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!
How to set up the WP Fastest Cache settings
- Cache Plugin Comparison
- WP Fastest Cache Settings
- StackPath CDN
- Delete Cache And Retest In Pingdom
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.
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)
WP Fastest Cache (.527)
W3 Total Cache (.619)
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. Cloudflare – StackPath 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.
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.
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)
- 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
- 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:
Delete Cache – clear the cache after configuring the WP Fastest Cache settings:
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.
Losslessly compressing images fixes the “optimize images” item in 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.
Exclude – exclude pages from being cached (eg. eCommerce checkout pages).
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.
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.
Step 1: Sign up for StackPath.
Step 2: Configure WP Fastest Cache with these settings when using StackPath:
Step 3: In the StackPath dashboard, click the CDN tab, and create a StackPath CDN Site.
Copy your server IP address from above.
Step 4: Click “StackPath” in the CDN area of WP Fastest Cache.
Step 5: Paste your CDN URL into WP Fastest Cache and use your website as the origin URL:
Step 6: Click next, leave all file types selected, then keep clicking next until it’s ready:
Step 7: In StackPath go to CDN → Cache Settings, then click “Purge Everything”…
Step 8: Run your site through GTmetrix and look at the YSlow tab to make sure it’s working…
Ok, NOW you’re done.
Step 1: Sign up for Cloudflare and you will be prompted to add your website and begin a scan.
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.
Step 3. Grab your Global API Key from the link in Cloudflare, or in your Cloudflare profile.
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.
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.
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.
Step 6. Finally, go to your Cloudflare caching settings and purge individual files.
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.
Ideally the following Page Speed items are green:
- Minify CSS
- Minify HTML
- Leverage Browser Caching
- Specify a Cache Validator
- Enable gzip Compression
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
- Configure entity tags (ETags)
- Compress components with gzip
- 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.
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.
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.
Avoid These Hosting Companies
- SiteGround – price increases, CPU limits, support isn’t what it used to be.
- Bluehost – slow servers, owned by EIG, bad support, rated poorly in FB Groups.
- HostGator – also owned by EIG with slow servers, bad support, CPU limit issues.
- GoDaddy – top malware hosting network worldwide, slow, rated poorly in FB groups.
- WP Engine – also not what it used to be, very expensive and not even that fast anymore.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
Reviews on his profile:
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 :)