Caching, caching, and… Guess what? More caching

I used to watch a lot of cartoons in my childhood. If this was your favorite activity around the year 2000, you might remember the show called The Kids from Room 402. There’s an episode where Polly teaches a class on fire safety at school. She has a story about her aunt who was adding a lot of plugs to the wall socket until her house was on fire. This scene reminds me of the subject I’m gonna talk about today.

This is the problem with most of the websites I’m checking on a daily basis. I’m helping people with their WordPress websites and I’m seeing a lot of websites that are using two, three, or even more caching plugins. That’s not all.

Each plugin has its own options for caching, minifying, and optimizing. Think about what happens when you have ten modules trying to optimize, all at once? The answer: nothing good.

Don’t get me wrong. I totally think that using a caching plugin is a good idea and it can improve the performance of a website very much. It’s just that you need to follow some simple rules/guides.

First of all, don’t use the minifying, caching, and optimization modules of the caching plugins while still working on building the website. I’ve seen a lot of users having issues even with simple tasks like adding an image to the media library. The issue, in this case, was caused by the minifying module that was making the JavaScript fail and stop the process of uploading the image.

It’s easy to blame the plugin you’re using for optimizing the size of the image. However, sometimes it’s not his fault because the image cannot be added to the website in the first place. So there’s nothing to optimize.

Check the documentation of any caching plugin you’re using. I wish I could count how many times I’ve seen website dashboards having checked all the modules and options from the caching plugin. I mean, there are options that require some path to a CDN service or fill an API key. Doesn’t matter, I’m gonna check it and my website will run faster.

Do you want to put all the styles together? Well, sure! Ok, but why is my website styling broken now? It must be the theme I’m using.

If you’re using an option that you don’t know what’s gonna change or what’s its purpose, you’re better off without it. This doesn’t mean that the plugin that you’re using is trying to break your website by adding faulty options. It means that you’re using a theme or maybe a plugin that’s gonna break if you don’t let him load some script the way he needs.

Use a limited number of plugins for caching. Having three different plugins trying to do the same thing at the same time it’s not gonna make your website faster. It’s just gonna make it stop working.

Why would you want to cache something that’s already cached? Or minify something that’s already minified? You get the idea.

This article is not meant to present a certain caching plugin or say what are the options that you should be using. This depends very much based on the theme and plugins you’re using.

I created this article because I’ve seen too many websites using these very useful tools in the wrong way. I’m not an expert on this subject, but I definitely have seen a lot of messed-up websites just because the users are trying to improve the performance to 150%.

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