W3 Total Cache and why you should be using it

So I think I’ve not said it enough yet: W3 Total Cache is the best caching plugin for WordPress out there at the moment. To illustrate, I’ve made a short video outlining how I usually set it up:


Hope you enjoy it and make sure to install W3 Total Cache on your site or blog!

W3 Total Cache combines AWESOMELY well with MaxCDN, the CDN solution we use here on Yoast.com.

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112 Responses

  1. CMS ThemesBy CMS Themes on 9 June, 2010

    I’m planning to switch from WP Super Cache to WP Total Cache, so this video really convince me to switch ASAP

  2. Kevin BurnsBy Kevin Burns on 9 June, 2010

    Great stuff :)
    Do you do anything special on the miinfy settings for combining css and js files ?


    • EdBy Ed on 9 June, 2010

      I’d be careful with the minify settings. Good old Internet Explorer (all versions) can change the way it renders your page dependent on how the HTML is formatted. This could include odd text sizes (as even happens on this beloved site), or even the entire side bar suddenly dropping down under the content…

  3. Andy SymondsBy Andy Symonds on 9 June, 2010

    As soon as Frederick adds native support for Nginx (version v1.0?) I will be making the switch to W3 Total Cache from WP Super Cache for a really heavy loaded site too so I can start using the CDN functionality.

    • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 14 June, 2010

      I’ve moved Nginx support up to v0.9.5 in the roadmap as I need it for other projects.

  4. LeonBy Leon on 9 June, 2010

    I’ve stayed away from all caching plugins recently because it seemed to complicate/delay my auto posting to Twitter and Facebook using Dlvr.it?

    PS – the text in this comment box overflows the right edge in Firefox 3.6.3!

    • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 14 June, 2010

      You can reduce the lifetime of your cache files to mitigate this issue or use fragment caching. There’s no escape for scenarios like these, but also no cases where *some* caching isn’t in your best interest.

      • LeonBy Leon on 9 July, 2010

        Sorry, only seeing your reply now. I’ve set the W3 “Maximum lifetime of cache objects” to 1800secs/30 mins now but ideally shouldn’t it automically clear the cache on new posts so my articles can get out immediately?

  5. Paul - WordPress designerBy Paul - WordPress designer on 9 June, 2010

    Is it better than Hyper Cache + db cache reloaded?

    • Montana FlynnBy Montana Flynn on 10 June, 2010

      Thats what I have been using as well as autoptimize.

    • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 14 June, 2010

      As far as facts are concerned, there’s no more comprehensive suite of unified tools that are intimately integrated with WordPress to provide the optimizations only major corporations can afford.

      • LillyBy Lilly on 26 June, 2010

        That’s not an answer to the question.

  6. Krzysiek DróżdżBy Krzysiek Dróżdż on 9 June, 2010

    Paul, that’s a great question.

    Is it really better than Hyper Cache? If so, why?

  7. MarkBy Mark on 9 June, 2010

    I switched to Total Cache about 6 months ago and it’s fantastic. The CDN option really works well, and was easy to set up.

    • Jonathan DingmanBy Jonathan Dingman on 9 June, 2010

      Agreed! the CDN functionality is really what helped sell it for me. I also love the minify functionality, although it doesn’t work with every javascript file, it does work for most.

  8. DaveBy Dave on 9 June, 2010

    That’s cool. The thing I never realized until I went to your Akamai link is that you can do pay as you go for Akamai bandwidth. So for me, 1TB of data would last many months. And here I never thought I could afford a CDN

    • DaveBy Dave on 9 June, 2010

      Oops. Pay as you go is through VPS.NET not Akamai.

  9. quicotoBy quicoto on 9 June, 2010

    You said we should turn off the database caching if we don’t use ACP?

    • EdBy Ed on 9 June, 2010

      Yeah is it really better to turn off DB caching? I read one of the guys comments on some blog (God knows where) and he was saying it’s about the best out there?

      • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 14 June, 2010

        @quicoto, @Ed: the answer to this question varies site to site and server to server. In general database caching to disk is not a good fit for shared hosting accounts because resources are not dedicated to your site.

  10. KenBy Ken on 9 June, 2010

    Yoast (or anyone for that matter) – what settings do you use for APC in your php.ini file?

    I’m currently using :

    apc.enabled = 1
    apc.ttl = 7200
    apc.user_ttl = 7200
    apc.gc_ttl = 600
    apc.shm_segments = 1
    apc.shm_size = 256

    Should anything be added / adjusted?

    • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 14 June, 2010

      Check out the .ini file included with W3TC in w3-total-cache/ini/apc.ini for some decent defaults. Unfortunately all sites are different, so you need to monitor and adjust, and then you’re all set until you add too many new plugins or redesign.

  11. Geoff SnyderBy Geoff Snyder on 10 June, 2010

    Thank you for this post. I can see that I like the switch to W3 Total Cache from WP Super Cache appears to have a lot more to offer. My question is about the CDN and APC options. Are there any services that you currently use or favor over others? This is will be my first time using either one and I feel a little bit in the dark…mainly I don’t want to screw anything up! Thanks! ~Geoff

    • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 14 June, 2010

      Yoast uses vps.net and those guys actually support W3TC quite well. You’ll be able to use APC on one of their virtual private servers. APC is not available on shared hosting accounts.

  12. HenkBy Henk on 10 June, 2010

    Your post make me wonder if a switch from WP Super Cache to W3Total Cache is worth it.
    If don’t have a CDN, but I use the page cache etc. settings for my website. Is it beneficial to switch and so why?

    • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 14 June, 2010

      See the answer to a similar question above. :)

    • mikeBy mike on 26 June, 2010

      It may be beneficial to switch – one of things it can do that SuperCache doesn’t is to combine and minimise the javascripts and CSS files so that you have fewer, smaller files to load. this cuts the time spent in setting up connections for each file (which for small files is the major part of the time taken to load the file). The setup for this isn’t automatic though – it takes time and trial and error to get it right. How much of a benefit this is depends of the theme and plugins you use.
      On the other hand, SuperCache allows you to preload all the pages automatically, so first visitors to a page may get it much quicker than the first visitor to a page when using TotalCache if there are only one or two js or CSS files, and the preloaded files are also provided to bots, giving them a faster response too (as they aren’t going to try to even try to download the CSS and javascript. It also doesn’t require the careful configuration that Totalcache does.

  13. judithBy judith on 10 June, 2010

    Will this help with the caffeine update for my site?

  14. CPBy CP on 10 June, 2010

    Thanks for this timely post. With the recent redesign of our site we were looking for a caching option. Previously we had used WP Super Cache but wasn’t pleased with the results. As of this morning we’re using W3 as you suggested and the site seems blazing fast. Thank you!

  15. Marco RomenyBy Marco Romeny on 10 June, 2010

    I have been using maxcdn.com – they have an incredibly cheap trial, and even after that it seems pretty priceworthy. I can’t say I completely trust their service level yet, but so far it’s been great. Even customer service was fairly prompt. The one thing I miss from W3 Total Cache (aside from nginx support) is a way to specify multiple domains – I’d like to do parallel loading from several subdomains to speed up the client. I guess instead of bitching about it I should try to hack it and submit a patch…

    • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 14 June, 2010

      Multiple CNAMEs is already in the next release. As for feature requests, there has been only 1 that was not already in the roadmap, so try your luck. :)

  16. AdieBy Adie on 10 June, 2010

    Would definitely agree W3 Total Cache is the way forward. Without using CDN I didn’t find it improved initial load times dramatically but was superb once navigating around site.

    • TerenceBy Terence on 11 June, 2010

      Then I imagine you’re probably doing something wrong. Go to http://www.webpagetest.org/ and run a test on your site with W3TC off and then with it switched on. Webpatetest will show you wealth of information about why your site behaves the way it does, way beyond just showing you the speed-up from W3TC. On a quite large ecommerce site of mine, with the help of W3TC and Webpage test (plus a little judicious Googling), I was able to reduce my initial load time to less than 2.5 seconds and the reopen time to just over 0.5 of a second. I find its very hard, except in extreme cases, to judge the effectiveness of caching and optimization by eye. You really need something as analytical as Webpage test to show you exactly what’s happening. They also have a really neat video capture thingy going on, if you want to use it, and then you can see the whole story unfold in slo-mo.

      • deanBy dean on 12 June, 2010

        hey man, this site is really cool…. so how to fix the problems that the test shows?

        I’ve got like 5 red links among my many many that my little site has… I’m really inspired to learn all I can about it..
        thank you.
        please advise.

        • TerenceBy Terence on 12 June, 2010

          Dean, that’s the $64,000 question. But important as it is, its only one element of on-site SEO, and one that folks like Joost has spent years learning. So if you want the answer to that question, you’re either (a) going to have to pay someone who’s invested his/her time to learn, to tell you the answers, or (b) put in the time and learn yourself. I recommend the latter, and a good place to start is at the bottom of the webpagetest.org home page, under “Here are some useful resources that will help you get the most out of Pagetest”.

          • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 14 June, 2010

            You’re right Terence, but unfortunately it takes years of experience that only folks with very high traffic sites really understand the intricacies of. That’s why every release comes with more power, further simplified interface and better defaults. I’m not trying to be discouraging, but making things work and doing things right are often mutually exclusive, which is the cause of so many falsehoods online. If you want to study, follow Steve Souders blog for reliable input.

    • TerenceBy Terence on 11 June, 2010

      Oh and I forgot to mention. Another benefit of using Webpagetest to ‘look’ at your site is that you can do it from different locations around the planet, not just from YOUR browser. Anyway, hope it helps.

  17. CraigBy Craig on 10 June, 2010

    I’ve been using WE Total Cache for a bit now and it’s definitely helped speed up my site. You have to watch the setting though. I tried to put all my JS in the footer and some ended up not working. Also watch the suggestions for your .htaccess file. Not sure which bit did it but I wasn’t able to upload pictures afterward (Note: I’m talking about the instructions for htaccess that are in the .ini file in the plugin).

    I’d also love to figure out how to use self-hosted CDN. Something just isn’t working for me. If anyone has some step by step instructions? I’ll have to go back and play with it when I have time.

    • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 14 June, 2010

      You can submit a bug report submission using the support tab of the plugin and I’ll receive a report along with your problem description used to troubleshoot the issues. Some brief notes on how to use a self-hosted “CDN” is in the plugins FAQ.

  18. AlexBy Alex on 10 June, 2010

    Well, I made the change from WP Super Cache to W3 Total Cache a couple of days ago, (before I read this post) and my pages are loading nice and quickly. As a result, I seem to be getting more traffic too, which is interesting. I’ve not gone down the CDN route yet, but I’m going to read up on it, and think about making the move.

    Having fast loading pages seems to be much more important traffic-wise than I thought. In fact, I wonder how many sites are not performing as well as they could on account of the fact that they are not using decent caching.

    From me, W3 gets a big thumbs up so far. I’m on a cloud hosting package by the way.



    • Dave HolowiskiBy Dave Holowiski on 11 June, 2010

      They make that claim on the plugin page too: faster page loads = more traffic. It’s interesting to see someone else say that too.

      • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 14 June, 2010

        It’s not just a claim. It’s a fact documented on the plugins description page. :)

  19. Impulse MagazineBy Impulse Magazine on 11 June, 2010

    This is just what the doctor ordered to help my site load faster

  20. Impulse MagazineBy Impulse Magazine on 11 June, 2010

    This is just what the doctor order to help speed up my site load time

  21. Dave HolowiskiBy Dave Holowiski on 11 June, 2010

    Well, I took the plunge and disabled WP Super cache and installed W3 Total Cache. Although my yslow score only improved from 75 to 77, page load times dropped by 50% or more. Nice. I can’t enable APC because I’m on a hostgator (cheap) shared account, but who can complain about a 50% performance improvement?

    I played around a bunch with the minify settings, even Minifying all of my JS files, and while my yslow score increased from 77 to a whopping 79, I got _no_ performance increase. Plus the page load time immediately after clearing the cache increase to a whopping 3.8 seconds (up from about 1.5). Yikes! I suspect this is because my server is under-powered and just cant handle all of that crunching.

    I’m not using the CDN either, but it looks like there are some relatively inexpensive pay as you go options, so I’m sure I’ll be trying that out before long.

    Anyway, a 50% speed improvement, for 15 minutes of work and $0 was totally worth it. Thanks for pointing out this plugin!

    • Dave HolowiskiBy Dave Holowiski on 11 June, 2010

      Well that was crazy… I just set up Amazon S3/Cloudfront CDN with this plugin, took me about 15 mins and i had no idea what I was doing. Page loads are… fast. crazy fast for a cheapo shared host. It is a little strange thinking that each time someone loads my site, it costs me a fraction of a fraction of a penny, but I should be fine as long as I don’t make it on Digg any time soon. For some reason Firebug has quit displaying page load times (and it’s time for bed) but it seems like I’ve cut another 50% off of page load times.

      Sorry for posting so many times… this is the most exciting plugin I’ve seen in a long time. Thanks yet again!

      • Dave HolowiskiBy Dave Holowiski on 13 June, 2010

        Well, it’s a little bit crazy but since I turned this plugin on and set up amazon S3 traffic has pretty much doubled. Of course that’s from an average of 6 visits a day to an average of 12, but it’s still crazy to think a caching plugin can increase traffic like that.

        • TerenceBy Terence on 13 June, 2010

          What evidence do you have that W3TC is responsible for a 100% increase in traffic?

          • Dave HolowiskiBy Dave Holowiski on 13 June, 2010

            Well, I have no hard evidince. I just looked at Google Analytics and I normally see around 6 visits a day. For the last 3 days I’ve been seeing 12-15, and GA isn’t showing any new sources of traffic.
            Very far fram hard evidence for sure, but interesting none the less.

          • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 13 June, 2010

            What happens a lot is that when page loading is improved, tracking becomes more reliable, because the tracking javascript is loaded more quickly as well :)

          • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 14 June, 2010

            It’s a fact that major corporations have documented for years.

  22. TerenceBy Terence on 11 June, 2010

    If I have any complaint at all about W3TC its this (and I accept its not really Frederick’s fault, and due to my ignorance). I have never been able to find a good “how-to” on minifying/combining scripts and, I would have to say, that’s one thing (the only thing) I didn’t find adequately explained by the plugin. As a result, my attempts at using W3TC combining/minifying have often made things worse!

    • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 14 June, 2010

      Frankly, the poor quality of MOST JS and CSS out there is the cause. More engines for HTML, CSS and JavaScript minification will be added to future releases, but the fact remains that bad code is bad code and a plugin cannot change that. You can always try combine only for CSS or JS if you’re having issues with files, but there are some files like adsense, ad or statistics JS that simply should never be minified. Far too many cases to consider.

      • mikeBy mike on 23 June, 2010

        If you have problems with CSS after combining and minifying, check your original CSS files with the W3C CSS Checker. I had problems combining multiple CSS files by hand (not a WordPress site) and the verifier identified a missed closing quote on the last item in the first file of the original set.
        It had no visible effect with separate files, but once combined caused obvious issues.

        With some wordpress themes with many small js and css files the benefits from combining can be huge.

        I’ll be switching my other blogs over to this caching plugin as I switch them over to WordPress 3

        • TerenceBy Terence on 23 June, 2010

          Just wrote this over at BuddyPress HQ site.

          “I was having real problems with both CSS and JS (404 and 500 errors) after trying to combine and minify with W3TC on http://virtualcrowds.org using BuddyPress default theme + the 3 column child theme, so I un-minified and un-combined everything and checked the original CSS files with the http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/ W3C CSS Checker and this is what I found [http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/validator?uri=http://virtualcrowds.org/&profile=css21&usermedium=all&warning=2&lang=en].

          I’d had many problems combining multiple CSS files by hand on this WP3/BP site, and no wonder, as the verifier identified 128 Errors and 289 Warnings. They had no visible effect when separate files, but once combined caused obvious issues.

          So just out of curiosity, I pointed the checker on http://buddypress.org and this is what I found [ http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/validator?uri=http://buddypress.org/&profile=css21&usermedium=all&warning=2&lang=en 130 Errors and 654 Warnings.

          Now I am not a web developer, but I do know much is made of both WordPress and BuddyPress being standards based and driven.

          So what chance has the little guy got if its all talk and no do?”

          Nuff said.

    • mikeBy mike on 23 June, 2010

      some of this will be down to hacks to get round browser incompatibilities, and some to non-standard enhancements implemented by the different browsers (anything that includes webkit in the name, for example) that are essentially previews of proposed elements for future versions of the standard. These shouldn’t (hopefully!) cause problems (I’d hope the truly horrible stuff included for old browser compatibility is recognised by the minifier).

      The trick is to recognise the bits that are correctable errors ;)

      • TerenceBy Terence on 23 June, 2010

        Seems to me that there ought to be some way for folks to be able to go to a website and test the plugins, themes and hacks before they installed them and found that although they ‘improved’ one thing, they actually wrecked something else. Maybe a site on the internet, developed and run by Frederick and Joost?, at which you could upload, say, a PHP file to, tell it the environment it is going to be used in, and have it simulate the likely outcome and possible shortcomings. This would need to be highly structured, of course, to take into account all the variables. As it caught on and passed the tipping point, there could also be some sort of certification which would become like a known value or standard of compatibility and adherence to standards. I see this being done Microsoft to see if your hardware is good enough for their software, and by the jigsaw CSS validator site at one level, for single code files to be uploaded, as well as testing the whole site to certify compliance. It seems to me, tis only the will of man and one or two good souls with enough talent, drive and knowledge to resolve at least the major part of this problem, i.e. a seal of approval scheme for WordPress themes and plugins.

        So what about it Joost, are you just going to bitch about other people’s crap products or are you going to help save the world from them?

  23. baby99By baby99 on 11 June, 2010

    We should by now have such advanced internet speeds that we shouldnt have to cache pages! Stop holding us back ISP’s and give us al 1gb connections! :-)

    Great plugin though! Cache cache cache, gotta love it!

    • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 14 June, 2010

      This problem will never go away, it will only get worse. (Sending) Less (data) is (a) more (engaging site).

  24. micky2beBy micky2be on 12 June, 2010

    It seems to have a problem with my S3 account, it doesn’t upload files correctly.
    Meaning that sadly I can’t use the CDN option
    Maybe the problem comes from WordPress 3.0.

    • TerenceBy Terence on 13 June, 2010

      I am having the same problem and working through it with Frederick at the moment, although we don’t seem to be making much progress as yet. On sites where I run WP 2.9.2 I have no problems, and with WP 3 RC1 I didn’t have the problem at all. Then at some point in time I realized that the CDN (local FTP option) wasn’t working and had to switch it off. Currently I am running WP 3.0-RC3-15241 and the FTP has decided not to work, so I cannot export my media library or includes etc.

    • patrickBy patrick on 21 June, 2010

      Exactly the same for me. Can’t upload files anymore. Cdn did not work….

      • TerenceBy Terence on 22 June, 2010

        Go to Frederick’s download page and download the DEV version. That works much better and has whole load of new spiffy stuff in it — like press the help button and it will find all your css and js files and put them in the right order and combine them correctly — all automagically. W3TC just keeps getting better and better!

  25. AlexBy Alex on 13 June, 2010

    I’ve now got CDN set up with MaxCDN and W3TC, and pages seem to be loading good and fast.

    Implementing W3TC seemed to lead to an increase in traffic, which seems to confirm what people on the WWW have been saying about Google paying more attention to how quickly sites load. Perhaps MaxCDN will lead to a further traffic boost. I’ll be checking Google webmaster to see how my site rates in terms of speed.

    CDN implementation – using MaxCDN url, while waiting for new custom CNAME change to propagate. Then I’ll switch over to custom domain for CDN, this may increase ‘credibility’ and help Google throw more traffic towards me. We’ll see.

    The hidden benefit of W3TC and CDN is that one can bolt on more functionality to one’s site without worrying too much about having servers slow down to a crawl. My main host should be happy about the CDN too, as it will keep load off their servers, with a little luck.

    So, total thumbs up for W3TC – and do pay a visit to my site and tell me if you think page loading is zippy.



  26. DLEBy DLE on 13 June, 2010

    In mid-May, I switched my WP site from a modified (ancient) Regulus theme to the SEO-friendly Thematic theme with the Sophia child. The performance increased dramatically. A couple weeks later, I switched from WP Super Cache to W3 Total Cache, and that seemed to give another added boost.

    But Google has not been liking my site since the W3 Total Cache switch. Google Webmaster is reporting wildly fluctuating page download times (see http://ceruleansanctum.com/images/chart_download_page.png), which hurts. Page rank on several of my pages has dropped, too. This is not making me happy.

    I don’t have a CDN or access to accelerators on the server I’m on. I’ve got everything else on W3 Total Cache running well.

    Is there some W3TC setting that Googlebot loves/hates? What W3TC tweaks have netted the best responses from Google?

    Thanks in advance for the help.

    • AlexBy Alex on 13 June, 2010

      First thing you need to check out is HTML validation, DLE. http://validator.w3.org/

      You appear to have a problem in this area. I could not even get the validator to run. I’d turn off minfying settings in W3TC first – minfyied pages seem to give odd results in the Validator – which have increased on my site when I run the validator on my home page – up from 8 or 9 errors to over 30. I know Google does not like to see too many errors.

      If you are not on Google Webmaster Tools, I’d suggest registering – it can give you some idea as to where the problems lie.



      • DLEBy DLE on 14 June, 2010


        There’s not much I can do about the validation issues, as the majority of errors are coming from plugins or from other scripts, not from the rest of my installation.

        The major sources for error are coming from Facebook, Feedburner, and other scripts, which I have little control over. The one I know is coming from bad HTML is because I could not get CSS to position several sidebar items accurately and I was forced to use an old HTML table to get them to display right.

        As to the plugins, these are not shady little ones, but some of the most popular on WordPress. I am not a guru who can change PHP and JavaScript code easily, especially in a third-party plugin. :-(

        • AlexBy Alex on 14 June, 2010


          If plugins are causing problems, then perhaps you should change them. Generally, my plugins do not cause problems, if they do, I look for another one – I don’t use the Tweetmeme plugin because it causes too many HTML errors. I feel your pain re the Facebook and other off-site scripts (Amazon is a culprit too), there is not much you can do, aside from wait until someone updates them.

          The trouble is, if you do nothing, Google and others, will eventually penalise your site, and traffic levels will either fall, or remain the same forever. Google likes good code, and fast pages. If it does not get these, the site loses out.

          I’d suggest trying to sort the issues out – post on forums to ask for solutions/alternatives. You could try another theme – but check that it uses valid HTML before adopting it.

          You should not have to dip into plugin PHP – which is dangerous unless you really know what you are doing. Some very basic and simple modifications to outdated javascript can be done (I’ve done it), and I find that by eliminating one error, several others go too.

          Good luck!

          • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 14 June, 2010

            I’m sorry but Google will never penalize your site for invalid HTML. Check my latest post for more info on w3c validation & SEO.

          • DLEBy DLE on 14 June, 2010


            I’m using Thematic with the Sophia child. That’s about as valid a theme as it gets.

            As to plugins, again, the majority of plugin I’m using are the most respected ones out there in the WordPress community. Perhaps Automattic has done a poor job in encouraging plugin authors to write the strictest plugins they can, especially when those plugins are key to running a sophisticated WordPress site. And if code from Facebook, Amazon, Feedburner, and Google don’t validate, there’s not much anyone can do about that.

            I don’t trust the validator much, either. It returns errors that I can’t find anywhere in my site code.

      • DLEBy DLE on 14 June, 2010


        Actually, it was Google Webmaster on which I first noticed the strange W3TC results. Just not sure what can be done about them.

        Another point: You say to turn off minification, but isn’t that part of the whole point? Why incur the overhead of running a plugin that forces you to disable most of its functionality to get it to play nice?

        • AlexBy Alex on 14 June, 2010

          Hi DLE,

          Well, Joost says Google does not get uppity about bad HTML, so you/we don’t need to worry about that. Joost is much better informed on this than I am, although I’m sure I’d read somewhere that Google does not like error laden sites – but Google will not be happy if the errors slow page rendering down too much – so it depends what kind of errors exist.

          As for turning off minification, I’d do this just before I’d run the HTML validator – running the validator on a minified page works, but it is a nightmare using the ‘verbose output’ plus ‘show source’ mode to track down the errors – much easier when the page is not minified code, IMHO. Once you’ve found the error, and corrected it, if it is not too difficult to do, switch minification back on.

          I’ve just run your site through the W3C validator, and there are lots of errors – the last time I ran your site through the validator, the validator told me it could not even check the page. Now, it can, which is good!

          I’m not expert enough to tell you which errors will slow down page loading more than others, but with a lot of errors, a browser may have problems processing the code, and this may slow down page rendering. When there are lots of errors, page rendering will become even slower, especially on a high traffic site. Google is watching, and if the pages slow things down too much (as I understand it, Google likes pages to render in 5 seconds or under generally, or in 2 seconds for e-commerce sites), the big G won’t be happy.

          “If code from Facebook, Amazon, Feedburner, and Google don’t validate, there’s not much anyone can do about that.” This is true – I’m going to switch Tweetmeme plugin back on!

          Happy error correcting, but don’t worry too much. Actually, Joost’s comment makes me feel much better too!



    • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 14 June, 2010

      Web master tools relies on google toolbar statistics So actual users matter here. You’ll need a CDN and other optimizations to cure this. It’s not really a W3TC issue unless your users spend most of their time logged into your site.

      • TerenceBy Terence on 16 June, 2010

        I was quite pleased that I got MaxCDN up and running so easily. So easily, that is, on the WP2.9.2 + W3TC site that is. The WP3 RC3 + W3TC site, well thats a totally different story. Anyway, apart from that. today turned out to be a total disaster. Following on Joost’s advice re APC, I ditched memcache/memcached. But when I could not get APC to install, I asked my hosting company’s support guy to do it for me. In the end, both my WP3 and WP2.9.2 sites fell over, so he pulled out suPHP and installed DSO to get them running again because they were crashing out with memory errors. I am very unhappy about the security implications of using DSO over suPHP, especially as I understand suPHP without any accelerator typically outperforms DSO WITH an accelerator. So, I am wondering if we have made any real progress today? What I am being told is…”no PHP accelerators work with suPHP properly so you must chose between speed and security”. Is that correct?

  27. AlexBy Alex on 14 June, 2010


    PS I’m now going to read Joost’s post on this issue: http://yoast.com/w3c-validation-seo/

    Sounds interesting for us both!

    • TerenceBy Terence on 16 June, 2010

      I just read the Joost’s classic http://yoast.com/articles/wordpress-seo/. Good solid SEO tips and tricks, but I was surprised how out of date it had become in such a short time. Maybe he’ll get round to updating it when he’s finished his demon new SEO plugin or to fit in with the imminent launch of WP3?

  28. MicheleBy Michele on 15 June, 2010

    This plugin created a lot of problems with ISAPI Rewrite. It’s too back as it improved my speed, but broke a tonne of stuff.

  29. David GodotBy David Godot on 15 June, 2010


    Does W3TC work with WPMU? If not, what caching plugin do you recommend for Mu sites?

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 15 June, 2010

      Yeah it works nicely with WPMU, we use it on several big client portals based on MU.

  30. DavidBy David on 22 June, 2010

    I am running WP 3.0 and W3 Total Cache at photographworks.com. I notice that though I am logged in, the page does not show [edit] next to the post bylines (so it looks as though I am not logged in) and the search box does not work.

    When I clear the cache the search box works again and I get the [edit] back again. I am monitoring whether the problem coincides with any changes I make to the content.


  31. DavidBy David on 22 June, 2010

    I am looking at the CDN notes on W3 Total Cache and I see it says “…will be hosted with the CDN.” I also see a button that says “export media library to CDN”.

    Does this mean files will be exported and copied, or will they be taken off the server and then will ONLY be on the CDN?

    • Alex RoeBy Alex Roe on 26 June, 2010

      Hi David,

      I’m using WC3 TC with Maxcdn- it was easy to set up WC3 TC and Maxcdn, and they seem to play well together. Maxcdn was easy to set up too, except I’ve had a problem with CNAME record, and am still using Maxcdn ‘temporary’ URL. Page load times have come down – but you only notice this often if you are not logged in to WordPress. Traffic is up.

      You do not need to move any files with the Pull Zone – Maxcdn ‘Pulls’ these files (images, css, scripts) over automatically – then they are auto-hosted on servers around Europe and the US – visitors then get files served to them from nearest server.

      Am thinking of Maxcdn for another project – which will use lots of images.



      • Alex RoeBy Alex Roe on 26 June, 2010

        I should add that I’m keeping an eye on Maxcdn cost. I seem to be using up the first 1 terrabyte of cheap bandwidth quickly.

        Cdn is a good idea, but may work out expensive for some non-ecommerce websites, like mine.

        • Alex RoeBy Alex Roe on 26 June, 2010

          No scrub that. Getting my megabytes and gigabytes confused. Using around 100 megabytes a day. My site is not big. Maxcdn seems to be affordable and I’m very happy with it so far – early days yet though.

          • Marco RomenyBy Marco Romeny on 26 June, 2010

            Heh, yeah, with that (first) kind of traffic you ought to not have troubles earning the money back from a single banner or so…:)

  32. RaphaelBy Raphael on 22 June, 2010

    It may be a great program but getting the author to make good on his offer to install it for you (for a fee) doesn’t seem to work. He never gets back to you.

    • TerenceBy Terence on 22 June, 2010

      He gets back to me and a few others I know. Are you sure he’s getting your emails?

  33. RaphaelBy Raphael on 22 June, 2010

    He has answered but he never indicates when he will do the install.

    • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 23 June, 2010

      I’m not sure we are getting each other’s emails. Can you try me again please?

  34. TerenceBy Terence on 22 June, 2010

    Exactly what kind of help do you need Raphael? Don’t tell everyone here. Contact me at http://virtualcrowds.org and I’ll do what I can to help you.

  35. TerenceBy Terence on 23 June, 2010

    Joost, it just struck me how much the comment sections of your posts turn into a little community of like-minded souls around a problem or issue, since we all get pinged when the comment section is bumped. Ever thought about installing BuddyPress? Perhaps then, not only would we all get a more formal meeting place, but if you get your hands on it, we might actually be able to get it to work properly.

  36. ScottBy Scott on 24 June, 2010

    Hi Joost,

    How does this work in a load balancing scenario?

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 24 June, 2010

      That depends on your specific load balancing scenario, I’d recommend hiring Frederick to get it to work for you, I’ve seen him do truly incredible things to big installs…

  37. AndrewBy Andrew on 26 June, 2010

    VPS.net + NGINX + APC + WordPress + W3 Total Cache = Domination

  38. Marco RomenyBy Marco Romeny on 26 June, 2010

    I just found this – playing with it see if I can get it to work:

    Personally I had to remove -$http_host in the rule and add .gzip to the file, but on the other hand, I think nginx deals with the compression..

    Something that would be nice for future w3tc is if it could drop a predefined file in a directory if it’s enabled – that way you could check with nginx if the file exists and turn on the rules for w3tc.

    • Frederick TownesBy Frederick Townes on 1 July, 2010

      Remember that the high availability / leverage of your web server is realized when objects are static and already exist on the file system. So having nginx do http compression on-the-fly is not part of a optimized server configuration. The web server should primarily negotiate connections with user agents and send static objects (whenever possible), that is if your goal is scale / speed.

  39. JesperABy JesperA on 5 July, 2010

    Hmm i dont get it, it is suggested to turn off caching for logged in users in W3 total cache? My sites always have more logged in users then not logged in so what is the point with a cache system that doesnt work properly for logged in users?

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 5 July, 2010

      It depends on your site of course, in your case it sounds like you’d want caching on. For most sites that won’t be the case though :)

      • JesperABy JesperA on 5 July, 2010

        Thanks for your quick reply! The problem is by turning it on for logged in users, if they visit a couple of articles when they are logged out and then logg in, they are still logged out on the articles they visited when they were logged out, they need to make a hard refresh to change it to right state!

        But still W3 Total Cache seems to be a really nice caching system!

  40. TanmayBy Tanmay on 7 July, 2010

    I switched from WP Super cache to W3 Total Cache. All the things that I read about the later
    one are working fine except the redirection problem. After activating W3TC mydomain.com is not redirecting to http://www.mydomain.com. my domain is redirecting to cached pages in wp-content
    directory. which is unwanted. Please help me to solve the problem.

  41. scottBy scott on 9 July, 2010

    Is this working with 3.0 ? Also is there a way to enable site wide with the Super Admin controlling the settings?