My site loads faster when I disable varnish. Is that normal?
That is not normal. Maybe the Varnish cache wasn’t taking affect when you where viewing the website. In order to see the effects of the Varnish cache you have to a) not be logged in to your website. The Varnish cache is bypassed if it detects you are logged in, and b) make sure you load the website twice. The first time to get Varnish to cache the page, and then on the second page load it should be cached and the page should load quicker.
If you look at the headers in the network panel of the dev tools, then I believe the x-cache header will tell you if you received a response from Varnish or not.
Thank you Russell!
One more question…
Which cache plugin is best with Varnish, WP rocket or W3 Total Cache? Right Now I am using Wp rocket but would be glade to switch if W3 is better…
Both are good plugins. However, while W3 offered a plethora of options we encountered too much buggy behavior for it to viable in the structure of our development team. Biggest issue is it wouldn’t always clear the cache on a page update and not all team members have the permissions to clear caches/CDN. Thus, we switched to WP Rocket and it has been performing well overall (it has it’s oddities as well).
If you are a one man shop, then by all means, use W3 since the free version has more than enough features and since it is only you, access to cache clearing is a non-issue. But if you are happy with WP Rocket and find it worth the money, then just stay put.
Thank you for your inputs. I will try out w3 total cache in a staging environment.
I don’t have much experience with W3 Total Cache, but I will echo PGrafix’s sentiment about WP Rocket being more reliable. There are 3 different plugins that I will use.
Swift Performance: This plugin offers a lot of different options. My favorite is the ability to prevent plugins from unnecessarily loading on specific types of pages (ie don’t load gravity forms on blog pages because you know it won’t ever be needed there). However, they have too many options for most people, and going through them all usually doesn’t yield much better performance than WP Rocket. Use them if you feel like spending a lot of time tinkering with settings and you just really want to get the maximum speed improvement possible no matter how much time it takes to get you there.
WP Rocket: They don’t have any unique features that you can’t get with any of the free caching plugins out there, but what you do get with WP Rocket is reliability. They are great for clients that are often adding new plugins and making changes to their website. You’ll get fewer complaints about the website breaking with them.
Breeze: Breeze offers nearly the exact same set of features as WP Rocket for free. For this reason I will sometimes use Breeze in place of WP Rocket. However, the plugin hasn’t been around that long and isn’t as well polished of a plugin as WP Rocket is. It does have some problems such as setting the browser cache to not expire until an entire week has gone by. I’ll use Breeze on websites that change very little and are already running pretty fast, and I just need an easy to use plugin that will add a simple cache to the website.