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How to install and configure W3 Total Cache for your WordPress blog

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Un blogger must always be concerned performance of his blog because they play a crucial role in the SEO of the latter. A site that has good content that opens quickly will always be better referenced on Google than one that takes a long time to load.

The main objective of " Caching » (cache) is to make access to resources faster for browsers, through temporary or even permanent backup processes in certain situations of certain data in your blog. 

Dance one of our articles, on how to speed up the loading speed of your site, we recommended the WordPress plugin to you W3 Total Cache, the cache plugin we are using. It turned out that one of our readers wanted to know how to configure this very powerful plugin.

And it is following this request that we decided to create a free tutorial in 2 forms:

  1. In the form of a fairly comprehensive screenshot that you can see here: See the tutorial
  2. In the written form and more focused on the explanation that you can discover by reading the rest of this article

The use of W3 Total Cache is part of the steps to make a blog much faster. However, you should know that alone, it can not make your blog fast, if upstream, your host does not offer good plan accommodation (slow hosting). 

You can read our article on mistakes to avoid before taking accommodation.

Before you start, there are tools you can use to see the difference in the before / after performance of your blog. It is :

  • Google Page Speed
  • Pingdom tools

These 2 tools allow you to analyze the speed of your site. Better yet, they recommend changes to make to your site to make it faster.

We used Pingdom tools to test our blog, and we are quite satisfied with the results. However, it is important to note that we have a dedicated server (different from shared accommodation)which greatly influences this result.

w3-total-cache-blog-fast

In this article therefore, we will show you how to install and configure W3 Total Cache to maximize the performance of your blog. We will also show you how to combine W3 Total Service Cache CDN to make your blog faster.

Why W3 Total Cache?

W3 Total Cache is certainly the Plugin the fastest and most powerful of its kind. In general, its goal is to limit the use of server resources by caching all the elements of your pages.

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Warning before installation

Before installing W3 Total Cache, you must first disable all your other plugins plugins cache (if you already have one). Otherwise, there might be some problems during the activation of the Plugin.

How to configure W3 Total Cache?

W3 Total Cache is a Plugin very powerful with multiple options. It could be a good thing or a bad thing. For those who know how to use these options, this will be a gold mine. For most novice bloggers, these options could be quite difficult to understand. 

We will go through each of them in detail, so that you can configure correctly this single plugin. Let's start with the general settings.

general settings (General Setting)

To access the settings general, click on the button « Performance >> General Settings » menu from your WordPress dashboard. It is in this location that all aspects of the Plugin are configured. Make sure you are on the general settings page and not the dashboard page of the Plugin (main page of Plugin).

general_settings

Section Cache Page

The first option you see on this page is " Page Cache ». It takes care of the creation of static pages for each page already available on your blog, so that these pages are no longer loaded dynamically. (using the server language) every time you browse your blog. 

Once done, you will significantly reduce your load time. Refer to the image below to see how the page cache works:

page_cache_enable

As you can see, normally when a user comes to your site, WordPress runs PHP scripts and MySQL queries for the database (it's chinese for you i know). Then PHP analyzes the data and generates a page. This process uses the resources of the server. 

With caching enabled, loading the page will skip the entire process of generating a page and instead use an already saved copy of the page when the user requests it.

On shared hosting, most beginners should use the option « disk: Enhanced ». Don't forget to tick the box « Enable page Cache », And save your changes.

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That's basically all you need to do with the caching option. Since this guide is for beginners, we skip the advanced settings for caching because the default options are sufficient.

The options « Database cache "," Object Cache "," browser Cache », do not produce the same results in all the hosts.

Reduce file size

« Minify Or simply reduce the size of your static files, lets you reduce empty spaces in CSS files, and javascript. However, this option of reducing files is not always a good solution depending on the host. 

We have heard many users complain about this. You must be careful with this option.

Database cache

The database caching option reduces server load by caching SQL queries. This eliminates the time it takes to process requests on the database. This option is not available on all types of accommodation, you must check with your host. 

You can try it out and see how it affects the loading time. You can deactivate this option if the difference is not obvious.

Browser Cache

Whenever a user visits a website, its browser downloads all images, CSS files, JavaScript, and other static files into a temporary folder to improve navigation. 

This way, when the same user accesses the next page, it will be loaded much fasterbecause all the static files are in le cache browser.

The browser cache option on W3 Total Cache sets a time limit on le cache browser. Whereas you do not change your logo every day, have static files in le cache for more than 24 hours will be useful. 

To do this, simply tick the box " browser Cache " in the section " browser Cache And save your changes. Once activated, you will be able to access the " Performance >> Browser cache To see more options.

browser_cache

You can activate the options that suit you, but do notactivate not the option: "Do Note process 404 errors for static objects With WordPress » 

Do not forget to save your settings.

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The section CDN

CDN means " Content Delivery Network ". A CDN can provide static content from multiple servers in cloud near the place of loading of the page. This allows you to reduce the loading time of your blog. For example, our site is hosted in Canada, which, at equal performance, will display our site more slowly in France to an Internet user. Which will not be the case, if he consults the site from Canada.

Thanks to the CDN, a server located in Paris hosts a copy of our site, which allows it to be displayed at the same speed as if our dedicated server was in France. We use CloudFlare for it. Vou can always read our tutorial on using CloudFlare For your blog.

If you have multiple WordPress sites, you might need to export your settings. For this, in the page " General Settings ", Scroll down until you reach the" Import / export settings ». 

It is in this section that you can export and import your settings. Use " Import Configuration To import your settings and " Export Configuration To download your current settings. You can also restore the basic settings by clicking on " Reset configuration ».

We hope this little guide on using the WordPress plugin W3 Total Cache will help you, if you have a question, don't hesitate to ask it, and don't forget to share the article on your favorite social networks.

This article features 4 comments

  1. We see more and more tutorials on how to set up or even W3 Total Cache WP Super Cache. This proves that this is good gasworks not really easy to handle.

    For my part, after touring for a long time with W3 Total Cache, I turned to WP Rocket. It pays off, but at least the installation doesn't even take me 2 minutes.

  2. Hi

    Thank you for taking the trouble to answer me. I just installed it by applying all the settings you recommend.

    Everything worked well. The blog seems to have gained speed.

    Thanks again.

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