The Ideal WP Fastest Cache Settings Including StackPath Or Cloudflare CDN Instructions (2020 With Latest Version 0.9.1.0)

WP-Fastest-Cache-Settings

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 load times (I use StackPath since it’s fast and more reliable). And for hosting, I suggest Cloudways (DO or Vultr HF) who are miles better than shared hosting or SiteGround.

I will show you how to configure the best WP Fastest Cache settings, StackPath’s CDN, and free speed plugins that do the same thing as WP Fastest Cache premium. However, if you’re going to spend money on a premium cache plugin, you should really use WP Rocket and see this tutorial.

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!

 

1. WP Fastest Cache Settings

If you plan on using StackPath’s CDN (recommended), use these settings and go to the CDN section since the main settings are different (you would disable the preload, logged-in users, mobile caching, and update post options) as 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. The Cloudflare section shows you how to sign up for Cloudflare, change nameservers in your domain registrar, setup 3 Cloudflare page rules for better 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 using shared hosting use 4-6, VPS should use 10-12.

wp fastest cache settings

Breakdown Of The 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 should use 10-12. Creates a 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, in which case this setting would be left unchecked)
  • Mobile – you don’t want to 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. For example, the blogroll will be updated if you publish a new post.
  • Update Post – clear cache files when a post or page is updated (Learn more)
  • Minify HTML – decrease size of page a high priority GTmetrix item (Learn more)
  • Minify HTML Plus – more powerful HTML minification (premium feature)
  • Minify CSS – decreases size of CSS files, a high priority GTmetrix item (Learn more)
  • Minify CSS Plus – more powerful CSS minification (premium feature)
  • Combine CSS – combines multiple CSS stylesheets into 1 single file, creating less requests (Learn more)
  • Minify JS – decrease size of JS files (premium feature)
  • Combine JS – combines multiple JavaScript files into 1 single file
  • Combine JS Plus – minifies the 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 GTmetrix item (Learn more)
  • Browser Caching – reduce load time for repeat visitors (Learn more)
  • Disable Emojis: removes emojis which causes slower load times
  • 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 OMGF plugin the premium Perfmatters plugin which I highly recommend
  • Lazy Load – premium feature, however lazy load was built-in to WordPress 5.5 anyway.

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

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

 

2. Delete Cache

Once you’re done configuring the WP Fastest Cache settings, delete cache and minified CSS/JS.

WP-Fastest-Cache-Delete-Cache

 

3. Image Optimization

Premium feature which losslessly compresses images (an item in GTmetrix). There are other free plugins that do this like ShortPixel, Imagify, or TinyPNG (no need to upgrade just for this).

WP-Fastest-Cache-Image-Optimization

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

optimize-images-gtmetrix

 

4. Premium

If you’re going to spend money on a premium cache plugin, WP Rocket has way more features than WP Fastest Cache Premium. The free version of WP Fastest Cache lacks many features and is rarely updated to incorporate new speed optimizations, while WP Rocket is constantly being updated with new features. It’s worth the money and is what I currently use on my blog.

WP-Fastest-Cache-Premium

 

5. Exclude

If any of the minify settings break your website, view the source code, find the problematic CSS or JavaScript files(s), and exclude them from minification by adding new CSS + JS rules. If you don’t see visible errors on your site when enabling minification settings, you can skip this step.

WP-Fastest-Cache-Exclude-Settings

 

6. CDN Settings

A CDN makes your site faster by hosting it on multiple servers around the country and world, as opposed to 1 origin server, reducing the geographical distance between the server and visitors.

StackPath vs. Cloudflare – Cloudflare is free and is fine for small sites. But if you can afford $10/month, I recommend StackPath since you will usually get better results. Even though they have less data centers (StackPath has 45 data centers while Cloudflare has 200+ data centers), StackPath is a true CDN with faster speed technology. Cloudflare can sometimes have the opposite effect and actually slow down your site. With StackPath, it almost always speeds it up.

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

Now you’re done.

Cloudflare Instructions – this section is for setting up Cloudflare. Do not follow these instructions if you’re already using StackPath since you should only be using 1 single CDN.

SiteGround, Bluehost, and other hosts usually have an option to activate Cloudflare in the cPanel. If your host doesn’t have an option, you can setup Cloudflare using WP Fastest Cache.

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 page where Cloudflare assigns you 2 nameservers 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 nameservers provided by Cloudflare and pasting them into a custom name servers option in your hosting dashboard.

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: Take advantage of page rules which you can add in your Cloudflare dashboard. Since you can only use 3 free page rules. You can choose the ones you want to use depending on your site, but I would at least add the WP Admin and WP Uploads page rules. These will help disable Cloudflare optimizations inside your WordPress dashboard, sets a high security level for the WordPress admin, and saves bandwidth but not caching the WP Uploads folder as frequently.

Always Use HTTPS Page Rule
Always Use HTTPS
WP Uploads Page Rule
WP Uploads
WordPress Admin Page Rule
WP Admin
Always Online Page Rule
Always Online
WordPress Preview Page Rule 1
Preview Pages
Email Obfuscation Page Rule
Email Obfuscation
XMLRPC Page Rule
XMLRPC
Dynamic Content Page Rule
Dynamic Content

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

Purge Individual Files Cloudflare

All done!

WP-Fastest-Cache-Cloudflare-Confirmation

 

7. Database

Cleaning your database removes unnecessary junk and makes your site load faster. You can use the free WP-Optimize plugin to do this (no need to upgrade to WP Fastest Cache Premium). WP-Optimize also lets you delete tables left behind by old plugins you don’t use anymore. Make sure you’re not deleting things that can break your site and always take a backup beforehand.

WP-Optimize Clean Database

 

8. Delete Cache And Retest Your Site

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

2020-GTmetrix-Report

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)

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

 

9. WP Fastest Cache FAQs

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

WP-Fastest-Cache-FAQs

 

10. 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 configured multiple cache plugins with ideal settings on the same site (testing each cache plugin one at a time), then ran the site through Pingdom to test results.

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, delaying JavaScript). While WP Rocket has these all built-in, you would need to install about 6-7 extra plugins to get these with WP Fastest Cache. I wrote a WP Rocket setup guide which also shows you how to get 10% off the price.

 

11. Cloudways (Recommended Host)

Hosting recommendations are usually garbage.

Join the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group to get unbiased feedback. Most members (myself too) swear by Cloudways WordPress Hosting. Specifically DigitalOcean / Vultr High Frequency.

Yes, it’s a little more expensive at $10-$13/month, but we’re talking about speed here – not being cheap. With Cloudways, you have a choice of using DigitalOcean, Vultr High Frequency, Google Cloud, AWS, or Linode. These are worlds faster than shared hosting and can handle resource-intensive tasks much better (Elementor, Beaver, Divi, WooCommerce, AdSense, etc).

Cloudways makes it easy to test them out and see the difference in your load times: they do free migrations, monthly pricing, a Migrator plugin, and a promo code to save money: OMM25

Here’s what happened when I moved:

SiteGround vs Cloudways

GTmetrix tests are always different, but even posts with a huge page 2.70MB page size and 96 requests can often load in under 2s. I’ll also take a 148ms time to first byte any day of the week. That post has 70+ images, 480 comments (showing Gravatars), Font Awesome, and Elementor.

OMM-TTFB

The evidence is there:

Cloudways Response TimesCloudways-Migration-Result
Cloudways Google PageSpeed
WP Engine To Cloudways
DigitalOcean Pingdom Report
Hosting-Recommendation
Moving-From-WPX
SiteGround-Alternatives
Preferred-Web-Hosting
UntitledWPEngine-To-Cloudways
Godaddy DigitalOcean Migration
Cloudways Pingdom Load Times
Cloudways Pingdom Report
Elementor-Hosting
Web-Hosting-France
SiteGround-Alternative
VPS-Cloud-Hosting

 

I use Cloudways because:

  • Even posts with a 2.70MB page size can load in under 2s
  • DigitalOcean and Vultr HF are miles faster than shared hosting.
  • It’s $10-$13/month (no yearly contracts or high renewal prices).
  • Varnish, Redis, and memcached are all built-in for higher performance.
  • You get to pick from DigitalOcean, Vultr HF, Linode, AWS, Google Cloud.
  • 4.8/5 star TrustPilot rating and highly recommended in Facebook Groups.
  • They have 25+ data centers between all their cloud hosting providers.
  • No CPU issues like on SiteGround, Bluehost, and other shared hosting.
  • SSL, staging, and backups are all very easy in the Cloudways dashboard.
  • Support used to be average, but is now really good as reflected on TrustPilot.
  • They offer a free migration but their Migrator plugin will also do the trick.
  • Adding a server, migrating your site, and the dashboard is actually very easy.
  • Muhammed (their community manager) gave me peace of mind when moving.
  • Only complaint is they need to add LiteSpeed servers to their list of providers.

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for Cloudways using my affiliate link, I would seriously appreciate it. I don’t recommend bad hosting like many other affiliates. I also donate quite a bit to charity ($6,000 to GoFundMe so far) and your support would really help. I try to base my reviews not only from my experience, but real evidence from the overwhelming feedback in numerous Facebook Groups. It would mean a lot.

Just do your research and look at this Facebook thread.

 

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
  • 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.”

 

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 other CDNs like StackPath or KeyCDN usually yield faster load times.

🚀 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?

On top of WP Fastest Cache, you should install a plugin for image optimization, database cleanup, prefetching external domains, optimizing Google Fonts, hosting Google Analytics locally, delaying loading of JavaScript, selectively disabling plugins, and heartbeat control.

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, sharing is appreciated.

Cheers,
Tom

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