The Ideal WP Fastest Cache Settings With Cloudflare And StackPath CDN Instructions (2020 With Latest Version 1.5.6)

WP Fastest Cache is usually rated the #1 free cache plugin in Facebook polls.

I was able to get .5s load times in Pingdom after configuring the WP Fastest Cache settings. They’re easy to setup and have options for both Cloudflare and StackPath’s CDN which can further improve grades/load times (I use both since more data centers = faster website). And for hosting, I recommend Cloudways who are miles better than shared hosting or SiteGround.

I will show you how to configure the WP Fastest Cache settings, StackPath’s CDN, and what upgrading to WP Fastest Cache Premium did for me. I also have instructions for Cloudflare.

Leave me a comment if you have questions or see their support forum. But there are many complaints about WP Fastest Cache’s support just to give you a heads up. Remember to retest your site in Pingdom or GTmetrix when you’re done – and comment with your new load time!

WP-Fastest-Cache-Settings

 

1. Cache Plugin Comparison

WP Fastest Cache is usually the #2 or #3 cache plugin in Facebook polls, trailing behind WP Rocket which is almost always #1.

2016 best cache plugin poll

2019 cache plugin poll

Swift vs WP Rocket

2016 cache plugin poll

Best cache plugins 2018 poll

wp rocket vs w3 totla cache

Cache Plugin Test – I ran the same page through Pingdom which had minimal content so results would be accurate. I set up each one with the best settings and Cloudflare/StackPath.

WP Rocket (.406)
Pingdom Page Speed Test

WP Fastest Cache (.527)
WP Fastest Cache Load Times

W3 Total Cache (.619)
W3 Total Cache Load Times

WP Rocket vs. WP Fastest Cache – WP Rocket has quite a few extra features not included with WP Fastest Cache (database cleanup, lazy loading, heartbeat control, hosting Google Fonts + Analytics locally, prefetching DNS requests). While WP Rocket has these all built-in, you would need to install about 6-7 extra plugins to get these speed optimizations with WP Fastest Cache. With WP Rocket, you get more speed optimizations, yet less plugins running on your site. I wrote a WP Rocket set up guide which also shows you how to get 10% off the price.

StackPath vs. CloudflareStackPath is $10/month Cloudflare is free. Both are CDNs which mirror your site on multiple data centers around the world (reducing the distance between your server and visitor) and is recommended in the WordPress optimization guide. Cloudflare has 200+ data centers, StackPath, has 45 data centers which are heavily focused in the US (more data centers = faster website, that’s why I recommend using both). StackPath comes with a support team who improved my GTmetrix YSlow score by 8% – their support is great.

 

stackpath network
StackPath has over 45 full-stack locations spanning the globe.

 

cloudflare network
Cloudflare’s network spans over 95 countries.

Why Use StackPath?

  • StackPath’s 45 data centers use faster SSD servers + 10GB connections
  • StackPath doesn’t charge for HTTPS traffic, Cloudflare charges pay-per-use
  • StackPath’s team helped me configure my CDN and improved my GTmetrix YSlow score by 8%, putting the cherry on the cake to make my GTmetrix report nearly perfect
  • StackPath has dashboards that provide lots of information about your cached files
  • StackPath allows you to protect your account using a two-step authentication process; you can whitelist the IP addresses of people who are permitted to access your account

 

2. WP Fastest Cache Settings

If you plan on using StackPath, see my StackPath section which has it’s own WP Fastest Cache settings (you would disable logged-in users, mobile, and browser caching options) which is shown in StackPath’s WP Fastest Cache tutorial.

If you plan on using Cloudflare, use the settings below but disable Auto Minify and Rocket Loader in the “speed” tab of your Cloudflare settings (Railgun should be enabled). This is what the WP Fastest Cache plugin developer recommends in his Cloudflare tutorial. My Cloudflare section shows you how to sign up for Cloudflare, change name servers in your hosting cPanel, set page rules for optimal performance, and purge the cache once you’re done.

If you plan on using neither, use the settings below. The only thing you would change is in the Preload tab (pages per minute). If you’re on shared hosting use 4-6, VPS should use 10-12.

wp fastest cache settings

Breakdown Of WP Fastest Cache Settings:

  • Cache System – enable
  • Widget Cache System – caches your widgets (premium feature)
  • Preload – create cache of entire site automatically (shared hosting should use 4-6, VPS is 10-12. Creates caching delay for first user who views the page. Learn more)
  • Logged-in Users – don’t show the cached version for logged-in users (if it’s just you running your website, leave this checked. But if multiple users can be logged in, each user should have their own cached version, so it would be unchecked)
  • Mobile – don’t show the cached version for desktop to mobile devices
  • Mobile Theme – caches mobile theme (premium feature)
  • New Post – clear cache files when a post or page is published
  • Update Post – clear cache files when a post or page is updated (Learn more)
  • Minify HTML – decrease size of page (high priority Pingdom item. Learn more)
  • Minify HTML Plus – more powerful minify html (premium feature)
  • Minify CSS – decrease size of css files (high priority Pingdom item. Learn more)
  • Minify CSS Plus – more powerful minify CSS (premium feature)
  • Combine CSS – reduce HTTP requests through combined css files (combines JavaScript and CSS files between <head></head>. This reduces the amount of JavaScript and CSS files on a page which reduces the number of HTTP requests required to render the page. Also a high priority item in Pingdom. Learn more)
  • Minify JS – decrease size of JS files (premium feature)
  • Combine JS – reduce HTTP requests by combining JS files
  • Combine JS Plus – minify combined JS files (premium feature)
  • Gzip – reduce size of files sent from your server (reduces transfer time between server and browser, and is a high priority Pingdom item. Learn more)
  • Browser Caching – reduce load time for repeat visitors (Learn more)
  • Disable Emojis: remove emoji inline CSS
  • Render Blocking JS – remove render-blocking JavaScript (premium feature)
  • Google Fonts – loads Google Fonts asynchronously (premium feature) but this can also be done using the premium Perfmatters plugin, which I highly recommend
  • Lazy Load – premium feature which you can use A3 Lazy Load for Learn more)

Nearly every item in WP Fastest Cache is found in GTmetrix/Pingdom:

GTmetrix-With-WP-Fastest-Cache-Cloudflare-StackPath

Delete Cache – clear the cache after configuring the WP Fastest Cache settings:

Delete-Cache-WP-Fastest-Cache

Image Optimization – premium feature which losslessly compresses images (an item in GTmetrix). This can also be done using the Imagify or Kraken plugin. I would not use any other plugins since these might break your site or have bugs – I have done tons of research on this.

WP-Fastest-Cache-Image-Optimization

Losslessly compressing images fixes the “optimize images” item in GTmetrix:

optimize-images-gtmetrix

Premium – see the difference below which shows 2 GTmetrix reports (it’s worth it). If you decide to upgrade for $49.99, they will send you a download link via email which you will manually upload in your plugins menu. Keep both the free and premium version activated.

premium plugin information

Premium
WP Fastest Cache Premium
Not Premium
WP Fastest Cache Free

Exclude – exclude pages from being cached (eg. eCommerce checkout pages).

WP-Fastest-Cache-Excludes-Settings

CDN – a CDN (content delivery network) makes your site faster by hosting it on multiple servers around the country and world, as oppose to 1 origin server (it reduces the geographical distance it takes your content to reach your visitors). See the StackPath section.

Database (DB) – cleaning your database removes unnecessary junk and makes it load faster. You can use the free WP-Optimize plugin to do this, upgrading for this feature isn’t necessary.

WP-Optimize Clean Database

WP-Optimize-Database-Cleanup

 

3. StackPath CDN ($10/Month With Free 30-Day Trial)

StackPath mirrors your site on 31 data centers, reducing the geographical distance between your server and visitors. This can reduce load times by multiple seconds especially for visitors who used to be far away from your 1 origin server. StackPath also helped me configure my CDN and was able to improve my GTmetrix YSlow score by 8% (see my report). They have a 30-day trial and their own tutorial on configuring StackPath’s CDN with WP Fastest Cache.

This is recommended in the WordPress optimization guide:

wordpress cdn recommendations

Step 1: Sign up for StackPath.

Step 2: Configure WP Fastest Cache with these settings when using StackPath:

stackpath wp fastest cache settings

Step 3: In the StackPath dashboard, click the CDN tab, and create a StackPath CDN Site.

click sites in stackpath

enter domain name

server ip address

origin authentication

Copy your server IP address from above.

cdn url

Step 4: Click “StackPath” in the CDN area of WP Fastest Cache.

WP-Fastest-Cache-StackPath-CDN

Step 5: Paste your CDN URL into WP Fastest Cache and use your website as the origin URL:

stackpath cdn url

Step 6: Click next, leave all file types selected, then keep clicking next until it’s ready:

stackpath file types

Next…

stackpath specify sources

Next…

stackpath exclude sources

Finish…

stackpath ready to go

stackpath integration ready

Done.

WP-Fastest-Cache-StackPath-CDN-Confirmation

Step 7: In StackPath go to CDN → Cache Settings, then click “Purge Everything”…

StackPath-Purge-Cache

Step 8: Run your site through GTmetrix and look at the YSlow tab to make sure it’s working…

CDN GTmetrix YSlow

Ok, NOW you’re done.

 

4. Cloudflare

SiteGround and most other hosts have an option to activate Cloudflare in the cPanel. If your host doesn’t have this options, you can set up Cloudflare using WP Fastest Cache (see below).

Cloudflare-Activation

Step 1: Sign up for Cloudflare and you will be prompted to add your website and begin a scan.

cloudflare-begin-scan

Cloudflare-DNS-Records

Cloudflare-CDN-Plans

You will eventually come to this dashboard where Cloudflare assigns you 2 name servers and provide a link to your Global API Key.

Cloudflare-Dashboard-WP-Fastest-Cache

Step 2: Do a Google search for “how to change name servers on SiteGround” (only search for your host), then follow their instructions. You will be copying the 2 name servers provided by Cloudflare and pasting them into a custom name servers option in your hosting cPanel.

SiteGround-DNS-Records

Step 3. Grab your Global API Key from the link in Cloudflare, or in your Cloudflare profile.

loudflare-Global-API-Key

Go back to WP Fastest Cache and click the Cloudflare tab. Enter the same email address used in your Cloudflare account, as well as your Global API Key.

WP-Fastest-Cache-Cloudflare-Tab

WP-Fastest-Cache-Cloudflare-API-Keys

Keep clicking next in WP Fastest Cache. They will automatically turn off the minify settings in WP Fastest Cache (since Cloudflare will now do this). They will also turn off Rocket Loader for better compatibility (your website won’t break), and set browser cache expiration to 24 days.

WP-Fastest-Cache-Cloudflare-Disable-Auto-Minify

WP-Fastest-Cache-Disable-Rocket-Loader

WP-Fastest-Cache-Cloudflare-Browser-Cache-Expiration

WP-Fastest-Cache-Cloudflare-Message

WP-Fastest-Cache-Cloudflare-Integration

Looks good!

WP-Fastest-Cache-Cloudflare-Confirmation

Step 4: Go to Cloudflare’s speed settings and make sure Auto Minify and Rocket Loader are turned off, but SG Railgun is on. This is what the WP Fastest Cache developer recommends.

Cloudflare-Speed-Tab

Step 5: Cloudflare says “we recommend you create a Page Rule to exclude the admin section of your website from Cloudflare’s performance features. Features such as Rocket Loader and Auto Minification may inadvertently break backend functions in your admin section.”

Add these 2 page rules in your page rules settings.

WP-Admin-Page-Rule

Cache-Everything-Cloudflare-Page-Rule

Step 6. Finally, go to your Cloudflare caching settings and purge individual files.

Purge Individual Files Cloudflare

All done!

WP-Fastest-Cache-Cloudflare-Confirmation

 

5. Delete Cache And Retest In Pingdom

In the WP Fastest Cache settings, go to the “Delete Cache” tab and “Delete Cache And Minifed CSS/JS.” Now rerun your website through Pingdom to view your updated scores and load time.

WP Fastest Cache Pingdom Test

Ideally the following Page Speed items are green:

  • Minify CSS
  • Minify HTML
  • Minify JavaScript
  • Leverage Browser Caching
  • Specify a Cache Validator
  • Enable gzip Compression
  • Defer Parsing Of JavaScript

Ideally the following YSlow items are also green:

  • Reduce cookie size
  • Add Expires headers
  • Reduce DNS lookups
  • Use cookie-free domains
  • Make fewer HTTP requests
  • Minify JavaScript and CSS
  • Configure entity tags (ETags)
  • Compress components with gzip
  • Remove duplicate JavaScript and CSS
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Remember, it can take Cloudflare up to 24 hours to propagate, so check back then.

 

6. WP Fastest Cache FAQs

Here’s the FAQ page if you still have questions.

WP-Fastest-Cache-FAQs

 

Cloudways (Recommended Host)

If you’re wondering what host I use, it’s DigitalOcean on Cloudways.

This post can load in 1.5s + 100/98% GTmetrix scores with a 2.67MB page size and many images, comments, Gravatars, and an embedded video. My server response times are also fast. Yeah, it’s more expensive starting at $10/month, but my blog is about speed – not being cheap.

Reduce-Server-Response-Times-TTFB

You definitely won’t get those results on shared hosting (Bluehost, HostGator, GoDaddy, even SiteGround which I stopped promoting since they went downhill). I highly recommend joining the WordPress Hosting and WP Speed Matters Facebook Group to get real, unbiased opinions.

Cloudways-Shoutout

Avoid These Hosting Companies

Why I Use Cloudways

  • GTmetrix report speaks for itself.
  • TTFB is under 200ms in my GTmetrix Timings report.
  • Server response times are under 300ms in PageSpeed Insights.
  • Posts like this (ones that are very long) still load in under 2s.
  • It can handle resource-hungry plugins (shared hosting can’t).
  • DigitalOcean is recommended in WordPress optimization guide.
  • They’re highly recommended in Facebook Groups, polls, conversations.
  • Out of 15+ popular hosts, they were the fastest in my Pingdom speed test.
  • They do free trials, free migrations, and their community manager is very helpful.

I even made a video where I installed the same Astra Starter Site using 15+ different hosting companies and tested their load times (for example, visit cwdoserver.com or stgrndserver.com and click through the site to test speeds of Cloudways DigitalOcean vs. SiteGround GrowBig). Or check out these other sites that use Bluehost, HostGator, or GoDaddy. Here are the results.

Hosting-Comparisons-Pingdom

Do your research! There are plenty of people posting migration results if you check Twitter and Facebook Groups. Hosting is the #1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide, it’s important.

Cloudways Response Times

Cloudways Google PageSpeed

WP Engine To Cloudways

DigitalOcean Pingdom Report

2020 Hosting Poll

VPS Cloud Hosting WooCommerce Poll

SiteGround Alternative

Hosting Recommendations Facebook

Untitled

Godaddy DigitalOcean Migration

Cloudways Pingdom Load Times

Cloudways Pingdom Report

Elementor Hosting Poll

WordPress Hosting Suggestions

SiteGround Alternative Beginners

VPS Cloud Hosting Poll

Cloudways Facebook Review

The “who is the best hosting” question is getting old. Just look at this Facebook thread.

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for Cloudways using my affiliate link or use promo code OMM25, this saves you money and credits me the sale which I really appreciate. I donate quite a bit to charity ($6,000 to GoFundMe so far) and only recommend the fastest, best host based on real evidence: speed tests, polls, my results, other migration results, and conversations from 20+ FB Groups I’m in. Thank you so much if you use it.

 

36+ WordPress Speed Optimization Tips

Watch My Video – it’s a 42 minute video, but I cover pretty much everything (timestamps in video description) and you should learn a ton of great information on WordPress site speed:

Follow my WordPress speed optimization guide which shows you how to:

  • Diagnose slow plugins using GTmetrix
  • Add AMP (accelerated mobile pages) using the AMP plugin
  • Use AWStats to find causes of high CPU (crawlers, images, etc)
  • Recommendations for lightweight slider/gallery/social sharing plugins
  • Use Complete Analytics Optimization Suite (CAOS) to host Google Analytics locally
  • Image optimization (serve scaled images, specify dimensions, lossless compression)
  • Use WP Disable to disable unnecessary settings in WordPress core while turning on heartbeat control, loading of Google fonts asynchronously, other speed optimizations

And plenty of others. Read the comments and you’ll see things like “My page speed score on gtmetrix went from 69 to 93” and “this might be one of the most helpful posts I’ve ever read.”

 

Get Help From My WordPress Speed Optimizer

Still need help with your GTmetrix/Pingdom report? I’ve been working with Pronaya for 7 years (he’s the one who helped me get a <1s load time in Pingdom). You can hire him by creating a profile on freelancer.com and searching for username bdkamol. Here is his full WordPress speed portfolio. He’s $40/hour from Bangladesh (so there is a time change) and you can email him at bdkamol@gmail.com. He also has a perfect 5 star review on his profile. Serious inquiries only, and please don’t expect 100% scores if you’re using slow hosting, a bloated theme, and tons of heavy plugins. Please follow my full WordPress speed guide first.

Pronaya-Kumar-S-Reviews

Reviews on his profile:

BDkamol-WordPress-Speed-Reviews

 

Frequently Asked Questions

🚀 Is WP Fastest Cache Premium worth it?

If you're going to spend money on a premium cache plugin, most people use WP Rocket since it comes with more features than WP Fastest Cache Premium and will typically yield better results.

🚀 Which CDN should I use with WP Fastest Cache?

Cloudflare's free CDN is sufficient for most sites, however more CDNs = more data centers and faster delivery of your content. You may also consider StackPath or KeyCDN.

🚀 How do I clear cache when I'm done configuring the settings?

In the WordPress menu on top, go to WPFC and Delete Cache And Minified CSS.

🚀 What other speed plugins do I need besides WP Fastest Cache?

WP Fastest Cache does not come with the option for image optimization, database cleanup, lazy loading, heartbeat control, prefetch + preconnect, and optimizing Google Fonts + Analytics. I recommend Perfmatters, OMGF, and Advanced DB Cleaner.

🚀 Should I add AMP?

I do not use accelerated mobile pages (AMP) on this WordPress site. Read Kinsta's article about how their conversions dropped 50% due to AMP and you may not want to either.

 

See Also: How I Got 100% GTmetrix Scores

If your website loads faster feel free to leave your new page load time in the comments! Or if you have any questions I’m glad to help with that too. As you can see I’m a pretty big nerd when it comes to WordPress speed so if you follow these recommendations, there’s no reason your website shouldn’t load in under 3s. And if you found this tutorial helpful, please share :)

Cheers,
Tom

SiteGround WordPress hosting review: why I left and so should you

It’s time to say goodbye to SiteGround.

They increased prices twice, servers have gotten slower, CPU overages are unexplainable, support has gone downhill, and their cloud hosting is a ripoff. Worst of all, their community manager was made an admin of Facebook groups and it’s forbidden to talk bad about them (they have become cultish). After referring about 3,000 people, I no longer recommend them.

When you search SiteGround in Facebook Groups, it’s almost all complaints. At least the ones not moderated by Hristo, SiteGround’s community manager. I’m part of 20+ Facebook Groups – monitoring them and recommending “the best hosting” is why a lot of people come to his blog.

And it’s not SiteGround.

So if you want an honest SiteGround WordPress hosting review, you probably shouldn’t use them. SiteGround has gone downhill in recent years and better, faster options have become available. I personally migrated to DigitalOcean on Cloudways. SiteGround used to be good, but it’s 2020 and they are no longer the “good at everything” hosting company they were years ago.

SiteGround WordPress Hosting Review

 

1. CPU limits are unfixable

SiteGround’s CPU limits are brutal, and usually unfixable.

They use it as a way to upgrade your plan but they never, ever, ever take accountability. When this happened to me, I went from $14.95/month GoGeek to $80/month cloud but was still getting CPU overages. Even after increasing CPU/RAM and paying $120/month, my website was still slow on SiteGround. And yes, I blocked bad bots, disabled heartbeat, and my website was at near or perfect 100% scores in all testing tools: GTmetrix, Pingdom, PageSpeed Insights.

This has been reported an endless amount of times in Facebook Groups.

But how many times has SiteGround managed to fix the problem? I couldn’t find anything.

SiteGround CPU Overages

This isn’t changing any time soon:

No plans to increase inode limit

 

2. SiteGround servers aren’t fast

SiteGround has a slow TTFB.

Visit stgrndserver.com to see for yourself. This is a SG GrowBig account I set up to test TTFB and speeds across various tools, while also comparing them to 15 other hosting companies. All use the exact same environment: same Astra Starter Site, plugins, SSL, no cache plugin, no CDN.

SiteGround Slow TTFB 1

SiteGround TTFB KeyCDN

SiteGround WebPageTest Report

SiteGround Server Response Time

SiteGround Time Spent Downloading Page

These are all the hosting companies and specific plans I tested:

Hosting-Comparisons-Pingdom

For reference, cwdoserver.com is hosted on a $10/month DigitalOcean on Cloudways plan.

Cloudways TTFB

Here’s what happened when I migrated away from SiteGround:

Cloudways Shoutout

Plus, it has been reported many times in non-Hristo managed Facebook Groups:

SiteGround Slow TTFB

You would think SiteGround’s move to Google Cloud would help, but the numbers don’t lie.

 

3. Price increased twice in 3 years

SiteGround increased prices both in 2018 and 2020.

On March 5th, 2020, Hristo (SiteGround community manager) commented on their blog:

SiteGround not aware of price increase

Yet 3 months later on June 18, 2020, they did it.

Will SiteGround increase prices again? Nobody knows, apparently not even SiteGround. But if you signed up for 2 or 3 years, don’t expect prices to be the same once renewal prices kick in. In fact, don’t count on anything to be the same with how many unwanted changes they’re making.

SiteGround-Plans

 

4. Renewal prices are way too high

When you pay for SiteGround, you only get the intro price for 1-3 years.

Upon renewal, monthly pricing increases from $6.99 to $14.99 (StartUp), $9.99 to $24.99 (GrowBig), and $14.99 to $39.99 (GoGeek). Yearly, that’s $179.88, $299.98, and $539.98. So if you’re on SiteGround’s hosting now, expect a large bill once your intro price time period is up.

SiteGround Renewal Pricing 1

In case you can’t read it, it says:

The special initial price applies for the first invoice only. Once your initial term is over regular renewal prices apply.

 

5. Support is nothing like it used to be

The most frustrating part is they give 0 warning when something changes. And it changes a lot.

  • Don’t want to migrate to Google Cloud? Deal with it.
  • Live chat suddenly gone from new interface? Deal with it.
  • Removing PCI compliance from the GoGeek plan? Deal with it.
  • CPU too high while we’re holding your website hostage? Deal with it.
  • Having problem pushing your staging site to the live server? Deal with it.
  • Signed up for a monthly plan but you now want yearly intro price? Deal with it.

They have made it very clear. Don’t contact their support and keep upgrading your plan. SiteGround’s support used to be the bested in the industry, but that completely changed.

It’s funny, back in 2018 when they increased prices and moved priority support from GrowBig to GoGeek, I had a hunch this was going to be a new era for SiteGround, and not in a good way.

SiteGround Support Feedback

SiteGround Bad Support

 

6. SiteGround corruption in Facebook Groups

I always thought the WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group was a great place for getting unbiased hosting opinions, until I saw Hristo (SiteGround community manager) was an admin.

WordPress Speed Up

Hristo Pandjarov

Why is Hristo an admin for Facebook Groups? Come on admins, that is 100% corruption.

This explains why it’s basically forbidden to talk bad about SiteGround, especially their slow TTFB. Many respects to Gijo Varghese (admin of the WP Speed Matters Facebook Group) who called out SiteGround’s slow TTFB, but the admin called him a spammer and deleted the post.

WordPress Hosting Facebook Group Corruption

 

7. cPanel replacement “Site Tools” is hit or miss

SiteGround was quick to replace cPanel with Site Tools once cPanel’s price increased.

Funny, the irony of how SiteGround does everything they can to increase their bottom line (replacing cPanel), but they expect customers to stay with them when they increase prices?

Some people like Site Tools, but a lot of people don’t.

SiteGround cPanel Replacement

Here’s a video by SiteGround in case you want to explore Site Tools:

Bring this back!

SiteGround cPanel

 

8. SiteGround’s cloud hosting won’t fix CPU limits

SiteGround’s CPU limits are designed to make you upgrade, but even if you upgrade to their $80/month cloud hosting, chances are you will still have CPU limit issues. This happened to me, as well as many other people in Facebook Groups. No matter how good or bad SiteGround’s starter plans are (StartUp, GrowBig, GoGeek), their cloud hosting is a total ripoff at $80/month, because you will probably need to upgrade CPU and RAM to $120+/month to avoid CPU issues.

SiteGround Cloud Hosting 503

 

9. No longer the highest rated host in Facebook polls

SiteGround used to be the highest rated host in many Facebook polls.

But if you look at recent polls, it’s usually Cloudways DigitalOcean, not SiteGround. I have been keeping track of Facebook polls for a long time and I can tell you this… there is a huge shift of people moving from SiteGround to other cloud providers that are faster, cheaper, and better.

2020 Hosting Poll

VPS Cloud Hosting WooCommerce Poll

SiteGround Alternative

Hosting Recommendations Facebook

Elementor Hosting Poll

WordPress Hosting Suggestions

SiteGround Alternative Beginners

VPS Cloud Hosting Poll

 

10. SG Optimizer is copying everything from WP Rocket

Every update to SiteGround’s SG Optimizer plugin is basically copied from WP Rocket.

Heartbeat control, database cleanup, and prefetching external domains were all things I suggested to SiteGround to make their plugin more comparable to WP Rocket. Thanks for the credit Hristo! As long as you know you’re simply copying WP Rocket’s features, it’s all good.

SG Optimizer 5.6

SG Opimizer Environment Optimization Update

 

11. Forcing customers to support the big G on Google Cloud

Without any warning, they migrated their customer accounts to Google Cloud.

“But we have strict contracts” they say. “And we follow GDPR” they say. “Your information is still protected” they say. But they don’t give you a warning (let alone an option) to not use Google Cloud. For customers who care about privacy, this sudden announcement is a slap in the face for anyone trying to avoid big G. This isn’t what we signed up for, but we have no choice?

SiteGround Google Cloud Concerns

 

12. SiteGround’s Wikipedia author is closely related to the source

To add to the fishiness, the author of SiteGround’s Wikipedia page is related to the source, meaning a SiteGround employee is telling someone what to write, or are doing it themselves.

SiteGround Wikipedia Page

Wikipedia Closely Related To Subject

 

13. TrustPilot reviews are from customers directed from SG support

Most people writing SiteGround’s Trustpilot reviews are directed here by their support.

You can tell because of the amount of people mentioning how good their support is. This isn’t terrible (Hostinger actually hires employees to write fake reviews and pose as customers) but that’s why their TrustPilot reviews are good (4.7 stars) and I just wanted to give you a heads up.

siteground trustpilot review

 

14. Saying goodbye to SiteGround as a super affiliate

Well SiteGround, we’ve made a lot of money together over the years, but your company has gone completely downhill in so many ways and I honestly hope the near 3,000 customers I referred to you leave like I did. You are only interested in profits, and that is apparent when you ditched cPanel, increased prices, moved priority support to GoGeek instead of GrowBig, and enforced strict CPU limits to make people upgrade. Fix your issues and I’ll change this review.

SiteGround Affiliate Dashboard

 

15. Why I Left SiteGround for Cloudways

For me, DigitalOcean on Cloudways was 2x faster and 2x cheaper.

There’s also a huge shift of people moving from SiteGround to Cloudways in Facebook Groups.

No more weird CPU issues, no renewal prices, pay-as-you-go monthly pricing, cheaper than SiteGround, free trials and free migrations, etc. They just need to improve their Breeze plugin.

Here’s the Facebook review in case you want to read (most hosts don’t even have Facebook reviews enabled, so I’m glad they’re transparent). Mustassam is the community manager for Cloudways and was great in helping me move (who is NOT an admin for any Facebook Groups).

Cloudways-Facebook-Review

Server response times and TTFB don’t lie. Plus, this post can load in 1.4s in GTmetrix when it has tons of images, comments, Gravatars, embedded videos, and a few images I didn’t optimize.

Reduce Server Response Times TTFB

ttfb

With SiteGround:

SiteGround-Cloud-Hosting-Sales-Receipt

With Cloudways:

Cloudways-Invoice

If you want to use them too, here’s a promo code that saves you money: OMM25

 

Conclusion: A Weight Off My Shoulders

Well, I feel much better after writing this SiteGround WordPress hosting review.

I’m committed to making sure my readers are steered in the right direction and seriously appreciate everyone’s support over the years. Let me know what you think in the comments.

✅ Does SiteGround have a slow TTFB?

There have been complaints about SiteGround's slow TTFB in Facebook Groups. Higher SiteGround plans include more server resources, but with their pricing, you will likely get a faster TTFB and pay less with other cloud providers.

✅ Why are SiteGround's prices so high?

SiteGround increased prices twice, once in 2018 and once in 2020. They have also made numerous changes to cut costs and increase their bottom line, such as disabling live chat and moving priority support to GoGeek. SiteGround is simply trying to increase profits.

✅ How do I fix CPU usage limits on SiteGround?

Optimize your site in GTmetrix, disable WordPress heartbeat, and block bad bots from Wordfence. However, many times you can't fix high CPU on SiteGround no matter how hard you try, and they will prompt you to upgrade while holding your website hostage.

✅ What happened to SiteGround's good support?

SiteGround made a company-wide decision to increase profits even if it means worse service for customers. This is apparent by their ongoing actions.

✅ Is SiteGround a good choice in 2020?

Not a chance. The company is going downhill and the amount of complaints about them in Facebook Groups continues to increase.

Cheers,
Tom

SiteGround StartUp Review – (They’re Rated The #1 Host In Numerous Facebook But StartUp Lacks Many Features In GrowBig)

SiteGround’s StartUp plan is only good for hosting 1 single low-traffic website. If you get decent traffic or are running any high CPU plugins, StartUp probably won’t have enough server resources and you could end up getting CPU overages. But if it’s a small site using lightweight plugins, and you don’t need the features that come with GrowBig/GoGeek, StartUp is easily the best hosting plan you can get for $6.99/month with the promo price.

Just know you can buy GrowBig for $2/month more and get way more stuff… about 2x as many server resources (number of servers is the #1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide), staging, on-demand backups, and you can host unlimited websites on your account… instead of 1. You can see all this on their StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek chart. StartUp is good, but I would do GrowBig if you’re serious about your site – the speed alone is worth it.

Then there’s the GoGeek which is about 4x faster than most shared hosting plans. Smaller/starter websites should probably do GrowBig, websites with more visitors and higher CPU consumption should do GoGeek or cloud. My review will help you choose a plan, but also show you how to make the most out of their speed technology through PHP 7.3, Cloudflare, and SG Optimizer. I also have a guide on how I got 100% GTmetrix scores.

If this is a website(s) you care about and are expecting to make money from – do yourself a favor and pony up the extra $2/month. I currently pay SiteGround $80+/month for an upgraded version of their cloud hosting BUT… it’s an investment. This is primarily why my Pingdom report and GTmetrix report have near 100% scores on both with <1s load times.

Before paying for a higher plan because you want speed improvements, follow my guide on how I got 100% GTmetrix scores which will not only improve load times and scores in GTmetrix/Pingdom, but also reduce the resources needed on your hosting account, which can save you some money.

Why Choose SiteGround StartUp?

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for SiteGround with my affiliate link I will donate a good chunk at no expense to you. Each year I donate $3k to GoFundMe campaigns (2018 was to feed the hungry in Denver, 2017 was to Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey). Your support helps and I genuinely appreciate it. I try to make my reviews unbiased and backed by evidence in the form of Facebook polls, tweets, and real conversations. If you don’t want to use it, here’s a non-affiliate link to SiteGround. Either way I truly believe they are a stellar WordPress host and your site will run faster/smoother… do your research on Facebook groups + Twitter and you’ll find most people say the same.

 

SiteGround Facebook Polls

Join the WordPress Hosting and WordPress Speed Up Facebook Groups to see what real, unbiased people are saying, since hosting is the #1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide.

SiteGround was rated the #1 host in 26 Facebook polls and got me amazing results in GTmetrix/Pingdom (click through my pages). Their speed technology is far superior than EIG, Godaddy, and most other hosts, and uses PHP 7.3, NGINX, SSDs, HTTP/2, Cloudflare, and SG Optimizer plugin for WordPress. This usually results in significant load time improvements.

2019 Hosting Poll

View Poll

 

StartUp vs. GrowBig vs. GoGeek

You can see a full comparison chart on SiteGround’s features page

SiteGround-StartUp-Plan-Features

StartUp ($6.99/mo) – StartUp is good for hosting 1 low-traffic website that isn’t running high CPU plugins, but lacks server resources. All SiteGround plans come with tons of great features: email hosting, free Let’s Encrypt SSL, automatic daily backups, free WordPress + shopping cart install, 99.99% uptimes, and an easy-to-use cPanel. All plans include fast, core speed technology including NGINX, Cloudflare, SSDs, HTTP/2, PHP 7.3, SG Optimizer, and 4 data centers). SiteGround is one of the first hosts to implement new technology for speed and uptimes (eg. newer PHP versions), and you can check their Facebook page to stay updated. As with all plans, support is top notch. All plans include features for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal.

GrowBig ($9.99/mo) – host multiple websites with about 1.5x more server resources than StartUp and comes with staging (to test new plugins, designs, code) then launch it on your actual website with 1 click. This makes the extra $2/month completely worth it in my opinion. You also get on-demand backups so you can take one anytime you want, and a free website transfer. It comes with more storage, database resources, and email features. You get advanced caching with all 3 levels (static, dynamic, memcached) with the SG Optimizer plugin.

GoGeek ($14.99/mo)semi-dedicated hosting comes with about 4x more server resources than regular shared hosting plans. And yes, this makes a big improvement in speed and time to first byte. GoGeek has more storage, email, and database limits. Comes with PCI compliance to prevent credit card fraud on eCommerce sites and Git for repo creation. Priority support will answer your questions lightning fast. I usually get mine answered thoroughly in <10 minutes.

eCommerce Features – all SiteGround plans come with eCommerce features like a free Let’s Encrypt SSL. PCI compliance with GoGeek, and if you don’t feel comfortable installing a shopping cart on your won, SiteGround’s team offers to do this with the purchase of any plan.

SiteGround-eCommerce-Features

Automatic Updates – have SiteGround make automatic updates in your cPanel to WordPress core, plugins, Joomla core, extensions, etc. I have this enabled and haven’t had any problems.

SiteGround WordPress Autoupdates

WordPress, Joomla, Drupal Features – SiteGround has features for each one in their cPanel: free install, transfer, autoupdates, and advanced security are just a few features for each CMS. When SiteGround says they have advanced security, their team is literally on their game.

WordPress features…

SiteGround-WordPress-Features

WordPress tools in cPanel…

siteground-wordpress-tools

Joomla features…

SiteGround-Joomla-Features

Joomla tools in cPanel…

siteground-joomla-cpanel-tools

Drupal features…

siteground-drupal-hosting

 

StartUp Has Less Server Resources Than GrowBig/GoGeek

If you have a slow website, go to features page and scroll down to ‘We Allocate The Resources You Need’ near bottom of the page. You’ll see that GrowBig and GoGeek are much faster than StartUp since you get more server resources. This is the MAIN difference between plans…

SiteGround-Server-Resources-Comparison

Here’s how many server resources come with each plan…

SiteGround-Resources-Chart

 

SiteGround StartUp Is Good If…

  • You only need to host 1 website
  • You don’t require priority support
  • You don’t need a lot of server resources/plugins
  • You need less than 10GB of web storage
  • You have has less than 10,000 visits/month
  • You don’t have lots of (high resource) plugins
  • You’re having technical issues with your current host
  • You want a free Let’s Encrypt SSL (but don’t need a premium SSL)
  • You want automatic updates, backups, free domain, and email features
  • You want SiteGround’s core speed technology and Cloudflare’s free CDN
  • You want secure hosting with actual 99.99% uptimes and spam prevention
  • You want a hosting company with a support team that will actually help you
  • You’re running a hobby website, but for serious websites go with GrowBig or GoGeek

 

Upgrade To GrowBig/GoGeek If…

  • You want a free website transfer
  • You want more server resources for faster load times
  • You have multiples websites and need 20GB+ of web storage
  • You want priority support to get tickets answered immediately
  • You use a lot of WordPress plugins (or high resource plugins)
  • You want to create staging websites (GoGeek is needed for this)
  • You want Pre-installed Git or SG-Git for WordPress repo creation
  • You need a premium wildcard SSL or PCI compliance for an eCommerce site
  • You want advanced caching, even though plugins like WP Rocket are better
  • You run a business website and rely (or are planning to rely) on it to making a living

 

<1s Load Times + 100% Uptimes

Yes, I actually use SiteGround…

OMM-On-SiteGround

And my site loads in <1s second (view Pingdom report)…

2019-Pingdom-Report

Here’s my GTmetrix report

2019-GTmetrix-Report

It also has 100% uptimes in Uptime Robot

uptime-robot

I was originally with Godaddy and Bluehost but was disappointed in both. My website didn’t load fast and I was getting internal server errors all the time. Since migrating to SiteGround I could see a noticeable difference in my Pingdom scores, but also by clicking through my pages (give it a try)! I never have to worry about my website getting “randomly” shut down anymore.

I have used SiteGround StartUp, GrowBig, GoGeek, and am currently on their cloud hosting. My site still loaded in 1s on StartUp but I rely on it to make a living (and needed better performance) so I upgraded. I wouldn’t write my SiteGround StartUp review if I didn’t use it.

 

Tips For Improving Speed On SiteGround

Upgrade To PHP 7.3+ – higher PHP versions make your site faster. If you’re just moving to SiteGround, PHP 7+ should be activated by default. But SiteGround is great at releasing newer versions. When they do, be sure to test them in the PHP section of your SiteGround cPanel.

PHP Speed

PHP-Version-Manager

PHP-Upgrade

Cloudflare – in your SiteGround cPanel, activate Cloudflare with 1 click. Cloudflare is a free CDN with 200+ data centers and will help offload resources to their data centers, putting less stress on your own server. A CDN is also recommended in the WordPress optimization guide.

Cloudflare Data Centers

SiteGround Cloudflare Activation

SG Optimizer – SiteGround’s SG Optimizer plugin (for WordPress) uses server-side caching which is faster than the file-based caching used with most cache plugins. It also has many features outside of caching, like minification, lazy loading, etc. I personally use SiteGround for caching, then WP Rocket for everything else (see my tutorial), which was rated the #1 cache plugin in many Facebook polls. Your cache plugin has a huge impact on your load times and CPU consumption – I recommend trying SG Optimizer, WP Rocket, or Swift, but only use 1.

Optimize Imagesimages can be optimized in 20 ways, but the most common are these 3 items in GTmetrix. Serve scaled images means resizing large images to be smaller. Specify image dimensions means adding a width/height to the image’s HTML. Optimize images means losslessly compressing images using a plugin like Imagify, Smush, or ShortPixel (all are good).

Blackhole for Bad Bots Plugin – a common issue is spam bots hitting your site, which is a waste of server resources. The Blackhole for Bad Bots Plugin blocks them automatically which will save resources for real visitors. There are no settings – just install it and you’re good.

Optimize Plugins – this means deleting unused plugins, disabling unnecessary plugin settings that cause ongoing resource consumption (eg. statistics, backups, etc), avoid high CPU plugins, and only using lightweight plugins. I also recommend installing the Heartbeat Control plugin.

SiteGround Load Times
My WordPress site loads in <1s on SiteGround, but I’m not the only one. Here’s a chart comparing the average load time of websites running on some of the most popular hosts…

siteground-page-load-times

Core Speed: NGINX, SSD, HTTP/2 Enabled Services
SiteGround’s core speed technology is great no matter what hosting plan you choose. All shared plans include SSD (solid state drives) which provide 1000x higher input/output operations compared to regular drives, plus you get NGINX servers which are preferred for faster server speed. HTTP/2, PHP7, and HHVM can also be activated in SiteGround’s cPanel.

 

SiteGround’s Support Actually Helps You

You won’t be waiting 30 minutes for someone to help you (like Bluehost). SiteGround’s support usually responds to tickets in about 10 minutes with priority support. But even if you don’t have priority support they are SUPER helpful and knowledgeable about WordPress plugins, Joomla extensions, etc. For the few times I’ve had to contact SiteGround they always took the time to dig into my website and actually solve the issue. It makes a huge difference.

I usually get a response within a few minutes of submitting a ticket…

SiteGround-Support-Conversation

Chat support can usually solve your issue within 5 minutes…

siteground-chat

Tickets are usually answered within 8 minutes…

siteground-tickets

SiteGround has awesome feedback about their support…

SiteGround-Customer-Reviews

 

cPanel Demo

Here you can take SiteGround’s cPanel demo for a test drive. They have a WordPress installer, autoupdates, staging, Cloudflare, mail options, and plenty of other features that make your website run smooth and load fast. This includes tools for WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal…

siteground-cpanel

 

Praise On Twitter From Current SiteGround Customers

SiteGround-Support-Reviews

 

Conclusion: StartUp Is Decent But I Would Do GrowBig

SiteGround’s StartUp plan is good for “hobby” websites but if you’re running a business website that you rely on to make a living, I would definitely go with GrowBig or GoGeek.

GrowBig is $2/month more and will make your site load faster, plus you get priority support and other features. And if you want an even faster website with semi-dedicated hosting, GoGeek is even better. Regardless, if you’re currently using one of the terrible hosts in that Facebook poll, you will be happy you migrated. I’m on their cloud servers but that is $80/month ONLY because I’m obsessed with website speed (and rely on my website to make a living). Unless you really need this, one of their shared hosting plans will be fine. I hope you found my SiteGround StartUp review helpful and if you have any questions, leave a comment.

People usually migrate because their speed technology can improve load times by multiple seconds. You’ve seen my GTmetrix and Pingdom report, here’s what other people are saying:

SiteGround-Host-Migration

EIG-To-SiteGround

SiteGround-Migration

Godaddy-To-SiteGround

SiteGround-Backend

Best-Host-Conversation

Looking-for-a-new-host-provider-Facebook

View SiteGround StartUp / GrowBig

 

Frequently Asked Questions

🚀 What are the main differences between StartUp vs GrowBig or GoGeek?

Higher plans include more server resources which make your site load faster. GrowBig+ can also host multiple websites and has extra features like staging, more storage, advanced caching, and on-demand backups. Check their Features page for a side-by-side comparison of each plan.

🚀 Will my website be OK on the StartUp plan?

StartUp is usually only good for new websites with low traffic which aren't running any resource-hungry plugins. I wouldn't recommend it for medium to high traffic sites, WooCommerce sites, or those running lots of resource-hungry plugins. For these sites, I would use GrowBig or GoGeek instead otherwise you will run into CPU overage issues.

🚀 What does SiteGround mean by less than 10,000 visits/month?

It's a rough estimate of how many monthly visitors the StartUp plan can handle, however this is usually not accurate. This depends on how many resources your site consumes, which plugins you're running, and whether your website is optimized for speed.

🚀 How should I configure the SG Optimizer plugin?

Run the latest PHP version, or choose the Managed PHP Version option in the Environment Settings. Next, test every setting in the Environment and Frontend Optimization tab and keep them enabled if they don't mess up your site. Optimizing images is important, but there's more to this than what's in SG Optimizer's settings (you also want to serve scaled images). Don't forget to enable Cloudflare's CDN in SiteGround.

🚀 What's the best way to migrate to SiteGround?

GrowBig and GoGeek come with a free migration, otherwise using SiteGround's Migrator plugin to transfer everything yourself.

 

Check Out My Other SiteGround Reviews

 

 

 

 

How To Fix A Slow Website On HostGator’s WordPress Hosting

HostGator Slow

Have a slow WordPress site on HostGator?

If your WordPress site is slow on HostGator, you can speed it up by upgrading to PHP 7.3, configuring a cache plugin, using Cloudflare, and optimizing your images, database, and plugins.

To check if HostGator’s hosting is slow, run your site through Google PageSpeed Insights to see if reduce server response times is in your report. If yes, your HostGator server is slow. This may be because you’re running resource-hungry plugins like WooCommerce or Elementor, since shared hosting often doesn’t have enough server resources to accommodate high CPU plugins.

HostGator’s shared hosting is infamously slow and there are countless complaints about their slow servers in Facebook Groups. I suggest joining a few (like the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group) to get real, unbiased opinions. There are much better options like DigitalOcean on Cloudways which is who most people recommend and #1 in many Facebook polls. HostGator is owned by EIG (a publicly traded company) who is infamous for overcrowding servers for profits.

Benchmark your scores + load times in GTmetrix and post them in the comments! And if you need help, leave your GTmetrix report in the comments and I’ll provide you with suggestions.

My goal is to make your GTmetrix report look more like this:

1s-2020-GTmetrix-Report

This video should help (timestamps are in the video description):

Quick Ways To Fix A Slow HostGator Website

  • Upgrade to the latest PHP version in HostGator
  • Install a solid cache plugin with a Cloudflare’s CDN
  • Use a fast page builder like Oxygen instead of Elementor
  • Use fast plugins and avoid commonly known slow plugins
  • Combine Google Fonts and be minimal with fonts and weights
  • Avoid uploading very large images which show errors in GTmetrix
  • Compress images using an image optimization plugin like TinyPNG
  • Remove junk from your database and delete tables left behind by old plugins
  • Lazy load images and videos which are often the heaviest elements on a page

 

1. Check For Slow Server Response Times

Run your WordPress site through Google PageSpeed Insights to see if reduce server response time shows in the report (Google recommends 200ms). Servers are controlled by your hosting.

Reduce-Server-Response-Times

Another indicator is if your time to first byte (TTFB) is slow in the GTmetrix Timings tab. Good GTmetrix scores but slow server response times and TTFB indicates your hosting as the issue.

TTFB

A warning about HostGator: HostGator is one of the slowest hosts. I set up an identical Astra website on hstgtrserver.com and cwdoserver.com. One is hosted on HostGator’s Optimized WordPress Hosting, one is on Cloudways DigitalOcean who was rated the #1 host in Facebook polls, conversations, or see these migration results. Visit the websites and click through their pages – you will see the difference in speed.

 

2. Upgrade To PHP 7.3

Most WordPress users are running outdated PHP versions when upgrading can make your site 2-3x faster. HostGator will not upgrade you automatically (because they don’t want to risk breaking your site) so you need to do this yourself as HostGator releases new PHP versions.

WordPress PHP Benchmarks

HostGator’s Optimized WordPress Hosting does not have cPanel, so you cannot upgrade PHP versions yourself. You will need to contact support to have them do it. You can try these instructions, but I had to have their support team do this for me.

How To Update PHP Versions On HostGator

  • In your HostGator cPanel, go to Software → MultiPHP Manager.
  • Upgrade to PHP 7.3.
  • Check your website for errors. If you see any, revert to an earlier version.
  • Keep it updated to the latest version as HostGator releases new PHP versions.

Supported-PHP-Versions

 

3. Configure A Solid Cache Plugin

WP Rocket and WP Fastest Cache are usually rated highest in Facebook polls.

Many features are built-in to WP Rocket (database cleanup, heartbeat control, lazy load, etc) while WP Fastest Cache and other cache plugins don’t come with these features. In other words, WP Rocket lets you use 1 plugin for everything instead of having to install multiple plugins. That’s also why WP Rocket usually gives you better scores and load times in GTmetrix.

The following features are built-in WP Rocket. But if you’re using another cache plugin that doesn’t come with a specific feature, you’ll need to install these plugins:

2016 best cache plugin poll

2019 cache plugin poll

Swift vs WP Rocket

2016 cache plugin poll

Best cache plugins 2018 poll

wp rocket vs w3 totla cache

WP Rocket (406ms)
Pingdom Page Speed Test

WP Fastest Cache (527ms)
WP Fastest Cache Load Times

W3 Total Cache (619ms)
W3 Total Cache Load Times

Here are tutorials for configuring the ideal WP Rocket and WP Fastest Cache Settings. I also have configuration tutorials for W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, and Autoptimize settings.

A glimpse of the WP Rocket settings (file optimization tab is the most important):

WP-Rocket-File-Optimization-Settings

HostGator does have an option to enable cache in the cPanel which you should leave disabled if you’re using a cache plugin. Cache plugins take care of many other optimizations other than caching (eg. minifying HTML, CSS, JS) and you will get much better results with a cache plugin.

HostGator Cache

 

4. Use Cloudflare’s CDN

Cloudflare’s CDN hosts your website on 200+ centers and reduces the distance between your server and visitors. It also helps offload resources which can reduce your server response time.

1. Sign up for a free Cloudflare plan, add your website, and run the scan.

Add Site To Cloudflare

2. You will eventually come to a page where Cloudflare assigns you 2 nameservers.

Cloudflare-GoDaddy-Nameservers

3. HostGator says you will need to contact them to set up private nameservers.

Unfortunately you need private nameservers on HostGator to do this which is only available on their reseller account, VPS, and dedicated server. I have no idea why they do this. WP Rocket and W3 Total Cache have settings for Cloudflare – you can try setting it up through one of these (let me know if this works in the comments please!)

HostGator Private Nameservers

4. Once they do, find them and enter the nameservers provided by Cloudflare.

HostGator Nameservers

5. Go to your Cloudflare speed settings and use these:

Cloudflare-Speed-Tab

6. Go to Cloudflare’s caching settings and Purge Everything.

Cloudflare Purge

All done! It can take 24 hour for Cloudflare nameservers to propagate so be patient :)

 

5. Rethink Your Page Builder

Elementor and other page builders add lots of scripts to your website.

You can check these using Perfmatters or Asset CleanUp. The only page builder I recommend is Oxygen. I made the mistake of having my website redesigned in Elementor and you can see how many times it shows up in the source code. Add other Elementor plugins like Ultimate Addons and Premium Addons, and you could end up with a very slow website. While you can selectively disable some of these scripts, many of them need to be loaded and so, you’re stuck with them.

Elementor Scripts 1

Elementor Souce Code

 

6. Avoid Slow Loading Plugins

Thank you Ivica from the WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group for contributing to this list.

  1. AddThis
  2. AdSense Click Fraud Monitoring
  3. All-In-One Event Calendar
  4. Backup Buddy
  5. Beaver Builder
  6. Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
  7. Broken Link Checker
  8. Constant Contact for WordPress
  9. Contact Form 7
  10. Contextual Related Posts
  11. Digi Auto Links
  12. Disqus Comment System
  13. Divi Builder
  14. Elementor
  15. View Full List Of 65 Slow Plugins

Be sure to deactivate/delete all plugins you’re not currently using. If you only use a plugin at certain times, deactivate/delete it – then reinstall the plugin when needed.

Disable Plugins On Specific Pages/PostsPerfmatters and Asset CleanUp let you selectively disable plugins on specific pages/posts. For example, if you’re only using your contact form on the contact page, disable it everywhere else. Or if you only use social sharing buttons on the blog, disable it on all your pages. Going through your scripts/plugins, viewing their size, and disabling plugins where they’re not being used can significantly improve scores and load times.

perfmatters-script-manager

 

7. Optimize Images To Load Faster

There are 5 primary ways to make images load faster:

  • Serve scaled images: resizing large images to be smaller.
  • Losslessly compress images: compress images using a plugin.
  • Lazy load images: delays loading images until you scroll down the page.
  • Specify image dimensions: add a width/height to the image’s HTML or CSS.
  • Serve images in next-gen formats: convert images (eg. to WebP) format using a plugin.

Serve Scaled Images
Serve scaled images are found in GTmetrix where they tell you which images are too large and the dimensions they should be resized to. GTmetrix only shows unoptimized images for a single page. Resize them, reupload them, and replace the old images with the new ones. It’s best to resize images BEFORE uploading them, and to create an “image dimension cheat sheet” listing the dimensions of all your different image sections (logo, sliders, widgets, full width blog images, etc). Start by fixing images that appear on multiple pages (logo, sidebar, and footer images) then run your most important pages through GTmetrix and optimize individual images.

Serve Scaled Images

Losslessly Compress Images
This is the “optimize images” item in GTmetrix. I personally use ShortPixel but Imagify is also good. Install an image optimization plugin, set your compression level, and test a few images to make sure you are happy with their quality. Most plugins are free until you reach their limit.

ShortPixel-Image-Compression-Levels

Lazy Load Images
Lazy load delays the loading of photos, videos, and iframes so they only load once you scroll down the page and see them. Videos are heavy so I suggest at least doing that – I don’t lazy load photos since it can be annoying to load photos as you scroll down. WP Rocket has an option for this in the Media tab, otherwise you can use a plugin like A3 Lazy Load and WP YouTube Lyte.

WP-Rocket-Lazy-Load

Specify Image Dimensions
Specify image dimensions means you need to locate the image, view it’s HTML, and add a width and height in the HTML (which is provided by GTmetrix). Since the WordPress visual editor and most page builders do this automatically, it only usually happens in hand-coded HTML or CSS.

Specify-Image-Dimensions-WordPress

Serve Images In Next-Gen Formats
Found in PageSpeed Insights, WebP and SVG formats can have better quality and compression than JPEG and PNG. Depending on which format you choose, most image optimization plugins have an option to convert your images to WebP format or for SVG, use the SVG Support plugin.

 

8. Disable Unused Functionality

The Perfmatters plugin lets you disable pingbacks, trackbacks, heartbeat, and limit autosave intervals and post revisions. It also lets you host Google Analytics locally and selectively disable plugins from specific pages/posts. The only other plugin I know that does this is WP Disable, Clearfy, and Asset CleanUp, but I have tested them and personally use Perfmatters on my site.

perfmatters-settings

 

9. Clean Your WordPress Database

You can do this in WP Rocket’s database tab (below), otherwise use the WP Optimize plugin. Backup your website if this is your first time doing it and schedule this for weekly or monthly.

WP-Rocket-Database-Settings

One thing I like about WP-Optimize is that it lets you delete old tables left behind by plugins you deleted (shown as “not installed”). If you don’t plan on using the plugin again, delete these.

WP-Optimize-Tables

 

10. Minimize Redirects

Usually means you changed the WWW or HTTP(S) version of your site, but your links/images are still using the old version. You need to correct ALL these which can be done in bulk using the Better Search Replace plugin. GTmetrix will only show you errors for that page, so test a few pages out in GTmetrix to make sure you took care of all redirects throughout your website.

minimize redirects

Better-Search-Replace-WWW-Versions

 

11. Avoid External HTTP Requests

Third party scripts can be found in the reduce DNS lookups section of GTmetrix. These are anything that creates HTTP requests from outside websites (Google Fonts, Analytics, Maps, AdSense, embedded YouTube videos, and even social sharing buttons or social media widgets).

Some scripts are easy to optimize:

  • Optimize fonts with the OMGF plugin
  • Host Google Analytics tracking code locally
  • Disable and optimize Gravatars on blog comments
  • Generally, only use a Google Map on the contact page
  • Replace YouTube iframe with preview image (in WP Rocket)

Other scripts like Google AdSense and Google Tag Manager are much more difficult and can absolutely ruin your GTmetrix report, which is why I recommend affiliate marketing instead.

WordPress External Scripts

Preconnect + Prefetch
If you absolutely must use an external resource throughout your site, you should preconnect/prefetch it. This basically lets the browser anticipate external resources to make it load faster. WP Rocket, Perfmatters, and other plugins have options for this, otherwise you can also use the Pre* Party Resources Hints plugin. If using StackPath, you should also add your CDN URL here. Luke (from Bluehost) created a list of common domains to prefetch on GitHub.

 

12. Fix Bottlenecks In GTmetrix

Slow plugins, images, scripts, and individual elements can all be found in your GTmetrix Waterfall tab. Learn which elements take longest to load and focus on those optimizations. Good hosting and correctly configuring a solid cache plugin should fix most errors in GTmetrix.

1s-2020-GTmetrix-Report

Other Optimizations To Consider

  • Use a lightweight WordPress theme
  • Avoid page builders (or if you do use one, use Oxygen)
  • Optimize WooCommerce scripts, styles, cart fragments in Perfmatters

 

13. Consider Moving To Cloudways

Switching from HostGator to DigitalOcean on Cloudways is night and day.

I moved from SiteGround (who is much faster than HostGator) to DigitalOcean on Cloudways and the results speak for themselves. Cloudways does free migrations which makes it very easy.

SiteGround-vs-Cloudways

There are plenty of migration results if you check Twitter and Facebook Groups. Avoid the bloggers promoting Bluehost and WP Engine because they have the highest commissions and do your research. Hosting is the #1 factor in WordPress’ optimization guide – very important!

2020 Hosting Poll

Cloudways Response Times

Cloudways Google PageSpeed

WP Engine To Cloudways

DigitalOcean Pingdom Report

VPS Cloud Hosting WooCommerce Poll

SiteGround Alternative

Hosting Recommendations Facebook

Elementor Hosting Poll

Untitled

Godaddy DigitalOcean Migration

Cloudways Pingdom Load Times

Cloudways Pingdom Report

WordPress Hosting Suggestions

SiteGround Alternative Beginners

VPS Cloud Hosting Poll

Cloudways Facebook Review

I signed up for 15+ hosting accounts to test their speed. All domains in this video are live, which means you can visit them in real-time and click through their pages, use GTmetrix, etc.

Each website is identical except for it’s hosting (same Astra Starter Site, SSL, no caching, no CDN, and the same 6 plugins). I also used WP Hosting Performance Check and KeyCDN to measure the most popular options. The results align with what most people are saying in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group which I recommend joining to get real, unbiased opinions.

#1. DigitalOcean On Cloudwayscwdoserver.com was the fastest, is who I use, and are very popular in Facebook Groups (especially as an alternative to SiteGround). DigitalOcean is also the only host mentioned in the WordPress Optimization Guide. Cloudways was #1 in most recent Facebook polls and people who migrate usually see significant load time improvements. They use PHP 7.4, Maria DB 10.3, Memcached, Varnish, Nginx, and Redis. Pricing starts at $10/month with no strict CPU limits or renewal prices like on other hosts. The community manager is very helpful and they do free migrations. You can get 25% off your first 2 months with the promo code OMM25.

#2. Kinstaknstaserver.com had similar speeds as DigitalOcean on Cloudways only they are more expensive starting at $30/month. Known for being capable of handling many concurrent visitors. People consistently recommend Kinsta in Facebook Groups, Twitter, and in migration results. Even though they’re not always #1 in Facebook polls (likely because not everyone can pay $30+/month), they are great for high traffic sites.

#3. WPX Hostingwpxserver.com is also very quick, but Cloudways and Kinsta are slightly faster. Starts at $20-$25/month and is who Matthew Woodward recommends.

#4. A2 Hostingatwoserver.com usually outperformed other shared hosting but is not nearly as fast as cloud hosting (just cheaper). I use A2 for my girlfriend’s restaurant website and it’s decently fast with good uptimes. A2 (and all shared hosting) is only sufficient for smaller websites with low traffic/plugins. Otherwise, use cloud hosting.

#5. SiteGround – has gone downhill with many complaints about their renewal prices, price hikes, CPU limits, and support isn’t as good as it used to be. SiteGround shifted to Google Cloud hosting (instead of shared) which is supposed to be faster, but load times and TTFB on stgrndserver.com were usually above 1s. Their SG Optimizer plugin should help, but I still wouldn’t use them. You’re better off on Cloudways DigitalOcean.

Affiliate Disclaimer – I would seriously appreciate you using my affiliate links which means I earn a commission at no expense to you. This would help me make GoFundMe donations ($6,000 so far)! I try to base my recommendations on tests, Facebook polls, and conversations I see on a daily basis in the 30+ WP Facebook Groups I’m active on.

 

Hire My WordPress Speed Optimizer

Still need help with your GTmetrix report?

I’ve been working with Pronaya for 7 years (he’s the one who optimized my GTmetrix report). You can hire him by signing up for freelancer.com and searching for username bdkamol. Here is his full WordPress speed portfolio. He’s $40/hour from Bangladesh (so there is a time change) and you can email him at bdkamol@gmail.com. He also has a perfect 5 star review on his profile. Serious inquiries only, and please don’t expect 100% scores if you’re HostGator’s slow WordPress hosting, a bloated theme, and tons of heavy plugins. Please follow this guide first.

Pronaya-Kumar-S-Reviews

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I speed up my site on HostGator?

Upgrade to the highest possible PHP version inside your HostGator account, configure a good cache plugin like WP Rocket, optimize images with ShortPixel, set up Cloudflare's CDN, and avoid common slow plugins. This will be a great start to make your site faster.

How do you upgrade PHP versions?

Login to your HostGator account and find the PHP Selector. Upgrade to the highest version. Test your website for errors. It's a good idea to take a backup beforehand.

Which cache plugin will yields the best results?

WP Rocket is usually rated the best cache plugin in Facebook polls and will typically yield the best results since it has more speed optimization features than other cache plugins.

Which plugins cause slow load times?

The most common slow plugins include social sharing, statistics (analytics), sliders, portfolios, page builders, calendars, and live chat plugins. WooCommerce sites are usually slower because they require extra scripts, styles, cart fragments, and usually more plugins as well. See my list of 65+ slow plugins to avoid.

How do you set up a CDN?

Sign up for a free Cloudflare account, copy the 2 nameservers provided by Cloudflare, and change nameservers to Cloudflare's in your domain registrar.

See Also: How I Optimized My WordPress Site To Load In <1s

I hope you found this tutorial helpful! Retest your site in GTmetrix and if your WordPress hosting is still slow on HostGator leave me a comment and I’ll be glad to help. I tried to include everything here but I know it can get technical, so drop me a line if need be. Or if you were able to make your site faster, I would love to hear about your new scores and page load times.

Cheers,
Tom

The Ideal W3 Total Cache Settings With Cloudflare And StackPath CDN Instructions — Last Updated 2020 With Latest Version 0.14.2

Not sure if you have the best W3 Total Cache settings?

I generally don’t recommend W3 Total Cache since it doesn’t support database cleanup, heartbeat control, optimizing Google Fonts video optimization, or NGINX + memcached (only available with the premium version). While W3 Total Cache is free, WP Rocket is better since it has these built-in. That’s why it yields faster load times and is rated the #1 cache plugin in most Facebook polls. But if you insist on free, use this tutorial to set up your W3 Total Cache settings.

This tutorial shows you how to set up the performance tabs then add Cloudflare’s free CDN or StackPath‘s premium CDN. Many W3 Total Cache settings are preset (shown in the “Install” tab), but not all of them. For hosting, I recommend DigitalOcean on Cloudways especially over SiteGround, EIG, and GoDaddy (TLDR: Cloudways + WP Rocket is a much faster configuration). They’re what I use; see my GTmetrix report or click through my posts to see how fast they load.

W3-Total-Cache-Settings

 

W3 Total Cache Dashboard

 

Download my recommended W3 Total Cache settings here (you’ll need a Dropbox account). Upload the file under Performance → General Settings → Import / Export Settings. Check your site to make sure everything is OK. You will still need to configure a CDN, activate extensions, and add your sitemap URL (under Page Cache). This file was last updated on March, 18, 2019.

 

1. General Settings

Important notes about the W3 Total Cache general settings:

  • Cache method: use disk enhanced for shared hosting, memcached for cloud hosting.
  • Database cache: leave disabled, it overloads the server especially on shared hosting.
  • Object cache: leave disabled, it will usually slow down the website and the dashboard.
  • CDN: enable if you plan on using StackPath’s CDN (though you can just use Cloudflare).
  • Lazy loading: delays loading of images and fixes the lazy load item in PageSpeed Insights.
  • Fragment cache: only available with W3 Total Cache Pro and usually for dynamic sites.
  • Google PageSpeed Widget: I recommend the GTmetrix plugin for monitoring instead.

W3 Total Cache General Settings 1

 

2. Page Cache

Important notes about the W3 Total Cache page cache settings:

  • Don’t cache pages: you don’t want to cache pages for logged in users or user roles.
  • Rest API: the rest API can be disabled if you’re not using (check your website for errors).
  • Compatibility mode: enable, this is recommended in the Install tab by the developer.

W3 Total Cache Page Cache Settings

 

3. Minify Settings

The plugin developer says the recommended settings for minify, database, and object cache are preset. You can find these recommendations in the Install tab. The main things to tweak are the browser cache settings and set up a content delivery network like Cloudflare or StackPath.

minify settings

 

4. Database Cache

  • Leave as is (recommended by the developer).

 

5. Object Cache

  • Leave as is (recommended by the developer).

 

6. Browser Cache

Important notes about the W3 Total Cache browser cache settings:

  • Enable first 6 settings: enable these individually and test the results in GTmetrix.
  • Brotli compression: if using Cloudflare’s CDN, enable this in the Cloudflare dashboard.

W3 Total Cache Browser Cache Settings 1

Leave everything else including ‘expires header lifetime’ which the developer says is preset.

 

7. User Agent Groups

User Agent Groups are used to specify whether a mobile theme is used (if you have a mobile responsive website and are not using a plugin to create a mobile site, there is no need for this).

W3 Total Cache User Agent Groups

 

8. Referrer Groups

Referrer Groups are used to serve a unique cached version for users who come to your site through specific traffic sources (eg. Google or Bing). Most websites should leave this disabled.

W3 Total Cache Referrer Groups

 

Same concept as referrer groups, only it uses cookies instead to create a unique cached version for users who come to your site through specific cookies. Most sites should leave this disabled.

W3 Total Cache Cookie Groups

 

10. CDN

This section is specifically for StackPath’s CDN which they also have a tutorial for.

Cloudflare is set up differently and it has it’s own section. While most people only recommend using 1 CDN (usually Cloudflare since it’s free), I personally use both Cloudflare and StackPath. Both offload a ton of resources to their data centers and save bandwidth (screenshots below).

StackPath-Bandwidth-Savings

Step 1: Go to the W3 Total Cache General Settings and enable StackPath.

W3 Total Cache Enable CDN

Step 2: Sign up for StackPath, select API management from the dropdown menu (top right), then select Generate Credentials. Create a name (eg. W3TC) then StackPath will give you a Client ID and Client Secret. Copy/paste these into StackPath under CDN Settings → Authorize.

StackPath Credentials

Authorize

StackPath Credentials In W3TC

Step 3: In the W3 Total Cache CDN settings, use these:

W3 Total Cache CDN Settings 1

Step 4: In StackPath go to CDN → Cache Settings, then click Purge Everything:

StackPath-Purge-Cache

Step 5: Run your site in GTmetrix and “content delivery network” should be green in YSlow.

CDN GTmetrix YSlow

CDN pointers from the plugin developer (found in Install tab) – if you do not use the Media Library, import your images etc into the default locations. Use the Media Library Import Tool on the “CDN” tab to do this. If you do not have a CDN provider, you can still improve your site’s performance using the “Self-hosted” method. On your own server, create a subdomain and matching DNS Zone record; e.g. static.domain.com and configure FTP options on the “Content Delivery Network” tab. Be sure to FTP upload the appropriate files, using the upload buttons.

 

11. Fragment Cache

Fragment cache is mainly used in dynamic sites. Instead of caching an entire page, individual sections (usually the heavy areas) are cached. You will need to upgrade to W3 Total Cache Pro to use fragment cache. They have recommendations on that page I linked to which makes the plugin aware if you’re grouping transients. However, you may need some coding experience.

W3 Total Cache Fragment Cache

 

12. User Experience

W3 Total Cache comes with basic lazy load settings which fixes the lazy load item in PageSpeed Insights. This delays loading of images until you scroll down and see them. It doesn’t optimize videos, so if you embed YouTube videos on your site, you will need an additional plugin for that.

W3 Total Cache Lazy Loading

 

13. Extensions

Active any extensions you’re using. In my case it would be Cloudflare and Yoast.

W3 Total Cache Extensions

 

14. Cloudflare CDN

Cloudflare is free with over 200+ data centers.

If you’re using Cloudflare, there is usually no need to use StackPath. Unlike StackPath, setting up Cloudflare is different and requires changing nameservers. When you’re done, be sure to login to your Cloudflare dashboard and add Page Rules which can improve speed and security.

Cloudflare-Bandwidth-Savings

Step 1: Sign up for a free Cloudflare account, add your site, and run the scan prompted by Cloudflare. You will eventually come to a page where Cloudflare assigns you 2 nameservers.

Cloudflare-GoDaddy-Nameservers

Step 2: Login to your domain registrar, find the area to change nameservers, and paste them here. Once this is done, you can go back to Cloudflare and click “Done, check nameservers.”

SiteGround-DNS-Records

Step 3: In the W3 Total Cache Extensions tab, activate Cloudeflare and click Settings.

Cloudflare Extension

Configure the Cloudflare settings (note: the only thing I changed is enabling hotlink protection).

W3 Total Cache Cloudflare Settings

Step 4: Login to your Cloudflare dashboard and go to Page Rules. Add these 3 page rules:

Page Rule 1: Cache Everything And Force HTTPS – cache your website aggressively.

http://*yourwebsite.com/*

Always-Use-HTTPS-Page-Rule

Page Rule 2: Secure The WordPress Admin And Bypass Cache – sets security level of the admin to high and bypasses Cloudflare’s cache in the admin, since you don’t want CDNs (or apps + performance features like Rocket Loader) running inside the admin.

yourwebsite.com/wp-admin*

WordPress-Admin-Page-Rule

Page Rule 3: Decrease Bandwidth Of WP Uploads – since the content in your WP Uploads folder does not change frequently, increasing Edge Cache TTL to a month can save on bandwidth, since the WP Uploads folder cache won’t be refreshed as often.

yourwebsite.com/wp-content/uploads*

WP-Uploads-Page-Rule

Once you’re done configuring your CDN(s), purge all caches in W3 Total Cache. If you don’t see this, there may be an ’empty all caches’ option in the dashboard tab. It can take up to 24 hours for Cloudflare nameservers to propagate, but you will get a confirmation email once complete.

 

15. Cloudways (The Host I Use)

If you’re wondering what host I use, it’s DigitalOcean on Cloudways.

This post can load in 1.5s + 100/98% GTmetrix scores with a 2.24MB page size and many images, comments, Gravatars, and an embedded video. My server response times are also fast. Yeah, it’s more expensive starting at $10/month, but my blog is about speed – not being cheap.

Reduce-Server-Response-Times-TTFB

You definitely won’t get those results on shared hosting (Bluehost, HostGator, GoDaddy, even SiteGround which I stopped promoting since they went downhill). I highly recommend joining the WordPress Hosting and WP Speed Matters Facebook Group to get real, unbiased opinions.

Cloudways-Shoutout

Avoid These Hosting Companies

Why I Use Cloudways

  • GTmetrix report speaks for itself.
  • TTFB is under 200ms in my GTmetrix Timings report.
  • Server response times are under 300ms in PageSpeed Insights.
  • Posts like this (ones that are very long) still load in under 2s.
  • It can handle resource-hungry plugins (shared hosting can’t).
  • DigitalOcean is recommended in WordPress optimization guide.
  • They’re highly recommended in Facebook Groups, polls, conversations.
  • Out of 15+ popular hosts, they were the fastest in my Pingdom speed test.
  • They do free trials, free migrations, and their community manager is very helpful.

I even made a video where I installed the same Astra Starter Site using 15+ different hosting companies and tested their load times (for example, visit cwdoserver.com or stgrndserver.com and click through the site to test speeds of Cloudways DigitalOcean vs. SiteGround GrowBig). Or check out these other sites that use Bluehost, HostGator, or GoDaddy. Here are the results.

Hosting-Comparisons-Pingdom

Do your research! There are plenty of people posting migration results if you check Twitter and Facebook Groups. Hosting is the #1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide, it’s important.

Cloudways Response Times

Cloudways Google PageSpeed

WP Engine To Cloudways

DigitalOcean Pingdom Report

2020 Hosting Poll

VPS Cloud Hosting WooCommerce Poll

SiteGround Alternative

Hosting Recommendations Facebook

Untitled

Godaddy DigitalOcean Migration

Cloudways Pingdom Load Times

Cloudways Pingdom Report

Elementor Hosting Poll

WordPress Hosting Suggestions

SiteGround Alternative Beginners

VPS Cloud Hosting Poll

Cloudways Facebook Review

The “who is the best hosting” question is getting old. Just look at this Facebook thread.

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for Cloudways using my affiliate link or use promo code OMM25, this saves you money and credits me the sale which I really appreciate. I donate quite a bit to charity ($6,000 to GoFundMe so far) and only recommend the fastest, best host based on real evidence: speed tests, polls, my results, other migration results, and conversations from 20+ FB Groups I’m in. Thank you so much if you use it.

 

35+ WP Speed Tips (My Full Guide)

Watch My Video – it’s a 42 minute video, but I cover pretty much everything (timestamps in video description) and you should learn a ton of great information on WordPress site speed:

 

Hire My WordPress Speed Optimizer

Still need help with your GTmetrix report? I’ve been working with Pronaya since 2011 (he’s the one who helped me get a such nice scores + load times. You can hire him by creating a profile on freelancer.com and searching for username bdkamol (see his portfolio). He’s $40/hour from Bangladesh (so there is a time change) and his email him is bdkamol@gmail.com. He has a perfect 5 star review on his profile. Serious inquiries only, and please don’t expect 100% scores if you’re using slow hosting, plugins, and theme. Please follow my WordPress speed guide first.

Pronaya-Kumar-S-Reviews

 

Frequently Asked Questions

🚀 Is W3 Total Cache the best cache plugin?

Most people prefer WP Rocket over W3 Total Cache since it comes with features not included with W3 Total Cache, and therefore yields better results in GTmetix. These features include database cleanup, hosting analytics locally, advanced lazy loading of images + videos, heartbeat control, and DNS prefetching. It's also easier to configure.

🚀 Should I use a CDN with W3 Total Cache?

Yes, Cloudflare's free CDN can make your site faster and more secure which you can set up by changing nameservers in your domain registrar, then configuring the Cloudflare settings in W3 Total Cache. Adding page rules in the Cloudflare dashboard is also recommended.

🚀 What happens if W3 Total Cache breaks my site?

The minification and combination settings in W3 Total Cache are usually the most common culprits of broken elements when using W3 Total Cache. Test each one of these carefully.

🚀 How do I clear cache once I'm done?

Go to the Performance settings, then click Purge Everything.

🚀 Do I need other speed plugins besides W3 Total Cache?

Yes, you should also install plugins for heartbeat control, database cleanup, image optimization, and either Asset CleanUp or Perfmatters to selectively disable plugins.

See Also: How I Got 100% GTmetrix Scores

That’s it! I know it can get a bit technical so if you have any questions just drop me a line in the comments. And if you enjoyed my tutorial, please give it a share. I would really appreciate that!

Cheers,
Tom