This plugin hasn’t been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

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Next Level Cache


Did you know that a fresh, stock WordPress install with the default theme and no plugins will execute over 30 database queries every single time a visitor views the home page? After installing an feature-rich theme and a few basic plugins WordPress can easily run 100 or more queries on every single page. This puts a enormous amount of strain on the database server.

Next Level Cache is a lightweight plugin that intercepts DB queries and selectively caches them. A special type of plugin file called a “Drop-in” is included to override WordPress’s default DB functionality. Every page is still generated dynamically, but WordPress is coerced into using cached data for many of the DB calls. This hybrid approach doesn’t eliminate all database queries, but keeps them down to a reasonable number (usually between 1 and 5 queries per page, depending on your theme and plugins).

Next Level Cache monitors it’s own activity. If the cache isn’t performing well then a warning message will display on the admin dashboard widget and plugin settings page. If you use this plugin and see that warning, I would greatly appreciate a post on the support forum with some info about your site. Thank you!

CAUTION: This is a BETA plugin on which I am actively working. If you give this plugin a try, I would greatly appreciate any feedback you can provide on the plugin support forum. Please note:

  • The plugin is intended for sites that are used as a CMS rather than “feed” type sites that are constantly updated all day, every day.
  • Sites with more than a few hundred pages that are all receiving frequent views may experience excessive cache pruning.
  • Multi-site installations share the cache which means they will all effect each other as far as cache size, pruning, resetting, etc.
  • Sites with extremely high traffic may require adding a static HTML cache plugin in addition to Next Level Cache.

Why use Next Level Cache instead of one of the well-known caching plugins?

This plugin is made for a specific type of site. My goal was to make a plugin that would reduce (but not completely eliminate) the obscene amount of queries WordPress runs on every page. I wanted something other than a static HTML cache so that pages could have a fast load-time but still be dynamically generated.

The reason I wrote yet another cache plugin is because I tried all of the usual, popular plugins and for various reasons they didn’t quite work for a particular site. My use case is a business CMS with light-to-medium traffic, about 10-20 fixed pages and perhaps a new daily/weekly blog post. This seemed like a fairly common scenario that was worth building a new cache plugin.

If your site doesn’t fit this use case because it has extremely high traffic and/or is a feed-type of site with constant new postings (like icanhascheezburger for example) then Next Level Cache alone will probably not reduce your DB load enough. However, you can combine Next Level Cache with a static HTML cache plugin and your static cache warm-up times may even improve.


  • Zero configuration
  • Self-monitoring for performance issues
  • Query debugging output
  • Awesome logo


  • All up in your grill


Automatic Installation:

  1. Go to Admin – Plugins – Add New and search for “next level cache”
  2. Click the Install Button
  3. Click ‘Activate’
  4. Copy or soft link the included Drop-in file “db.php” in the root of your wp-content directory

Manual Installation:

  1. Download
  2. Unzip and upload the ‘next-level-cache’ folder to your ‘/wp-content/plugins/’ directory
  3. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
  4. Copy or soft link the included Drop-in file “db.php” in the root of your wp-content directory


1. What is NLC (Next Level Cache)?

Next Level Cache is a plugin that caches database queries to improve performance.

2. How does the plugin work?

WordPress supports a special type of plugin known as a “Drop-in” which allows overriding of the class that controls access to the database. Next Level Cache intercepts queries and selectively caches them.

3. How to I empty the cache

Updating any page or WordPress setting will clear the cache (changing the value isn’t necessary, just click an update button somewhere).

4. What are cache “resets” and “prunes” and are they a good/bad thing?

A reset is when the entire cache is cleared after changes were made to a page or settings. Pruning is when the allotted space for the cache is filled and items are removed to decrease the size. Both of these are technically bad because the cache has to be re-generated for some or all of the pages. However a reset is a normal, unavoidable occurrence when pages or settings are updated. Excessive pruning, on the other hand, means that the cache is not functioning optimally and your site may even experience performance degradation. Next Level Cache keeps track of the number of prunes each day in order to detect and warn you of this situation. If the Next Level Cache dashboard widget or settings page is showing a warning about excessive pruning then Next Level Cache may not be the best caching plugin for your site.

5. Where does Next Level Cache store it’s data?

The cache is stored in the wp_options table and is loaded upfront with one large query instead of many small ones.

6. Will this plugin work in combination with other caching plugins?

I’ve minimally experimented with a few other caching plugins and Next Level Cache seems to be compatible with them. However, WordPress only allows one DB.php Drop-in file to be installed at a time. So if the other plugin requires it’s own DB Drop-in then you would have to choose one over the other. Next Level Cache does not make any attempt to automatically copy or alter the DB.php. If there is a conflicting DB.php file installed then Next Level Cache will simply not do anything except to show a warning notification on the plugin settings page.

7. How can I configure or customize the plugin?

For the moment there are no configuration options, however there will be some options


Improved limitation of DB-queries per hour by hosting company

I’ve a project with a hosting company, which has a limitation of 75000 queries per hour. With a WordPress, and about 100 queries per page, that means that the site crashes if you reach the 750 page views per hour!
And if you are as admin work on the site with data entry, that maximum is reached within 10 minutes. Removing plugins and replacing the theme works somewhat and gives about 30 minutes before it crashes again.

And guess what. I found this plugin! When I’m careful it doesn’t reach the limit in a hour and there is still 1500 page views per hour and nothing is crashing now. Great plugin. Remove that face of the guy and charge money for it. It’s worth something!

Good idea but useless

Good idea but useless,
The plugin is still in pre alfa state, (I’M COUNTING 10 MONTHS NOW AFTER THE RELEASE)
And no matter how you try optimizing,
It does not yield in improved performance,
Nor does this actually reduce server load,
Compared to WP-Super-Cache alone,
In fact the opposite is true.


The Cache engines that are so popular actually slowed my site down tremendously and showed no help with Objects or Database caching that I could tell. This does exactly what I needed, to cache common queries. Thanks!


It seems the plugin works really great. The banner is terrible and I had to edit the code to remove references to it and adjust some settings, but afterwards it works like a charm.
Highly recommended to people who have at least a basic IT knowledge.

Increases WordPress performance

Next Level Cache increases WordPress performance by intercepting and caching database queries. WordPress is forced to use cached data for many of the database calls while every page is still generated dynamically. I would highly recommended it for websites with high traffic which may also need an additional static HTML cache plugin.

Read all 13 reviews

Contributors & Developers

“Next Level Cache” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.


Translate “Next Level Cache” into your language.

Interested in development?

Browse the code, check out the SVN repository, or subscribe to the development log by RSS.



  • Reduce cache limit max size to prevent unserialization errors
  • Add instructions for debugging wp-options query misses
  • More cache whitelist tweaking


  • Tweak default cache whitelist


  • Fix issue with adding custom values to cache whitelist


  • Fix issue with cache whitelist not being honored
  • Added config vars to add custom keywords to cache whitelist
  • Display the query that triggered the last cache reset on the plugin settings page


  • implement cache pruning and stats for cache activity


  • initial release