The Ultimate Guide to Configuring WP Rocket Plugin

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If you run your own website or develop websites for clients, then you already know that page load time is an important part of your site’s user experience. In addition, your site’s speed can also affect your search engine rankings.

research carried out by Kissmetrics, a well-established analytics company, found that:

  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  • A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
  • If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1-second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.

What does this mean for WordPress webmasters? To keep it short, your website needs to load like a rocket! In the past, this meant tinkering about with your theme, installing various plugins and hoping that they all play nice with each other, a tedious and time-consuming task. However, with the help of WP-Rocket, you can optimize your site’s performance with the click of a few buttons, a 15-minute affair.

About WP-Rocket

Naturally, WP-Rocket is a WordPress plugin. Here are few key facts:

Pricing

It’s a premium plugin. A single license starts at $39 per year. Three licenses are priced at $99 while their developer or infinite license is set at $199.

 

Features

The plugin supports an array of features. And they really boast about it! Check out their features page and their comparison to Hyper Cache, WP Super Cache, and W3 Total Cache. Personally, these are the ones that standout: Page Caching, GZIP Compression, Browser Caching, Lazyload, Minification / Concatenation and even a one-click feature for CDN support.

And the best part the plugin is that it is user-friendly and relatively easy to set up.

Configuring WP-Rocket Plugin

Once you have installed WP-Rocket and validated your license, you will want to start with the basic options and then proceed to the more advanced options.

Basic Options

To enable a function, simply read the explanation and check the box.

What to look out for

Lazyload – To reduce load time, especially when you have a lot of images on your site, you can enable lazyload. Lazyload ensures that your images and iframes are loaded when they are visible to the user in the browser (when the user scrolls to the level of the image).

Files Optimisation – This option is rather straightforward. By minifying your files unlimited space, characters and comments are removed from your files. While concatenation combines your scripts into fewer files. Please note that enabling this feature may cause your site to act a little buggy. Proceed with caution!

Mobile Cache – If your site is responsive, and part of your traffic comes from mobile users, then enable both options.

Feeds Cache – An option to cache your RSS feed.

Logged-in Users Cache – Personally, I would leave this option unchecked, as an admin I may want to make changes to the site in real time without worrying about caching.

SSL Cache – Enable or disable caching on SSL pages. You will need to activate this option if your entire site is on https://.

Emojis – A cool but small optimization feature that replaces emojis with WordPress smileys.

Clear Cache Lifespan – 24 hours is the default. This implies that your cached files will be automatically generated every 24 hours. If you have a have a lot of static content and rarely update your site you may want to increase.

Advanced Options

What to look out for

Static resources – This option allows you to strip the version number off your scripts. So if you have a file called main.js?ver=5.0, the version parameter (?ver=5.0) will be removed.

Prefetch DNS requests – DNS prefetching can help reduce the latency when resolving external files (e.g. Google fonts, Font awesome, Modernizr etc…).

For instance, if you are using Google fonts, you can enter the following URL:

//fonts.googleapis.com

Empty the cache of the following pages when updating a post – This feature allows you to clear the cache of a non-related page when you update a post.

Never cache the following pages – This option is straightforward, enter the URLs of the pages you don’t want cached.

Notice the message: “The cart and checkout pages are auto-excluded from the cache for WooCommerce, Easy Digital Download, iThemes Exchange, Jigoshop & WP-Shop.”. WP-Rocket even thought about that!

Don’t cache pages that use the following cookies – Same principle as above, allows you to exclude pages from being cached based on cookies.

Cache pages that use the following query strings – This feature can help you cache query strings. Let’s say popular search requests and price filters on an e-commerce site.

Don’t show cached pages to the following user-agents – Prevents Googlebot or other user agents from caching pages.

CSS files to exclude from minification – Enter CSS files that you don’t want to minify.

JavaScript files to exclude from minification – Enter JS files that you don’t want to minify.

JS files to be moved to the footer – By default, WP-Rocket loads your JS files in the header of your website. This featured allows you to enter the URL of the scripts you want to be moved to the footer of your site. Please note, that this feature can break a few things. Test with caution!

JS files with deferred loading – And here you can enter the URL (not the minified one) of the JS files you would like to be loaded asynchronously at the same time as the page loads.

Database

What to look out for

Notice the warning: “Before you do any optimization, please backup your database first because any cleanup done is irreversible!”

WP-Rocket’s database optimization tool can clean up:

  • Post revisions, auto drafts and trashed posts
  • Spam and trashed comments
  • All & expired transients
  • Table optimization

There is also the option to schedule an automatic cleanup to run daily, weekly and monthly.

Preload

What to look out for

Preloading can improve both site and indexing speed. More info can be found here.

Activate preload bot – set to automatic unless you want to do this manually in the tools tab.

Sitemap preloading – Since version 2.8, there is the possibility to preload your content using an XML sitemap. If you have SEO Yoast installed, then WP-Rocket will automatically detect your sitemap.

Sitemap Crawl Interval – Leave as is, if you find your CPU usage is too high, then you may want to increase this number. For more information on CPU usage, you may want to contact your hosting provider.

XML sitemaps to use for preloading – In our case, since WP Rocket already detected our sitemap in the “sitemap preloading” section, there is no need for us to add anything here.

CDN

What to look out for

If you are using a CDN (content delivery network), you will be happy to know that CDN integration is a breeze. For example, have a look at this tutorial on configuring the WP-Rocket with KeyCDN.

CloudFlare – If you are using CloudFlare, select the checkbox to configure your settings. You will be asked to enter your CloudFlare account email, API key, and domain.

Alternatively, if you are using another CDN, simply check the “Enable CDN” box and enter your unique CDN domain/address. You also have the option to select the assets you want to be served over the CDN. The default is all files, but you can choose between Images, JS and CSS files. Once you click save changes, WP-Rocket will go ahead and update your all your asset URLs throughout your WordPress installation.

CDN & SSL – Allows you to disable CDN support on https pages (e.g. a cart page).

Rejected Files – Allows you to enter files that you don’t want to be served over the CDN.

Varnish

What to look out for

Varnish Caching Purge – Enable if your hosting provider supports varnish cache. The Varnish cache will be purged each time WP Rocket cache needs to be cleared to avoid conflict.

Tools

What to look out for

Beta Testing – 100% up to you.

Clear Cache – Press when you have made changes to your site.

Preload Cache – This setting will generate a cache for your homepage and all internal links you use on the homepage. We have set preload to “automatic”, so there is no need for us to worry about this feature.

Export Settings – Creates an export file of all your settings

Import Settings – To import settings from another installation.

Rollback – Helpful if an update is causing an error or a conflict, you can fallback to a previous version.

Additional tabs include the FAQ and support tab.

Conclusion

There you have it! Those are the settings that I use on my personal website. Your site may require a slightly different setup and please test cautiously when enabling features. And if it’s all a bit overwhelming you can always hire an optimization service to set it up for you. A quick speed test with Pingdom and you should see a substantial improvement in load time and performance score.

Author Bio

Written by William Hagerty

Help me fix my website! William is your guy. He is a mechanic at Fixmysite.com and a massive classic rock fan. When he is not working behind his PC, you can probably find him watching TV behind his PC!

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