I was quite happy with the results. I already had perfect 100% GTmetrix scores, but noticed my WordPress site loaded even faster when clicking through my pages. I believe it’s because their dynamic caching is faster than any cache plugin (SiteGround says this too), so I disabled cache in WP Rocket and replaced it with the 3 layers on SG Optimizer (static, dynamic, memcached).
This tutorial shows you how to configure SG Optimizer even if you’re using another cache plugin, Cloudflare, and other CDNs. While SiteGround’s SG Optimizer does a great job, it’s still not a full all-in-one speed optimization plugin and lacks some features included with other caching plugins like WP Rocket (I’ll show you what to do). Comment if you have questions.
- SiteGround says their dynamic cache is faster than any caching plugin
- Avoid duplicate functionality (if you use SG Optimizer for caching, minfication, gzip, and lazy loading, turn these off in your existing cache plugin, Cloudflare, elsewhere).
- Most cache plugins (and Cloudflare) have speed features SG Optimizer doesn’t. You can keep these enabled if you still want these “extra” features (this includes your CDN), but they shouldn’t overlap with SG Optimizer. You can also try disabling your existing cache plugin, configuring SG Optimizer, then test your results in GTmetrix/Pingdom.
- SG Optimizer is not a CDN, you should still use Cloudflare (or another CDN) for that.
- Before enabling caching in SG Optimizer, login to your SiteGround cPanel, go to the SuperCacher settings, and enable all layers of caching (static, dynamic, memcached)
- Most WordPress users still use anoutdated PHP version – upgrading can significantly improve speed, but you should check compatbility (in SG Optimizer or the PHP Compatibility Checker plugin) to make sure your plugins are compatible. Check your site after upgrading (if you see errors, you can always revert to an older PHP version).
- If you have a lot of comments on your blog (some of my posts have over 500), this is the only plugin that was actually able to cache Gravatars which I’m very pleased about.
- Before letting SG Optimizer optimize (compress) images, backup your images.
1. SuperCacher Settings
SiteGround’s SuperCacher consist of 3 layers of cache – static, dynamic, and memcached.
Dynamic Caching – before you enable the Dynamic caching in SG Optimizer, you need to enable dynamic caching in your cPanel. This option is available for GrowBig and higher plans.
Memcached – before you enable memcached in SG Optimizer, you should also enable memcached in your cPanel. Once again, this is only available for GrowBig and higher plans.
Static Cache – static cache is enabled by default for all of SiteGround’s shared hosting plans, but if you want to make sure, you can check this in the cPanel. This caches your static content.
2. Environment Optimization
Enable HTTPS – enable if using SSL (this forces HTTPS). Of course, you need an SSL certificate, and most people use the free Let’s Encrypt SSL that comes with SiteGround.
Switch to Recommended PHP Version
- Step 1: Test your site for compatibility
- Step 2: Upgrade to PHP 7.1 – 7.3 (higher is faster)
- Step 3: Check your site for errors (if you see errors, revert to the previous version)
Manual PHP Change – upgrade PHP versions here.
GZIP Compression – enables gzip (if enabled here, disable in other cache plugins + your CDN).
Browser Caching – enables browser caching (if enabled here, disable in other cache plugins + Cloudflare).
3. Frontend Optimization
Minify the HTML Output – should fix minify HTML items in GTmetrix (if enabled here, disable in other cache plugins + Cloudflare).
Minify CSS Files – do the same with minify CSS.
Remove Query Strings From Static Resources – item in GTmetrix and is usually caused by plugins, so be sure to check your GTmetrix report to see which plugins are causing these errors. Enabling this may help, but using the right (lightweight) plugins is the way to solve this.
Disable Emojis – emojis hurt your load times.
4. Image Optimization
New Images Optimization – losslessly compresses images which should fix the optimize images item in GTmetrix.
Existing Images Optimization – losslessly compresses existing image, but take a backup of your website first! In the chance you do see a loss in quality, at least you’ll have a backup.
Lazy Load Images – delays loading of images until you scroll down the page and see them. This is great for videos and Gravatars, but constantly loading images as you scroll down is annoying. Unfortunately, in order to lazy load Gravatars and other elements, SG Optimizer makes you lazy load images as well. I reported this to SiteGround’s team so hopefully they’ll fix this soon.
*Lazy load may not work with some sliders (check for compatibility).
- Lazy Load Gravatars – speeds up posts that have lots of comments. For me, this is the only plugins that actually fixed Gravatar issues in GTmetrix (I have tried many plugins).
- Lazy Load Thumbnails – lazy loads thumbnails.
- Lazy Load Responsive Images – lazy loads responsive images.
- Lazy Load Widgets – lazy loads widgets.
5. Avoid Duplicate Functionality
If you enable the following in SG Optimizer, disable them in your cache plugin (and your CDN):
- gzip (if enabled in SG Optimizer, disable it in your cache plugin + CDN)
- caching (if enabled in SG Optimizer, disable it in your cache plugin)
- minification (if enabled in SG Optimizer, disable it in cache plugin + Cloudflare)
- lazy load (if enabled in SG Optimizer, you can delete your lazy load plugin)
- image optimization (if enabled in SG Optimizer, you can delete your image compression plugin)
- force HTTPS (if enabled in SG Optimizer, you can delete Really Simple SSL)
SG Optimizer will automatically disable any duplicate functions:
6. Can I Delete My Old Cache Plugin?
Here’s what SiteGround says…
But, I say probably not.
WP Rocket (and some other cache plugins) still do things SG Optimizer does not. For example, if you were to disable WP Rocket, you would lose out on the following features:
- Database cleanup
- Lazy load videos/iframes
- Integration of multiple CDNs
- Hosting Google Analytics locally
7. Multisite Settings
The following must be the same for all your sites (shown in their global settings):
- PHP version control
- GZIP compression
- Browser caching
Other SG Optimizer settings can be customized (shown in their per site defaults):
You Might Also Like These Tutorials:
- The Ideal WP Rocket Settings
- The Ideal Swift Performance Settings
- The Ideal W3 Total Cache Settings
- The Ideal WP Fastest Cache Settings
- The Ideal WP Super Cache Settings
- WordPress Speed Optimization Guide
- SiteGround WordPress Hosting Review
Did I Miss Anything?
Let me know in the comments.
SG Optimizer’s dynamic cache is faster than any other cache plugin, but still lacks features that come with WP Rocket and other cache plugins (database cleanup, loading Google Analytics locally, CDN integration, lazy loading videos). For this reason, I use SG Optimizer strictly for caching, and WP Rocket for everything else.
- Image Optimization
- PHP Upgrade
- Comparison To Other Cache Plugins
-Caching is faster than any other cache plugin
-New update has tons of features (minify, gzip, lazy loading, image compression)
-New update made big progress, but it still doesn’t replace plugins like WP Rocket which has features not included with SG Optimizer (database cleanup, hosting Google Analytics locally, CDN integration)