In this particular writing I explain why I disabled W3 Total Cache, which is by far the best cache plugin ever.
Some decisions are hard but you got make those changes. One of the recent dilemma which was really hard for me to make it was put an end to W3 Total Cache plugin.
W3 Total Cache by Frederick Townes is one of the most essential and popular WordPress Plugin. Any blogger who is running WordPress will definitely suggest you to install it along with popular ones like JetPack, Akismet and others. And as a matter of fact, even though with those expert recommendations, I found my reasons to disable W3 Total Cache on my popular technology and mobile blog - TechnosAmigos.com. Surprised? I am sure you shouldn't be after reading this article. Through this post I will let you know why I disable W3TC and cases wherein you might also need to. To all - this happens to be my personal decision/experiment for a WordPress blog and I am not against any plugin or anyone. This also isn't a paid or promoted content as well. ➡
I am not against using W3 Total Cache [W3TC ] but my case herein is quite different from others. Definitely using W3 Total Cache improves page load time, increases Pagespeed and YSlow score. I was truly astonished to see SmartLadyLife.com [A WordPress blog that my wife Preethi Khetani runs] performing atleast 3 folds faster. On that blog it helped me to reduced total requests served, page load time and total page size.
The W3TC plugins helps you to do following -
- Minify CSS
- Decrease page load time
- Decreases page size
- Decreases total number of requests
- Increases PageSpeed score
- Increases Yslow score
- Configure eTags
- Enable gZip compression
- Other things to speed us your site drastically
I thank Frederick for continuing this plugin as a free one and smaller bloggers like me 😉 can take advantage of it. Saves a lot of time and money for non-developers.
Why I Disabled W3 Total Cache?
After clearly experimenting on my tech blog, I had to make this harsh decision and all this for better user experience. This wasn't an easiest choice for me. Ok so let me get started now.
Let me first introduce to my tech blog, TechnosAmigos.com, which is a mobile technology related blog which covers latest mobile phone launches, comparison, reviews and tech related tips. If you are interested in technology news, definitely you can subscribe to email alerts for free. That will make one conversion for me 😆
Also Read - 51 Best ever WordPress Plugins
TechnosAmigos.com Current Configuration
The TechnosAmigos.com is hosted on Knownhost dedicated servers for which pricing starts from $179. Checkout Knownhost dedicated server plans
Most self hosted WordPress blogs are hosted on $3 to $10 a month priced shared hosting plan from either HostGator or BlueHost but dedicated servers provides blazing fast speed and reliability.
Apart from that, I am using a CDN [Content Delivery network] and without any surprise it's the CloudFlare CDN with pro plan costing $20 a month for TechnosAmigos. Now dedicated server + CDN is very good enough to provide at par Pagespeed score and YSlow score.
TechnosAmigos.com is very optimized and even I cut down every possible thing I can in order not to increase any further load on the site. I run Newspaper theme by tagDiv and doesn't have related posts, popular posts widget or even those fancy social sharing buttons.
Plugins add more weight to your site and even I have kept to as low as possible. I have the current plugins running -
- Ad Injection
- APS Arena Products
- Auto Affiliate Links
- Clean Up
- Duplicate Post
- JetPack by WordPress
- Yoast SEO
In the JetPack I have disabled most of the modules and have the following only enabled -
- Contact Form
- Post by email
- Site Stats
- Site Verification
- Spelling and Grammar
- Widget Visibility
Learn how I make $3000+ a month from blogging
In the Widgets, I don't have anything special functions to increase further requests. Now that was minimum, the minimum of all that you can serve. At the end in order to improve page-loading time, the technosamigos.com has current configuration -
- No related posts at all.
- Limited number of ads. We only use Google AdSense and VigLink for monetization.
- mgid Ads [Just for testing]
- Limited number of menu items. We have just 4.
- No popular posts widget on sidebar.
- No popups for subscribe or like us on Facebook.
- No Previous/Next articles.
- No meta details on single posts.
For a normal website, even though it runs on VPS or shared hosting, that should be enough to decrease total number of requests on page, i.e., increase page loading time.
In Search of the Still Faster Loading Site
A couple of days back I did an experiment and disable W3TC plugin in quest of improving the page loading time. I was running W3 Total Cache since a long time and I disabled it September 2 onward.
Output = Rise from 6500 to 7000 Sessions per day. Increment by 8%. Now that's great considering just a plugin was enabled/disabled. This results continued in the coming days as well. Now I am happy to fix a major issue on my site and that has paid off.
Here is the GtMetrix results after and before disabling the W3TC plugin -
From the above screenshot, while the W3 TC was enable, the total size of the page was 1.52 MB and when I disabled it the page size got reduced by atleast 0.3 MB and the number of requests went down from 35 to 25. The Pagespeed score and the Yslow score were improved but that came at the stake of page load time which increased by 0.1 second. I did ran this experiment on top performing pages and I was able to see increase in visitors on my blog.
- W3TC either enable or disabled had relevantly less impact on my loading speed. In some cases with above site configuration I was able to achieve better results.
- In any case, the W3TC plugin, improved overall pagespeed score and Yslow score but that was marginal.
Who Can Disable W3TC or Any Cache Plugin
Big question is by reading my article you might be thinking to disable the plugin. If you are planning something similar to me, then I suggest two things -
- If your site has fancy design, a lot of widgets, popups for email subscription, floating social sharing buttons, then I would suggest you continue using cache plugin. YogeshKhetani.com has W3TC plugin enabled.
- If your site doesn't have those what is mentioned above and it's plain like Gogi.in or take TechnosAmigos, you can consider disabling it but only after going through several testing.
Please note that W3TC is not solely responsible for increasing or decreasing the page load time. There are several other factors affecting it.
What I Still Missing
Ofcourse I disabled W3TC but that came at some or the other expenses. But Newton's third law hit my mind, which says - "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." And I went ahead.
Some of the things I still miss out are -
- Cookie free domains.
- Expiry headers.
- Browser caching is still not leveraged.
Did you ever had similar experiences? Do share with us via comment.
Finally don't forget to subscribe to email updates on TechnosAmigos.com and here as well.