Support » Plugins » WP Super Cache vs W3 Total Cache

  • I have recently wrote a guide for the WP Super Cache plugin. I use it on every site I make and love its functionality.

    I was wondering, does anyone have experience with the both the WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache plugins? I have heard that the Super Cache compresses files better or at least, has a better caching engine. I have not been able to find reliable info on this subject. So…

    Can any long term Cache Plugin users shed some new light on this topic? I have seen old posts, but I think both plugins have been updated since then.


Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 32 total)
  • Hundreds of people have tried to do a direct comparison of W3TC and WPSC and it’s not a productive endeavor, they are completely different technologies. The only performance advantages you find with WPSC will be circumstantial, for example (the only real similarity), both plugins work the same way to move the upper performance bound of delivering pages to be tied to apache instead of PHP which is much slower.

    Furthermore, WPSC is a fork of an old approach to caching. Most of the recent changes are a direct result of user requests based on what W3TC has offered since it arrived.

    Anyway, there are plenty of guides, reviews and testimonials here:

    i try both wp super cache and w3 total cache
    wp super cache is ok but i cannot config much as i want it serve only static cache file

    while w3 total have static cache file including other features example database & object caching, minify, browser (all in one)

    database caching is very useful with large site and dynamic content because it can reduce many query

    The best performance I’ve noticed is with a little known script called smartoptimizer, that will cache CSS and JS on the backend. Runs through the htaccess and isn’t a pluggin.

    When I’ve installed W3 on my Genesis site, its always slowed the site down rather than speeded it up, yet a friend using Thesis has good results combining W3 with minify and memcached.

    Problem I find is memcached needs to be done by the hosting company.
    I’m now trying Supercache because it is less invasive on the total amount of pluggin files added to my site.

    Sites that slow down have under-powered servers that don’t handle large memory allocations. The next release reduces memory requirements up to 70% for under-powered servers. That means that things will feel faster.

    Frederick – You did some grat work on his site to get it flying.. He’s happy with it. Unfortunately, I’ve not been as lucky.

    Let me know if you have a beta on the new version. I would like to get something going asap

    @ Fredrick Townes

    Next release of what? W3?


    Reducing memory to 70% would be fantastic! My hosting provider, DreamHost, is reluctant to put W3TC as their default cache manager because of the memory consumption of W3TC, even though it’s a feature that has been in demand by many users through their feature voting tool (they have opted to put WP Super Cache by default instead). My own devious plan is to get DreamHost to have both W3TC working together with APC, as well as Cloudflare, to accelerate all shared servers 🙂 But there is still some work to be done related to memory consumption on the side of W3TC. I’m sure we’ll get there! Keep up the good work 🙂

    To add to the thread, one of the biggest advantages for W3TC is NGINX support. If a) you can remove Apache from the mix and b) deliver cached content from NGINX as a web server, it is a game changer.

    Frederick, I hats off to you on the discipline required to get those rewrite rules fixed. If you lower the memory requirements of W3TC, it will be lights out.

    One request is do keep in mind that NGINX (and even some high perf Apache configs) are static. Thus, your age long assumption that you can just output your rewrite rules to a .htaccess file, aren’t always true. Every upgrade of W3 requires rule changing, etc.

    Do you expect rewrite rules to change much in the future?

    I’m testing a WP site over on EC2 using nginx+php-fpm and was impressed the W3TC automatically knew I was running nginx. And I don’t think its all that well documented by W3TC but, as I learned, all the needed browser and page caching rules are written out to a “nginx.conf” file in the WP site’s root. I then need to edit my site’s /etc/nginx/ config file so it includes this additional one in the WP root.

    Installing the newest version – its working fine thought under this setup, which has already been good with memory usage, I’ve not really seen any memory usage improvements as stated in the changelog.

    I agree with Frederick that comparing both isn’t very productive, they work in a very different way, but if I had to boil it down, I would say that if you know what you’re doing with a server W3TC is really great. If you don’t want to invest time in tweaking your server, WP-Supercache is a great solution.

    The only thing that I may suggest to Frederick is maybe to build a few “presets” that would reflect the most popular cases whatever they are.

    I had been using WP Super Cache for a while and switched to W3TC. I saw a major performance hit compared to W3TC.

    HOWEVER, just to be clear here, I use a few separate performance plugins and get pretty decent performance.

    WP Super Cache
    WP Minify
    DB Cache Reloaded
    WP Widget Cache

    Here is what I found by using each of these plugins separately RATHER than W3TC (which I commend as a great product).

    1. By using the separate plugins each of them is separately supported and each developer focuses on their niche products like a laser. Fixes, improvements, etc., come much quicker and are more narrowly focused.
    2. By using the Widget Cache as a separate plugin the widget cache, CSS/JS combine-minify are not processed for each page that is cached. This allows for better performance overall because after the cache is cleared any single page can regenerate any of these objects. Also, each of these items has separate expiration / regeneration times so that unless I manually clear all of them they are not re-generated at the same time. Now the architecture of W3TC may allow for some of this but I am pretty sure the widgets, and the separate expiration timings are not accounted for in W3TC (although they may be).

    However, one other thing I have done is to manually adjust several of the HTACCESS rules by hand. I’m sure I could have done a lot of that with W3TC but I’m pretty familiar with these plugins and am happy with them.


    Results: About a year ago my site would take anywhere from 8 – 15 seconds to 100% load even from a location close by.

    After many, many changes, tweaks, adjustments, and enhancements around the plugins and some hand coding I now have it consistently under 2 seconds from nearly anywhere in North America. It is also under 3 seconds from most anywhere in the world except for a few 3rd world locations with REALLY bad communication infrastructure.

    Many times my site will load in close to 1.5 seconds for locations fairly close by in the U.S. As an added bonus, after the first visit, repeat views of the site load in about .5 seconds because of a bunch of the hand coded HTACCESS rules. That’s right, 1/2 of one second!


    I’m sure I can do more but my goal was to get consistently under 2 seconds. If I play around with cloud flare I should be able to get that globally but will wait on that for a while.

    Overall I am happy with the current setup and performance is great. For me, even IF W3TC is a superior product the risk of experimenting with it for any small additional gains I might get are too high.

    That is my analysis.

    Check out the site yourself at
    You can test the page speed from

    IF it is still there, check out today’s performance result (retrieved Jan 8, 2012):

    Frederic, I am on a dedicated server with not a very busy site yet. Still, W3C is actually slower than the raw website itself — after hours of configuring, reading docs, searching forums. I have Nginx serving all static content, best thing that I did. For Apache, I use eAccelerator which is much nicer than APC for me (no PECL bullshit) but there’s room for caching objects/pages/DB stuff.

    For the usual websites, I just rely on HyperCache. It’s simple and it works (much better than Super Cache, which just gives errors with its HTML-ing everything). But for some advanced sites, I really would like W3C..

    Looking for the next version.

    Just to interject one little finding which some people may not factor in.

    Years ago I used Super Cache, then switched to W3TC and found it faster. I also liked the ability to manually add JS files etc.

    Today on a mirror site on a different server I saw a huge difference. 3.5 seconds with W3TC and 2 or under with Super Cache.

    The point is, if you want to compare these two plugins, then also consider your host too. Just because one plugin works well on one host, doesn’t mean it won’t on the other 🙂

    I am having a similar problem. I tried WP Super Cache, but wasn’t happy that it didn’t do object compression. W3 Total Cache is working much better and I really love the features.

    When doing the theme switch it either stays on the same theme on refresh, or wont go back to the other theme. I first noticed this issue when trying out .htaccess caching on advice from a friend, before having a plugin that does it. It has something to do with the HTML cache setting, when I comment out the following (and it must be both, or it wont work):

    #AddType text/html .html .htm


    #ExpiresByType text/html A3600

    For me at least, WPtouch suddenly springs to life again. If I could setup a rule that overrides those settings so I can use W3 Total Cache without manually changing it, that would most likely solve the issue I have.

    I ran my site through YSlow, and and came up with all A’s other than CDN’s because I am not using that. The site is niice and fast too 🙂

    I have been able to test on an iPod Touch and Andriod.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 32 total)
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