I chose my web host carefully. My sites are hosted on a LiteSpeed web server, so I am able to use the remarkable free LiteSpeed Cache (LSC) plugin. LSC provides much more than just lightning-fast server-side caching. In also includes a suite of optimization tools such as: Database optimization; Image optimization – which seems to be equal to or better than the paid/premium versions of competing plugins; Connection to CloudFlare so I can put CF in development mode or purge the CF cache; and Miscellaneous settings like ‘Remove query strings from static resources’.
- LSC Off | CF in Development Mode (baseline site)
- LSC On | CF in Development Mode (significant speed increase over baseline)
- LSC Off | CF Caching On (a significant speed increase over LSC)
- LSC On | CF Caching On (no significant speed change over CF alone)
A few observations:
- On my relatively static sites like this one, I use a CloudFlare page rule for blazing site speed. On these sites I am not able to squeeze out any more speed by using a caching plugin – even an exceptional one like LSC. So why run LSC on these sites? Because of the other optimization features that LSC offers, and because it boosts site speed when CF is in development mode or doesn’t have a page cached for some reason.
- On sites with dynamic content, I use CF with default cache settings. On those sites, I do get a nice increase in speed by using LSC in addition to CF.
- Kinda funny how my Compress Images grade on WebPageTest jumped between A and B even though all tests used the same images. I guess my images must be borderline A- / B+.
- Strait A’s on the final test. Yea me!
Many LSC features only work on sites hosted on LiteSpeed web server. For sites hosted on Apache, I like Comet Cache for its plug-and-play simplicity as well as performance. The very popular W3 Total Cache (W3TC) is another excellent choice.