SiteGround is one of the popular hosting companies recommended by official WordPress community. Earlier days, there were two options in SiteGround for caching site’s content. You have to setup Supercacher in cPanel and then use SG Optimizer plugin on your WordPress site. However, it was only for the caching purposes and many other optimization options were missing. This leads to the use of other plugins like WP Rocket that offers complete optimization to speed up your site.
Related: Review of SG Optimize plugin.
SiteGround Recent Updates
In recent days, SiteGround changed the entire caching and infrastructure with so many updates. They included additional features in SG Optimizer plugin so that you can do everything from the plugin and do not need any additional caching plugins like WP Rocket. Here are some of the updates from SiteGround:
- Google Cloud hosting for all accounts
- SG Optimizer includes entire optimization features and continuously updated to add new features.
- Site Tools instead of cPanel to speed up the cache delivery with NGINX.
With all these features, now the question hindering on anyone’s mind is – do I need WP Rocket or any other caching plugin for SiteGround site? Read on further to get an answer.
SG Optimizer and WP Rocket Caching
When you have both the plugins on your site, pages are cached by both plugins. However, SiteGround uses NGINX cache delivery and WP Rocket uses file-based page level caching. When a visitor viewing a page, first it will load from NGINX cache from SiteGround server. If the server cache is not available then WP Rocket will serve the cache from the plugin side.
WP Rocket claims it works with all three levels of caching from SiteGround – NGINX direct delivery (static), dynamic and Memcached. However, when you have WP Rocket, dynamic and Memcached options will not work in SG Optimizer. You have to use dynamic / Memcached at one plugin to avoid both plugins try to add drop-ins files “advanced-cache.php” and “object-cache.php”. When WP Rocket is active, SG Optimizer will automatically disable Memcached option even you to enable in the settings page.
Related: Review of WP Rocket caching plugin.
Overlapping Features in WP Rocket and SG Optimizer
The biggest problem in using WP Rocket and SG Optimizer plugins on a same site is to avoid using overlapping features. SG Optimizer is continuously updated to grab optimization features from WP Rocket. Here are the overlapping features you should disable in one of the plugin:
- Browser Caching (automatic in both plugins)
- GZIP Compression (automatic in both plugins)
- HTML, CSS and JS minification
- Defer render blocking JS
- Remove query strings from static resources
- Disable emoji
- Optimize Google fonts
- Lazy loading
- Heartbeat control
- DNS prefetching third-party domains
- Database optimization to schedule cleanup action
Unique Features for WP Rocket
WP Rocket offers the following features that are not available in SG Optimizer.
- Critical CSS generation
- Cache lifespan expiration
- Separate caching for mobile devices
- Caching for logged in users
- Disable embeds
- Cache preloading
- Add-ons for Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics, Cloudflare and Sucuri.
- Rocket CDN and Imagify integration
- Additional lazy load options
Unique Features in SG Optimizer
Though WP Rocket offers CDN and image optimization options, you have to pay additional money for purchasing them. We have clarified with WP Rocket team and confirmed that their CDN will not work for the images hosted in subdomain (that is outside the WordPress installation). SiteGround, on other hand, offers these two features for free.
- Special Cloudflare CDN integration for all accounts. You will get basic plan for free and needs to upgrade for additional features (you have to enable this from hosting account).
- Image optimization to compress, reduce and convert to WebP are free in SG Optimizer.
- PHP manager to change the PHP version.
- Force HTTPS – force SSL on site-wide to fix mixed content errors.
- Compress images and generate WebP image format.
- Test Google PageSpeed score straight from your dashboard.
Do I Need WP Rocket?
At this point of time, we use both WP Rocket and SG Optimizer plugins on this site. In our opinion, you have to use plugins like WP Rocket for the following reasons.
- CSS delivery – generating critical CSS and optimizing CSS delivery is one of the biggest successful factors for WP Rocket plugin. It is highly difficult for a normal user to generate critical CSS for each post type and serve when loading the page in frontend. WP Rocket does this job well and you can’t do this with SG Optimizer plugin. Frankly, you can’t easily do this with any other plugins.
- Lazy loading of images from subdomain – unfortunately the lazy loading option in SiteGround does not work when you serve images from subdomain. We have reported this issue in the comment section when SG Optimizer updates were releases years back. However, it still does not work properly. Earlier we were using WP Smush and now SG Optimizer do this work better.
- Minification – if you are using jQuery based theme, then most probably SG Optimizer will break the site’s layout. On other hand, WP Rocket minification works like a charm.
- Customer support – WP Rocket is a dedicated caching plugin offering premium customer support for your queries. As caching is one small part of hosting, you may not get proper response from SiteGround support which is deteriorated recent times. This is important as SG Optimizer is full of bugs that may not work with all themes and plugins. For example, below is the annoying error you will get with SG Optimizer saying “Could not connect to the WordPress REST API”. Now, the options for you is to raise a ticket in the WordPress support forum or raise a ticket in SiteGround hosting account. In both cases, you may not get appropriate response as the issue depends on your site’s .htaccess file entries.
It is also a good idea to use a separate caching plugin that will continue to work when changing your hosting company from SiteGround. Otherwise, you may need to find a new plugin when changing the hosting company that could cause trouble in measuring your site speed with old and new hosting plans.
Related: Review of SiteGround shared hosting.
Using Both Plugins
if you want to use both plugins on your site, make sure to disable the duplicate functions in SG Optimizer. Image optimization with WebP generation is one of the major features you will miss with SG Optimizer. You can go for Imagify or use WP Smush or similar image optimization plugins.
If you have problems in caching with SG Optimizer, disable the following settings in WP Rocket settings under “Cache” section:
- Separate cache files for mobile devices
- Enable caching for logged-in WordPress users
if this does not work, you can use add-on plugin from WP Rocket to complete disable page level caching.
Remember, every site is different due to the use of different plugins and theme. Especially, when you use lightweight themes like GeneratePress, SG Optimizer will work perfectly with minification. However, other features like critical CSS is still not available in SiteGround. First, test the site’s speed and layout with SG Optimizer plugin. If you are not happy, then purchase WP Rocket and use the settings to optimize the site ignoring SiteGround’s features.