WP Super Cache Versus W3 Total Cache

I have been dealing with a WordPress site that was consuming a lot of resources on the server on which it is installed. In the course of discussing the problems I was seeing with the web host’s support team, the support representative suggested that I try W3 Total Cache instead of WP Super Cache to see if it improved the site’s loading time and reduced the resource usage for the site.

I have used W3 Total Cache in the past, and what I remember most about it was that I had one text widget which simply would not update on the front end until I deactivated the plugin and activated it once more, but I had already done everything I could think of to optimize this problem site, so I was game. And he got me thinking, which of these caching plugins really works the best?

First, I ran GoDaddy’s P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) on the site several times to obtain a baseline measure of its performance with WP Super Cache installed and configured as I have described in a previous post on optimizing WordPress. WP Super Cache was set up to use mod_rewrite.

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P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)

P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) Detailed View

It’s a rare and wonderful feeling when I come across a development tool that gives me that, “Where have you been all my life?” feeling. Firebug was one. GoDaddy’s P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) is another.

I formally used a variety of web-site performance testing sites in order to measure the loading speed of sites I developed, but often pinpointing problem WordPress plugins meant testing with the plugin deactivated, re-testing with the plugin activated, going one-by-one through a site’s plugins, or poring through the server logs to find the resource hogs. It wasn’t fun, and it was very time-consuming.

The P3 (Plugin Performance Plugin) makes finding out which WordPress plugins are performing well–and which are not–much easier.

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