WP Rocket Review and Settings

WP Rocket is famously known for it’s ability to speed up WordPress based website. We’re going to look at settings for WP Rocket and what to do after installation, after activating the plugin page caching is activated right away so even without enabling any of the other options your site is already faster. You will be able to verify that it’s working by looking at the source code of your site or a notification from WP Rocket. We are going to open the site in an incognito window to make sure that we are not logged in, this will ensure we are seeing the cached pages. If we go to “View Source” and go all the way down to the bottom, you can see the notification that lets you know WP Rocket is working.

We do have a blog post that explains how you can correctly measure your website’s loading time So you can test your site before and after activating WP Rocket and you can see the benefit you are getting. Up in your Admin toolbar, you’ll find useful links to WP Rocket documentation which has a lot of articles on how to troubleshoot problems and how to use various features. If you do get stuck or encounter any problems you can also open a support ticket. Customers often ask what are the recommended settings are. Now keep in mind that all the settings are designed to be optional, as we said when you activate the plugin page caching is activated and that’s the primary speed boost.

But you can choose to enable some extra options. We typically recommend enabling lazy load, this helps pages with a lot of images load faster. You can enable caching for mobile devices as long as you’re not using a plugin to deliver a mobile version of your site like WP Touch. But if you have a regular theme or responsive theme you can enable this option. If you have a site where users are logging in to interact with the site such as a BB Press site or similar you can enable caching for logged-in users. Each user will get their own cache. Having an SSL certificate on your site does means you have pages being saved over HTTPS then you need to activate the SSL caching option too. So those are some of our basic, recommended settings, now let’s take a look at the other settings. The file optimization options tend to be the most problematic these options minify and concatenate CSS, JavaScript, and other files. Minification means that white space is removed from the files to make them more compact.

Concatenation means they are combined into a smaller number of files to reduce the number of HTTP requests. However, this can cause display issues on your site sometimes layout breaks or something like that. It’s usually the CSS or JS options that cause problems, sometimes HTML minification causes an issue Google font minification tends to be the least problematic. So if you have any problems with these options you can definitely leave them turned off, the impact on loading time is minimal. It’s recommended as a best practice by tools like Google Page Speed, GT Metrix and others but in reality it has a negligible impact on load time. This is a resolvable problem with minification. Typically you just have to locate and exclude problematic files by placing the file URLs in this box, and that will resolve the problem.

Clear cache life span – by default the cache for your site is cleared and recreated every 24 hours in order to make sure that all your cached content is up to date. So typically 24 hours is fine for this setting. If you have a site that you don’t update very much or has a lot of static content you can make it longer but we don’t recommend setting it very low so 24 hours is fine in most cases. Now let’s move on to the advanced options. Some of these options quite technical and they are not designed to be used by everyone on every site so if some of these options don’t mean much to you that’s okay you don’t have to use them. They’re mostly intended for developers and advanced users.

Prefetch DNS requests this is useful if you’re pulling in scripts or assets from a third party such as YouTube videos, Google fonts etc. Every time your site makes a request to another server for an asset it takes a little bit of time to look up the DNS, so by adding a prefetch you can mitigate that time a little bit. On this site, if we go to ‘View Source’ you can see here that we are using a Google font so it’s pulling that from fonts.googleapis.com to add the prefetch. We are just going to copy the domain name and paste that in the box. You don’t need to put the HTTP or anything just put the domain name and the double slash at the beginning¬†and when we view the source again you can see the prefetch has been added at the top. Please empty the cache of the following pages when you are updating a post. So when you update or create new content posts, pages, custom post types etc, WP Rocket will clear the cache of the home page, and any associated category or tag archive pages so that those pages all stay up to date.

If you have any any pages whose cache you want to be updated when you create new content you can just add those in here. Never cache the following pages – this is most often used in e-commerce sites because on those sites you don’t want to cache cart and checkout pages. Those pages always need to be unique for each individual visitor so you don’t want to cache them. WP Rocket will automatically detect if you’re running WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, Jigo shop, iThemes Exchange, or WP Shop and will automatically exclude your cart and checkout pages for those plugins. But if you are using another e-commerce plugin you have to enter the URLs for your cart and checkout pages in here. That’s the most common use for this but you can enter any pages in here that you don’t want to be cached. Likewise, you can exclude a page from the cache based on the presence of a cookie. Cache pages that use the following query strings. By default, we don’t cache pages that use query strings such as search results pages but if you want to cache them you can just add the query strings here.

An example this might be on an e-commerce site where you have some pages that use a price filter. For example on this site you can filter products by various properties and create a new page each time which you might want to cache. So in this case you just take the query – filtering – and paste that in the box, and it will cache all pages that use that query. If for some reason you want to prevent bots such as Googlebot or other user agents from seeing cached versions of your pages you can add the user-agent names in this box. The last two options are pretty advanced. During the minification process we put all the minified JS files in the header of the site, so if there’s any that you want to move to the footer you can add the URL’s in this field. Make sure to add the full URL to the original file not the minified version, and they’ll remain in the footer after minification.

You have to be careful with this because moving JavaScript files around can break your site, so you really only want to use this section if you know what you are doing. The same with the deferred loading section. This is to specify JavaScript files that you want to load asynchronously to prevent them blocking the rendering of the page. If you have setup CloudFlare for your site, you can manage some options from inside WP Rocket. Click the box and hit Save to enable the CloudFlare tab. Enter your CloudFlare account email, API key and domain to integrate with WP Rocket. Here you can toggle Development Mode on and off It’s useful to turn on Development Mode when you are making a lot of code changes to your site Auto- enable optimal settings will activate a predetermined set of options within CloudFlare.

We activate minification, set the caching level to aggressive and deactivate their Rocket Loader, for better compatibility. These options apply to free accounts, we don’t do anything with the paid account options. You can clear your CloudFlare cache with this button. If you use a CDN such as MaxCDN or Amazon CloudFront you can enable that here. Just check this box and add your CNAME in here, and WP Rocket will rewrite the URLs for images and other files to serve them from your CDN. If you have a site with SSL but your CDN does NOT serve content over SSL, then you have to disable the CDN on pages with SSL otherwise you’ll get insecure content warnings and things won’t work properly. If you have specific files that you don’t want to be served from the CDN, you can enter them this box. We do release new versions of the plugin into Beta first, so if you want to get the new features first check this box and you’ll get access to the beta releases.

It is easy to clear the cache for the entire site using the magic button – it’s the same as the button you’ll find in the Admin toolbar. Preload Cache. When you click this button we have a bot that will come to your site and crawl your homepage and all the pages linked from your homepage and preload those which basically just means it generates the cache for those pages so that when the first real visitor comes to your site they will see the cached, fast version of your page. You can export and import your WP Rocket settings. This is useful to backup the settings if you need to roll back or if you want to use the same settings on your other site. Maybe you’re moving from a developed to a live site, for example.

Just click ‘download options’ and you just get a small file to download and you can import that into another site. Rollback is a feature that lets you go back to the last version of WP Rocket. So let’s say you update and for some reason it’s causing you problems, you can just go back to the previous stable version.

So those are the main settings. There’s also some settings that you find on individual posts and pages So if I go into an Edit screen, you’ll see over here we have Cache Options. So what this lets you do is disable certain options on an individual post or page. This is really useful for things like lazy load. Occasionally lazy load might conflict with a gallery plugin or a slider plugin. We are trying to make it as compatible as we can with all the major sliders and such that are out there but sometimes there might be one where there’s a conflict and you might just have that slider on one page so you don’t want to disable lazy load for the whole site you can just come over here and you can just disable it for that individual page or post and the same goes for these other options as well so this lets you more finely control the options on a per post and page basis and it will show up on custom post types as well.

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