This is a bit more of an advanced topic compared to some of my prior posts but let's talk about how fast your site loads. Site speed is something you will need to pay attention to especially as your WordPress site grows. A slow site can lead to many problems that will directly hurt your online strategy including:
- A slow website can lead to a poor user experience
- An underperforming website can hurt your search engine rankings
- A slow website can lead to time productivity loss
Because of the nature of how WordPress works and the complexity of adding layers of plugins, it can often equate to a slow loading site. Caching, among other tactics and best practices, is one process used to speed up a WordPress website.
In a nutshell, caching is the process of creating a static copy of your web page which is served to users in replacement of the actual page. For WordPress, every time a page is loaded, server resources are used to create that page on the fly. The difference of not using a cache is comparable to entering a long checkout line at a store to find the cashier hand looking up every product and manually calculate every receipt.
There are various plugins for WordPress that assist with page caching, the most notable ones are WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache. These plugins create a cache on the website level, which is helpful and can drastically increase page load speed if setup correctly.
Taking WordPress caching to the next level with Memcache:
Memcache is a server level performance booster that most hosting companies do not make available to their shared hosting clients. I was surprised and giddy to find SiteGround, my preferred hosting provider for my WordPress Jumpstart class, not only provides Memcache but makes it available to WordPress users who have a standard shared hosting package. (Woohoo!)
To activate Memcache on your SiteGround hosted WordPress site, you first must have a Grow Big account or better. If you do not already, make sure to download and install the Super Cacher plugin from SiteGround into your WordPress site. You can find a download link in your cPanel settings for WordPress Super Cacher.
Finally, to activate the Memcache, head on over to the Level 3 caching options in the cPanel Super Cacher settings and turn it on. That's it, you're site is now using the most advanced level of WordPress caching. (In my opinion)
The downside to using such a power cache is you will sometimes need to flush the cache after you publish a new blog post or page, to have it appear immediately on the site. The Super Cacher plugin makes this easier.
Check to make sure your site is paying nicely with these new features and try a speed test to make sure there's a noticeable improvement.