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W3 Total Cache Configuration - Episode 2

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Here we are again in the configuration of W3 Total Cache which is, as a reminder, one of the best caching plugins on WordPress.

We started a series of plugin configuration and we continue today with the episode 2 of this configuration.

Remember we have already introduced you to what W3 Total Cache is all about. Our exploration is as follows:

We will, without delay, continue with the configurations.

General Settings - Preview mode

Preview mode is a valuable tool built into W3TC, but it takes a while to be mastered.

Activate the « Preview If you are doing W3TC setups live on a website. Once enabled, a dialog box will appear at the top of the screen letting you know that the changes made will not affect the user experience unless you select the button to apply those changes.

Mode preview W3TC plugin WordPress

What preview mode does is create a separate container for site settings. Changes made to W3TC settings with preview mode are saved separately from those already deployed. This allows you to manipulate W3TC settings without affecting the user experience.

With the preview mode enabled, you will see three buttons:

  • deactivate : Disables preview mode and deploys all changes and backups in my preview.
  • Deploy : Applies changes made and saved in preview mode to the live site, but keeps the preview mode enabled.
  • Preview : Launches a new browser window where you can see the results of the changes made without affecting the visitor experience (these settings will only apply to you).

After selecting " Preview "(Preview) and refresh the window; the button will change to " Stop Preview ". Select " Stop Preview To view the site as visitors see it, when they are not connected.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with the preview mode. Some of the changes on W3TC (in particular, minification of CSS and JavaScript files) Can make your site unavailable.

Dealing with these live settings with equally active traffic is a very bad idea. With the preview mode enabled, you can work on these settings without viewing the results until you are satisfied with their results.

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Clear Cache

One type of notification you will see is the invitation to delete the cache.

delete the cached W3TC WordPress plugin

What these notifications mean is that the changes you made invalid all the cached content.

So every time you are asked to empty the cache, do it.

General Settings: Cache Page

The next section in " General settings " is the " Page Cache ". This is probably the most important feature offered by W3TC. If you do nothing but turn on page caching, you should see a measurable boost in your site's performance. Fortunately, it is also easy to set up.

Page caching W3TC WordPress cache plugin

W3TC can use a variety of different caching methods to cache static copies of your pages and site articles (all designated generically as "pages" by W3TC).

The default choice in most cases should be: " Disk: Enhanced ". However, shared server users may have to use " Disk: Basic If their host complains about excessive resource usage or if the compatibility check test reveals that the server is not compatible with hard disk caching hardening.

Dedicated or virtual private server users can opt for one of the “Opcode” cache methods. If you manage the server yourself, you can install the " opcode " that you prefer. If your server is a Windows machine, you will need to choose " Opcode: WinCache ».

« Memcache Is designed for use in multi-server hosting environments. As a result, it may be available if you are using ' Cloud And even some shared hosting providers. If it is available in your hosting environment, you will be able to use it.

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With your preferred method of caching pages selected, you must now save your settings.

General Settings: Minify

Minifying JavaScript and CSS files can break sites, if you are using W3TC or another plugin. You should therefore proceed with caution when activating the "Minify" module.

W3TC minify WordPress cache plugin

The option " Car Combines and shrinks all JavaScript and CSS resources. However, selecting this means that you will not be able to work with each menu of the " Minify ". The only way to know how things will behave is to try “Auto”, fine-tune the settings in the “ Minify And see how your site is loading. If you do, and your site looks bad, use the manual method.

Select the caching method " Disk If you use shared hosting. Otherwise, select the same caching method you selected for the " Page Cache ».

General Settings: Database Cache

If your site is on a shared server, then database caching is disabled. Caching the database is a resource heavy process. Unless your server is powerful enough to handle processing and storage, the cached database can actually slow down your site rather than speed it up.

A cached database is simple to set up. Just select " Enable And choose the method you want to apply to this caching.

W3TC caching

You need to think about bottlenecks that can affect website performance to understand why cached database can slow down your site.

If the database querying process slows down your site, then the cached database can speed up your site by reducing the number of times the database will be queried.

However, if a lack of server memory is slowing down your site, then asking the server to cache the database gives a server an overload of work to do, which slows it down further.

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So, how do you know whether or not database caching needs to be enabled?

If your site is hosted on a shared server, it will be best to disable this feature.

If your site has resources - such as on a VPS or a dedicated server - then you can test the caching of the database. You'll also be able to test to make sure that when caching is enabled, the site is faster.

That's it for this tutorial. If you don't understand a section you can tell in the comments, I'll be happy to provide an answer.

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