WP Fastest Cache is an easy-to-setup cache plugin, and it’s free!
The biggest con is it hasn’t been updated for core web vitals and lacks many features. The changelog shows there hasn’t been significant updates for years and doesn’t list dates either.
After configuring the WP Fastest Cache settings, be prepared to install several extra plugins and make other optimizations if you want better results. You can use Perfmatters which addresses most of these, or switch to a better caching plugin that addresses web vitals (I use FlyingPress).
Otherwise, I’ll be covering the WP Fastest Cache settings, setting up Cloudflare and BunnyCDN (the CDN combination I would use), and workarounds for lacking features and core web vitals.
Remember to benchmark your core web vitals (I would also be testing your website in the GTmetrix Waterfall chart). Leave a comment if you have questions or see their support forum.
1. WP Fastest Cache Settings
Other than ticking a few settings, here are a few things to consider:
Preloading should ideally be set up as a cron job and WP Fastest Cache has additional settings to control how preloading works (which can also significantly impact CPU usage). You can test minifying files with WP Fastest Cache or Cloudflare to see which one gives you the best results, and combining files is usually not recommended for the majority of sites. Finally, you want to avoid clearing the entire cache too often or on too many pages or it can also cause CPU spikes.
Recommended WP Fastest Cache Settings:
- Cache System: ON – enables filed-based caching. You can clear cache on specific pages in your “pages” menu in WordPress which consumes less CPU than clearing the entire cache.
- Widget Cache System: premium feature – caches widgets but this also requires the Classic Widgets plugin. While there are much better paid solutions than WP Fastest Cache Premium, you can turn it ON when using it. It also lets you exclude this on specific posts.
- Preload: ON – artificially fills the cache so by the time users visit your website, they are more likely to get a cache HIT. While great for speed, it can increase CPU usage in many cases. The best method is to use a cron job in your host or with WP Crontrol. I also recommend only preloading key pages like the homepage, pages, posts, and categories. Finally, you can enter the following URL to see the preloading status (replace yourwebsite.com): https://yourwebsite.com/?action=wpfastestcache&type=preload
- Page Per Minute: 4-6 (shared hosting) or 10-12 (VPS hosting). This is recommended by WP Fastest Cache since VPS hosting is more powerful with the capacity to preload pages faster. If you’re getting CPU spikes, you can lower the number even more or change the preload interval using a cron job (which is defaulted to every 5 minutes).
- Restart After Completed: ON – reduces CPU usage by creating cache in a controlled way rather than clearing the entire cache and creating it again. Preload will create cache and overwrite the existing cache file. But it can also delay new changes to appear, so test this carefully or search the forums for topics related to the setting.
- Logged-in Users: ON – you don’t want to show the cached version to logged-in users unless you run a membership site (or similar) where users need their own cached version.
- Mobile: OFF – responsive websites should leave this off. This is only used if your website isn’t responsive, you use a dedicated mobile theme and need a separate mobile cache, or when you have mobile-specific elements and are having issues showing them on mobile.
- Mobile Theme: premium feature – leave OFF unless you have a dedicated mobile theme.
- New Post: OFF – the documentation says to leave off if “restart after completed” is on in the preload settings. Normally, this clears the cache when a new page or post is published.
- Update Post: ON – clears the cache files when a post or page is updated (learn more).
- Minify HTML: ON – removes unnecessary characters from HTML including inline JS/CSS.
- Minify HTML Plus: premium feature – theoretically a more powerful CSS minification. Cloudflare and minify plugins do this for free so there’s no need to pay for this. Leave OFF.
- Minify CSS: ON – same concept as minify HTML only for CSS files. If minifying CSS or JS breaks your website, find the problematic files and exclude them in the Exclude settings.
- Minify CSS Plus: premium feature – theoretically a more powerful CSS minification. Again, Cloudflare and minify plugins can minify CSS for free, so don’t pay and leave OFF.
- Combine CSS: OFF – there are several reasons why you shouldn’t combine CSS/JS like slower load times and potential issues with HTTP/2 + HTTP/3. Which means you should leave all combine settings off. The only exception is websites with very small CSS/JS files (i.e. under 10KB which you can see in GTmetrix Waterfall), but most sites aren’t that small.
- Minify JS: premium feature – again, Cloudflare and minify plugins minify JS, leave OFF.
- Combine JS: OFF – same reason you shouldn’t combine CSS, it can help more than hurt.
- Gzip: ON – compresses pages, but Brotli is faster. The catch is that your host needs to support Brotli and activated in your hosting account. Cloudflare has a Brotli setting too.
- Browser Caching: ON – stores your website’s common files in the visitor’s browser so when they visit your website again (or click through pages), these files will load faster.
- Google Fonts: premium feature – loads Google Fonts asynchronously to fix render-blocking resources. However, the better method is to host fonts locally using OMGF, Elementor, or do it manually. Once fonts are served from your website instead of fonts.gstatic.com, you can preload all fonts loading above the fold or mentioned in CSS files. Lastly, use font-display: swap to ensure text remains visible during webfont load.
- Lazy Load: premium feature – lazy loading images is built-in to WordPress 5.5, then you can use WP YouTube Lyte to do this for videos. I don’t know any cache plugin that makes you pay for this, so leave OFF. Just make sure above the fold images are excluded from lazy load and preloaded (including your LCP image) or it will increase LCP. I’d personally use a different solution such as Perfmatters which lets you exclude leading images and replace YouTube iframes with a preview image, and do a better job than native lazy load. Other cache plugins like FlyingPress + WP Rocket let you lazy load background images too.
wget -O - "https://yourwebsite.com/?action=wpfastestcache&type=preload" >/dev/null 2>&1
2. Delete Cache
Delete cache and minified CSS/JS when you’re done configuring the WP Fastest Cache settings. Cache statistics are included with WP Fastest Cache premium (arguably its most useful feature).
3. Image Optimization
The image optimization in WP Fastest Cache Premium only compresses images and serves them in WebP, but there are 2 big issues.
First, there’s more to optimizing images than compression/WebP (see list below). The other reason is that even if you buy WP Fastest Cache, it only comes with 1000 credits when each optimization uses 1 credit. Eventually, you may find yourself buying more credits on top of paying for WP Fastest Cache Premium. The cost of this just isn’t worth the value in my opinion.
CDNs and dedicated image optimization plugins do a much better job with this. CDNs usually cost money (i.e. Cloudflare Mirage + Polish or Bunny Optimizer) but are easier and optimize images on the fly. Otherwise, ShortPixel and Smush are popular image optimization plugins.
- Serve smaller images to mobile
- Preload above the fold images
- Add missing image dimensions
- Serve lower quality images on slow connections
- Remove EXIF data
4. WP Fastest Cache Premium
If you look at WP Fastest Cache free vs. Premium on their website, you’ll see a table comparing it to W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache.
However, premium plugins like FlyingPress (or WP Rocket) are significantly better than WP Fastest Cache Premium which still lacks many optimizations you will find in core web vitals.
|WP Fastest Cache||WP Rocket||FlyingPress|
|Lazy load images||Premium||✓||✓|
|Image compression||Premium||x||via FlyingCDN|
|Lazy load iframes + videos||x||✓||✓|
|Remove unused CSS||x||Inline||Separate file|
|Optimize Google Fonts||x||✓||✓|
|Preload critical images||x||x||✓|
|Lazy render HTML elements||x||x||✓|
|Lazy load background images||x||Inline||Helper class|
|Exclude images from lazy load||x||By URL||By Number|
|Preview image for YouTube iframe||x||✓||✓|
|Self-host YouTube placeholder||x||x||✓|
|Add missing image dimensions||x||✓||✓|
|Documented APO compatibility||x||x||✓|
Plugins To Use With WP Fastest Cache To Address Lacking Features:
- Flying Script
- Flying Pages
- WP Youtube Lyte
- Pre* Party Resource Hints
This is used to exclude certain things from the cache.
The main reason to use this is if minify CSS or minify JS breaks your site and you want to exclude it. In that case, you will need to view your source code, find the problematic file, click “add new rule,” and paste the URL. This way, the rest of your CSS/JS files can still be minified.
For WooCommerce and other eCommerce sites, WP Fastest Cache excludes cart, my account and checkout pages automatically as well as YITH WooCommerce Wishlist. Carts updated via Ajax are compatible with the cache, but cart widgets using PHP to update the cart must exclude the woocommerce_items_in_cart cookie.
The support forums also have common ways people are using the exclude settings.
6. CDN Settings
The first thing you should decide is which CDN you want to use (it should only be used if you have visitors far away from your origin server).
I’m a fan of the Cloudflare + BunnyCDN combination which is also recommended by Gijo from WP Speed Matters. Better cache hit ratio, better routing, and BunnyCDN’s geo-replication are all good reasons to use both. BunnyCDN is also faster, more reliable, and cheaper than most other CDNs like StackPath + KeyCDN. StackPath had issues and was even removed from cdnperf.com.
This section shows you how to setup Cloudflare (first) and BunnyCDN (second) with helpful tips along the way.
Step 1: Sign up for Cloudflare through their website. Some hosts have an option to activate Cloudflare in your hosting account, but they only give you limited settings. The only exception I’d make is if you’re using Cloudflare Enterprise which you can get on Cloudways or Rocket.net. I use Cloudflare Enterprise on Cloudways and can tell you it makes a big difference in your speed.
Step 2: Add your website to Cloudflare and select a plan (free plan is fine for most sites, but Cloudflare Pro has APO, image optimization via Mirage + Polish, and other speed/security features). They will scan DNS records, click “continue,” and they will assign you 2 nameservers.
Step 3: Login to your domain registrar and change nameservers to Cloudflare’s.
Step 4: In your Cloudflare Profile, go to API Tokens → Create Token → Use WordPress Template → Continue To Summary → Create Token. This is the token you will need for WP Fastest Cache.
Step 5: In WP Fastest Cache, click “CDN by Cloudflare” in the CDN settings. Add your API token. WPFC will walk you through a few pages and automatically configure a few Cloudflare settings.
Rocket Loader will also be disabled to ensure better compatibility.
Browser cache expiration will be set to 6 months.
All done with Cloudflare!
Free Features To Consider In Your Cloudflare Dashboard
- TLS 1.3 – fastest TLS protocol (I recommend setting min. TLS version to 1.2).
- Bot Fight Mode – block spam bots which are logged into your firewall events.
- Early Hints – early preload/preconnect hints which improves server wait time.
- Crawler Hints – tells crawlers if content is updated to prevent wasteful crawls.
- Page Rules – here’s a screenshot of 3 common page rules for WordPress sites.
- Firewall Rules – another screenshot of 4 common firewall rules for WordPress.
- HTTP/3 With QUIC – delivers website from faster HTTP/3 (use a HTTP/3 test).
- Hotlink Protection – stops websites from copying images and using bandwidth.
- Zaraz – offloads third-party scripts to Cloudflare (Google Analytics, Ads, others).
- SXGs – prefetches content so it loads faster when your site is clicked in Google.
They also have paid add-ons like APO, Mirage and Polish, Argo Tiered Cache, rate limiting, and many others. You can read more about Cloudflare settings I recommend.
Step 1: Sign up for BunnyCDN. They have 90+ PoPs and it costs $0.01/GB – $0.06/GB which is one of the cheaper (but better) CDNs. It also comes highly recommended in Facebook Groups.
Step 2: Add my code OMM5 to your BunnyCDN Billing section if you want $5 in free credits.
Step 3: In your BunnyCDN dashboard, go to Pull Zones → Add Pull Zone. For name, enter your domain name as-is (no HTTPS, WWW, or .com). For origin URL, add your actual domain name. Then select the regions you want to use. Some are more expensive than others so if you don’t have users in South Africa, consider disabling that region. At the bottom, click “Add Pull Zone.”
Step 4: BunnyCDN will show your pull zone name + CDN Domain. You’ll need both of them.
Step 5: In WP Fastest Cache, click “Other CDN Providers” in the CDN settings. Add your CDN URL and original URL from BunnyCDN. You can set up a custom hostname like cdn.yourwebsite.com if you don’t want .b-cdn.net in your CDN URL, but you should do that before continuing further.
Step 6: Choose the files you want served from BunnyCDN. I left everything enabled.
Step 7: Specify sources if you only want some served from BunnyCDN (instead of all them), or exclude sources. These are based on keywords, but I left them blank. Then keep clicking “next.”
Step 8: If you set up both Cloudflare and BunnyCDN, you’ll see the green checkmarks.
Step 9: Install the BunnyCDN plugin and add your pull zone name from step #4. This can help make sure more files are served from BunnyCDN. When I only set up BunnyCDN through my cache plugin, I noticed some CSS/JS files weren’t being served from it. This is what BunnyCDN support recommended to me which solved it, but I would test it carefully and check your files.
Step 10: Check your website for errors and make sure the right files are being served.
If you’re interested in using geo-replication or Bunny Optimizer, see my BunnyCDN guide.
No need to buy WP Fastest Cache Premium for database cleanups when you have WP-Optimize.
It also does a better job of cleaning your database because it removes more junk and you can schedule ongoing database cleanups (while also keeping a specified amount of post revisions).
Just as importantly, it lets you remove tables left behind by old plugins and see which plugins/modules add the most overhead.
Most hosting recommendations are garbage, these are better:
Mainstream hosts (like SiteGround, Hostinger, GoDaddy, and WPX) don’t live up to the hype. They skimp out on CPU/RAM, use slower SATA SSDs, and are shared hosting with strict CPU limits which force you to upgrade. Cloud hosting is faster, but Kinsta and WP Engine still use SATA SSDs with low limits on PHP workers and monthly visits which get expensive. Instead of focusing on speed/technology, they do aggressive marketing… don’t fall for mainstream hosts.
|SiteGround||Kinsta||NameHero Turbo Cloud||Cloudways Vultr High Frequency||Rocket.net|
|Hosting type||Shared||Cloud||Shared||Cloud||Private cloud|
|CPU cores||Not listed||12||3||1||32|
|RAM (GB)||Not listed||8||3||1||128|
|Object cache||Memcached||Redis ($100/mo)||Redis||Redis (Pro)||Redis|
|Server||Apache + Nginx||Nginx||LiteSpeed||Apache + Nginx||Apache + Nginx|
|CDN||SiteGround CDN||Cloudflare Enterprise||QUIC.cloud||Cloudflare Enterprise ($5/mo)||Cloudflare Enterprise|
|Full page cache||Paid||✓||✓||Coming soon||✓|
|Argo smart routing||x||x||x||✓||✓|
|CPU limits||Very common||PHP workers||Average||Average||None|
|Major incidents||Google blocked DNS for 4 days||None||2 day outage||Vultr downtimes (but improved)||None|
|Plans||Don’t use||Don’t use||View plans||View plans||View plans|
I use Rocket.net with their free Cloudflare Enterprise and you can test my TTFB in SpeedVitals, GTmetrix, or click through my site. Both their specs/CDN are better than mainstream hosts. For example, all plans have 32 cores + 128GB RAM, NVMe storage, LiteSpeed’s PHP, and Redis. Their Cloudflare Enterprise is automatically configured with powerful features to improve TTFB/LCP like full page caching, image optimization, HTTP/3, prioritized routing, and Argo Smart Routing.
Of course, I always recommend doing your own research in Facebook Groups and searching TrustPilot reviews to get unbiased feedback since most people (including myself) are affiliates.
I was previously using Cloudways Vultr High Frequency who also has Cloudflare Enterprise, NVMe storage, and Redis Object Cache Pro. However, Rocket.net has a lot more CPU/RAM with no limits on PHP workers (CPU limits). Plus, Rocket.net’s support is likely the best you’ll find if you reach out to Ben Gabler and his team. The main benefit of Cloudways is they allow more storage/bandwidth, but I can tell you the jump from Cloudways to Rocket.net was a nice boost.
For shared hosting, I recommend NameHero. They use LiteSpeed servers which means you’ll use LiteSpeed Cache + QUIC.cloud CDN (arguably the fastest setup on a budget). It’s similar to Hostinger/A2 with LiteSpeed and cPanel, but you get more CPU/RAM and support/uptimes are better which is reflected in their TrustPilot reviews. I generally recommend their Turbo Cloud plan for $7.38/month which includes 3 CPU + 3 GB RAM and faster NVMe storage. The main con is their data centers are only in the US/Netherlands. If your visitors aren’t close to there, make sure to setup QUIC.cloud which has HTML caching (ideally the paid plan which uses all 73 PoPs).
I’ve written some pretty bad reviews about SiteGround’s slow TTFB, CPU limits, and why SG Optimizer does a poor job with core web vitals (they also control several Facebook Groups and threaten to sue people who write bad reviews). Hostinger writes fake reviews and is only cheap because you get less resources like CPU/RAM. Kinsta and WP Engine are way too expensive for how many resources, PHP workers, and monthly visits you get. Along with major incidents like WPX’s worldwide outage and SiteGround’s DNS getting blocked by Google for 4 days (both WPX + SiteGround denied responsibility). That’s why I’m not a fan of mainstream hosting companies.
Even though WP Fastest Cache lacks quite a few features, it’s still free and actually has great reviews. It does require quite a bit of configuration to get the most out of it even if the settings look easy. But I’ve written guides on nearly every cache plugin and am sticking with FlyingPress.
Thanks for this great guide. Question – how do you integrate the Enterprise Cloudfare CDN in FyingPress or WP Fatstes Cache plugins since I dont see an option to get an API key within my Cloudways > Cloudfare dashboard?
Cloudways has specific instructions for adding Cloudflare Enterprise which isn’t done through cache plugins https://support.cloudways.com/en/articles/6009152-how-to-integrate-cloudflare-with-your-application
I’ve got notification about persistent object cache and it’s recommendation from WordPress, do you know how to solve it?
WordPress said that I must use plugin cache from redis to optimize it but, is it okay to use 2 plugin cache at the same time???
Redis is a different layer of caching for your database so yes, it’s OK.
You need to use a host that supports Redis or Memcached (Google it to see if they do). Your host should have instructions for installing it which is usually pretty easy. Enable it in your hosting account, then use a plugin to connect. Your host should tell you which method/plugin to use. For example in cPanel, you can enable Redis in the PHP Extensions menu. Then connect it through a plugin, for example, Redis Object Cache or WP Redis.
Thank you for this great resource!
An edit may need to be made as to the recommended pages per minutes within the preload setting. It seemingly contradicts the WP Fasted Cash recommendations stating, “It depends on the power of the server. If you have a ordinary hosting package, you should not set more than 4-6. But if you have a VPS, you can set 10-12.”
Oh dang, I got them mixed up. Thank you! Corrected.
I am also not one to usually comment on blogs but this article was pure GOLD! Our website went from D on GMetrix to B in a few seconds. Your guide was so easy to follow! Thank you so much!
That’s awesome! I am about to launch my new site and completely rewrote many articles, including this one. You should see it soon.
Hi-nice work on this comprehensive article.
In general, when you have a cache plugin and a CDN network linked to your site, it’s not recommended to minify HTML, JS & CSS on BOTH the plugin and the CDN, right? It’s better to rely on the CDN to run the minification and disable it from the plugin?
Thank you in advance.
Correct, minifying from the CDN is closer to the end user so it’s preferred (then disable it in your cache plugin).
Worst plugin ever.
Just ran through all the settings, updated Cloudflare and ran new tests. My site speed dropped from 1.1 seconds with Autoptimize and Cache Enable to 11.3 seconds with WP Fastest Cache.
Immediately deleted. Garbage.
I pretty much agree with everything you’ve put out here but this informative post needs to be updated. Cloudfare has changed now and charges to have your DNS moved from Siteground (or other hosts) to theirs. If you choose not to pay for that (given my love/hate relationship with Cloudfare – I don’t) you need to add a txt file in your Siteground (or other host’s) DNS settings to verify your Cloudfare account.
Also, I love StackPath even though they have a limited amount of servers throughout the globe. Their customer service is first-rate compared to Cloudfare, which has always sucked and their MVPs on their forum frequently give out bad information.
That being said – there is an issue with Googlebot being able to read files served up by StackPath. It’s so bad – that I started generating 50 error mobile pages a day until my entire site was delisted. I went to StackPath support and over the course of 2 days working with them to correct the issue. It took a long time because they didn’t quite understand the issue and how it affected my search results i.e., SEO.
Ultimately, they found a workaround on their end but it isn’t quite that good as Google was still having difficulty seeing some pages and it took several verifications to get it corrected. I couldn’t wait and sadly returned to Cloudfare.
If you don’t have a global audience and are based in the U.S. then StackPath IS a solid choice. I’m hopeful they’ll come up with a more satisfactory solution besides their workaround because it affects their business as most webmasters are aware of the importance of SEO and Googlebot being able to read every file on your site.
This has been a harrowing week of working with them and then switching back to Cloudfare. I’ve finally got everything working to my satisfaction but it’s been a nightmare.
Thank you for this article! It is a very complete article and very useful. My page speed went from 8 seconds to 2! Your article and instructions are also very easy to follow.
That’s awesome Sabrina, congrats on the new load times!
Im not one to usually commment on website posts, but this one id well deserved of some feed back!
I was cared to use w3 total cache, as wp rocket messed my site up before. I was just using auto optimise.
I had good gt metrix, but poor google page speed.
Followed this guide step by step, took about half an hour all together, and my site is 99-100 in google page speed!!!
Ridiculous! Really appreciate this guide! Done it all with 0 problems! I was going to pay a guy on fiverr to do this for me too lol!
Follow the instructions, and this plug in will suit all of your needs
typos ;( Is well deserved* I was scared*
Nice! Just remember Google PageSpeed Insights doesn’t really matter – load times are the only thing you should care about :)