WP Rocket only released 1 new feature after 2020 if you check the changelog. Plus, it does a poor job with LCP/TTFB.
One reason is that WP Rocket barely optimizes images, specifically above the fold images which is needed for LCP. Imagify and RocketCDN aren’t great because Imagify adds bloat and RocketCDN hardly does anything outside of serving your images from StackPath’s (slow) CDN.
Speaking of RocketCDN, it’s one of the worst. It uses StackPath who only has 60 locations (about half BunnyCDN’s) with a slower Tbps – shown on their network page. RocketCDN also doesn’t compress images, serve them in WebP, resize images for mobile (bad for mobile LCP), and there’s no full page caching (bad for TTFB). StackPath was even removed from cdnperf.com.
WP Rocket also can’t host fonts/analytics locally. For some odd reason, they say it’s not good to host fonts locally even though it clearly makes your website faster and more GDPR compliant.
Even though WP Rocket hardly released any new features the last 2 years, they raised prices. When you compare them to FlyingPress (what I use) and LiteSpeed Cache, WP Rocket has fallen behind. IMO, because they want to keep it ‘plugin and play’ while advertising a <5 minute setup.
I know it’s unpopular opinion, but compare their features to FlyingPress + FlyingCDN and LiteSpeed Cache + QUIC.cloud. Then ask yourself, why doesn’t WP Rocket + RocketCDN do that?
- Barely optimizes images
- Can’t host anything locally
- Remove unused CSS is slow for users
- RocketCDN is slow and bare bones
- No full page caching
- No server-side caching
- Can’t lazy render HTML elements
- Hardly any new features
- Price increase
- Plugins you need with WP Rocket
- WP Rocket vs. FlyingPress vs. LiteSpeed Cache
1. Barely Optimizes Images
LCP Images Aren’t Optimized
LCP images (as well as other above the fold images) should be excluded from lazy load and preloaded. The problem is, these images are usually different on each page – like the one you see at the top of this post. Are you really going to spend time manually excluding/preloading these image URLs in WP Rocket? Unless you go out of your way to do this, the answer is likely no. In fact, WP Rocket’s suggestion to preload LCP images is to install a separate plugin. Ugh…
Perfmatters and FlyingPress have a setting to preload critical images which is way more intuitive. Set the number of images that usually load above the fold (i.e. 2 or 3) and you’re done.
Optimizing Background Images Are A Pain
Since page builders load background images in CSS, they’re not lazy loaded by default. For WP Rocket to lazy load them, you need to move them to inline HTML. Wouldn’t it be nice if they had a helper class which could make it so much easier? FlyingPress does (just add the lazy-bg class).
Imagify Adds Bloat And Increases Memory Usage
Image optimization plugins add lots of backups/variations, plus they use server resources. Image CDNs optimize images “on the fly” which completely eliminates both these problems.
RocketCDN Doesn’t Optimize Images
So can you use RocketCDN for an image CDN? I wouldn’t. The only thing RocketCDN does is serve images from the CDN. There’s no support for compression, WebP, mobile resizing, etc.
No Resizing Images For Mobile
2. Can’t Host Anything Locally
Google Fonts – WP Rocket doesn’t recommend local fonts and their plugin doesn’t support it. Last time I checked, local fonts are significantly faster and even WordPress recommends local fonts for better GDPR compliance. Plus, local fonts can be preloaded and served from your CDN. Again, you would need to install a separate plugin (like OMGF) if you want to host fonts locally, otherwise you will see external requests to fonts.gstatic.com in your PageSpeed Insights report.
Google Analytics – WP Rocket delays it, but can’t host it locally. Both Perfmatters and Flying Analytics can host it locally and use a smaller script (analytics-minimal.js) which is only 1.5kBs.
YouTube Placeholders – when embedding videos, you may notice an external request from i.ytimg.com in your PSI report. FlyingPress is the only plugin I know that can host these locally.
3. Remove Unused CSS Is Slow For Users
When you remove unused CSS, most cache plugins give you the option to load used CSS inline vs. separate file. In plain English, inline is better for scores while separate file is faster for users.
WP Rocket is the only cache plugin that forces you to load used CSS inline. FlyingPress, Perfmatters, and LiteSpeed cache all let you choose your method or use the faster “separate file” method. Most speed experts (Gijo, Vikas, Perfmatters) agree separate file is faster for users.
4. RocketCDN Is Slow And Bare Bones
RocketCDN Uses StackPath (Slow Tbps, Small Network)
If you compare StackPath and BunnyCDN’s network page, StackPath has a slower Tbps and smaller network (almost half the size). StackPath was also removed from cdnperf.com, so I’m not sure why you would use them when even their own site says they’re slower than BunnyCDN.
RocketCDN Only Serves Files With No Other Features
Most CDNs have a paid service to optimize images with compression, WebP, mobile resizing, EXIF removal, and serve low quality images on slow connections. RocketCDN has none of these.
|RocketCDN||SiteGround CDN (Paid)||BunnyCDN||Cloudflare Pro||FlyingProxy||QUIC (Paid)||Rocket.net Cloudflare Enterprise|
|Bandwidth||Unknown (but not unlimited)||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||100GB||Unlimited||Unlimited (but plans have limits)|
|Price||$8.99/mo||$7.49/mo||$.01 – .06/GB||$20/mo||$10/mo||$.01 – .04/GB||Included with hosting|
5. No Full Page Caching
RocketCDN doesn’t support full page caching either.
If you test your site in KeyCDN’s performance test, TTFB gets slower as the distance increases from your server. With full page caching, it caches HTML which can significantly improve global TTFB. This is why many people use Cloudflare’s APO with WP Rocket. While BunnyCDN doesn’t have full page caching, they do have geo-replication (and QUIC.cloud also does HTML caching).
6. No Server-Side Caching
This is one of the biggest advantages to LiteSpeed Cache (and SG Optimizer, even though it’s horrible). Just a reminder you should always use LiteSpeed Cache when using a LiteSpeed host.
7. Can’t Lazy Render HTML Elements
FlyingPress and LiteSpeed Cache lazy render HTML elements which can improve TBT/LCP (WP Rocket can’t). View your site → right click an element you want to lazy load → inspect → right click highlighted code → copy → copy selector → paste it. Footer and comments are common.
8. Hardly Any New Features
The last feature WP Rocket added is “remove unused CSS” in 2011, then “add missing image dimensions” in 2020. Gijo (FlyingPress developer) constantly gets feedback in his WP Speed Matters / FlyingPress Facebook Group, then adds suggestions based on lots of user feedback.
New features since 2020:
|Remove unused CSS||Fetchpriority resource hint|
|Add missing dimensions||Responsive images via FlyingCDN|
|–||Self-host YouTube placeholder images|
|–||Lazy render HTML elements|
|–||Preload critical images and exclude from lazy load|
|–||Add missing image dimensions|
9. Price Increase
It’s now about the same price as FlyingPress, yet you’re getting less features.
I would understand if WP Rocket was actually “the #1 cache plugin” like they say, but it’s not.
10. Plugins You Need With WP Rocket
If you’re sticking with WP Rocket, use Perfmatters (for lacking features) then Cloudflare Pro (with APO and Mirage/Polish for image optimization). That way, you don’t need extra plugins.
- Perfmatters – addresses most lacking features in WP Rocket: preload fonts, preload critical images, lazy load CSS background images, host fonts/analytics locally, faster remove unused CSS, and script manager for unloading CSS/JS where they’re not used.
- Cloudflare – adds Cloudflare APO since RocketCDN doesn’t have full page caching.
- BunnyCDN – better than RocketCDN and still may consider it when using Cloudflare.
- ShortPixel – compress images, serve them in WebP, strip EXIF data (better than Imagify).
- ShortPixel Adaptive Images – resize images for mobile, since RocketCDN doesn’t do this.
- Head Footer Code – what WP Rocket recommends to preload images (or Preload Images).
11. WP Rocket vs. FlyingPress vs. LiteSpeed Cache
I moved to FlyingPress and instantly saw a major improvement. Between the table below and the one comparing RocketCDN, I can assure you WP Rocket + RocketCDN isn’t the best combo.
|WP Rocket||FlyingPress||LiteSpeed Cache|
|Remove unused CSS||Inline||Separate file||Separate file|
|Host fonts locally||x||✓||✓|
|Preload critical images by number||x||✓||x|
|Exclude above the fold images by number||By class||By URL||By number|
|Lazy render HTML elements||x||✓||✓|
|Lazy load background images||Inline||Helper class||Helper class|
|Self-host YouTube placeholder||x||✓||x|
|Fetchpriority resource hint||x||✓||x|
WP Rocket isn’t a bad cache plugin and I ranked it as the 3rd best. But there’s a lot of false hype around it being the #1 cache plugin when the lack of features say otherwise. What do you think?