WP Rocket Configuration Guide With CDN Integration Settings (Version 3.3.3.1) Updated 2019

WP Rocket Plugin Settings

WP Rocket is the most user friendly caching plugin available on WordPress. It’s ready to go out of the box with easy configuration and guaranteed to improve scores and load times in GTMetrx, Pingdom and WebPageTest. WP Rocket has built in add-ons and features that eliminate the need for adding additional plugins. Fewer plugins = faster load times and better security. 

WP Rocket has a 92% customer satisfaction rate from 93,000 users on 745,000+ sites. Check out customer testimonials and endorsements from: Yoast, WP Engine, and Elegant Themes or read Facebook reviews.

If you have already invested in fast hosting from A2 Hosting or Siteground it makes sense take the next step and setup a WP Rocket caching + Key CDN content delivery network combination. Using this one-two punch has resulted in an average 1 second load time and scores of 97% on GTMetrix for one of my clients.

 

 

Before starting the installation process I would recommend taking a site speed benchmark through one of the many site speed tools. GTMetrix and WebpageTest are two of my favorite free speed metrics tools. Testing your site before installing WP Rocket will give you a baseline load time for future optimizations. Just be sure to clear the cached files after each optimization and test.

 

You can DOWNLOAD and IMPORT my WP Rocket Settings or manually configure them using my guide.

 

 

1. Download and Install WP Rocket

Download, installation and configuration can be completed in under 10 minutes for most users.

Install WP Rocket

WP Rocket isn’t available through your WordPress admin dashboard so you will have to visit their website – click here. From there you can determine what package you want (Single $49 /yr, Triple $99 or Unlimited $249). Major credit cards and Paypal are accepted as quick and easy payment options.

 

 

After completing the checkout process you will receive an email with an auto generated password and username (the email you used to signup). The file can be found in your WP Rocket account page. The plugin is in the form of a .zip file and should be upload via the Plugins / Add New / Upload Plugin section of your WordPress admin dashboard.

If you want to manually install the file you can use an FTP program like Filezilla to upload the unzipped files to your wp-content/plugins folder. Then go into the Plugins section of your admin dashboard and click activate.

Do not install the plugin on more websites than your license allows. In your WP Rocket account there is a section where your site address is registered. This site address can be removed, but it helps prevent unauthorized use (piracy).

 

2. Dashboard Clear Cache – Preload Cache – Regenerate CSS

After reaching the dashboard screen you are quickly prompted with a message informing you that your site is already being optimized.

WP Rocket Dashboard

 

Clear Cache – To do a site wide purge of all cached files you can click this button. Otherwise you can do a purge on a specific page or post by clicking the appropriate button.

Purge Specific Post Page

 

Preload Cache – Clicking this button will generate a cache of your homepage and all of the links found on it. This is covered in the “preload” section and automatically executed by checking the sitemap based cache preloading (Yoast, Rankmath, All in One Sitemaps) option. If you aren’t using one of those plugins you will have to enter the address to your XML sitemap in the space provided.

Regenerate Critical CSS – Use this whenever you make changes to stylesheets, or add/modify custom CSS via the WordPress Customizer (or a plugin).

Rocket Tester – You can enable this if you want to test the latest (non stable) release. Provide feedback to WP Rocket developers on bugs and other optimizations. You can always switch back to a previous release if something goes wrong.

Rocket Analytics – Enabling this send reports to WP Rocket developers key information like server type, php version and theme. I have this enabled as it only contributes towards improving the plugin.

 

3. Cache – Basic Options

WP Rocket Cache Settings

Mobile Cache –  Its recommended that both boxes are checked, but you need to have a responsive theme. Only phones (not tablets) are treated as mobile devices. If you are using WP Touch or WP Mobilizer etc the “Separate Cache Files For Mobile Devices” is checked automatically (grayed out).

User Cache – This is recommended for membership sites where users have to login or to view restricted content. Even if you your site doesn’t fit this criteria checking this box won’t hurt anything.

Cache Lifespan – 10 Hours is the recommended setting, but you may have to go down to 8 hours. Setting this too low can result in a high server load. If your site has static content and doesn’t get updated frequently you can adjust this slightly higher.

 

4. File Optimization – CSS, Javascript, HTML

File optimization involves minifying and combining CSS and Javascript files. Modifying and combining separate files into one file improves speed, but can sometimes break your site.

Modern and efficiently coded themes usually don’t have a problem with this. If for some reason this causes errors you will have to troubleshoot to find out what specific files are affected and exclude them.

WP Rocket Minify CSS Javascript Combine Settings

Minify HTML – This removes anything (comments / whitespace) that is non-essential to the page rendering. Minification reduces file size and increases page speed.

Combine Google Font Files – Instead of making 3-4 seperate requests for Google Fonts they are usually combined into 1 file – reducing the total amount of HTTP requests.

Remove Query Strings From Static Resources – Query strings are most associate with ecommerce (Woocommerce) where the same product has many variables. In W3TC you had to uncheck the “Prevent caching of objects after settings change” option and it would randomly re-check itself. This takes care of the “serve resources from a consistant URL” GTMetrix criteria. Read more about URL Parameters here.

Minify CSS – Again, this removes whitespace and comments – hopefully without breaking your site. Enable this but test for Javascript errors and/or broken page layout.

Combine CSS Files – This condenses style sheets to 1 or 2 files total vs many. This is not recommended if your site is using HTTP/2. You can use this testing tool to find out what is currently used on your site.

WP Rocket Minify Combine CSS Javascript HTML

Minify Javascript – Removes anything comments and whitespace, reducing total page size. WP Rocket explicitly warns that this may break your themes layout or functionality. Minifying CSS/Javascript/HTML improves GTMetrix scores, but you should test your site after to make sure things are running smoothly.

Combine Javascript – After checking this box nine stylesheets were combined into just one for my site. This made my GTMetrix scores jump while page load decreased.

Load Javascript Deferred – Any javascript files that prevent the site from rendering are deferred to the end.

 

 

 

5. Media – Lazyload, Emojis, Embeds

WP Rocket Media Settings

LazyLoad – If you have long form content with images and videos its best to enable all of these settings. Only media above the fold gets loaded immediately. Everything else gets loaded as the user scrolls down the page (300px from the Viewport). If you have Youtube videos they will be replaced with a preview image until the user clicks on them.

Disable Emoji – Everyone should disable emojis since they are completely useless. WordPress should have these disabled without the use of a plugin by default.

Disable Embeds – Disabling embeds prevents people from embedding your site and vice versa. It also disables any Javascript files related to embedding. This prevents other sites from leeching your content and bandwidth.

 

6. Preload – Links, Sitemaps, DNS Prefetch

 

WP Rocket Preload Sitemap Prefetch DNS

Preloading – When you check this box WP Rocket will preload cache based on your Yoast or All in One SEO generated sitemap. All of the popular plugin XML sitemaps are automatically detected. Otherwise you can specify your own XML sitemap file by entering it in the space provided.

Prefetch DNS Requests – This feature will give you a small speed boost – especially for mobile networkds. Instead of the DNS resolution taking place “on the fly” it is pre-generated before the resources are requested. If you are on shared hosting with resource limits / throttling this will reduce your CPU usage.

Popular external hosts to be prefetched include Google Fonts, Analytics, YouTube, Maps, Twitter and Facebook etc. Entering more than what your site actually uses isn’t necessary, but doesn’t slow performance.

Do not use http: and only enter one per line. Don’t forget to add your BunnyCDN, Stackpath, Cloudflare or KeyCDN URL to this list. 

//yourhostname.b-cdn.net
//s7.addthis.com
//platform.linkedin.com
//w.sharethis.com
//s0.wp.com
//s.gravatar.com
//stats.wp.com
//www.googletagmanager.com
//www.googletagservices.com
//adservice.google.com
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com
//tpc.googlesyndication.com
//ajax.microsoft.com
//ajax.aspnetcdn.com
//s3.amazonaws.com
//code.jquery.com
//stackpath.bootstrapcdn.com
//use.fontawesome.com
//player.vimeo.com
//github.githubassets.com
//referrer.disqus.com
//c.disquscdn.com
//0.gravatar.com
//2.gravatar.com
//1.gravatar.com

//maps.googleapis.com
//maps.gstatic.com
//fonts.googleapis.com
//fonts.gstatic.com
//ajax.googleapis.com
//apis.google.com
//google-analytics.com
//www.google-analytics.com
//ssl.google-analytics.com
//youtube.com
//api.pinterest.com
//cdnjs.cloudflare.com
//pixel.wp.com
//connect.facebook.net
//platform.twitter.com
//syndication.twitter.com
//platform.instagram.com
//disqus.com
//sitename.disqus.com

//ad.doubleclick.net
//googleads.g.doubleclick.net
//stats.g.doubleclick.net
//cm.g.doubleclick.net
//stats.buysellads.com
//s3.buysellads.com

7. Advanced Rules – URLs, Cookies, User Agents, Query Strings

Advanced Never Cache URL Cookies

Advanced Purge Cache Query Strings

Never Cache URLs – Some pages from your website should never be cached like login/logout URLS. Ecommerce sites also have cart, my account and checkout pages that shouldn’t be cached. By default WP Rocket automatically stops these pages from being cached for popular plugins like WooCommerce. If you have pages you never want cached enter them here.

Never Cache Cookies – WP Rocket recommends entering “woocommerce_items_in_cart” on this line. You can exclude certain pages from being cached based the the presence of a cookie. Leaving this blank is perfectly fine.

Never Cache User Agents – Prevent user agents (bots) from ever seeing cached pages. Most people should leave this blank.

Always Purge URLs – If your site has a static home page and a different page to display blog posts content may not get updated. You can fix it by specifying the page for posts (SETTINGS / READING / POSTS PAGE Dropdown) or by using the Always Purge URL feature in WP Rocket.

Cache Query Strings – If you notice a URL that looks like this: example.com/page/?ball=red that is a query string and is used on ecommerce (woocommerce) sites to filter products. In this example ball is the parameter and red is the value. You can enter whatever parameter (ex: ball) you want.

 

8. Database – Cleanup Posts, Comments, Transients, Tables

Cleaning up old posts, comments and transients will make your database run more efficiently. WP Rocket created a database optimization feature that eliminates the need for the popular “WP Optimize” plugin.  Cleanups aren’t necessarily going to make your site or admin dashboard load as fast as lightning, but every little bit counts.

Database Post Comment Cleanup

 

Post Cleanup – As you are creating content (posts, pages) you save your work and WordPress also autosaves your work. Over time this redundancy can pile up with a lot of stored revisions and saves. Delete autosaves, drafts and trashed posts by checking this box.

Comments Cleanup – Not much reasons to store comment spam and trashed comments. WordPress doesn’t automatically delete comments in these folders so do it here.

 

Database Transient Optimize Cleanup

Transients Cleanup – These are temporary options held in your database that have an expiry. They can safely be deleted since they are automatically regenerated by plugins when needed. WordPress stores transients in your wp_options table.

Database Cleanup – When you delete plugins the files are deleted, but the database entries remain. This feature mainly removes the data left behind – taking out the trash.

Automatic Cleanup –  I prefer to manually optimize so I can monitor what is going on. If you don’t login that much then scheduling a monthly cleanup is fine. Always backup your database first!

 

9. CDN – KeyCDN, Enable, Exclude Files

Slow load times for users accessing far away from your origin server (host server) is a problem that is solved by using a Content Delivery Network (CDN). Data must travel round trip from the user’s browser to your host server and back again.

If your host server is in Miami and a user is in Australia distance plays a factor in load time – even traveling at the speed of light. Other factors like the medium of transfer (network latency) play a big role as well.

Reducing the geographical distance between your host server and your audience improves load times drastically. This can easily be tested using WebPageTest and testing your site from a foreign country.

 

CDN Network World Map

Content Delivery Networks (CDN) have 3 main benefits – Reducing network latency, DDoS attack protection and offloading traffic/data from your (shared hosting) server. If you want to learn more about the full range of benefits provided by CDNs you should read my post: Deliver Content Faster To Global Audiences: Content Delivery Networks (CDN)

WP Rocket CDN Setup

 

CDN – Enable the Content Delivery Network feature and enter your CDN CNAME in the space provided. The hostname should be provided to you in your CDN account. I use BunnyCDN for a few of my clients site (this one too) because of the easy installation and low cost. The format for this particular CDN is “yourhostname.b-cdn.net”

Exclude Files – There might be some files you want to force users to download from your host server. You can prevent certain files from being served by your CDN provider here. Enter one URL per line. Issues with font icons not showing up can be resolved by preventing certain plugin stylesheets from being delivered by CDN. Ex. /wp-content/plugins/yourpluginname/css/style.css

 

10. Heartbeat – Control, Reduce, Disable API

WP Rocket Heartbeat Disable Control

Heartbeat – Some themes and plugins rely on Heartbeat API to function properly, but this also consumes a high amount of server resources (CPU). If you are on a shared hosting plan your account could be throttled. Disabling heartbeat is recommended for most users. If that causes problems “reduce activity” should be used instead – lowering the time interval from 1 per minute to 2 per minute. For e-commerce sites the heartbeat may be needed for the admin-ajax.php file to power the shopping cart and admin dashboard order display.

Common Examples of Heartbeat API Usage

  • Post / page auto-saves and revisions
  • Admin dashboard notifications
  • Locking post-editing when another author is working
  • E-commerce (real time) data displayed on the admin dashboard

 

 

 

11. Add-ons – Analytics, Pixel, Varnish, Cloudflare, Securi

WP Rocket Addon Analytics Pixel Varnish

Google Tracking – Using a plugin or manually adding your Google Analytics tracking code / javascript .js file usually gets flagged in GTMetrix for Leverage Browser Caching and HTTP Requests. You can enable this setting to host the analytics.js files locally instead of using loading them from Googles server or CDN.

I use a plugin called GADWP to see a simple traffic graph in my admin dashboard, but I disabled the tracking code from loading via the plugin. Instead it loads through WP Rocket by turning this to “ON”.

Facebook Pixel – This code enables you to see important metrics from Facebook advertising like conversions, traffic and re-marketing. Just like Google Analytics, it gets flagged in your GTMetrix report so turning this setting “ON” should elminate those errors.

Varnish – This is a really fast HTTP accelerator (300x faster) but isn’t enabled for shared hosting plans – most use Nginx. Check with your hosting provider to see if this is enabled otherwise leave it “OFF”

 

 

12. Image Optimization – Imagify

Compressing your images is one of the top ways to make your site load faster. It speeds up your site by reducing the file size of each image file. This can significantly reduce your total page size, decreasing load times. I always recommend Shortpixel for image compression, but Imagify is certainly a quality alternative.Imagify Image Compression

 

 

WP Rocket integrated a built in image compression tool called Imagify. This plugin allows you to reduce files size of your images (total page size) with lossless compression. Image compression reduces total page size, load time and hosting bandwidth used. Since the human eye can’t really notice the difference (lossless compression) it makes perfect sense to optimize all of your images.The free version allows you to optimize 25MB worth of images (monthly) with a maximum initial file size of 2MB per image.

 

 

13. Tools – Import, Export, Rollback Settings

WP Rocket Tools Import Export Rollback

 

Export Settings – You can download a copy of your WP Rocket settings here. This is useful if you have more than one site or if you are a webmaster with several clients.

Import Settings – If you change settings and problems come up you can import older settings. You can also import settings if you manage multiple websites.

Rollback – If you update WP Rocket and problems come up you can rollback/ re-install an older version of the plugin. Be sure to send in an error report and service request if this happens.

 

14. Support – Documentation, FAQ, Troubleshooting

WP Rocket Support FAQ Troubleshooting

The WP Rocket Knowledge Base is an extensive library with documentation, troubleshooting and codex. Most of the answers you need can be found there. If not, its probably related to a 3rd party plugin conflict.

Every setting in WP Rocket comes with a brief description. If further explanation is needed you can click the “NEED HELP?” link in each section. Related documentation, FAQ and troubleshooting articles display in a popup window next to the setting section.

If you still can’t seem to figure things out you can click on the “Support” link in the popup window to send a message to customer support

.WP Rocket Help Customer Support

15. Plugin Redundancy – Removing Duplicate Plugins

With each update WP Rocket is transforming itself into a one stop shop for WordPress optimization. What started as a basic caching plugin now has much more functionality. It is important that you scan through your current plugin list to look for redundancy. Here are some common plugins and settings that are eliminated by using WP Rocket.

 

CDN IntegrationCDN EnablerCloudflareBunnyCDN
Lazy Load Images / VideosAutoptimizeOptimisation.ioWP Youtube
Heartbeat ControlOptimisation.ioHeartbeat ControlWP Disable
Locally Load Google AnalyticsCAOS WebfontsOptimisation.ioGADWP
Locally Load Google FontsCAOS Google AnalyticsGoogle Fonts LocallyManual Install
Imagify Image CompressionShortpixelSmushEWWW
Database OptimizationWP-OptimizeAdvanced DB CleanerCAGE Database

 

16. Before and After – Speed Optimization Results

What can WP Rocket do for your website and what type of results should you expect? Using my recommended settings, you can expect huge improvements in fully loaded time, total page size, request count and performance scores.

Check out the before & after results for popular hoverboard e-commerce site – Hoverboards.com. Reducing page speed from over 9 seconds to under 4 seconds will have a huge affect on sale – thousands of dollars worth. If that is the case what would ROI be on a $49 plugin?

Half of traffic is coming from mobile these days so getting load times down helps attract mobile traffic. Google knows this so they started factoring in site speed to search engine results.

Before

Before WP Rocket

 

After

After WP Rocket

 

 

 

Wordpress Speed
Hello, I'm CAL – owner of TitanWP LLC.

I create helpful tutorials on WordPress SEO, Speed, Security and earning money through affiliate marketing. My goal is to help you improve your Google search ranking. Hire me to optimize your site or connect with me on social media.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *