Screencast Tuesday: Using W3 Total Cache Part 1

It’s Tuesday, so today we are going to look at part 2 of the caching series. This one is all about W3 Total Cache. We are going to skip a somewhat small portion of W3TC (CDN) for our part 3 of the series.

I was feeling better this week, or at least enough to record the screencast this week. It’s a little longer, but if you’ve ever taken a look at W3 Total Cache, it’s a pretty big plugin. So today’s screencast is about double (26 minutes) the usual length. I do apologize about that, but I wanted to make sure I covered all the settings I’ve found valuable and use on my personal site.

In case you missed the previous video in this series, it’s all about CloudFlare.

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9 Responses

  1. How does this method compare to using a managed wordpress host like that has built in caching and a CDN ? Is it just a price thing or are there other benefits?

    •  @RichFarr Not sure what they are doing. They look like the might be doing some networking stuff, or have something like CloudFlare built in.

    • From looking at LightingBases page source, they’re using W3 Total Cache . I haven’t used LightningBase, but I regularly use They automatically configure W3TC (with memcache) & varnish on every site. 
      Caching is just one feature of most managed WordPress solutions, so it’d be more accurate to compare LigthningBase to something like GoDaddy, rather than W3TC.
      You won’t get varnish and opcode cache on regular shared hosts.

    •  @RichFarr Thanks for mentioning our site.
      To clarify things a bit – theCodePunk is right that we configure W3TC for clients. We also use Varnish in front of sites, which is completely automatic and helps sites stand up under a flood of traffic.
      The only real similarity we have to Cloudflare is that Lightning Base provides a CDN – that can provide a big boost to speed, but won’t help deal with the generation of dynamic pages the way caching plugins such as W3TC can.
      Chris @ Lightning Base

  2. Great timing. Just trying setup my first W3TC this morning when the link to this video arrived. So is using W3TC recommended even if no one is complaining about speed of the site? Does it serve any purpose at all if you’re on shared hosting and not going to switch to VPS? And do the defaults, out-of-the-box, work OK or is it necessary to walk through everything to set it up to function? Thanks.

    •  @Sheila Personally, if you’re on a shared hosting account, I’d look at using CloudFlare first. It’s free, and a lot easier to setup. If after that you start getting complaints, then I’d first look at moving a site to a VPS or dedicated box. If it starts to get slow again, then I’d put on W3TC.

  3. Around 18:20, it looks like you are using both CloudFlare and Amazon CloudFront at the same time. Is there a conflict? I thought they both did the same thing.

    •  @p888 Wasn’t using CloudFront. I use Amazon S3 for “CDN” type features, but it might have been set to CloudFront accidentally. To my knowledge they don’t do everything the same, so you should have no problem using both of them.

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