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Installing and Configuring the W3 Total Cache Plugin on WordPress

Date Submitted: 3-10-2014

You can install W3 Total Cache to speed up your WordPress® site in two ways. W3 Total Cache cuts down on the amount of time needed to generate frequently visited pages on your site. It also implements common best practices like JavaScript and CSS optimization to speed up the time it takes to download your site to a Web browser.

This process takes about 10-15 minutes, and can make your WordPress site feel much snappier.

This article does not apply to our Managed WordPress accounts, which do not work with the W3 Total Cache plugin. Managed WordPress already has an optimized cache, so there's no need to have another caching tool. To see if this applies to you, see What type of hosting account do I have?

To Install the W3 Total Cache Plugin on WordPress

  1. Log in to your WordPress account.
  2. From the Settings menu, click Permalinks.
  3. Select a permalink structure, and then click Save Changes.
  4. From the Plugins menu, click Add New.
  5. Search for W3 Total Cache.
  6. Click Install Now under W3 Total Cache, and then click OK.
  7. Click Activate Plugin.

To Configure the W3 Total Cache Plugin on WordPress

  1. From the Performance menu, click General Settings.
  2. In the Page Cache area, click Enable.
  3. From the Page Cache Method list, select Disk: Enhanced.
  4. In the Minify area, click Enable.
  5. For the Minify mode select Auto.
  6. From the HTML minified list, select Default.
  7. From the JS minified list, select JSMin (default).
  8. From the CSS minifier list, select Default.
  9. In the Database Cache area, click Enable.
  10. From the Database Cache Method list, select Disk.
  11. In the Object Cache area, click Enable.
  12. From the Object Cache Method list, select Disk.
  13. In the Browser Cache area, click Enable.
  14. In the Miscellaneous area, click Optimize disk enhanced page and minify caching for NFS.
  15. Click Save all settings.

Troubleshooting the W3 Total Cache Plugin on WordPress

First, clear your cache by clicking Performance, and then empty all caches. You should also visit your site in a different browser because by default, W3 Total Cache does not show cached content for logged in users.

If your site is still having problems, it might be a conflict between W3 Total Cache and another plugin or your theme. To identify which one, follow these steps:

  1. De-activate all plugins except W3 Total Cache.
  2. Click Performance, and then empty all caches to clear your cache.
  3. Check your site in a different browser.
  4. Enable each plugin, one-by-one, and clear your cache after you activate each plugin until you find which one is the problem.
  5. You can optionally temporarily switch to one of the WordPress default themes to see if any custom code in your theme interferes with caching.

If you have identified a conflict between W3 Total Cache and another plugin, you need to decide to activate only one of these on your site. You can contact the plugin authors about a potential solution.

If you still cannot get your site to work, you should submit a bug submission form by clicking the Performance tab, and then clicking Support to submit the form for free support and troubleshooting. Then deactivate W3 Total cache temporarily until your support request is handled.

If your site is giving a 500 error and you cannot log in, you need to log in via FTP or via the FTP File Manager and edit your .htaccess file. You should remove all code sections that look like this:

# BEGIN W3TC [section name here]
[code here]
# END W3TC [section name here]

For more information, see What is .htaccess?
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