Fast broken blog or working one? you choose

I just got another ticket off someone that is using a cache plugin and experiencing issues with a plugin.

BTW – Do you recommend NOT using W3TC? And, if so, is there a better one?

Here’s my response, maybe if you read it here then I wont have to type it again in a ticket!

oh that is a biggie! w3 total cache by definition will serve old copies of pages. That is what all cache plugins are designed to do.

it is quicker to serve a html copy than to generate one with php which is why they make sites faster.

unfortunately, blogs are dynamic sites with plugins that require freshly created content which don’t really work well with copies of pages that were made hours or even days ago.

static business sites that are there for information work really well with cache plugins because they rarely change but blogs with new posts and comments and ‘real time’ plugins installed don’t do so well.

w3 total cache is not yet final. That is why it is not showing as version 1.0 yet. You and me and all the others that use it are test subjects!

you have to decide if you want a fast broken blog or a working one.

there are blogs (including mine) that have w3 working with everything else but each blog is different and has different plugins active so you will have to find your own set of settings that works for you.

unforunately, w3 is the best (or the least bad) of the cache plugins but like I said, cache plugins are designed to serve old content and blogs are designed to serve fresh content. that’s the issue that comes up again and again with any cache plugin and a blog.

sorry I can’t help more but w3 is a beast of a plugin and the author keeps changing the core code so I can’t add things to commentluv to work with it, the last time I tried it worked but as soon as he updated his code it broke every commentluv blog so I don’t try any more.

the best advice I can give is to optimize your site first before considering a cache plugin, you’d be surprised at how much that can help.

and if you do decide on a cache plugin, test test test!

The takeaways…
  • If you do not know what a cache plugin does then you do not need one!
  • If you have a slow broken site, a cache plugin will not fix it!
  • If minifying breaks one script, it breaks them all!
  • Scripts that are already minified (jquery.min.js) do not need to be minified!
  • You should optimize your site before you try to speed it up with cache plugins!
  • test test test .. experiment with settings to see what gets you a working site and then test test test again!
  • Switching every option to MAX and then expecting it just to work is not really gonna happen on shared hosting with a free theme and a bazillion free plugins.

17 thoughts on “Fast broken blog or working one? you choose

  1. Mel Quincy

    This post is quite valuable and it has helped me in some ways. What cache plugin do you recommend the most? Thanks a lot for the info Andy!
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  2. Chuck

    I personally would want a blog that works. It may seem like taking the quick and easy way might be the way to go but if you don’t want a headache take your time and do it right the first time.

     
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  3. max

    i migh tbe wrong but i think the secret ingrediant is putting out good quality blogs everytime with great content, the hurdle is getting over that lovely writers block when it rears its ugly head

     
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    1. Andre Fernandes

      I agree good quality blog is the way to go but when your site takes time to load then search engine might not favor your blog. You need to find a way to speed up the loading process. This is where the cache plugin is needed.
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  4. Beth

    Hi Andy, I’ve had mixed results using cache plugins to the point where I try and avoid them. I know some hosts insist on you installing a cache plugin if your website is using a lot of resources. Compatibility with other plugins can be a problem, as you mention in your post.
    Beth recently posted..How To Get a Boyfriend BackMy Profile

     
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    1. Chuck

      I think it really depends on the size of your blog as well as the amount of things you have loading on your site. If you have a fairly small blog without a ton of images and or ads you shouldn’t need a cache.

       
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  5. Ari Wahyudi

    I am not aware about problems in W3 plugin until one of my readers ask me why I havent updated my blog for a while. And it turned out that my last few posts is not served out. I uninstalled W3 and the problem is gone.

    Too bad, my blog was faster back then.

     
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  6. Andre Fernandes

    Cache plugin will really help load the site faster but sometimes it messes with other plugins, so we need to remove it. The only way to handle this is to test which version of cache plugin that will not messes with other and will work efficiently as expected.
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