions.

Cheers,
Tom

About Tom Dupuis

Tom Dupuis writes WordPress speed and SEO tutorials out of his apartment in Denver, Colorado. In his spare time, he plays Rocket League and watches murder documentaries. Read his bio to learn 50 random and disturbing things about him.

4 thoughts on “LiteSpeed Cache vs WP Rocket: Why LiteSpeed Is Faster With Server-Side Caching, Redis, Image Optimization, ESI, And More Optimizations

  1. Tom.

    I knew this post was coming just a matter of time. Thanks for taking my previous feedback into consideration. Ya see… I told ya it will outperform WP-Rocket and ANY other cache plugin. ;)

    I was the guy that said I have 40 plus plugins on my woocommerce site and I am getting near perfect scores (97ish) on Pagespeed, Gtmetix, AND Webpagetest. I also recommended to start using Webpagetest as it has more free features and granularity compared to Gtmetrix. ;)

    One of my favorite LS features is the Guest Mode and Guest Mode Optimization. This automatically AND always serves cacheable landing page for an automated guest’s first time visit, and then attempts to update cache varies via AJAX. It’s amazing because first time visitors will always receive a cache version of your site, which will dramatically increase speeds 5 fold.

    As a side note: please do an updated Cloudflare settings tutorial if you haven’t done so already. They came out with a few more speed enhancement features all under the Free version.

    One that comes to mind is Early Hints which can increase load times by 30% in and of itself! Early Hints cache and sends 103 Early Hints responses with Link headers from your HTML pages. It allows browsers to preload linked assets before they see a 200 OK or other final response from the origin.

    This setting is HUGE, I can’t stress it enough especially since it takes 1 second to activate LMAO!

    Lastly, I am a hair away from deleting my WP-Optimize plugin and using LS instead since they have a whole section on Database optimization. I am only reluctant to pull the plug because LS doesn’t have the following options compared to its counterpart:

    1. Remove unapproved comments
    2. Clean post metadata
    3. Clean comments metadata
    4. Clean orphaned relationship data

    What is your take Tom? Given the lack of these options, should I still keep WP-Optimize for the time being until LS becomes a little more comprehensive?

    Sorry for the long post.

    I very much appreciate this thorough blog. You’re doing a stupendous job. I love your content man and I just want to say, BIG THANK YOU again! You helped me a ton with become an expert in WordPress optimizations!

    God bless you!

    Joe

    1. Any time man! Glad you’re finding this helpful. I’ve got so much work to do with catching up with all this new stuff in the industry. I have like 100 posts to update and that Cloudflare settings one is a mess. I’ll try to get to it soon and yes, the early hints, APO, and other newish Cloudflare features are legit.

      I don’t believe LiteSpeed Cache lets you go through your actual database tables and remove tables from old plugins. So if you already cleaned up those tables and aren’t planning on installing/deleting more plugins then you can delete it and just use LSC.

      Yes, I need to do more with WebPageTest. Maybe at least just recommend it more to readers. Maybe just add a page with a list of tools and highlight WebPageTest as one of the main testing tools to use?

      Really appreciate your feedback!

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