There are many choices when it comes to cache plugins for WordPress. They aim to serve your web pages faster, and time is money.
I just installed Gator Cache plugin on my biggest forum website.
See how Gator Cache saved time and cash on my bbPress forum.
Can You Cache A Forum?
An active forum is an asset for any website. The forum drives visitors to reference articles, which is great for website traffic. More importantly, it is a hotbed of ideas for new and improved content. Unfortunately, page load times can suffer.
This is a problem I have had for many years. I’ve tried Total Cache and Super Cache, but I could never get them to work with my forum. Also, I could not understand their complexity. As a self-confessed geek who likes to understand everything that happens under the hood, I was ashamed to admit I couldn’t hack it. Worst of all, the time I was wasting was distracting me from writing content.
Last year, I took the plunge, and invested in WP Engine. Finally I thought I could leave the speed tweaks to techies and get on with researching and writing. Big mistake. I won’t bore you with the details but I am moving everything back to my shared server.
I have a good service from Nativespace. However, response time on my forum pages was averaging 3.75 seconds. I aim for 2 seconds, and though my shared server is faster than WP Engine on my forum website, it still isn’t fast enough.
Bearing in mind that I need the speed for my main website when I move it, I wanted to test cache software to make sure I could achieve adequate speed. The best test would be on my second busiest website, which just happens to be my bbPress forum website. I searched for a bbPress compatible cache plugin, and found Gator Cache.
Gator Cache WordPress Plugin Saves Cash
Earlier this week, I ran some Pingdom tests on my three busiest pages. This is not a full scientific test, as I didn’t specify which server to use. Also, I only ran four tests per page instead of the 50 required for a decent confidence level. The average load time was 3.75 with a range from 3.54 to 4.04.
Earlier today, I installed Gator Cache plugin, and set the options. I set Post Types to include bbPress, and I set Users to not cache logged in users. I made a couple of posts to confirm that my website was updating properly. I then loaded each test page in my browser without being logged in. Everything worked OK, so I returned to Pingdom for new speed tests. The average load time was now 2.60 with a range from 2.50 to 2.78. 🙂
The forum is not about making money, so I never bothered measuring revenue effects. For an ecommerce website, that is likely to improve sales conversions. It might even have an impact on AdSense and other revenue. I really can’t judge that, but I do know it has saved $990 in expensive hosting fees. Great news, as I don’t have that cash!
I’ve still got some work to do to get the load speed down to 2 seconds, but at least my bbPress forum is faster than 61% of all tested websites. I’ll be happier at faster than 80%. Stay tuned for details of my next speed improvements. If you want to be sure you don;t miss that, please subscribe to Shrewdies Update Service.