the ultimate guide to w3 total cache settings

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  1. Hello Aditya Nath Jha,

    Thanks for your awesome article.

    i have one question. This W3 total cache setting is save for Adsense account?

  2. Hi i tried your set up on one of my site. yeah the speed is improved but in the page source I didn’t see the result as same in your screenshot.

  3. I've installed and configured W3 Total Cache on a few of my WP sites. The sites load faster but the problem now is that the Google Ads are not showing for me the first time I load the website. I need to reload the page for the ads to appear and I'm worried that's what the rest of the visitors are seeing. Last thing I want to happen is getting banned from Google for messing with the ads.

    I'm not sure what I did wrong. Currently, all I see is white space in the place where the ad should be. If I reload the page then the ads appear. Any help would be appreciated!

    1. It happens when you clear the cache again and again, and server slows down because of over load caused due to excessive cache rebuild. Try avoiding clearing caches for atleast 8 hours and then check via another browser which has all history( cookies + caches ) cleared . Maybe it will solve the issue!

  4. Hello sir , i really liked your article….but do I need to do anything or any settings if I shift from Quick Cache to W3 Total Cache. I am using quick cache at present..so should change it directly.

  5. Thanks you sir, but I get a help from you please.
    I don't understand about "W3 Total Cache settings for Minify." for CSS and JS. In this case :
    "Find the CSS files, and add their urls one by one in the CSS minification box. Do this to see whether something breaks the layout on minification or not."

    What's mean? Can you give me a Screenshot for follow the tips? Thanks 🙂

    1. It means that if a theme is developed by a bad coder then the CSS on minification would break the design, that's why you have to add the files one by one and then clear the caches to see whether the site layout stays constant or not!

  6. Hi Aditya,

    We have just completed this tutorial for our website born4digital.com as we were having some slow speeds on some pages. Our Pingdom score was a low 60 before we did this and now it has just come back as 72/100 – still not great but loads better thank you! Now to reduce the images sizes and the pages will be even quicker 🙂

    Thanks for the guide!

  7. Hi, great job. Your article is very professional, I have a question: is it possible to ignore the : "W3 Total Cache settings for Minify."
    Thanks

    1. I haven't covered it because minify is too complicated for most of javascript and themes as it requires delicate trial and error. One wrongly minified file can break a whole site's layout!

      1. I’ve used your tutorial twice now. Inserting all css files in minify.
        The first time everything worked perfect but now every css file I put in gets disabled.
        Do you have any idea what I’m doing wrong?

        1. Maybe you have changed your theme, or maybe the W3 total cache plugin has been updated too much since the previous release you had been working with. CSS files don’t work with minify only and only if they have been poorly coded.

  8. i got this error,

    "W3 Total Cache error: It appears Page Cache URL rewriting is not working. Please verify that the server configuration allows .htaccess
    Unfortunately disk enhanced page caching will not function without custom rewrite rules. Please ask your server administrator for assistance. Also refer to the install page for the rules for your server.
    Technical info"
    i knw abt .htaccess file, bt the problem is I dnt know what to add.

  9. Your settings helped my speed up by 20%. But today I found this post on hostgator : goo.gl/2BZgXB
    They don't recommend W3 total cache. After I read that post I have changed to super cache and my speed was slow.
    Please give me a soln for this!

    1. If you read the post carefully, it's written that: "We do not recommend using W3 Total Cache while any other caching plugins are enabled as it causes numerous issues upon activation." It means using only W3 Total Cache as cache plugin doesn't affect the W3 Total cache settings and then everything works fine!

  10. Hello! The article is really helpful and I think I’ve accomplished and followed all your instruction. I’ve also seen almost the same screenshot on the Page Source saying W3 is caching my website. I’ve installed W3 Total Cache before but deactivated because my website crashed and now that i have re-installed the plugin I am receiving this message:

    W3 Total Cache Error: Files and directories could not be automatically created to complete the installation.
    Please execute commands manually or use FTP form to allow W3 Total Cache make it automatically

    – – – – – – – – –
    I wonder if I really need to do this. if yes, how?
    Any help would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

    1. This seems a rather strange issue. I would recommend to uninstall W3 Total cache completely. Remove it’s rules from your .htaccess file and delete any advanced-cache.php file in your wp-content directory. And then try reinstalling the plugin.

    1. Advice 1 never make too great changes when visitors are rushing in. Do it at a time when there’s less traffic. Advice 2 : Spend time yourself on these things, it will add to your knowledge 😀

  11. And you all have to realize that W3 Total Cache can be a very moody plugin. Sometimes just adding a new plugin can set it off. It’s definitely very very trial and error.

    One thing I don’t recommend is paying for them to configure this for you as I made that mistake and $800 later I wound up just doing it myself. Their service kept crashing my server (massive dedicated one at that with SSD’s) and then they kept telling me my server was just wrong and I should switch to their servers.

    For sites that are very image heavy, MaxCDN might be a great choice as it takes the load off your server. It might not boost up speeds, but it takes the strain off the CPU to keep it busy for other things.

    It’s a great article for the latest update on W3 Total Cache. Most of the tutorials are from 2012 so it was great to find an up to date one. With Minify, tread carefully and slowly. Man would love to just make all the changes at once and save, but trust me, minify is that one that one little tweak can make it tweak out.

    1. Wow man, so much frustration 😛
      It’s visible everywhere in your comment. And you would have noticed that I didn’t cover minify in detail. Because personally I think that for most people it would be better not to try it. Only because some theme developers and plugin developers take shortcuts to do things is the reason why minify doesn’t work on all types of scripts. And yes this guide surely gets updated every once in a while. If I think something’s missing then either I update this W3 Total Cache settings post or I add the tip in a comment.
      Consider this newbie tip : Enable manual minify, and leave the ccs and js part. Just HTML minify too would lead to some savings on bandwidth and loading time. If you liked the W3 Total Cache settings post then do visit us again.
      Stay Inspired to rise Curt! 😀

  12. Hi,

    The suggestions you have provided is very useful. I did not know very much about these settings. I have enabled the minify and now my site is bit faster. Is there any good optimization technique for images?.

    Thanks,
    Krishna

  13. I am new when I use w3 total cache and clear all browsing data then when I go to my website nothing little emoticons and wired black text everything gone
    but when i deactivate the plugin my website starts visible
    please helppp

  14. Hello Aditya,

    An article worth sharing buddy. I applied these settings and saw a change as the score for mobile increased by 22 and that for desktop increased by 4. I was using W3 Total Cache Plugin earlier also, but this guide helped me in well optimizing it. Thanks for sharing bro. Cheers!!!

  15. Hi,

    It was really a great article and I have been trying to figure out things for a long time. After the steps which you have mentioned, I noticed that some of the versions have newer things which is not matching with the article. After completing all the steps, the score was great but I lost something valuable in the website. The pages were faster, but the image gallery in various pages never showed up. I have no clue as why this happened.

    It will be really a great, if you can help on this matter.
    Regards

    1. It seems that the image gallery has a specific js file attached to it. While setting up W3 total cache settings you most probably enabled auto minify which is why those scripts are giving you the error. Set minify to manual and in that only enable HTML minify and leave JS and CSS minify part untouched. This works the best.

      1. Hi Aditya,

        Yes, I am using a different plugin for the gallery part, its Justified image grid. But truly I remain clueless as what is going wrong, as after reading your comment I tried to do the same thing which you specified but still the error persists. As soon as I activate the W3 cache plugin all the galleries goes off.

        Regards

  16. I am having a shed load of trouble with the JS minify, it pretty much breaks every plugin lol also specify a vary encoding header is being a nightmare. Any help will be appreciated

    P.S why not email for replies on this site ?

  17. Hi Aditya nice explanation how ever you asked me about object cache and database caching I explained it on my write up why I don’t recommend using object caching on a shared hosting.

  18. This is regarding your ‘Cache settings for Minify’. Instead of painstakingly copying CSS stylesheets from the page source, Google Insights can be used which requires no registration and is free. They can be simply copied from there and pasted. Anyway, the post content is great. 🙂

    1. I have had prior experience with Google Insights, sometimes the CSS stylesheets which are not being served from your page i.e. Something like a stylesheet for web fonts served via Google appears there and a user minifies it, then it would lead to size of the minified file getting larger and would have no apparent benefits. So, keeping in mind the general newbie nature of most of the people here the W3 total cache settings have been written accordingly.
      Nonetheless, have a nice day. Keep visiting Inspire2rise.com

  19. Thanks a lot that’s awesome. I first installed W3 Total Cache but it was way too complicated and I turned to Super Cache, while later on I found that I need more other plugins together with Super Cache to make me pass the web speed tests and then I went back to Total Cache. I followed your guide and my site speed got boosted a lot! much better than when using super cache. The only thing is I have to disable minify in General Setting page to have my map showing properly in my page. After all thanks!

  20. Hi Aditya

    First of all – thank you very much for this great guide. I am not technical at all, and although I had never used W# Total Cache before, I found it very easy to configure it based on your guide.

    I used tools.pingdom.com to test the result, as you recommended. Most of my results look similar to your, except for the load time. I hope you can help me understand why my result is so different?

    My results:

    Perf grade: 88/100 (yours is 92/100)
    Requests: 66 (your is 64)
    Load time: 4.78s (yours is 931 ms) —-> this looks like a big difference?
    Page size: 951kb (yours is 848.9kb)

    I really hope you can point me in the right direction, as I have no idea what the big difference means?

    Thank you
    Laura

    1. Hey Mam,
      I can help you in speeding up your website. I run a free one time service – Cacheable, intended to help webmasters speed up their service. We analyze sites for bottlenecks in achieving maximum performance. Every hosting package needs different configurations and other stuff. Contact me here : http://i2r.in/adityanathjha

  21. Despite of the fact I have enabled HTTP (gzip) compression on the browser cache it still shows that a lot files are not compressed when I analyze the site on the google page speed.

    1. Even if you enable gzip in W3 Total cache it won’t be able to compress all the files. The files that are not present on your server (scripts etc.) Are the ones behind this. The only solution can be combining them into a single file and then using wp_enqueue() or similar methods to load them.

      1. Aditya,

        Checked the files which are shown as not compressed are present on the servers but still they are not compressed. Any clues?

  22. I just went through this guide step by step, but my site is still slow @ between 6-8 seconds. When using GTMetrix to test the speed… Under YSlow I still get a Grade of 0 for “Set Expires Headers”. Under Page Speed I only have 6/100 for “Defer Parsing of Javascript”. Total # of HTTP Requests 112.

    In the section of W3 Total Cache where we had to look at the source code and add the .js URL’s. I had to add 4 of 11 that I found, but only 4 because it seemed the other was not hosted on my site. But there was a dropdown menu there that said “Embed Location” and all of those 4 I has “Embed in ” chosen. Is that okay?

    I’d like to know what’s going wrong. Any help would be appreciated!

    1. If grade 0 is present for set expires headers, then it means you didn’t set up Browser Cache part correctly. The .js files served from your site are the ones that have to be added in the minify section in w3 total cache, add them to load before tag ( closing body tag ), load them asynchronously in the loading method ( non blocking via async tag )
      I hope it helps. 🙂
      Otherwise contact me on i2r.in/adityanathjha

  23. Before:
    Minified using disk (User is logged in)
    Page Caching using disk: enhanced (User is logged in)
    Database Caching using disk (Request-wide User is logged in)
    Object Caching 20993/21018 objects using disk

    Load time – 7.38
    Page size – 2.0 MB

    After:
    Minified using disk (User is logged in)
    Page Caching using disk: enhanced (User is logged in)
    Database Caching using disk (Request-wide User is logged in)
    Object Caching 20993/21018 objects using disk

    Load time – 4.16
    Page size – 2.1MB

    I only can say, your tutorial worked! But i believe i maybe forgot some things that can increase the sitespeed more, is it possible for you to look at it? It’s for a Buddhist Organization.

  24. Just found your blog and read through it and all the comments. I’ve been having a very difficult time with my site’s performance. I’m even on MaxCDN. I have CloudFlare but I’ve been running into so many conflicts with it plus the use of Max CDN. I’m going to give this a try tomorrow and see what happens. I’m on VPS, not shared hosting, and have APC installed. I sent a message to you, but it will go in your “other” folder on FB. Kindly, Leslie

  25. Woow! Just what I need it. I was searching for something like this for ages! Finally I found it. I was looking for advanced settings and it was almost impossible. Thanks for the great post. Cheers.

  26. Hi can you help with my page? My website is around 1.6 mb and 3 seconds of loading. I got MaxCDN installed as well. I followed your whole tutorial, but the minify settings make my website even slower. Can you help me with configuring w3 total cache for my website right?

    1. You can use W3 Total cache with pagespeed because pagespeed won’t optimize the activities happening on server side. Enabling browser cache, database caching and other tweaks on W3 along with Google pagespeed works great!

  27. Aditya — Thanks so much for this… Website speed increased significantly, but I get this error message…

    Recently an error occurred while creating the CSS / JS minify cache: File “/home2/seamimi/public_html/wp-content/cache/minify/000000/4b006/default.include.d6fcd5.css”

    I am using the Themeforests Me Gusta Theme, which is enables user generated content, and now people are unable to upload their content. I’ve done all your trouble shooting options for .js and .css minify sections (disabled line breaks, embed in , etc.). Do you have any advice?

    1. I would suggest to do manual fine tweaking, remove the .js files ( one at a time ) to check which one breaks upon minifying to resolve the user upload issue, for the issue regarding the error message, I think it’s probably a w3 total cache error which will be rectified with future updates.

  28. Aditya is correct about that minify error. It’s just a goofy bug the developers of W3TC are still trying to figure out how to get it to not show up. It just means the cache has changed.

  29. i am really impressed with your content writing, the main reason is you do explain very well.
    I also use w3tc..
    Thanks publisher

  30. Thank you for the great article Aditya. After installing W3 total cache I verified my site on page speed and this is what appeare: The URL was fetched, but nothing was rendered. Ensure that the URL
    points to an HTML page that loads successfully in a web browser. What does it mean? When I deactivate W3 there is no problem. Can you help me please?

      1. It is an Italian hosting which has its servers in London, uses Apache, and if I put Page Cache on disk basic (w3 total cache), instead of Disk enhanced it works…any idea?

        1. I think they don’t support W3 total cache fully, I would suggest you to try the wp super cache plugin along with better minify plugin to solve these issues.

          1. Thanks a lot for your support Aditya…I also sent you a message on FB. I will try WP Super Cache with Better Minify, I would have preferred W3 Total Cache, about it, what do you think if I put Page Cache on Disk Basic instead on Disk Enhanced? It seems working…Can I contact you if I have any problem?

  31. Hello,

    Thanks for the guide- I followed the settings however my load time is 3.21sec. What else can I do to speed up my site?

    1. You can try Cloudflare for your website, if configured properly then it can lead to significant speedup!

    1. I really appreciate it when people get something useful from what I recommend to them, do go through all the comments too brother you will get to learn a lot about the W3 Total Cache plugin! 🙂

  32. Hi,
    Thank you for the great post Aditya. W3 Total Cache works for one of my site very good. I would like to use this for a BBPress Forum site also, where all pages (forum pages, blog pages, normal wp pages) are only visible for logged in users. My question is: when I want to show the cached (speedy) pages to my visitors, may I disable this option under Page Cache?:
    • Don’t cache pages for logged in users
    Unauthenticated users may view a cached version of the last authenticated user’s view of a given page. Disabling this option is not recommended.

    Is that mean, for example, that a visitor, who is not logged in, will see the given page, which is allowed only to see for logged in users?
    Is that mean, it makes no sense to use W3Total Cache for a site, where all the content is only for logged in users? Or is there a settings, to solve that problem?

    Thank you very much

    1. In the above case it would be true that W3 Total Cache’s static caching methods won’t work great. But things like Database Caching, Object caching and minifying resources would still do a great degree of help in such cases. And you should also consider the fact that though you can’t cache all of the content after a degree of authentication is required you can still have the static resources like images, fonts, icons cached if you use any good CDN or even free CDN like Cloudflare. The key to maintain scalability in such a site would be to have optimized code in terms of the overall template, server setup and a lot of other things. Do comment if you still have any doubt left Agnes! 🙂

  33. Until reading your article, W3 Total Cache was a great unknown for me, but now I slowly start to understand what is all about.
    Now I start to understand why Google sent me so many messages to minify my images, check the load time and so on, some of them were related with W3 Total Cache.

  34. Hi, this is a great tutorial and it helps me a lot to configure the settings. But on the part of database and object caching, you must put a warning for those using shared hosting account that it is best NOT to enable it. It made my website temporary restricted due to high I/O resources. Wanted to share this to others to avoid issue I encountered in hostgator.

    1. You must not enable object caching on shared hosting while database caching can help in some instances! But yeah this is a warning that should go out clear to everyone who has their websites on shared hosting using W3 total cache plugin.

  35. I forgot to ask what is the diferrence of not enabling the “Set entity tag (eTag)” in perfomance tab where in some tutorials they make it enable?

    1. It makes a lot of difference because if you have not set far future expires header then only you need to set up Entity tags. Not using Entity tags and in it’s place setting browser cache to over 1 year of expiration date makes for a best performance practice.
      If you have any more doubts do let me know! 🙂

  36. I use Wp Rocket for my websites also i use total cache on my other websites. They have same result but for those who owns website there if you want a fast loading website always optimized your images . Dont depend to much cache plugins 🙂

  37. WordPress core doesn’t perform well on its own. To improve its performance we can add caching rules on various elements of the website and at the server level.
    The most easiest way to add caching to WordPress is by using caching plugins, and one of the most popular is W3 Total Cache.
    W3TC has a lot of settings, each with its own benefits. For a quick guide on W3TC setup, refer to this guide!

  38. Hi Dear, I am using w3tc on my vps which is on a really slow server. After installing W3TC my home page content did not update. As I daily update new content. Please help!

  39. Thanks for your reply. Sir every time I have to clean the cache. Will caching hurts my keywords ranking in google serp?

    1. Slow pages are generally ranked lower in Google SERPS, so clearing cache a lot of times does have a negative effect on site speed but not so much as to decrease your SERPS on a permanent basis. Or you can look for another caching plugin like WP Super Cache or Wp-Rocket which have the option to preload page cache.

  40. Hello Aditya! Really thanks for your reply. Can you please tell me that using W3TC would hurt my keyword rankings in google serp or not?

  41. Your auto is super, I get this error : “It appears Minify URL rewriting is not working. Please verify that the server configuration allows .htaccess
    Unfortunately minification will not function without custom rewrite rules. Please ask your server administrator for assistance. Also refer to the install page for the rules for your server.” do you understand why ?
    Thank you

  42. Many many Thanks Aditya for telling W3 Total Cache Plugin. Just i have downloaded this plugins and installed in WP. and it working.

  43. Thanks for writing this tutorial on how to setup and decrease a blog load time using W3 total cache.

    I use this same plugin on one of my blogs, the resulting speed of the blog is awesome.

    Although thbhacking dot com I have seen many people complain about this plugin that it sometimes conflict with other wordpress plugins.

    I don’t know if you have experienced this in person?

  44. I posted a comment on above sites and got instant approval on many blogs commenting sites, these settings worked for my blog as well!

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