The answer is maybe!, of course, depends on who you host with, and even then I would probably sway toward using one.
Why? My host already provides serverside caching!
While that might be the case you can still often benefit from using a caching plugin as they tend to offer other bells and whistles that hosts are not able to provide out of the box. Most server-side caching is achieved either with NGINX micro caching or Varnish being added to their platform. While both serve as a fantastic caching method, they only cache the site and nothing else outside of that.
Plugins offer minification of CSS, and JS files, as well as the ability to combine CSS, or JS files so that there are fewer calls to the server at every page visit. They oftentimes also can remove whitespace from files to make them smaller when being served, and oftentimes CDN rewrites without the need for another plugin to achieve these things.
What is a caching plugin?
Caching plugins are used in WordPress to help reduce the number of calls to PHP which is needed to deliver a WordPress site to a visitor. In order to do this, the plugin stores post, and pages of your site as static HTML files rather than calling on PHP to generate the file for each and every visitor.
Which Caching Plugin should I use?
When it comes to caching plugins, there are quite a few out there to choose from, and while that might seem daunting it’s actually quite nice as it gives you some choices both paid and free.
With that said, if you’re not worried about paying for a plugin and want something that works great out of the box and does not require a degree in site optimization to get configured I highly recommend WP-Rocket. WP-Rocket is one of the newer ones on the market but does an amazing job at making it easy for anyone to configure, and is also powerful. WP-Rocket is much more than just a caching plugin, it also has many optimization features which you likely will not find with your web host’s built-in caching features. Some of the features that are included are as follows:
- Lazy loading of images
- Database optimizations
- Heartbeat Control
- CDN integration
These are just a few of the features that are included and are easy to set up and configure, easy as just checking a box to enable most of the features!
In the end, it doesn’t hurt to explore the caching plugins to see what kind of speed improvements it can make to your site outside of what your Manage WordPress hosting provider may offer!