The popularity of WordPress is increasing day by day amongst bloggers and business owners. However, it does not mean you can get everything without choosing appropriate resources. Besides those basic stuffs like hosting, themes and plugins there is another important factor in this mobile world. Yes, that is speed – you should have a fast loading website for getting decent rank in Google and have better user experience. Even you have dedicated server, it is important to have proper speeding mechanism to achieve high speed score in testing tools like Google PageSpeed Insights. WP Rocket caching plugin help with that and we will review WP Rocket features in this article based on our usage.
What is WP Rocket?
WP Rocket is one of the popular WordPress caching plugins. This is a premium plugin and doesn’t have any trial or free version in WordPress plugin repository. When you look at many of the caching plugins, you may wonder why should you try WP Rocket when free plugins can do the same work.
Free plugins like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache do best of the job for caching. But the speed of the website not only relies on caching but also relies on many other factors. So the completeness of the speed improvement has many dimensions and you need to look for a plugin that caters all those factors. After trying out WP Rocket, we have found that WP Rocket helps to improve the speed in a whole instead of only focusing on caching.
Google PageSpeed Insights Score
The normal score before using WP Rocket on this site stands at 70 to 80 both on mobile and desktop. Below is the score on one of the pages on this site as 99/96:
Note that the page tested contains, AdSense auto ads, AdSense manual ads and recommend content from Google matched content. You can read this article on how AdSense ads impact page speed. The fact is, WP Rocket overcomes all the problems of advertisements and still helps to get high score.
As mentioned, there is no free plan for WP Rocket. You need to purchase a license to use on your site. Don’t worry – you have 14 days money back guarantee to claim your money in case of dissatisfaction. We believe, you will not get disappointed with WP Rocket. WP Rocket offers three types of license.
- Single plan will cost you
$39$49. This is for single website with one year of free support and updates. This is sufficient if you have one WordPress installation or you want to try out before going for bulk.
- Plus plan will cost you $99. This is for three websites with one year of support and updates.
- Infinite plan will cost you
$199$249. This plan is suitable, if you are looking for more than three websites. You will also get one year of free support and updates.
The developer also offers 50% discount on license renewal to upgrade after one year of purchase.
WP Rocket offers 10% discount for new purchases and you can apply the coupon code during the checkout process.
Installation and Activation
After paying money, you will get the download link on your registered email. Unlike many other plugins, you don’t need the license key for activating the plugin. Simply download the plugin zip file and upload on your site from admin panel. Activate ti similar to any other plugin on your site. The plugin has pre-settings, so it will work instantly after activation.
You can access the settings from “Settings > WP Rocket” menu or the link available in top menu bar. The developer offer the plugin in five languages – English, French, German, Spanish and Italian. There are more than 500K+ people use WP Rocket plugin on their sites.
Here comes a breeze, especially when you die hard with W3 Total Cache or any other caching plugin. WP rocket offers simple and easy to use options categorized in minimal number of sections.
The plugin will also show a warning message when you do something critical like enabling magnification for jQuery.
Caching Features of WP Rocket
WP Rocket has all the needed caching options for improving the speed of your WordPress site. The fundamental page caching will start working instantly after activating the plugin.
- Preloading fonts and Sitemap so that search engines can easily crawl your site. If you have Yoast SEO plugin, then this plugin will automatically detect and show it as an option.
- Browser caching to send appropriate header for static files.
- DNS prefetching to speedup external files like Google Fonts.
- Hosting Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel locally.
- Deliver critical CSS per post type or for specific post.
- Combine and minify CSS and JS.
- Page caching, browser caching and GZIP compression.
- Lazy loading and add-on for Rocket CDN.
- Cache purging for specific post and ignore caching for specific post.
Other important factor is to disable any other caching on your installation. We had a problem with WP Rocket and the SiteGround’s SG Optimizer as both plugins do the same work. After checking, WP Rocket generally defer the object caching if the same is done by any other plugin. In our case, SG Optimizer could not do the dynamic caching with WP Rocket. So we recommend to have one caching for one purpose, otherwise get it clarified with your hosting and WP Rocket team.
You have all options for minifying and serving HTML, CSS and JS files. The success of the plugin relies on generating critical CSS for your site. Also if you have jQuery theme, ensure to check all post types are loading properly after enabling minifications.
WP Rocket will show a warning message when you enable combining of files. Though it recommends to disable on HTTP/2 servers, we have noticed the speed improvement by enabling concatenation options.
WP Rocket has an option to enable caching separately for mobile devices. This is fantastic option that can improve the mobile speed. The plugin will automatically detect the user agents to serve mobile or desktop content.
One problem is to serve cached pages for tablets. WP Rocket has either mobile or desktop caching, when your theme has dedicated viewport settings for tablets then the display may get distorted on tablets. Depending on the situation, you can ignore the user agents of tablets to serve uncached pages or serve mobile cached content for tablets using a helper plugin.
The latest version also includes mobile preloading to serve preloaded pages on mobiles for first time visitors. This will help to improve the mobile user experience.
WP Rocket does important part of excluding caching of WooCommerce cart, checkout pages. If you want to exclude any page then go to “Advanced Rules” section and exclude the content based on your need.
You also have options on the “Dashboard” to quickly clear the cache and regenerated critical CSS for your site. WP Rocket also offers a “Cache Options” meta box on post editor to enable or disable caching options for that page.
Other Important Features
The list is very long, WP Rocket has all necessary options to speedup every parts of your site.
- Database optimization for cleaning up revisions, trashed posts, spam comments and transients. You don’t need a separate plugin for optimizing your database.
- Hearbeat API control and disable options.
- Remove query strings from resources and combining Google fonts
- Lazyload images and iframes.
- Disable emojis and WordPress embeds.
- CDN integration and CloudFlare compatibility
- Multisite compatibility and WooCommerce supported.
What Makes the Plugin Difference?
WP Rocket plugin review will not be complete if we do not mention why the plugin is different than other traditional caching plugins. As the developer claims, WP Rocket will work on the fly immediately after installation. The reason is very simple – it will inline critical CSS on all your pages. This is a tricky part which is not shown anywhere on the WP Rocket’s website.
The plugin immediately after installation will start preparing the critical CSS using third party resource. After installation of the plugin, when you check the score in PageSpeed, you will not see the CSS optimization problem, which in turns will remove the server loading time in most of the cases. This will help to sky rocket your PageSpeed score.
But the critical CSS may break your site’s layout, especially when you have different types of content like pages, posts, products and other custom types. You will notice the pages will first load with the critical CSS styles and then adopt to the original styes. This may disturb the user experience, when you have lower speed server or slow internet connection. Overall, it should not be a problem for most of the websites. Check the site throughly, if required get the support from WP Rocket team to look at the situation on your site.
Similar to many other premium plugins, WP Rocket also offers some integrated add-ons. The best part is that, the add-ons are free. You have add-ons for browser caching improvements on Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel. Also for CDN and security you have two more add-ons for Cloudflare and Sucuri.
WP Rocket recently introduced CDN feature within the plugin for additional payment. They use SlackPath (earlier MaxCDN) content delivery network which is one of the most popular in this field. However, after clarification we understood this CDN can’t support canonical headers for images and doesn’t work with images hosted in subdomain. Therefore, it is not useful unless they have these features, otherwise you have to use Cloudflare or other CDN to integrate the CNAME record.
One annoying part is that the recommendation on Imagify plugin. You can get monthly 25MB cap on using this Imagify plugin and need to get premium version for compressing more images.
Support and Documentation
The best part with WP Rocket is about getting the support. You will have action button on the plugin settings page of your WordPress admin panel. You can simply click on the button to get required help or raise your question.
Each section has a help button to explain the settings in details. The documentation is also very clear explaining each part of the latest interface in user friendly manner.
We have used as many as caching plugins including varnish caching options at server side. But WP Rocket has major factors – one is generating critical CSS and other is having packaged options for all speed improvements. Most of the plugins don’t offer end to end features or offer partial options even with premium versions. So we recommend you to try WP Rocket and sky rocket your PageSpeed score.
- Simple and easy to use
- Works after installation
- Offers end to end speed solution for WordPress
- Per year per site pricing needs to upgrade each year on each site
- Recommendations of image compressing plugin.