Gator Cache WordPress Plugin Saves Cash

Gator Cache Saves Load Time screenshot

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. 🙂

Gator Cache Saves Load Time screenshot
So the Gator Cache has saved me an average of over 1 second per page.

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!

Have you got any interesting stories or questions about WordPress cache plugins? Share your experiences, opinions, and questions in Shrewdies Make a Website Group, or Shrewdies Website Help Chatroom.

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.

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