Have you always wanted to use WP Super Cache, but its admin screen scares you? This is the ultimate WP Super Cache Guide / Tutorial / Walk Through. In case you forgot, or you’re new to WP Super Cache, it only makes sense to first explain what this plugin does. In a nutshell WP Super Cache generates static html files from your “dynamic” WordPress theme and servers these new cached pages to users. This new “static” file takes the place of heavier PHP loaded templates that often include expense database queries and functions. By trimming these pages down, page loads and overall server bandwidth are decreased. This description usually brings about some initial questions about WP Super Cache…
You might be asking, “What if I update pages/posts? Then what happens?” Whenever a post or comment is published, WP Super Cache re-caches that particular post. It doesn’t always do this instantaneously, but it is pretty quick.
“So then, as an admin viewing my own site, won’t I see slightly outdated content all the time?” In the admin panel settings for WP Super Cache, you can turn off serving cached pages to logged-in users (admins). This assures that your most lucrative audience always receives the most up-to-date content.
Therefore, 99% of your visitors will be served static html files (non-logged in). Those users who don’t see the static files will still benefit because they will see different cached files that aren’t quite as efficient but still better than un-cached. This plugin will help your server cope with a front page appearance on digg.com or similar top tire site. Caching plugins help keep underpowered sites alive.
Again, most WordPress site owners find this plugin complicated to install. And it is true, with the wrong settings, your site could become a disaster. However, their is no need to fear. After going through this tutorial, you will feel comfortable tackling the WP Super Cache plugin.
Plugin Installation | WP Super Cache
At this point you should already know how to install a plugin. Just go to plugins > add new > search > and type “WP Super Cache” into the search form. You should select the first entry in the search listing and should see a pop-up window that looks something like this…
- If you cannot install plugins in this fashion and have to do it manually, you should find a “plugins” folder in your wp-content folder. Drop the folder that contains the plugin into this location. At this point, the plugin should show up in the admin panel plugin listing, but not activated. Activate WP Super Cache.
WP Super Cache Settings
In this section of the tutorial, I will walk through each tab within the settings options. These tabs will be listed in numerical order, and will be accompanied by sub-section descriptions and images.
The Advanced Tab | WP Super Cache
Advanced and Mod Rewrite
- Check the first box, “Mobile Device Support.”
- Check the second box, “Clear all Cached files when a page or post is published.”
- Check the third box, “Extra Homepage Checks…”
- Check the fourth box, “Only refresh current page when a comment is made.”
- Check the fifth box, “List the newest cached pages on this page.”
- Click the blue “Update Status” button below the Advanced section. This will generate new rewrite rules that will be injected into your websites .htaccess file. This is necessary based on the settings we have chosen.
- A new, yellow-orange dialogue box has appeared that lists your new Mod Rewrite rules that need to be injected. At the bottom of this colored box exists a gray “Update Mod_Rewrite Rules” button. Click that button. This box should now turn green and display a darker green message saying, “Mod Rewrite Riles Updated!”
Expiry Time and Garbage Collection
This section can be left along. The default settings override any value over 1800 seconds and set the time to every 10 minutes. This is an expensive task for the server to run constantly, so I would recommend using the maximum value.
Accepted Filenames and Rejected URIs
In this section you also get free reign. I would commend checking Serach and Feeds, however. Those have no reason to be cached because their content is hyper dynamic. Some feel uncomfortable having the Homepage being cached because of dynamic content and/or constantly streaming exterior feeds (like social status updates.) While this content is cool to have on the homepage (I have it on mine) I still allow caching of the homepage (not checked.) Speed is more important to me than someone seeing my to-the-second Twitter status. Remember, after done checking boxes, click the gray button bellow this section to save changes.
The Other Tabs | WP Super Cache
The rest of these sections should be left at the defaults. Read their descriptions and/or search them for more info.
The CDN Tab | WP Super Cache
- This step is not necessary, but if you want to increase your speeds anymore, this will make your site fly. Assuming that you have already have setup a CDN simply copy and paste your CDN URL directory in the “Off-site URL” text input box.
- Check the box at the top, “Enable CDN Support.”
- Finally, click the blue “Save Changes” button at the bottom.
- If you want more info on this process check out this resource.
The Content Tab
This sections could be left alone, but near the bottom are a gray “Delete Expired” and a “Delete Cache Now” button. This is a nice fail-safe. If content on the site is not appearing outdated, or you think you may have originally set up this plugin incorrectly, click both of these buttons to reset the caching process.
The Preload Tab | WP Super Cache
This tab allows you to automatically have the WP Super Cache plugin preload or reload its cache. It will take the newest to the oldest posts/pages and preload static HTML cached versions to serve to your visitors. This can be somewhat taxing on your server, and I even have the automated feature turned off. Most pages never change content and I post regularly enough where this should not be a problem. However, when I am doing some heavy development on the site, I do click the gray, “Preload Cache Now” button to confirm the newest Cached pages across my site. This button should be clicked the first time you install this plugin.
The Plugins Tab | WP Super Cache
These are additional plugins the author of WP Super Cache is trying to push to his users. This are unneeded, but if you are already using them, it is nice to know they are supported by WP Super Cache.
The Debug Tab | WP Super Cache
If things are just not working, than you probably have a conflict with your server provider. I have not had any issues with this plugin, so I have not had to use this debug tab. I would recommend visiting the plugin’s support page for help. Also, be sure to check out the FAQ.
Additional Plugins and Guides | WP Super Cache
- Be sure to check out my extensive, Ultimate WordPress Optimization Guide. This should get all of your pages to load in under 300kb. Now that’s tiny! Keep in mind, speed is a huge factor in determining search rankings.
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments, post them below. I would love to hear what you had to say! Thanks again. WP Super Cache FTW!