Which WordPress Caching Plugin is Best for VPS Servers

WordPress Caching Plugins

Every Second Counts

W3 total cache, WordPress Super Cache, Quick Cache and Hyper Cache are just some of the WordPress Caching plugins in use on millions of websites out there. I have seen many posts about which one produces the best results but often the test bed is shared hosting. So I am going to perform the same test on a VPS server to find out which one gives you the best results.

Prior to writing this I do not actually know the answer, but we are about to find out.

Here is the initial test details and rules.

Server details

Server: Level 6 VPS from Hostgator

CPU: 2x  Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X5675 @ 3.07GHz

RAM: 2304 MB

OS: CENTOS 5.8 x86_64

Each test will be preformed 10 times and the average results presented accordingly.

Control Test – Without Caching

   Page size 247kb 250kb
   Number of Requests 16 21

Page Load time (Gtmetrix) Page Load time (Pingdom)
   Test 1 1.39s 430ms
   Test 2 0.94s 971ms
   Test 3 1.09s 1.09s
   Test 4 0.88s 1.66s
   Test 5 0.90s 648ms
   Test 6 0.97s 652ms
   Test 7 0.98s 657ms
   Test 8 0.89s 958ms
   Test 9 1.03s 638ms
   Test 10 1.07s 646ms
   Average 1.014s 0.835s

As you can see the site is loading pretty fast already so now lets start testing out the different caching plugins available to WordPress.

Hyper Cache Plugin for WordPress

Plugin Details

  • Version: 2.9.0.4
  • Author: Stefano Lissa
  • Requires WordPress Version: 2.5 or higher
  • Compatible up to: 3.5
  • Downloaded: 322,716 times (at the time of testing)

Installation

Simply type Hyper Cache in the plugins manager via the WordPress admin panel. Select install and activate.

Once activated go to settings > Hyper Cache

One issue with this plugin in terms of installation is that you need to edit wp-config to add

define('WP_CACHE', true);

Which some users may find uncomfortable as it requires editing an important file.

Hyper Cache Test

Page size 244kb
250kb
Number of Requests 16 21

Page Load time (Gtmetrix) Page Load time (Pingdom)
    Test 1 0.90s 558ms
    Test 2 0.76s 1.35s
    Test 3 0.78s 433ms
    Test 4 0.78s 1.37s
    Test 5 0.78s 1.35s
    Test 6 0.78s 1.36s
    Test 7 0.88s 1.38s
    Test 8 0.83s 548ms
    Test 9 0.87s 538ms
    Test 10 0.87s 1.86s
    Average 0.823s 1.0747s

Interesting results, Gtmetrix has shown a decrease of 0.191s

while Pingdom has shown an increase of 0.2397s

Ok moving on…

Quick Cache Plugin for WordPress

Plugin Details

  • Version: 111203
  • Author: PriMoThemes.com / WebSharks, Inc.
  • Requires WordPress Version: 3.2 or higher
  • Compatible up to: 3.3.2
  • Downloaded: 370,599 times (at the time of testing)

Installation

Simply type Quick Cache in the plugins manager via the WordPress admin panel. Select install and activate.

Once activated you need to go to the plugin menu and Turn on caching, the default settings should be just fine.

Quick Cache Test

Page size 244KB 250.3kB
Number of Requests 16 21

Page Load time (Gtmetrix) Page Load time (Pingdom)
    Test 1 0.77s 521ms
    Test 2 0.86s 1.38s
    Test 3 0.86s 1.42s
    Test 4 0.86s 678ms
    Test 5 0.86s 544ms
    Test 6 0.97s 1.38s
    Test 7 0.86s 310ms
    Test 8 0.85s 799ms
    Test 9 0.86s 296ms
    Test 10 0.87s 288ms
    Average 0.862s 0.7616s

Looks like we have a decrease on both in comparison to our control.

Gtmetrix has shown a decrease of 0.152s

while Pingdom has shown an increase of 0.0734s

Ok moving on…

WP Super Cache Plugin for WordPress

Plugin Details

  • Version: 1.2
  • Author: Donncha O Caoimh
  • Requires WordPress Version: 3.0 or higher
  • Compatible up to: 3.5
  • Downloaded: 3,958,784 times (at the time of testing)

Installation

Simply type WP Super Cache in the plugins manager via the WordPress admin panel. Select install and activate.

Once activated you need to go to the plugin menu via settings > wp super cache

Select enable and then go to advanced settings.

Enable all recommended options, save then scroll down and update Mod rewrite rules.

WP Super Cache Test

Page size 244KB 250.2kB
Number of Requests 16 21

Page Load time (Gtmetrix) Page Load time (Pingdom)
    Test 1 0.79s 734ms
    Test 2 0.75s 842ms
    Test 3 0.86s 300ms
    Test 4 0.83s 929ms
    Test 5 0.79s 526ms
    Test 6 0.87s 609ms
    Test 7 0.87s 329ms
    Test 8 0.84s 517ms
    Test 9 0.78s 601ms
    Test 10 0.86s 306ms
    Average 0.824s 0.5693s

Again we have a decrease on both in comparison to our control.

Gtmetrix has shown a decrease of 0.19s

while Pingdom has shown an increase of 0.2657s

Ok moving on…

W3 Total Cache Plugin for WordPress

Plugin Details

  • Version: 0.9.2.4
  • Author: Frederick Townes
  • Requires WordPress Version: 2.8 or higher
  • Compatible up to: 3.2.1
  • Downloaded: 1,389,682 times (at the time of testing)

Installation

Simply type W3 Total Cache in the plugins manager via the WordPress admin panel. Select install and activate.

Once activated you need to go to the plugin menu called Performance.

Deactivate preview mode.

Enable Page Caching and Browser Caching.

Go to Browser Caching and enable Set expires header and Set cache control header

W3 Total Cache Test

Page size 244kb 251.4kB
Number of Requests 16 21

Page Load time (Gtmetrix) Page Load time (Pingdom)
    Test 1 0.85s 538ms
    Test 2 0.86s 305ms
    Test 3 0.76s 564ms
    Test 4 0.80s 842ms
    Test 5 0.85s 547ms
    Test 6 0.86s 550ms
    Test 7 0.86s 293ms
    Test 8 0.79s 527ms
    Test 9 0.87s 539ms
    Test 10 0.88s 322ms
    Average 0.838s 0.5027s

OK so that’s all the tests completed.

Gtmetrix has shown a decrease of 0.176s

while Pingdom has shown an increase of 0.3323s

Side by Side Comparison

Let’s take a look at all the results together so we can see clearly what the differences are.

Results rounded up to the 2nd decimal place.

Page Load time (Gtmetrix) Page Load time (Pingdom)
No Cache 1.01s 0.84s
Hyper Cache 0.82s 1.08s
Quick Cache
0.86s 0.76s
WP Super Cache 0.82s 0.57s
W3 Total Cache 0.84s 0.50s

Conclusion

Looking at the results above there isn’t too much of a difference between the various caching plugins, but in terms of usability and available options W3 Total Cache comes out on top because as a VPS user I can make use of what is called Alternative PHP Cache (APC) which is a form of memory based caching for PHP, as well as easily configuring my Content deliver network (CDN)

Those two additional options make W3 Total Cache a clear winner.

P.s. APC has been chosen as the PHP Accelerator of choice for PHP 6 which makes W3 Total Cache future proof.

Meet the Author

Matthew Horne

Matthew Horne is web developer who specializes in optimized development. He also builds custom solutions instead of reverting to plugins. Matthew Has a strong understanding of PHP, JavaScript, jQuery.

2 comments… add one
  • Vivek R Dec 25, 2012, 3:21 pm

    wow…great benchmark…Your effort behind this article is clearly visible. Thanks a lot

    • Matthew Horne Dec 25, 2012, 4:16 pm

      Thanks, I saw a few posts about shared hosting, so as I use VPS I wanted to see how the plugins compare.

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