WP Rocket is one of the best caching plugins for WordPress sites. It works along with your SEO plugin like Yoast and optimization plugin like Perfmatters. While free plugins like W3 Total Cache offers complicated caching setup, WP Rocket makes it simple for non-technical users. However, you should understand the basics and enable only appropriate settings to get the maximum out of WP Rocket plugin.
Installing WP Rocket
WP Rocket is a premium only plugin, hence you will not find it in the free WordPress plugin repository. The plugin offers three pricing plans and single site license will cost you $49. You can subscribe to their newsletter and get 10% discount and there will be also discounts available during Halloween and Black Friday seasons.
You have to manually upload the plugin file through admin panel or using File Manager / FTP. After installing, you need to activate the plugin with your license code.
Go to “Settings > WP Rocket” to land on the plugin’s dashboard section.
The plugin offers super simple settings – all you need is to toggle few options and it works out of the box after activation. There are no options of page caching, browser caching, database caching and object caching as you see with many other plugins like W3 Total Cache. Caching will start working automatically after activating WP Rocket on your site.
In addition, you can find a menu in top admin bar for accessing important items quickly.
WP Rocket Plugin Dashboard
The dashboard section contains important information like your license type and expiration date. Along with you can find the FAQ, few buttons for clearing cache and a link to documentation page on WP Rocket website. Let us go through all the section and the option available with WP Rocket plugin.
As mentioned, you do not need to enable or disable normal page or browser caching. What you have under this “Cache” section is for mobile, user cache and cache lifespan options.
- Mobile Cache – make sure to check the box “Enable caching for mobile devices” to speed up your site on mobile devices. However, leave “Separate cache files for mobile devices” unchecked. This is required when you have dedicated mobile site using mobile plugins like WP Touch or Jetpack mobile theme. When in doubt, click on “More info” link to check out more details about the settings that appears inside the settings page. also, it is worth to note that WP Rocket only considers smartphones as mobile devices and serve desktop cache to tablet devices. If you want to consider tablets also as mobile devices, then you can install a helper plugin to activate this.
- User Cache – if you do not offer any user specific content, leave this unchecked. If you offer personalized content for logged in users like membership sites, then you can make use of this feature in WP Rocket.
- Cache Lifespan – since content on the site changes due to various reasons like when user post a comment, you can setup a timespan for cache expiry. You can setup around 24 hours which is nominal with preloading enabled. WP Rocket will follow the links in your XML Sitemap and cache the new content after the expiry. If your content is not changing, then you can set longer time like 48 or 72 hours as per your need.
This is the important section of the plugin you should be careful when enabling. Make sure to test your site’s layout is working properly and check elements depending on scripts like menus, sliders, etc. are working properly.
- Minify CSS files – enable this option to remove unnecessary comments and spaces from your CSS files. This will reduce the size of the CSS files and improve the page loading speed.
- Combine CSS files – this will combine all your theme, plugins and core WordPress stylesheet files and serve as a single file. You have to enable minify option in order to use this option. Though this option can help you to reduce HTTP requests, it will break the layout in most cases. In addition, you do not need this setting for HTTP/2 servers which is likely the case with any modern hosting companies. You can enter the complete URL of CSS files one per line and when saving, the plugin will automatically remove the domain part and keep the relative path of the files.
- Optimize CSS delivery – this section contains two options out of which you can choose to enable one for your site.
- “Remove Unused CSS” is a beta feature that will help to overcome Google PageSpeed Insights recommendations for removing unused CSS. This will generate CSS files required for each page on your site and store them in the database. Therefore, enabling this option will increase your database size considerably. Also, this option needs to run on WP Rocket server which will long time and time out in most shared hosting environments. Since this is a beat feature, we recommend not using this option till the time it gets matured and works perfectly.
- Load CSS Asynchronously – this option helps you to generate critical path CSS for each post type used on your site. we recommend using this option as it can speed up mobile loading and boost your score in Google PageSpeed Insights tool for mobile. After saving the changes, you may need to wait for some time or refresh the page to see the CSS generation is completed for all post types. You can also provide exclusion in the box to make sure that file is always loading in addition to critical path CSS.
This section has two parts for enabling lazy load and add missing image dimensions. You can enable all these options to improve the loading speed. We recommend excluding your logo and other images that you do not want to lazy load.
This section has multiple parts related to preloading of different resources on your site.
- Preload Cache – this helps to proactively cache the pages based on your XML Sitemap. WP Rocket will automatically detect Sitemap generated by plugins like Yoast and preload the links whenever you purge the cache or modify the content. You can enable all the check boxes under this section and provide XML Sitemap link WP Rocket does not automatically detect your Sitemap.
- Preload Links – this will instruct the browser to use the idle time to download the linked pages on the current page. check the box “Enable link preloading” to speed of loading of connected pages on your site.
- Prefetch DNS Requests – when you use lots of external domains like Google Fonts, Google AdSense, make sure to provide the domain name in the check box. This will initiate the DNS lookup and resolve the host names for speeding up the loading time.
- Preload Fonts – if your plugin or theme hosts fonts on your domain then you should use this option to fix “Preload key requests” warning in Google PageSpeed. Provide the URL of the font files on your site and the plugin will stripe of the domain part when working. If you do not see any warnings in PageSpeed, just ignore this and leave the box blank.
Basically, you can leave this without filling in normal case. However, if you have problems like broken pages due to minification or JS delay feature, then you can ignore WP Rocket caching for specific pages under this section. It is also possible ignore caching for cookies and specific user agents.
Use “Always Purge URL(s)” option to enter pages that you want to clear the cache whenever you update any content on your site. Similarly, prove CSS or JS file URLs under “Cache Query String(s)” which otherwise will not cached by the plugin.
This section allows you to clean up the database and setup periodic schedule. You can delete revisions, auto drafts, trashed posts, spam comments, trashed comments, transients and optimize tables to remove overhead. Select “Schedule Automatic Cleanup” option and setup a job for cleaning your database daily, weekly or monthly. Remember, if you have a habit of keeping post in trash then do not schedule the cleanup. You can always do this manually when needed.
You can leave this section as it is when not using CDN on your site or using Cloudflare. If you have any other CDN with CNAME redirection, then you can provide your CDN URLs in the “CDN CNAME(s)” box and the type of file. In addition, you can also provide the exclusion list to ignore the CDN setup and serve the files directly from your server.
Note that WP Rocket offers Rocket CDN subscription service for $7.99 per month. They offer service from StackPath and integrate for lower price. You can configure the settings under this section if you have paid subscription for Rocket CDN.
Heartbeat API helps to collect live data and generate reports in admin dashboard, for example for WooCommerce sales widgets. If you do not use this, disabling heartbeat API will save lot of server resources. Otherwise, you can also reduce the frequency of the API to save resources. Select “Control Heartbeat” checkbox and select “Disable” or “Reduce activity” for backend / post editor / front end.
WP Rocket offers three add-ons:
- WebP – enable this to setup separate caching for WebP images. WP Rocket will automatically detect WebP plugin if installed on your site. However, if you have WebP setup on the server like SiteGround, you can enable this manually to use WebP caching.
- Cloudflare – enable this add-on to integrate the Cloudflare caching to work seamlessly with WP Rocket. You have to get the API key from Cloudflare account and integrate the settings with WP Rocket.
- Sucuri – similar to Cloudlfare, you can integrate Sucuri cache with WP Rocket by proving Sucuri API key.
This is a promotional section containing the advantages of using Imagify plugin. WP Rocket does not offer any image compression feature.
From this section, you can export the entire plugin’s settings to a JSON file. You can use this file to import the settings on any other website or on the same site to restore the settings. In addition, you have an option to rollback the plugin to previous major version. You can use this feature of the update break your site. however, if you do not have access to the admin dashboard then you need to use FTP or File Manager from hosting panel to deactivate the plugin for regaining access to admin dashboard.
Here you can find useful video tutorials for different sections of the plugin to watch. Also, you can click on the floating “Help” icon to search and get help on any topic.
Frequently Asked Questions on WP Rocket Settings
No, WP Rocket is a premium only plugin and there are no free versions available in WordPress plugin repository.
Yes, you need to buy an annual subscription for using the plugin, getting updates and support.
No, auto update is disabled by default for the plugin.
Yes. However, SiteGround’s page level and browser caching options will be disabled automatically. When you test the dynamic caching with SG Optimizer plugin, you will see the page is not cached with WP Rocket activated.
No, there are no options other than lazy loading. They recommend Imagify plugin, however, you can find many other options like Smush.
Yes, you can use CDN rewrite setup or purchase Rocket CDN separately.
With combine CSS, combine JS and delay JS options, you may find some
Delaying JS will help to 100/100 as total blocking time has 30% weightage. In addition, you can use either remove unused CSS or critical CSS delivery option to boost the score. However, you should test the site thoroughly to avoid layout broken issues.
It depends, minify, combine, JS delay features will break even simple sites made with Astra or GeneratePress theme. In addition, you may have trouble with WooCommerce and need helper plugin for mobile caching issue with WooCommerce.
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You can read the documentation, check video tutorials or login to your account and raise a ticket.