W3 Total Cache is the cache plugin I use on all of my WordPress websites. It is also the second most popular cache plugin on WordPress.org.

After activating the plugin, you may need to configure some files to fully install W3 Total Cache. For example, change the file permissions of your wp-content folder to 755 and modify your .htaccess file. The plugin walks you through this whole process by displaying notification messages at the top of the page. If any part of the installation process needs to be completed, W3 Total Cache will advise you of what still needs to be done.

The number of features that W3 Total Cache offers is impressive. There is very little that the plugin cannot do.

The downside to this is that the number of options can be overwhelming. Thankfully, the default settings should be ok for most WordPress users, therefore you do not need to modify any settings.

All major features of W3 Total Cache can be enabled and disabled in the General Settings page. The General box at the top of the page lets you enable or disable all caching features at the top of a button.

Alternatively, you can configure each feature independently. Caching sections include, Page Cache, Minify, Database Cache, Object Cache, Browser Cache, CDN, Varnish, and Monitoring. There are also miscellaneous settings, a debug option, and and import and export functionality.

I believe the default settings will be fine for most W3 Total Cache users. Should you wish, you can configure each feature further as there is a dedicated settings page for each one.

For example, if you have enabled minify, you can decide whether CSS and Javascript is minified. With browser caching, you can define the length of time that a type of item is stored on a visitor’s computer.

W3 Total Cache has support for extensions such as WordPress SEO and CloudFlare. It also works with every major Content Delivery Network (CDN). Whenever you activate or deactivate a plugin, you should clear your cache so that it can rebuild your pages correctly.
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