W3 Total Cache Has Been A Total Frustration

W3 Total Cache Has Been My Frustration
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Over the past few weeks I’ve had some issues with plugins (in particular W3 Total Cache) and the theme I have installed, Pagelines.

Initially I had thought it was problems with CloudFlare. Every now and again I kept getting an error page from CloudFlare stating that my website was down.

Every few days my theme would also revert to its default settings and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get it to stop doing this.

The last straw came when I updated my favourite plugin, CommentLuv to the latest version.

When I tried to click back into the WordPress Dashboard disaster struck. All I could see were error messages and I couldn’t get into the dashboard at all.

Andy Bailey really helped me out with the situation and after deleting a couple of plugins and reinstalling them via ftp I was back up and running again.

I must admit I did sit for a few minutes thinking I had just lost everything and considering whether I should just give up.

Each time I updated CommentLuv though the same thing would happen. I’d have to delete some plugins and then reinstall them to get my blog back up and running.

I contacted Andy again and he suggested that it was perhaps the caching plugin I had installed, W3 Total Cache, and not Cloudflare that was causing the issues.

Sure enough, I uninstalled the caching plugin and after a few days my website stabilised. My theme stopped reverting back to its defaults and the next time I updated CommentLuv I had no issues with other plugins.

I’ve not really seen much of a speed improvement with W3 Total Cache lately and I suspect that was because it was incompatible with my theme and some of the other plugins I have.

WP Super Cache

Another thing that Andy Bailey mentioned to me was that instead of using W3 Total Cache on his sites he now uses WP Super Cache.

I’ve been reluctant to activate another caching plugin on my blog since the issues I’ve had so it’s taken me a few weeks to finally get around to testing things out.

I’ve set up WP Super Cache this morning based on the settings advised by my web host.

Next, I checked to make sure my theme hadn’t gone back its defaults. Fingers crossed so far it’s looking stable.

Then I checked the load time on Pingdom Tools. After installing WP Super Cache with the recommended settings my website load time had decreased from 5.5 seconds to around 2 seconds.

That’s a pretty good decrease in load time. There’s some plugins that are taking up load time still so they may need to go unfortunately.

I’ll be monitoring things over the next few days to make sure nothing untoward happens but it looks to me as though WP Super Cache is a good option for me.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m really not having a pop at W3 Total Cache. I know many people swear by it and have seen some great results from using it.

I’ve just found that it doesn’t work with my site. It’s also a complicated plugin and I struggled to understand what all the options really did.

Do You Use W3 Total Cache Or WP Super Cache?

Do you use a caching plugin on your blog? If you do, which one and how are you finding it? If you don’t, are there any particular reasons why not?

P.S. I’d be grateful if you could share this post on your favourite social media sites!

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81 Comments on "W3 Total Cache Has Been A Total Frustration"


Puru
1 year 10 months ago

I have a blog on which I upgraded the theme and the latest version of W3 Total Cache at the same time (yes I was being silly). I have found that the load time of my site went up from 1-2 Sec to 5-11 Sec. Now am try to find out what caused the slowdown. Unfortunately I have two variables, the theme as well the the cache plugin. Coming weekend will be a long one :(

1 year 10 months ago

Hey Puru

Welcome to my blog and thank you for your comments.

That’s interesting that adding W3 Total Cache made your site’s load time increase.

I had heard that that can happen but you’re right. With adding a new theme at the same time, you can’t be sure that it wasn’t that which made the load speed increase.

I hope you get it sorted and find out the culprit. You’ll need to come back and let me know!

Have a great week.

Tim

Pay-per-click specialist
1 year 11 months ago

Thanks for the post. I have been experiencing problems with certain plugins as well on my blog. I had an issue when I removed redirection, a 301 redirect plugin, and I had uses with Optin Skin that I am certain was attributed to w3 Total cache. Although I love the plugin, but it can be a pain at times.

Happy blogging :)

1 year 11 months ago

Hi there

Welcome to my blog and thank you for your comments.

I removed the Redirection plugin from my blog a while ago because I too was experiencing some issues with it.

W3 Total Cache also just didn’t play nicely with my blog and made my theme revert to the default settings every few days.

I think if there were an idiot’s guide to W3 Total Cache it would be useful. For now though, I’m very happy with WP Super Cache.

Joy Healey
2 years 1 month ago

Hi Tim, That’s a really helpful and interesting post. I am having speed issues with one blog and format issues with another. One used W3TC and the other SP Super Cache. So I’m trying WP Super Cache on one and Quick Cache on another.

Of particular interest to me were the comments not to bother with one at all! I’ve certainly not seen any improvement when using them. Will try that next.

I read on Pauline Bennet’s blog about P3 plugin to monitor plugin performance, And when I installed it I found that JetPack was caning my blog’s performance!

Joy

2 years 1 month ago

Hi Joy

I’ve seen a little bit of improvement in the loading speed of my blog since I moved to WP Super Cache.

It’s also been much more stable and is keeping the CPU usage at HostGator to a minimum too which in turn keeps them happy :-).

I know quite a few people now who are seeing some performance issues when using JetPack.

I’ve had to disable certain parts of it because it didn’t work correctly with my theme. I need to check on the performance though with P3 as I haven’t done it for a while.

Rajani
2 years 2 months ago

Hi Tim
I’ve noticed this problem too. It’s particularly annoying for those of us without a plethora of mobile devices to test on, and it’s way too complex for novices to get right first go. It would be great if this could be made to work correctly out of the box when W3 Total Cache and WP Touch are used together.
Thanks for share it.

2 years 2 months ago

Hi Rajani

Thank you for visiting my blog. It’s really great to see you.

I found W3 Total Cache an absolute nightmare to understand. It didn’t work out of the box and there were too many options for me to get to grips with.

Have you tried WP Super Cache with WP Touch? I don’t use WP Touch so I’m not sure but you could try it.

I hope you find a solution Rajani!

Have a great weekend.

Tim

Jack Milgram
2 years 3 months ago

I haven’t dealt with cache plugins before. Thanks for your support in our struggle for a better site load time. I always rely on your experience and kind advice and I am happy that I foud out your blog on the web.

2 years 3 months ago

I’m still not completely happy with the load time of my blog Jack so there has to be more I can do, right?

If I find anything, I’ll be sure to write about it and let you know :-).