The Ideal WP Fastest Cache Settings Including StackPath Or Cloudflare CDN Instructions (2021 With Latest Version 1.5.9)

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 BunnyCDN (recommended over StackPath in Facebook Groups) which can further improve load times. 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, BunnyCDN, 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 BunnyCDN (recommended), StackPath, or another CDN besides Cloudflare, use these settings and go to the CDN section since the main settings will be configured differently (disable the preload, logged-in users, mobile caching, and update post).

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.

 

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 efficiently encode images in GTmetrix + PSI:

efficiently encode images

 

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.

  • BunnyCDN – the CDN that is most recommended in Facebook Groups and who I use. Affordable pricing, 50 data centers, easy to setup, and a consistently performant CDN.
  • StackPath – can be a solid choice but can actually increase TTFB in some cases. Recommended by the WP Fastest Cache developer but not who most people recommend.
  • Cloudflare – free but can also increase TTFBs in some cases. Cloudflare is setup differently (by changing nameservers). See the Cloudflare section for setup instructions.

Step 1: Sign up for BunnyCDN (highly recommended in Facebook Groups and who I use).

CDN Comparison Feedback

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

stackpath wp fastest cache settings

Step 3: In the BunnyCDN dashboard, create a pull zone.

BunnyCDN Add Pull Zone

Step 4: Copy your CDN URL from BunnyCDN.

BunnyCDN Hostname

Step 5: Click “Other CDN Providers” in the CDN area of WP Fastest Cache.

WP-Fastest-Cache-Other-CDN-Providers

Step 6: Paste your CDN URL into WP Fastest Cache and use your website as the origin URL.

WP Fastest Cache 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 CDN Confirmation

Step 7: In BunnyCDN, purge pull zone.

BunnyCDN Purge Pull Zone

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.

SiteGround 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.

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

Cloudflare APO – I recommend using Cloudflare’s automatic platform optimization if you have $5/month which caches dynamic content and can significantly improve TTFB. But then again, if you’re going to pay for a premium CDN, that money might be better off purchasing BunnyCDN.

Cloudflare Automatic Platform Optimization

 

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.

OMM GTmetrix Report 2021
For how long this post is with tons of images/comments, it still loads in .8s

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.

Cache Plugin Poll 680

Cache Plugin Facebook Poll 680

WP Rocket vs. W3 Total Cache

What cache plugin do you use

Swift Performance vs WP Rocket

Best cache plugin poll

Best cache plugin facebook poll

Best cache plugin for WordPress

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: The Host I Recommend

Most people in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group swear by Cloudways.

Specifically their DigitalOcean or Vultr High Frequency plan. Yes, it’s a little more expensive at $10-$13/month, but we’re talking about speed – not being cheap. This is the #1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide. Spend 2 minutes looking at this Facebook thread (and this one).

Backlinko reported SiteGround had some of the worst TTFBs. GoDaddy and EIG brands (Bluehost + HostGator) are cheap shared hosting and are obviously not good choices either.

Recent Facebook polls show a large shift in people moving away from lower quality hosts (including SiteGround) to Cloudways, LiteSpeed servers, Kinsta, GridPane, and A2 Hosting.

Moving from SiteGround

eCommerce Hosting Poll

I personally use Cloudways DigitalOcean:

Cloudways Shoutout

Request a free migration from Cloudways (or another cloud host rated highly in polls) and enjoy the faster load times like many people already have. Cloudways has 3-day trials, a Migrator plugin, and promo code OMM25 gets you 25% off the first 2 months.

Cloudways Response Times

Untitled

This is a simple Pingdom test to measure TTFB + load times of 16 WordPress hosts. I installed the same Astra Starter Site on 16 hosting accounts (using separate domains) while measuring Pingdom load times for 1 week at 30 minute check intervals, as well as TTFB in various tools. Some domains are still live (cwdoserver.com is hosted on a $10/month Cloudways DO plan and stgrndserver.com is on SiteGround GrowBig). I cancelled most accounts since it got expensive. Even when browsing through these 2 sites or running your own tests, you’ll see the difference.

WordPress-Hosting-2020-Pingdom-Test

Hosts To Avoid

  • GoDaddy – top malware hosting network worldwide, rated poorly in FB groups.
  • Bluehost – slow servers, owned by EIG, slow support, rated poorly in FB Groups.
  • HostGator – also owned by EIG with slow servers, bad support, CPU limit issues.
  • Hostinger – they write fake reviews and pose as customers (I don’t support that).
  • WP Engine – also not what they used to be, expensive and not even fast anymore.
  • SiteGround – had one of the slowest TTFBs reported by Backlinko. Also one of the slowest in my speed test just above HostGator. Went downhill recently in many ways (slow TTFB, CPU limits, reduced support, price increases, renewals, Site Tools). Search “SiteGround” in FB Groups and you will see many complaints and people moving away.

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for Cloudways using my affiliate link or use code OMM25, watch this video. I try to give solid recommendations based on Facebook Group trends, unbiased polls, migration results, and constant research/testing. I also donate to charity ($6,000 to GoFundMe so far) and your support would honestly help.

 

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: My Full WordPress Speed Optimization Guide

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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