Review of SiteGround Caching with Supercacher and SG Optimizer
Every WordPress site needs a caching solution to speed up the delivery of content to users. There are so many caching plugins out there and you will get lost when trying to find a good one for you. Hosting companies like SiteGround resolves this problem by providing a custom caching solution. Since we use SiteGround cloud VPS for many years, we will share our thoughts here on caching solution from SiteGround for WordPress sites.
Supercacher and SG Optimizer
SiteGround offers server side caching of your WordPress site using two options.
- Enable caching in cPanel
- Activate plugin in WordPress site
The cPanel option is called Supercacher and the plugin is called SG Optimizer.
Login to your SiteGround hosting account and go to cPanel. Navigate to ‘Advanced’ option and find ‘Supercacher’. You can also use the search box to locate ‘Supercacher’. Click on it, to go the caching settings.
Levels of Caching
There are four caching options for all SiteGround regardless of the hosting plan. Earlier days, you had another option for Google PageSpeed, but this has been removed now.
- Static caching
- Dynamic caching
How to Setup Caching in SiteGround?
You can enable static, dynamic and memcached options from cPanel. But the dynamic caching needs a connection to your website. Hence, you should install and activate SG Optimizer plugin for enabling dynamic caching.
Static caching allows you to cache all static files like CSS, JS and images. You can enable for individual sites hosted in your account and flush when you want to purge the cache.
If you have highly changing content on your site then dynamic caching is a best fit for you. It will cache the dynamic content and store on server’s RAM to serve to the users quickly. You can enable this option in cPanel but need an additional plugin to activate this from your site’s dashboard.
Memcached is a common database level caching to speed up MySQL queries. You need to enable memcached option both in cPanel and on your site using the plugin.
HHVM is the high speed option used by companies like Facebook. But this will not work effectively on SiteGround. We have faced issues with HHVM and need to disable for the site to run properly. But you can discuss with the support team and enable on your site if that works for you.
WordPress Dashboard Setup
Once you complete cPanel setup, login to your WordPress admin panel to complete the dynamic caching part. Go to ‘Plugins > Add New’ and search for ‘SG Optimizer’ plugin.
Similar to any other plugin, install and activate the SG Optimizer plugin on your WordPress site. Go to the newly created menu item ‘SG Optimizer > Supercacher Config’.
Setup Dynamic Caching
The ‘Dynamic Cache Settings’ section offers the below options:
- Turn on ‘Dynamic Cache’ option.
- Enable ‘AutoFlush Cache’, this will automatically flush the dynamic cached whenever the content changes.
- Click o ‘Purge the Cache’ button to delete all dynamic cached content.
Dynamic caching may create problems like breaking your website’s pages. In this case you can enter the URLs to exclude from caching or discuss with SG support to find solution for you.
Test Dynamic Caching and Enabling Memcached
After enabling dynamic caching both in the plugin as well as on the cPanel settings, click on the ‘Test’ button under ‘Dynamic Cache Status Checker’ section. You should see the status as ‘Cached’ in green. If you see the status as ‘Not Cached’ in red then there should be some problem. Try the following things to fix the problem:
- You can disable and enable dynamic caching in cPanel and test again.
- Delete any other caching plugins and try.
- Deactivate and activate SG Optimizer plugin.
Enable the memcached to store the frequently accessed database queries. This will help to serve the queries faster when requested next time. Remember to enable memcached options both in cPanel and in the plugin.
Features of SiteGround Caching
SiteGround claims that their caching solution is best and can improve the speed 4x. Also the site can handle 100x more visitors with dynamic caching enabled. Also the plugin offers two more additional options:
- Check the compatibility of the PHP version and update PHP version if no compatibility issues.
- Help to force HTTPS to ensure the site always loads through SSL.
Cons of Using Supercacher / SG Optimizer
After testing on couple of sites, we have found basically the plugin based solution impacts the site speed in Google PageSpeed Insights. The pages load few milliseconds slower compared to the loading without plugin. Also HHVM does not seem to work well.
Though the site can handle more visits, the plugin is not a complete solution for caching problems.
- You need add separate htaccess entries for solving leverage browser caching issue.
- You need a separate plugin for CSS / JS minification.
- SG Optimizer does not allow to defer CSS / JS files thus you need a separate solution for eliminating render blocking files.
In summary, you need to have additional plugins for having complete caching solution for WordPress sites hosted on SiteGround. For example, W3TC is a complete solution having almost all options you need for free. But you need to be carful in enabling database / object / page caching as this will exceed server resources on SiteGround server.
SiteGround Caching with Supercacher and SG Optimizer
- Easy to setup
- Multi-level caching
- Speed / load
- All caching features
The custom caching from SiteGround looks promising but needs many other features to have a complete caching solution. It’s bit confusing to add HTTPS / PHP update options in the SG Optimizer plugin while the needed caching features are missing. At this point of time we still recommend to enable SG Optimizer and Supercacher settings along with additional caching or minification plugin. We believe SiteGround will add more features to the plugin or cPanel in future.
- Easy to setup
- Additional HTTPS and PHP update
- Site can handle more number of visits
- Free for all hosting plans
- Integrated server solution
- Two time setup – cPanel and plugin
- Yet not a complete solution
- Not works on all SiteGround sites