Simple Cache: A New One-Click Install Caching Plugin for WordPress

simple-cache

WordPress caching plugins are notorious for being packed full of confusing options, spammy with upsells, and difficult to uninstall. Users who are looking for a caching solution that simply works and has nothing to configure should check out Simple Cache, a new plugin on WordPress.org that offers a one-click install. The plugin promises lightning fast speed with a simple on/off switch.

After investigating some of the popular caching solutions for WordPress, Taylor Lovett found most of them to have cluttered interfaces that make them unnecessarily complex to configure. Lovett, who has worked with many different caching solutions as Director of Web Engineering at 10up, decided to create his own implementation that would be easy for users to work with, hence the name Simple Cache.

“I wrote my comparison blog post with no plans of creating my own caching plugin,” Lovett said. “After doing the research, I had a few ideas on how to create a plugin that would really have a positive impact on websites.”

Once installed, Simple Cache can be turned on with the click of a button. It also has a few optional settings for expiring the cache and enabling compression. The simple mode offers file-based page caching (similar to WP Super Cache), which is sufficient to speed up the vast majority of simple sites.

simple-cache-settings

Lovett also built an advanced mode that implements object caching and will automatically setup Batcache and Memcached/Redis for you.

After a quick test in simple mode on a blog with a handful of plugins like Akismet, Jetpack, Google Analytics, and a few others, I saw a roughly 38% decrease in loading time. Before installing Simple Cache, the site loaded in 3.9 seconds.

Before installing Simple Cache
Before installing Simple Cache

Simple Cache shaved 1.5 seconds off the loading time:

After installing Simple Cache
After installing Simple Cache

These results came without touching the advanced mode, which would offer an even bigger performance boost.

“The Redis functionality is forked from Pantheon’s WP Redis plugin,” Lovett said. “The Memcached functionality is forked from Automattic’s drop-in. If you use page caching with object caching, a forked version of Batcache by Automattic is used.”

If there is no object cache set up, page caching defaults to using the file system (simple mode). This is most likely what you would use if your site is on shared hosting.

“So really Simple Cache gives you the best of both worlds,” Lovett said. “A very simple setup, or an advanced setup with the most battle-tested page cache and object cache drop-ins.”

Users can easily purge the cache from the button on the plugin’s setting screen. If you try Simple Cache and don’t want to keep using it, it’s easy to uninstall, cleans up after itself, and, most importantly, doesn’t break your website. Lovett also worked to ensure that the UX, notices, warnings, and error messages are user friendly and understandable.

The whole concept of caching is difficult for non-developers to grasp. It might as well be powered by Merlin’s wand, as far as most users’ understanding goes. They need it to work without a ton of complicated settings. Simple Cache fits the bill and is hands-down the easiest caching plugin I’ve ever tested.

Lovett plans to add more features and improve upon his implementation based on feedback from the community. If you’re looking for a new caching solution, you can find Simple Cache on WordPress.org. Feedback and contributions are welcome on the plugin’s support forums and via its GitHub repository.

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