Being a part of fast internet era, where people gets frustrated in seconds if a website doesn’t load properly, caching is one of the must do things which every webmaster has to take into a serious consideration now. Caching not just only speed up your website or blog insanely but also reduces the load on your server, bandwidth and many other aspects of it. As WordPress is one of the most popular CMS for webmasters of every genre, developers has built many cool WordPress plugin to make the caching nightmare go away from the webmasters head. If you do not have a WordPress site, implementing caching properly for your site could be a real nightmare. Tough for the best cache performance few modules like opcode, memcache, varnish needs to be installed in your server.
As I said earlier many good developers has created some awesome plugins for WordPress caching like Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, Hyper Cache etc. but WP Rocket is the first WordPress premium caching plugin solution. This is a very premium cache plugin which cost you $39 for a single site installation to $199 for unlimited site installations. You can find more about the cost of this plugin on WP Rocket pricing page. So, this plugin is not cheap at all. As a premium plugin we all expect something awesome from it which is never seen before, in fact that is the reason we pay for these plugins isn’t it?
If you take an example of Gravity Forms and Contact Form 7 two most popular WordPress plugin for creating forms and similar stuffs. But Gravity form is a premium plugin which cost around the same as WP Rocket ($39 – single site to $199 – unlimited sites) and Contact Form 7 is a completely FREE plugin. But trust me purchasing Gravity Form really worth the money, every single penny of it. It is that much cool, awesome and full with premium features never seen or expected before in Contact Form 7.
So, is WP Rocket worth purchasing?
Yes, it is, after v2.6 update of WP Rocket, the plugin became immensely grate and no other cache plugin is out there to compete with it.
Not at all. As an experienced webmaster who has web optimization and tuning experience of more than 3 – 4 years, I also purchased WP Rocket plugin for my own website to test it’s optimal potential compared to the all other free cache plugins solutions out there in the WordPress.org plugin repository. I was determined that if this plugin really perform as they claim on their website, I’m going to purchase the Unlimited license of it for all of my personal and client’s website.
But after my initial single site purchase (was so excited) I have performed numerous number of tests with this plugin and constantly compared it with WP Super Cache (
my favorite cache plugin) performance. After testing for all day long with various tweaks, I was completely surprised to see how WP Rocket guys sell such a underrated badly coded plugin in such a premium price. If you are thinking that why did I said that, well keep reading, you’ll find out why soon.
What are the issues with WP Rocket?
Well, if you visit WP Rocket plugin site (wp-rocket.me) you will see that these guys has provided a performance and feature comparison list between WP Rocket, Hyper Cache, Super Cache and W3 Total Cache at their features page. Now as per their comparison list WP Rocket wins in every aspect and all the free plugins are just nothing in front of WP Rocket.
But in real life testing, the picture not even closer to their claiming. Many of the feature included inside the plugin doesn’t work properly as it supposed to work. In fact the free cache plugins works more neatly than WP Rocket. Here are few major problem and issues I’ve figured out in WP Rocket at the time of my through testing and which made me uninstall this plugin from my site.
No Network Activation
Many of my readers already know that I do not use a normal WordPress installation on my site. I use WordPress multisite (WP MU) environment. The usage of WP MU has been increased a lot in past couple of years and I know many webmaster who uses WP MU personally or for their clients to do better administration on their sites. Now if you install a free popular cache plugin from WordPress, you can activate the plugin for your whole network and you have to made changes at one place only as a Super Admin or a network admin.
But WP Rocket doesn’t have that ease of usage when it comes to multisite. To use WP Rocket into a WP MU environment, you have to upload the plugin from your super admin panel and then manually activate the plugin for each site on your network. You also have to make the settings changes for each site on your network. Rusty right? Never expected this kind of user experience from a well-priced premium plugin.
The HTML minification works fine without any issues or broken element.
But when I check the source code of my page I clearly understand that the HTML could be more minified than what WP Rocket claimed to be HTML minifined. Still many white spaces were there in the page source which could be removed and make the page size more compact.
The CSS minification works almost fine with the minification process
but lags behind in the combine file process. As we all know that minification of files is not just about minify, but its also about combining same type of files into few (lesser) number of files. If your page contains 30 css files a minification plugin not just only minify your css files but also combine them into 2 or 3 files. So that less number of files needs to be loaded by the browser. But after test I see that there are still large number of minified css files in source code which could be merged further to reduce the number of files. I tested with a page having 31 external css links before minification and after minify and merge its still on 10 minified css files. Which is not bad, but also not good enough to be purchased. Many free minification plugin does better than this.
The JS minification
is the most painful thing of this plugin. After enabling JS minification when I saw my page source code, my first impression was “does the developers even know the best practices about coding?” As per Google’s best coding practice, you should always add your JS files into the footer section of the page so that it loads at very last and doesn’t create an issue to load the texts first before js. As a professional webmaster all of my js were placed into footer, except a few which must needs to be in the head. After enabling the minification process, WP Rocket actually pull up all the js files into the head section. I was so shocked seeing this in a premium plugin that I almost lost my words. Just like the CSS minification the JS minification process also not so good in combine/merge to reduce the number of files. It needs to be a much better. If you wanna add minified JS files into the footer then you have to put the link of every single JS files you have in your site into the plugin settings. Pathetic right? Well it’s more pathetic if you have a rich UI site with almost 20 js files. You have to add them all one by one, just to load them on the footer. 🙁
Incompatibility with other plugins
many popular WordPress plugins have some serious incompatibility issue with WP Rocket. WP Retina 2x comes at the top of that list. Retina 2x is a very popular plugin for providing high definition images only to those screen which supports it, like Mac Retina display. Its better to use small low definition images for normal screen and only provide HD images to supported screen – this reduces website size, loading time but still make it crisp on supported display. So, now if you use WP Retina 2x (trusted by many users) plugin to load HD images to supported devices and also enable the lazy load option within WP Rocket settings,
your retina 2x plugin will stop working unless you disable that lazy load. your Retina images will work fine but no lazyload fewature will be added to them as the use the
srcset attribute which is still not supported by WP Rocket lazyload feature.
There are also many other plugins which do not work properly with WP Rocket.
Lazy Load is really lazy
As I said earlier the WP Rocket plugin comes with a lazy load feature to load images only when people look for it otherwise don’t load it. This is really cool and seriously reduces webpage size to load it faster.
But the lazy load module of WP Rocket doesn’t always work properly with all themes. On my test I see that only the avatars of comment section and some few other place in portfolio section is actually using the lazy load feature. Rest of my site is still loading without any lazy load.
Pathetic CDN implementation
The CDN feature of this plugin has been implemented so pathetically that even after you enable cdn in your site, still almost 40 – 60% images are going to load without CDN. If you use Retina 2x plugin then again your image urls are not going to use your CDN feature which you pay for monthly to load your site faster. Now WP Rocket guys admit this problem and mentioned it as a very simple problem which could be easily fixed by using two WP Rocket
rocket_cdn_url() functions in every single place in your site you load an image which is not getting cdn added up into their url.
Now this literally means to go through all codes of your website to understand it and then make the changes to use CDN service for which you already pay monthly by using a well-priced premium plugin which again you purchased. This is sick right? Of course it is. If you have to edit most of your website theme codes and plugin codes to use cdn using a premium plugin while you can do all this easily with FREE plugins, which one do you choose? Another disgusting part is if you choose some other plugin (like CDNLinker) for the cdn purpose and keep the WP Rocket for the caching purpose, then multiple modules of WP Rockets will get auto deactivated unless you use only WP Rocket for everything.
What about DNS Prefetching?
DNS Prefetching is not something which will reduce your site load time a lot, but still it is good to use as this is a good optimization practice mentioned by Google. But just for using DNS Prefetching there is no point of purchasing this plugin. You can always add a small function in your theme’s function.php file to make it work.
What about a Refund of this plugin?
Whether or not the WP Rocket developers concentrate on creating an extraordinary awesome plugin which will beat everyone else and people will love to purchase it, but they are very much concerned about their plugin refund policy. May be because they knew that any experienced developer or webmaster who will purchase this plugin and actually test it side-by-side with the free cache plugins, they will immediately ask for a refund.
On their refund policy page they have clearly mentioned that they are only going to issue a refund if the site load speed is not been improved at all after installing the plugin, which is never actually going to happen. Because after installing the plugin it will at least going to reduce the site load time a few.
May be it is not as good as other caching plugin, but they don’t care about that. They have also stated that for a refund first you need to contact their support to resolve your issue and if you don’t get any helpful response or it was not solved then you can ask for a refund within 30 days of purchasing the plugin. In short the refund experience is not so smooth.
What about W3 Total Cache?
Well I have used W3 Total Cache (W3TC) for many years on my personal site and also on many of my client’s website. But the problem with W3TC is that it is very fragile and complicated. W3TC is mostly awarded because of how easily it can break your perfectly developed site for no reason. The configuration page of W3TC is very confusing too. Also in many of my test I’ve found that W3TC increases the wait time (Time to First Byte) of your site while WP Super Cache works in a much better way without breaking a single thing.
Tough WP Rocket is a well-priced premium cache plugin for WordPress,
it really doesn’t have any good features, options and reason over the one that are already available for free. In fact it is worse than the free ones. So if you have a lot of money to waste on purchasing plugins, I will suggest you donate that money to the free plugin developers instead purchasing this kind of well-priced premium plugins which doesn’t have any good reason to purchase. Rather purchasing this plugin I will suggest you to opt for Super Cache + AutoOptimize for the best possible caching experience for your site.
So, are you still thinking about purchasing WP Rocket for your website? Have you used WP Rocket on your website? What was your experience with it? Do you use any other cache plugin which I’ve not mentioned above in your site? Let me know your experience in the comment section below. I would love to hear your experience and thought about this plugin.
Also from now on I’m going to release at least one article each week especially for bloggers and webmasters with news how tos, tips, reviews and more. So, if you have any special request for any topic, feel free to let me know in the comment section below.
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