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.
|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 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.
In 2019, I moved from SiteGround to Cloudways Vultr HF and posted my results. In 2022, I moved to Rocket.net with Cloudflare Enterprise which landed me a <100ms global TTFB in KeyCDN. They’re the fastest host I’ve used in 12 years and are blowing up in Facebook groups.
If you have a poor TTFB, you need to rethink your host/CDN since those are the 2 main TTFB factors (which is also 40% of LCP). After writing bad reviews of SiteGround, Hostinger, Kinsta, and EIG, I think we can agree most hosting reviews are garbage. A good place to get unbiased feedback is the WP Speed Matters Group (run by Gijo from FlyingPress). Rocket.net doesn’t do aggressive marketing so not as many people know about them, but results are all I care about.
Good hosting plans:
|FastComet FastCloud Extra||NameHero Turbo Cloud||Cloudways Vultr HF (2GB)||Servebolt Pro||Rocket.net Starter|
|Server||LiteSpeed||LiteSpeed||Apache + Nginx||Apache + Nginx||Apache + Nginx|
|Cores/RAM||6 cores/3GB||3 cores/3GB||1 core/2GB||Unmetered||32 cores/128GB|
|Storage||35GB / SATA||Unlimited NVMe||64GB / NVMe||4GB / NVMe||10GB / NVMe|
|CDN||QUIC.cloud||QUIC.cloud||Cloudflare Enterprise ($5/mo)||Cloudflare Enterprise ($299/mo)||Cloudflare Enterprise (free)|
|Full page caching||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|CDN image optimization||via QUIC||via QUIC||Mirage/Polish||Mirage/Polish||Mirage/Polish|
|DNS||Use QUIC||Use QUIC||DNS Made Easy ($5/mo)||x||Cloudflare|
|Cache plugin||LiteSpeed Cache||LiteSpeed Cache||x||Servebolt plugin||x|
|Object cache||Memcached||Redis||Redis Pro||x||Redis|
|PHP processor||LiteSpeed||LiteSpeed||FPM||Apache 2 ITK MPM||LiteSpeed|
|Bandwidth or monthly visits||92GB + 100k (est.)||50k (est.)||2TB||1M dynamic requests||50GB + 250k visits/mo|
|Major incidents||2022 DDoS attack||2011 2-day node outage||None||None||None|
|Migrations||3 free||1 free||1 free + $25/site||Unlimited free||Unlimited free|
|Monthly price||$5.49 (1-3 years)||$9.98 (3 years)||$30||$99||$25 (1 year)|
- Shared LiteSpeed Hosting – FastCloud Extra, Turbo Cloud, and ChemiCloud’s WordPress Turbo plan are all shared LiteSpeed hosting with cPanel and good alternatives to SiteGround & Hostinger. NameHero and ChemiCloud have less cores/RAM but use NVMe (faster than SATA), Redis (faster than Memcached), and MariaDB (faster than MySQL). NameHero’s data centers are only in US & EU, and NameHero/ChemiCloud make you sign up for 3 years to get their cheapest intro price (FastComet is 1-3 years). With either of these, you’ll use the free LiteSpeed Cache plugin and QUIC.cloud’s CDN (great setup). For cloud VPS, Scala is a solid host and doesn’t charge for the LiteSpeed license separately like other VPS hosts. Imunify360 is used as a security suite on FastComet, NameHero, and Rocket.net.
- Cloudways Vultr HF – good starting point for cloud hosting with more storage + bandwidth than Rocket.net, but their Cloudflare Enterprise needs APO and serves too many challenge pages. They were acquired by DigitalOcean who raised prices, and support could be better. Still very fast between Vultr HF, NVMe, Redis Object Cache Pro, and MariaDB. Even without APO, Cloudflare Enterprise is a powerhouse for reducing TTFB with Argo Smart Routing and prioritizing routing. Mirage/Polish optimize images better than most plugins and doesn’t tax your server. Cloudflare Enterprise can also mean 3 less plugins between image, CDN, and security plugins.
- Servebolt – incredibly fast servers, but Cloudflare Enterprise costs $299/mo via accelerated domains, so you’ll probably just add APO using the Cloudflare plugin. However, this is a disadvantage (specifically for WooCommerce sites) because you don’t get Argo Smart Routing, and Redis is only available on the Business plan and up (Rocket.net includes both). This and low storage are the main cons but they’re much faster than Kinsta + WP Engine. They also have a Servebolt Optimizer plugin.
- Rocket.net – only host I know that averages a <100ms global TTFB. Both their hosting and Cloudflare Enterprise have better specs. For hosting, you get more CPU cores/RAM, LiteSpeed’s PHP, NVMe, Redis, and MariaDB. For their Cloudflare Enterprise, it’s free with APO, Argo, prioritized routing, Mirage/Polish, Brotli, early hints, and Enterprise WAF. Support is also A+ (talk to Ben Gabler and his team) or watch the interview I did with him. Unlike Kinsta and WP Engine, they don’t limit PHP workers, have a 1GB memory limit, and use Redis Object Cache Pro on their business plan and up with 10x more monthly visits and unlimited free migrations. The main con is only 50GB bandwidth on the Starter plan with 10GB NVMe storage. Search their TrustPilot reviews for “TTFB” or search Facebook Groups for feedback about them. You can get $1 your first month when you checkout using code OMM1
Bad hosting plans (and bad hosts in general):
|SiteGround GrowBig||Hostinger Business WP||Bluehost Choice Plus||WP Engine Startup||Kinsta Starter|
|Server||Apache + Nginx||LiteSpeed||Apache + Nginx||Apache + Nginx||Apache + Nginx|
|Cores/RAM||Not listed||2 cores/1.5GB||Not listed||Not listed||12 cores/8GB|
|Storage||20GB / SATA||200GB / SATA||40GB / SATA||10GB / SATA||10GB / SATA|
|CDN||Google Cloud||QUIC.cloud||Cloudflare free||Cloudflare free + Polish||Cloudflare APO + firewall rules|
|Full page caching||via CDN||via QUIC||x||x||✓|
|CDN image optimization||Very limited||via QUIC||x||Polish only||x|
|DNS||Blocked by Google for 4 days||Use QUIC||Internal||Internal||Amazon Route 53|
|Cache plugin||SG Optimizer||LSC||x||x||x|
|Object cache||Memcached||Memcached||x||Memcached||Redis ($100/mo)|
|PHP processor||FastCGI||LiteSpeed||FastCGI||Not listed||FastCGI|
|Resource limits||CPU limits are common||Low resources||Low resources||Low PHP workers + 25k visits/mo||2 PHP workers + 25k visits/mo|
|Control panel||Site Tools||hPanel||cPanel||User Portal||MyKinsta|
|Major incidents||Denies issues with TTFB, DNS, CPU, others||Scam reports, fake reviews, 2019 breach||Claims of hosting terrorist sites||2015 breach||None|
|Migrations||$30/site||Unlimited (but screws it up)||Free on qualified accounts only||Paid (quoted)||Free on select hosts + 1 free|
|TrustPilot rating||4.6/5||4.6/5 (fake)||3.7/5||4.5/5||4.2/5|
|Monthly price||$3.99 (1 year)||$3.99 (2 years)||$5.45 (1 year)||$20 (1 year)||$29 (1 year)|
- SiteGround – $25/mo for a shared GrowBig plan is a ripoff. Top it off with a poor cache plugin, inferior CDN than Cloudflare APO, CPU limits, and a support team that constantly lies about their issues… means you’re getting ripped off. If your LCP is high, I bet you use SiteGround Optimizer which does a poor job with web vitals, plus they’ve have TTFB issues. Their CDN requires you to use SiteGround’s DNS which was blocked by Google for 4 days. To cover up their mess, they deny everything and use Facebook group admins (who run several groups) to promote SiteGround on their behalf and act like support agents. They have “good reviews” only because of affiliates and legal threats. Check this thread about Hristo’s AMA.
- Hostinger – only cheap because they lack resources like cores, RAM, and email storage. Everyone gets drawn to their cheap prices and LiteSpeed, but have you read their scam reports and fake reviews? I would never trust them with my site. Support is horrendous and will screw up migrations, suspend your account, and pretty sure they outsource it to an ice cream truck in Lithuania. The CEO admitted to fake reviews, they’re banned from Facebook groups for voting for themselves in polls, and hired brand ambassadors who pretend to be customers. Check this poll.
- Bluehost – another host that grew from “how to start a blog” affiliates and pays WordPress to be “officially” recommended. Use a shared LiteSpeed host instead.
- WPX – no redundancy system which already lead to a global outage they blamed on a dead CEO. Ticking time bomb, overpriced shared hosting, and not the fastest WordPress host like Matthew said (but now he lists Kinsta #1)? Marketing gimmick.
- WP Engine – I reached out to them about their specs, but they don’t give them out. When a host doesn’t list basic things like cores/RAM, I assume it’s not good. From my experience, they’re similar to Kinsta but even worse with pricey overages.
- Kinsta – great option if you want to go bankrupt with paid add-ons that should be free. Compared to Rocket.net, you get 16x less RAM, 10x less monthly visits, brutal PHP worker limits, and a very low memory limit of 256MB. What are you paying so much for? Slower SATA SSDs, a premium DNS that’s slower than Cloudflare’s, and staging sites that get 1 CPU core? Madness! No wonder their TrustPilot rating sunk.
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.