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Optimizing WP Rocket for Flywheel

Updated on May 12th, 2022

WP Rocket is one of the most popular page caching plugins, but it includes several additional features worth utilizing. Optimizations such as minification, combining of CSS/JS files, and regular database cleanup can be easily accomplished with the plugin as well!

Below are our best-recommended settings to get the most out of WP Rocket on your Flywheel site.

Note

Want to utilize WP Rocket’s cache? Follow this help doc to enable WP_CACHE to allow that.

Table of Contents:

1. Cache
2. File Optimization
3. Media
4. Preload
5. Advanced Rules
6. Database
7. CDN
8. Heartbeat
9. Add-ons
10. Image Optimization
11. Tools
12. Removing WP Rocket


Cache

When WP Rocket detects that a site is on Flywheel, page caching is disabled automatically. Adjusting caching settings such as Mobile Cache, User Cache, and Cache Lifespan will have no effect.

Because plugin caching is disabled, we recommend disabling any Preloading options as well, as these will be ineffective and could even impact system resources.

However, the file optimization cache for static files (JS and CSS) will still work.


File Optimization

Basic Settings 

Check every option in the Basic Settings.

CSS Files

  • Enable Minify CSS files.
  • Disable Combine CSS files.
  • Use Optimize CSS Delivery with caution. This option generates critical CSS and helps to prevent render-blocking CSS. However, sometimes it can break the CSS rendering of some sites. If enabled, ensure to test the site within an incognito window to ensure the site displays correctly.
  • Enable Minify JavaScript files.
  • Disable Combine JavaScript files (see note below).

Note

The Combine JavaScript files option, when used along with dynamic inline JavaScript in the site’s code (usually added by a theme or plugin), can cause a massively bloated cache folder.

Additionally, if a site uses HTTP/2, combining files is not necessarily recommended. Check out these articles from WP Rocket for more information:

Cache folder is getting too big
Fix Large Cache Folder Size Caused by Dynamic Inline JS
Configuration for HTTP/2


Media

LazyLoad

Use the LazyLoad feature with caution. Sometimes, this feature is not compatible with other plugins or theme page builders and results in performance degradation rather than improvement. Given the benefits of HTTP/2 and the new HTTP/3, lazy loading is no longer beneficial in a post-HTTP 1.1 world.

Emoji

Check Disable Emoji.

Embeds

Check this option to prevent others from embedding content from your site.

WebP

If planning to convert images to WebP format, select to enable support for caching them. Keep in mind this feature only serves WebP images. It does not create them.


Preload

Preload Cache

Leave Activate Preloading unchecked.

Warning

The Preload Cache feature seeks to generate cached pages before a real visitor hits them. This feature is very taxing on servers and often will degrade overall site performance rather than improve it. Please keep the preload feature disabled.

Preload Links

Leave Enable Preload Links unchecked. This feature works similar to Preload Cache above and can degrade site performance.

Prefetch DNS Requests

If you are using Google Analytics, are serving ads, or have other external resources on your site, Prefetch DNS Requests can help speed up the loading of these resources.

Using a site performance tool such as Pingdom Tools or GTMetrix can help you identify any external resources (i.e., resources that aren’t being loaded from your site’s domain).

For example, in GTMetrix, look at the Reduce DNS Lookups section in the YSlow report. Copy the external domains for any third-party scripts and paste them (one per line) in the URLs to prefetch area.


Advanced Rules

WP Rocket also provides more granular control over what it can add to its cache. Sometimes, you need to ensure some pages are never explicitly cached, or a specific cookie needs to be avoided. In such cases, you can use the available options in this section to fine-tune the cache.


Database

One of the most significant contributing factors to slow sites is unnecessary data within the database. Databases can accumulate cruft due to a plethora of reasons such as abandoned shopping carts, post-saved draft points, transients, and more.

Post Cleanup, Comments Cleanup, Transients Cleanup, Database Cleanup

Selecting every option in these sections is recommended.

Automatic Cleanup

We recommend choosing a Weekly frequency for auto cleanup. Since Flywheel takes backups nightly, if the database optimization were to cause any issues, you will have a few backup options to restore to pre-cleanup.


CDN

Note

This section is for anyone using a CDN and isn’t using Cloudflare, StackPath, or Flywheel’s FlyCache.

For example, say you’re still using MaxCDN or making use of Amazon’s Cloudfront, you can add in the CDN details so that all optimized files and images will now load with the CDN URL.

Just a heads up, sometimes this can cause issues with font files, and they may need to be excluded.


Heartbeat

WordPress’ native Heartbeat can be a blessing and a curse. If you notice admin-ajax.php is contributing to a high load on the site, you can help reduce it by disabling or limiting it. Set the desired activity within this setting. Typically, the best option is to select Reduce Activity.


Add-ons

If you’re using Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, Cloudflare, or other services, you can enable better compatibility with them and WP Rocket by enabling those options.


Image Optimization

The developers of WP Rocket have also built their own image optimization service called Imagify. Optimizing your images is crucial for reducing the overall size of the site. The lower you can drop the size of the site, the faster the site will render completely.

Imagify is probably one of the better image optimization services available for WordPress. Fortunately, Imagify’s background process for optimizing images doesn’t impact WP-Admin performance to the degree ShortPixel and others do.

If site speed is of top priority, using a service such as Imagify is highly recommended.


Tools

This section can be used to export/backup your current settings or import a settings file from another WP Rocket configuration.

The other helpful feature is Rollback. If a newly updated version of WP Rocket causes issues, you can easily roll back to the previous version.


Removing WP Rocket

When uninstalling WP Rocket from your site, you may need to click “Force Deactivate.”

If you run into any snags removing the plugin via your dashboard, you can remove the plugin manually by following the instructions here.

After you’ve removed the plugin, it’s a good idea to disable WP_CACHE.

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