WP Rocket Launches Commercial Caching Plugin for WordPress

wp-rocketWP Rocket is a new commercial caching plugin for WordPress that launched exclusively in the French market eight months ago. It’s created and supported by Julio Potier, Jonathan Buttigieg, and Jean-Baptiste Marchand-Arvier, a small group of Frenchmen with a passion for website optimization.

WP Rocket is making its international debut this month in a market that is currently dominated by free WordPress caching solutions. Aside from a couple of Codecanyon items, WP Rocket is the first caching plugin to launch with a completely commercial model. Prices start at $39 for a single site ranging to $199 for unlimited sites with a year of updates and support.

WP Rocket Aims to Stand Out Among Established Competitors

The founding trio is banking on their top-notch support and the user-friendliness of the plugin to set them apart from those using the freemium model.

The plugin is now at version 2.1, following rigorous testing and improvement prior to its international launch. It currently powers performance and optimization for more than 3000 sites. When it comes to features, you’ll find your standard caching functionality makes up the backbone of the plugin:

  • Static Cache
  • Minification and concatenation of HTML, JS and CSS
  • Browser optimization (expired headers, gzip compression, etc.)
  • Compatibility with various server software (Apache, Nginx, Lightspeed, etc)
  • CDN integration

The team at WP Rocket knew they were launching among serious, established competitors, such as W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. Jean-Baptiste Marchand-Arvier, speaking on behalf of the others, articulated their strategy in setting WP Rocket apart as a commercial plugin. “We are a bit different thanks to exclusive functionality, a complete compatibility with WPML (no other plugin is fully compatible), premium support, an automatic cache preload and constant R&D for frequent updates,” he said. Three people work full-time to support the plugin, and Marchand-Arvier notes that this wouldn’t be possible if it were free.

WP Rocket boasts a few exclusive features for further optimization that are not common to other popular caching plugins:

  • Lazy Loading – loads only visible images on the page, as seen in the standalone Rocket Lazy Load plugin
  • Cache Preloading using WP Rocket servers on demand and automatically (on content creation and update).
  • DNS prefetching- (preloads DNS requests for websites added in the options)
  • Deferred JS Loading
  • Approximately 40 hooks
  • Image height and width are automatically added to avoid unnecessary browser calculations
  • A white label system to change the name and description of the plugin to remove any mention on WP Rocket
  • 7/7 Support

WP Rocket was Designed with Simplicity in Mind

Marchand-Arvier said the team has been pleasantly surprised by the great feedback they have received from the community and customers, despite launching without a real business plan. One common complaint about caching plugins is that they are difficult to configure, with too many confusing options. “For a novice or developer, you can be easily lost,” Marchand-Arvier said. “Users are also afraid to break their sites and not have quick access to help in case of trouble.” WP Rocket aims to solve this problem.

I took the plugin for a test drive to see if it lives up to their claims. The settings page is very basic and I was able to configure it for a small blogging site in under a minute. More advanced settings are available, but those are mostly for DNS prefetching and file exclusions.

wp-rocket-settings

I performed a quick test on a small site with no caching, which originally rang in at 5.88s load time, according to GTmetrix, with a page speed grade of E (59%) and 1.82MB total page size. With WP Rocket turned on and basic setting activated, the page load time was reduced to 2.88s with 1.00MB page size and a page speed grade B (83%). The plugin shaved three seconds off the load time, which is a fairly significant return for the one minute I spent configuring it.

Marchand-Arvier said that their customers have been attracted by their support, ease of use, and the all-in-one system, which allows them to replace several optimization plugins with WP Rocket. The simple setup is a refreshing change from many of the major caching plugins that require moving and editing files as well as configuring half a dozen screens full of options. But will this commercial caching plugin be able to compete against all of the free, robust options available? Thus far, it seems as though WP Rocket customers are willing to pay for a faster and simpler solution to site optimization.

27 Comments


  1. Looks amazing! I am going to pickup a single site license and give it a whirl. I mainly use Quick Cache (by the folks who made s2Member) because its really easy to setup, but it isn’t super robust like W3 Total Cache is. So hopefully WP Rocket is the best of both worlds!

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    1. Keep us posted. Also interested if it can manage theme switching for different devices (desktop and mobile). This is something that Quick Cache doesn’t do well, but Total Cache does. Hmm, the pro version of Quick Cache might actually do it.

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      1. Hi,
        You can manage theme switching for mobile by disabling cache for mobile.
        We will add an option in a future release to add a different cache for mobiles and tablets.

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  2. I’d like to see a comparison of a site who was running W3 Total Cache and then converting over to this one. Would be interesting. I find it intriguing that a premium model is being used, hopefully the results follow the same suit.

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  3. From the F.A.Q

    Is WP Rocket compatible with bbPress? Yes.

    Yay :)

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  4. I use this plugin for absolutly every WordPress sites i have to build, it is awesome, simple and VERY well coded. I recommend !

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  5. This looks like a good competitor for W3 Total Cache.

    I really don’t like these all in one solutions though. Caching is a complicated process and I prefer to use individual plugins for each component.

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    1. Hi Ryan,
      We are an all in one solution but you can simply enable/disable options one by one.

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  6. Cant see what makes this better than W3TC and the rest.
    Image optimization means adding the size attribute?
    Precaching requires dependency on the developers spider?
    No mention of which CDNs are supported and how they handle push CDNs etc.
    Defer JS loading? W3TC has async, defer and pure JS based loading. together with move script to footer and custom script locations.

    Not sure what developer friendly actually means. There is no mention of how the devs can flush urls and cached items on their own etc. W3TC has extensive developer support integrated. Not well known but its there. (http://plugins.svn.wordpress.org/w3-total-cache/tags/0.9.4/inc/functions/plugin.php) It also support extensions, that is you can extend W3TC by writing your own functionality.

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  7. Disclaimer : I bought the Developer License 8 months ago, when they launched. I am French and I have met every member of their team at a WordCamp since.

    I was previously using W3TC and I had to spend a lot of time tweaking each parameter to find the best combination for my websites. But not anymore, I spend now 10 minutes maximum tweaking minification, JS deferring, DNS prefetching… And the results are far better.

    I haven’t tried the CDN feature yet (it was released not so long ago) but my clients and I are willing to pay for the premium quality and support of the plugin !

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  8. More competition = More good

    One question, does it have fragment caching?

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  9. I bought it for my site and did some speed tests with toolspingdom and I have to say that given its easiness to setup as compared to the other caching solutions, I was very happy spending these few euros when I saw the end results.
    Keep up the good work guys !

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  10. Be aware that the documentation (tutorials) and the main support forum are in FRENCH. I requested a refund since there is no info about that before purchase but they refused so I don’t agree about the customer support.

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    1. Hi rs2, I’m one of WP Rocket guys.

      I just want to say that our support is totally in english ans also all our documentation => http://docs.wp-rocket.me/

      Cheers ;)

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  11. Instead of hyping up the plug-in, why not share your host, or the true configuration that makes you get those rankings? Your plug-in alone isn’t doing it. So to myself, it’s a bit like a car salesman just feeding you some hype, only to find that the plug-in, only covers half the battle..

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  12. Let me preface this by saying A.) competition is an inherently good thing; and B.) if there is a plugin out there that is in desperate need of some competition, it is W3 Total Cache.

    That said, I have to echo and add to Andreas Nurbo’s sentiments, above: Why should I buy this plugin when there is one out there already that’s not only free but in actuality does more…? The stretching of the truth on WP Rocket’s features page as regards what WP Rocket does and W3TC does not also smacks a bit of WP Rocket’s devs not really knowing how to answer this question. Which means, one must conclude, that there isn’t a really good reason to purchase and use it instead of W3 Total Cache.

    Again, I, myself, absolutely love the idea of giving W3TC a run for its money. That said, I see no evidence that WP Rocket — in its current iteration — is capable of doing that. I see no salient, outstanding selling point.

    My suggestions to WP Rocket’s developers would be as follows:
    1.) First and foremost, your plugin should not only do everything that W3TC does (which it does not: cf. combine-only for .js and CSS, custom file placement, DB Cache, Object Cache, etc etc), but it should do it better.
    2.) Have the plugin capable of doing something really and truly innovative: The capacity to inline critical CSS and defer the rest on a page-by-page basis comes to mind. (You would actually be killing 2 birds with 1 stone with this: W3TC AND Autoptimize).

    ^ Implementing those two suggestions alone would ipso facto make WP Rocket a caching plugin worth the public’s money.

    Best,
    AJ

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    1. Hi AJ,

      You didn’t talk or miss to talk about those features: LazyLoad, DNS Prefetching, Google Fonts Optimisation and the most important: Support & Preload Cache ;)

      Don’t forget that, if you have any issue with W3TC, you pay 75$ / support ticket! You can’t have the same support with 3 peoples in full-time. Just take a look on the W3TC support “27 of 305 support threads in the last two months have been resolved.” So, if you have a problem, you are alone.

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      1. Hello GeekPress,

        I can certainly appreciate what you’re saying about W3TC support. It’s terrible. The question is …is that a selling point? That in return for money, WP Rocket offers support (said differently: that WP Rocket’s support is cheaper than W3TC’s)?

        Re: LazyLoad:
        But I can use the Rocket Lazy Load (or another lazy load plugin) with any caching engine I want to…

        Re: DNS Prefetching:
        But I can use the DNS Prefetch plugin with any caching engine I want to (or implement DNS prefetching with very simple coding, the exact verbiage and placement of which is a single Google search away)…

        Re: Google Fonts Optimization:
        I am unaware of any data indicating that the minification of Google Fonts improves the load time of a website in a manner that is either consciously or subconsciously perceptible. I am, however, certainly open to reviewing data in your possession which proves the assumptions predicated by the word “optimization” as you’ve applied it to the minifcation of Google Fonts.

        Re: Support
        Addressed above.

        Re: Preload Cache
        Wp Rocket does this for all pages linked to directly from the homepage, correct? But you’re solving a non-problem. For busy sites, most-visited-pages have their cache revalidated/rebuilt almost instantly and this is accomplished with any caching plugin. For not-so-busy sites, the site administrator can click-around for 15 seconds and revalidate/rebuild the cache for whatever pages he or she deems important. This, of course, sidesteps WP Rocket’s apparent assumption that all sites’ most visited, most important pages are linked to via the homepage. (As somewhat of an aside, W3TC has a similar feature: Performance –> Page Cache –> Cache Preload).

        Believe it or not, I really am on your side. But my criticisms — and especially my suggestions about implementing something truly innovative (e.g. Inlining and Defering CSS on a page-by-page basis) — still stand.

        Honestly, best of luck,
        AJ

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      2. AJ yes you are right, you can install another 3 plugins, or even you can code yourself whole website using text editor :)
        It is not about what is better, important is, that it is different and you have more choice, what is great.

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      3. The first thing that crossed my mind was exactly as what you’ve pointed out. I kept seeing wp-rocket popping out from time to time with bloggers reviewing it, but I still fail to see what is the selling point. I can indeed use 3 plugins if i must, and search online for a solution if i bumped into it. Plus the dev at autoptimize is pretty responsive while even offering it for free.

        Regarding the dns-prefetching, I’d say that is a misused feature for the in-experienced. I have related post at every post, and some have more. The prefetch will load every single page and cause a really slow start.

        Like what you said, one thing that was missing that would be great is the inline and defer css, which would be a killer to this plugin. I myself, although inexperienced have tried with the inline and defer using autoptimize, with very little success, mainly because my homepage and post page are all different (which after I found it out, have to revert everything back to render blocking css).

        If you were me (referring to the plugin dev), I’d take feature request here as a plus sign. Alot of business fail down the road because they ignore things like these and chose to think with their own and do their own things. Now, you even have free feedback, which some business don’t even have the privilege. Saying “So, if you have a problem, you are alone” is not a very wise choice of words.

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      4. I am a WP user who has learned via the path of “trial-and-error.” I have spent literally hundreds of hours trying to decipher through the facts and the BS for my site. It’s been a nightmare, to say the very least. I was using TC3 for a long time, but grew tired of the constant advertising and prompts. I am not a developer by any means; a person who is depending upon extra $$$ to supplement my significantly lower monthly disability income.
        I bought this WP-Rocket plugin a couple of weeks ago, and so far I am not impressed in a positive way AND the video tutorials are still in French! While some are in English, having a French background myself, their accents are still too strong to clearly understand and assimilate for those of us who are not well-versed or fluent in the French language. I am not happy at all. With this said, part of the issue is that while I’ve learned an incredible amount of WP stuff and have devoted most of my time to making this site a success, between the available SEO and caching plugins and their not-so-objective reviews, it makes it almost impossible to make a well-informed buying decision.
        One could say that I should have a WP expert evaluate the site. On the surface, that is most logical and I truly wish I knew an independent, non-affiliate marketing WP guru who could go through my site page by page, tell me what’s wrong and fix it.
        I am not sure if I should enable the js/css/html minification/concentenation features on this plugin because I don’t want to screw anything up.
        I will say that my webhost runs Super Cacher, so I do not know if that is conflicting with this plugin – although it’s not supposed to. In fact, the web host recommends WP Rocket and indicates the two are fully compatible. Looked at my loading speed today and it’s worse. It’s sooooooooooooooooooo discouraging to just get simple, plain answers in English. I’ve grown tired and very frustrated with all the BS/hype out there. I just want to know the facts.
        Like I said, I’ve learned so much but I am quite aware of my limitations. Based on the tutorials I have at this point from WP Rocket, I am not confident of the changes I should implement. I’ve worked so long and hard on this site – have poured my heart and soul into it. Just wish I could get more honest, drop-the-BS solutions without having to wade through days and weeks of differing information. It’s worse than litigating a lawsuit…

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  13. Hi Clairese,
    I’m very sorry that you had a bad experience using WP Rocket.
    However, we have a support to help all our customers configuring WP Rocket and resolving issues they could have with.
    I would be very glad to personally help you, simply open a ticket here : http://wp-rocket.me/support/

    That’s a best and easiest way to solve your issue, compare to a comment on a blog post published 9 months ago :)

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