Disclaimer: The plugin works with all types of servers. To get the best results from the LiteSpeed Cache WordPress plugin you will need a LiteSpeed server for hosting.
I knew about the LiteSpeed Cache plugin for a while now, but I never got around to using it. I worked with a LiteSpeed server before but didn’t use it with the plugin and chose to stick with the options I was familiar with.
Recently I had a client that used a LiteSpeed server, it was the perfect moment to test the plugin and see what it can do.
The plugin is an all-in-one performance solution that offers General Features and LiteSpeed Exclusive Features. This means that it will take care of caching, image optimization, minifying and combining files, and more.
The General Features will work on any type of server, but to use the extra features you will need a LiteSpeed server to run the WordPress install.
One thing that might scare you when trying to use the plugin is the number of settings available. The plugin lets you customize almost everything and there are no hidden options or features.
This is not a one-button plugin that you turn on and it works. You can adjust every bit and turn on/off a lot of things you weren’t aware even exist. Reading the documentation or using the “learn more” links available for each option will help you better understand and set the plugin correctly.
I want to go through some of the features that I really enjoyed.
Automatic page caching
Also, known as preloading. It allows the plugin to crawl the pages and create cache so the visitors will have a higher chance of hitting a cache paged when accessing your website.
The crawler will use the website sitemap to preload the pages. You have several options to set the interval between accessing the next page, the run duration, the time between runs, and so on.
The nice thing is that the crawler will run multiple times and store different cache versions for desktop and mobile. And if you have WebP images enabled it will also preload with WebP and without WebP. This way it will deliver the best performance regardless of the device the visitor uses.
This option is related to the one above and it’s a very handy feature. You have the option to set a crawl interval. As the small text under the option explains:
Specify how long in seconds before the crawler should initiate crawling the entire sitemap again. Default value: 302400
Basically, it will trigger the preload process again after X number of seconds based on the moment it finished. It will check if there is something new about the page, preload if it’s the case, move on if not.
I really like this because you’re making sure there will be a very small chance that pages are not cached.
Image conversion to WebP
Conversion to WebP on WordPress can be tricky sometimes. Most services that you see pushed forward are paid and they will only do the image optimization.
For LiteSpeed, you only need to have a domain key from QUIC.cloud in order to access the image optimization. And this can be achieved right from the plugin where you can get a free domain key anonymously, not need to log or create an account anywhere else.
LiteSpeed will use the QUIC.cloud CDN to optimize and convert your images and they will be stored locally on your server. That is another thing that I like, not having to deal with WebP images delivered from a 3rd party URL.
As mentioned in the “Automatic page caching”, the moment you enable WebP it will cache each page with a WebP version for images and one standard with JPG/PNG so browsers that don’t support WebP get a cached version also.
Image optimization via cron
The optimization will take place in batches. Your images will be sent externally to QUIC servers where they will be optimized and pulled back to your server where they will be stored.
The nice thing about this process is that you only need to start it once, at the beginning. From that point forward you don’t have to worry about anything. A cron job will run to process the next batch and another one that will pull the optimized images back to your server.
There are a lot of other things that are offered by this plugin, and I can’t think of something that a premium plugin offers that this one doesn’t have.
Two other features that are very useful, but I didn’t get a chance to test yet are:
- Load CSS Asynchronously. Optimize CSS delivery. This can improve your speed score in services like Pingdom, GTmetrix and PageSpeed. Use QUIC.cloud online service to generate critical CSS and load remaining CSS asynchronously.
- Unique CSS (UCSS). That will basically generate CSS files for each page with only the required CSS code. This way getting rid of unused CSS and improving the overall score of the site.
I would recommend giving it a try even if you don’t have a LiteSpeed server and if you do have one then this is a no-brainer.
Check the documentation, it’s one of the best structured and easy-to-use documentation I’ve seen.