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How to Configure Optimal W3 Total Cache for Speeding Up WordPress

How to Configure Optimal W3 Total Cache for Speeding Up WordPress

The guide on how to speed up WordPress website by using W3 Total Cache plugin is made for readers longing for fast page loading speed and looking for an effective method to achieve that goal. In this post, we are going to make a brief introduction about W3 Total Cache and then tell the way to install and set up this powerful WordPress cache plugin.

W3 Total Cache is regarded as one of the best WordPress optimization plugins in the market, and it is welcomed by millions of websites, like AT&T, Yoast.com, WhatsWP.com, and so on. It focuses on the improvement of server performance, loading speed and CDN integration.

Besides, this plugin is true of shared hosting, VPS and dedicated server. Thus, no matter which hosting type you rely on, W3 Total Cache is qualified to be a part of your success. After having a rough idea about W3 Total Cache, let’s get started to speed up your WordPress website with this plugin.

Install W3 Total Cache

You are able to search and install the W3 Total Cache through WordPress.org, and then upload the installed plugin to your WordPress site. However, it may be a little troublesome. So, we suggest you to do it via WordPress dashboard.

Log into your WordPress dashboard and go to Plugins > Add New. Enter W3 Total Cache in the search bar and then find out this plugin. Click Install Now.

install w3 total cache

And then, activate the plugin by clicking Activate Plugin.

install w3 total cache

Set up W3 Total Cache

The W3 Total Cache plugin dashboard shows an at-a-glance insight into some performance indicators and some add-ons available for you, like Premium Services, Spread the Word, MaxCDN, and so on.

set up w3 total cache

Besides, w3 Total Cache enables a bunch of options for performance improvement, including Page Cache, Minify, Database Cache, Object Cache, Browser Cache, User Agent Groups, and so on. Only if you have a comprehensive understanding about those settings, you can make full use this cache plugin and then hit the mark. Here, we are going to explain the purpose of each option one by one. Go to Dashboard > Performance.

General Settings

This option is designed for users who wish to enable all settings of W3 Total Cache but bother to check the boxes one by one. If you are the member of them, then you can check the “Toggle all caching types on or off (at once)”. If not, move on to the following demonstrations. Note that, the “Preview mode” is used for a test of configuration, which is a great method to check if there is something wrong with the settings.

w3 total cache general settings

Page Cache

The options included in Page Cache enable you to generally cache front page, feeds, SSL requests, URLs, 404 pages, request for your website and logged in users. Besides, you can enable or disable cache pages for certain user roles, including Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor and Subscriber.

  • Cache Preload – This is where to set up update interval, pages per interval and sitemap URL so as to preload each page. Also, the “Automatically prime the cache” option can help you save a lot of efforts to fulfill the cache preload.
  • Purge Policy – This is where to purge pages and feeds when creating, editing or commenting a post. We suggest you to go with the default settings.
  • Advanced – This is where to enable or disable some advanced settings, such as Late initialization, Compatibility mode, Charset, and so on. In fact, the default settings are fine to you.

w3 total cache page cache


Enabling this option, it automatically compresses and decreases the size and number of your static files and removes unnecessary data from pages, posts, codes, themes, and more. So visitors can reduce the loading time and access into your site quickly.

First of all, you need to select the Enable checkbox. Then, you should choose a minify mode as Auto or Manual – You can manually minify specific files or choose Auto mode to enable files to be automatically minified. In the next, you should choose a minify cache method, which is usually the disk for shared server. You also need to set HTML, JS and CSS. And then, click on the Save all settings button to save the changes.

w3 total cache minify

Database Cache

As the name suggests, this function is designed to speed up database. Check “Don’t cache queries for logged in users” and then leave the default settings under Advanced. However, you can adjust the value of maximum lifetime of cache objects and garbage collect interval, because the lower the value, the smaller the cache. In addition, you are required to customize the value under the next setting called Object Cache in the same way.

w3 total cache database cache

Browser Cache

This is where to cache browser by customizing last-modified header, expires header, cache control header, and so on. You are required to check the needed options under the General setting and that should be based on your own needs. And then, the following three options including CSS & JS, HTML & XML and Media & Other Files enable you to customize browser cache for CSS, JavaScript files, posts, feeds and some other files.

w3 total cache browser cache

User Agent Groups

This setting enables management of user agent groups. You are required to check Enabled if you want to bring this function into effect. There are two groups included by default named as High and Low. You are allowed to delete the existing groups and create a new one by clicking the Delete Group or Create a Group button. If you wish to redirect the users to another domain, then you need to enter the hostname in the “Redirect users to” field, which is great for the website with mobile version. You are able to customize the Referrer Groups in the same way.

w3 total cache user agent groups


CDN is recognized as one of the greatest methods to speed up website. Luckily, W3 Total Cache features CDN and enables certain files to host with this premium function. You can enable some attachments, wp-includes/files, theme files, minified CSS & JS and some other files to integrate with CDN and them make a significant improvement on performance. What you need to do is to check the selected options and then click “Save all settings” button.

Besides, you can purchase MaxCDN by clicking Sing Up Now and Save 25% button under Configuration option, which is one of the most popular CDN services in the market.

w3 total cache cdn

After having a full picture of W3 Total Cache, you may have had a taste of this powerful cache plugin and wish to give it a try. Keep in mind that you should customize the settings according to your needs and then make it work perfectly.


Lucy has been a very experienced SEOer, technical writer, web developer, c# developer since 2002. Now she owns a startup in San Francisco, CA, focusing on running a couple of blogs to share knowledge and experience with global readers and deliver exceptional results to global sponsors by leveraging the power of Internet.