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How to Install and Configure W3 Total Cache Plugin (Updated Guide)

The speed of a page is very important for better user experience and search engine ranking. For WordPress platform users there is so many WordPress cache plugins are available. But two of the most popular WordPress caching plugins are WP Super cache and WP Total cache are my favorite. A W3 total cache plugin is giving very good results if you configure in the right way. I used this plugin in my early blogging period. I have no technical skills at that time. Results are good.

The plugin is developed by Mashable’s CTO. Using in all types of high-traffic sites like Mashable, MakeUseOf, Smashing magazine and Yoast sites.

The W3 Total cache plugin in is one of the super plugins to speed up blog performance and its loading time. Google loves fast loading blogs. It makes your blogs pages load faster than before and save money on hosting bills as you can stay on shared hosting and still make your blog withstand huge amounts of traffic without compromising the performance.

The W3 Total Cache is the best caching plugin there is for WordPress – Best because it gets the best results and has all the needed options included, like minifying, so it‘s not just Page Cache like WP Super Cache is. 80% of the users fed up with low loading blogs. If the blog did not load fast readers will close and jumps to another blog because there are thousands of blogs are available with the relevant topics. So the holding of readers is a major task. I think this guide will help you to speed up a self-hosted WordPress blogs.How to install and configure W3 total cache plugin

Advantages of W3 Total Cache Plugin :

  • At least 10x improvements in overall site performance (when fully configured: Grade A in YSlow or significant Google Page Speed improvements)
  • It improves “site performance” which affect your site’s rank on
  • It gives instant” second page views (browser caching after first page view)
  • Reduced page load time: increased visitor time on site (visitors view more pages)
  • Optimized progressive render (pages appear to render immediately) and with improved web server performance (sustain high traffic spikes)
  • Up to 80% bandwidth savings via minify and HTTP compression of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and feeds
Special Features:

Special Features of W3 Total Cache Plugin:

  • Compatible with shared hosting, virtual private / dedicated servers and dedicated servers / clusters
  • Transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration with Media Library, theme files and WordPress itself
  • Caching of (minified and compressed) pages and posts in memory or on disk
  • Caching of (minified and compressed) CSS and JavaScript in memory, on disk or on CDN
  • Caching of feeds (site, categories, tags, comments) in memory or on disk
  • Caching of search results pages (i.e. URIs with query string variables) in memory or on disk
  • Caching of database objects in memory or disk
  • Minification of posts and pages and feeds
  • Minification (combine and remove comments / whitespace) of inline, embedded or 3rd party JavaScript (with automated updates)
  • Minification (combine and remove comments / whitespace) of inline, embedded or 3rd party CSS (with automated updates)
  • Browser caching of CSS, JavaScript and HTML using future expire headers and entity tags (ETag)
  • JavaScript grouping by template (home page, post page etc.) With embedded location management
  • Non-blocking JavaScript embedding
  • Import post attachments directly into the Media Library (and CDN)

How to install W3 Total cache plugin:

  • Log in to your account
  • Click on Plugins > Add New
  • Search with W3 Total Cache word
  • Click on Install then activates the plugin

Global Settings to Configure Cache Plugin:

Before activating and configuring this plugin you should check the blog speed with site performance checkers. My personal suggestion is GTmetrix is one of the best options to check the page loading time and its speed to setup this plugin. First of all, check the blog loading time with this site. It gives a total report like which factors and scripts are taking more time in blog loading.

If you are using W3 super cache plugin (or any other WordPress cache plugin) before, first you must uninstall that plugin. We can’t use both together.

Here I am giving screen shots of my configurations. Let us see the W3 Total Cache Settings

W3 total cache plugin left side menu

1.General Settings of W3 Total Cache :

General settings:

After installation and activation of w3 total cache plugin in WordPress blogs, go to Performance > General settings to enable all the cache options you want to enable. In the below image I am the highlighted option. Choose that setting only.

In w3 total cache CloudFlare configuration option, you need to enter the details of your CloudFlare account.

general settings of W3 Total cache

  • Page Cache : Enable
  • Database cache: Enable
  • Object cache : Enable
  • Browser cache : Enable

This tutorial prepared based on without any CDN configuration.

2. Page Cache Settings :

Page Cache Settings:

First, put the tick mark here and then Save Changes. Then check the internal configuration settings with this screenshot. This is very usual settings. Keep these settings as default. Does not mark all just follow the screenshot. Review all check boxes and proceed to the next settings.

Page caching settings

  • Cache front page : Enable
  • Cache feeds: site, categories, tags, comments
  • Cache 404 (not found) pages : Enable
  • Do not cache pages for logged in users : Enable
3. Minify Settings :

Minify settings:

All this setting is plug and play. If you are not using the CDN network, check the screenshot and setup now. Do not make any changes and leave it as it is.

minify settings

4. Database Cache  :

Database Cache:

Most of the time WordPress blogs go down because of lots of database queries. This option caches queries and saves lots of resources. Must configure feature.

database caching

5. Browser Cache :

Browser Cache:

This adds caching and other rules to the “.htaccess” file that this cache needs. Make sure your WordPress htaccess rules are OK. This cache handles caching rules, but for WordPress security, it’s good to tweak the rules a bit. Check your “.htaccess” file is working well here (or) the check the coding is properly configured.

browser caching

6. Extensions :


In the recently updated version introduced new feature is Extensions enabling the feature. It offers extension enabled for few of the WordPress themes (for Genesis Framework), plugins (Yoast SEO, Cloudflare, and Feedburner plugin). Enable these settings if you are using the plugins and theme in your blog.


These are a basic setting to speed up a self-hosted WordPress blog. After this setting, first, clear your cache by clicking Performance, and then Empty all caches. You must visit your browser in different browsers like Firefox, opera, IE, Chrome in updated versions. 

I did all the settings in my blog. Recently I integrated my blog with Cloudflare CDN. Recently checked loading speed of our blog on GTmetrix servers.

Page loading speed of my blog

If your site still having a problem, it might be a conflict between W3 total cache and another plugin on your theme. To identify which plugin was created problem, follow these steps:

  • Deactivate all plugins except W3 Total Cache
  • Click Performance and then empty all caches to clear your cache.
  • Check your site in a different browser
  • To enable each plugin, one-by-one, and clear your cache after you activate each plugin until you find which one is the problem.
  • You can optionally temporarily switch to one of the WordPress default themes to see if any custom code in your theme interferes with caching.


Installing and configuration of W3 total cache is a simple setup. Hardly, it takes 10 to 15 minutes. It works great for every WordPress blog. I think this tutorial is very helpful to WordPress bloggers.

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About the Author

Satish Kumar Ithamsetty

Satish Kumar Ithamsetty

Satish Kumar Ithamsetty is a full-time blogger since 2009. This blog is to support every blogger & Marketer. He helps 100+ new bloggers and 10,000+ readers by this blog. He writes on Blogging, SEO, SMO, etc. Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Read More About Me

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2 thoughts on “How to Install and Configure W3 Total Cache Plugin (Updated Guide)”

  1. Hello, Satish!

    Wow! Too comprehensive guide for W3TC! You so nailed it, brother!

    And I am a big fan of W3TC!

    Been using it from years and I think it is about the time to re-check the whole configuration because I don’t remember when exactly I had it installed and setup and there have been quite a few updates, so I could be missing something. 🙂

    Thanks for the whole lot of the details!

    See me often!

    ~ Adeel

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