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How Do WordPress Caching Plugins Work?

How Do WordPress Caching Plugins Work?

Loading speed being one of the crucial factors that make or break the success of a WordPress website, WordPress caching plugins are all over the place these days.

There are free caching plugins and premium ones. Companies bombard us with their marketing, explaining why their WordPress caching plugin is the best one.

More specifically, there are queries sent in a PHP language to the site’s database, then information is retrieved and generated into an HTML page which is then returned to the website for display. 

This multi-step process takes a lot of processing, and thus it takes a while for the information to load properly on the site. 

At a basic level, “caching” is just the idea of storing important data in an accessible spot so that it can be more easily and quickly served up to visitors when needed. It is the process of creating a static version of your content and it eliminates the need to retrieve all that information and this process improves performance and loading speed improvements.

Why WordPress Sites Load Slow

Let’s start with why WordPress sites actually are loading slow. This problem is actually coming down to how WordPress works. Let me explain.

WordPress is nothing more than a collection of files and a database located on your web hosting account. The files somewhat magically create your website, and the database contains all the texts, logins, settings, etc.

When a visitor comes to your website, your web host starts sending some of those files to the browser of your visitor and loads the data that makes up your website from the database. If the visitor opens your Home page, the web host will load all data that builds the home page. If the visitor goes onto your Contact page, the web host will load the contents on your Contact page from the database and will send that to the browser of your visitor.

Page Caching and Preloading

Let’s start with two of the most important features of WordPress caching plugins page caching and cache preloading. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand how they work.

Remember my explanation on how your website gets loaded when a visitor accesses your domain? That whole process of loading the data from the database, gathering all files, and all the other stuff gets circumvented when a page cache is enabled and the cache is preloaded.

Instead of loading all information from the database, your website now has a copy of every single page ready to send to your visitors directly. Your web host doesn’t have to look for the correct information in the database anymore, it can simply send the data directly.

File Minification and Combination

Similarly to how Imagify reduces the file size of the images on a website, caching plugins can reduce the size of CSS files, JavaScript files, and HTML content. Those functions are called “minification” and included in most WordPress caching plugins. By minifying files, caching plugins remove whitespaces, line breaks, and other unnecessary markups automatically.

How Does Loading Time Affect Your Site?

There are a number of reasons why having better loading speeds is good for your website.

SEO

Loading times affect your SEO. According to 
Next3 AWS

  • Integrated with AWS
  • Create Bucket
  • Upload Files,File Manager
  • Site speed is a ranking factor
  • Fast sites are easier to crawl
  • Fast loading sites have higher conversion rates
  • It reduces bounce rates
  • It improves general user experience (less stress!)

Faster websites, therefore, get a favorable rank with search engines. Certainly, it’s not the only factor that does, but if we were to compare two websites, with all the information and other factors being the same, the website that loaded faster would get a better rank. Furthermore, Google has confirmed that it takes page speed into consideration.

User Experience

Better loading speeds affect the user experience, and not only that, but slow loading times will have a negative effect on the brand’s reputation.

Bounce Rates

Bounce rates represent the percentage of visitors who enter a website and then leave before viewing other pages on the website. 

According to Google: 

Up to 3 seconds of load time increase the bounce rate probability by 32%

Up to 5 seconds of load time increase the bounce rate probability by 90%

Up to 6 seconds of seconds load time increase the bounce rate probability by 106%

Up to 10 seconds of seconds load time increase the bounce rate probability by 123%

This indicates that the longer it takes for the website to load the first time, the less likely it is that the user will stay to look at other pages on the website, confirming that the loading speed of a website is an important factor in this decision.

Mobile Browsing

Google shows that it takes about 15 seconds to load a website on the mobile (much longer than it does on a desktop, where loading speeds can be up to 2 seconds). And, furthermore, the same research shows that while more than half of the overall web traffic comes from mobile, mobile conversion rates are lower than desktop, making it clear that “speed equals revenue”.

Conversion Rates

If we take all those factors into account, we’ll discover that better website loading speeds yield better conversion rates. 

According to Cloudflare: 

  • Pages that loaded in 2.4 seconds had a 1.9% conversion rate
  • At 3.3 seconds, the conversion rate was 1.5%
  • At 4.2 seconds, the conversion rate was less than 1%
  • At 5.7+ seconds, the conversion rate was 0.6%

Clearly, the longer it takes for a website to load, the less likely the user to make a purchase. 

So now that we’ve established that a caching plugin can improve loading speeds and thus improve the website’s performance, SEO, user experience, and conversion rates, let’s look at the best caching plugins for WordPress.

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Written by

William Jhonson

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