Using a caching plugin with WordPress

Caching plugins can help speed up the loading time for WordPress sites considerably. The cache will store a temporary version of the site that all site visitors will load, instead of querying the database each time a page is requested. There are several different versions of caching plugins available, but we particularly like and recommend WP Super Cache or LiteSpeed Cache, both of which are free to use.

Caching plugins require access to your site's wp-config.php file to be enabled, however this won't work without opening up the permissions for that file. The wp-config.php file is automatically locked down on our shared hosting servers as a security measure, but you can temporarily change this permission to allow for the activation (or deactivation) of a caching plugin. You can do so via the File Manager or the Terminal.

Changing the permissions of wp-config.php

Get started by clicking on the File Manger from cPanel.

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Navigate to the folder that contains your WordPress site, select your site's wp-config.php file, then click Permissions in the toolbar.

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Next, enable the Write permission in the User column, then click Change Permissions.

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If you prefer to use the terminal for things like this, you can! Just change to the directory of your WordPress site, and use chmod to set the file to 600 permissions:

cd ~/public_html
chmod 600 wp-config.php

Installing and enabling the plugin

Now that you've modified the permissions of your wp-config.php file, we can install and activate a caching plugin. In this example, we'll install WP Super Cache by going to the plugins page in our WordPress dashboard and searching for the plugin by name. Next, click Install Now, then Activate.

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Next, visit the settings page for the plugin by going to Settings, then WP Super Cache.

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Finally, enable caching by selecting Caching On then clicking Update Status.

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Optional, but recommended setting for WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache is set up, but there is an additional setting you can enable to speed your site up even further. Get started by going to the Advanced tab in WP Super Cache's settings. From here, we would recommend enabling Compress pages so they're served more quickly to visitors.

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After making this change, scroll down on the page and click Update Status.

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