How to Install & Configure W3 Total Cache WordPress Plugin

Speed of page is an important factor for better reader experience and also from search engine perspective. In WordPress we have many cache plugins that we can use and out of all the plugins, Wp Super cache and W3 total cache are my favorite.

Install And Configure W3 Total Cache

I have heard a lot of good things about  total cache plugin which is also a caching plugin like Super cache but with more options. Specially if you are planning to use CDN, W3 total cache plugin offer great support and it has plug and play settings. I’m as it is planning to use MaxCDN on my blog network to speed up loading time and to start with everything, I tested W3 total cache plugin on other blog. This test is done on my WordPress Hosting blog. Here I’m sharing my guide and method I use to configure W3 total cache plugin.

How to Install W3 total cache:

Search for W3 total cache from add new plugin under WordPress dashboard and install this plugin. Make sure to uninstall Super cache plugin or any other WordPress plugin if you are using.


Once you have installed and activated the plugin, follow the step mentioned below. Or you can download the plugin from here and manually upload it to your server. If you are new to WordPress, this guide will help you to learn: How to Install WordPress Plugin.

So, once you are done installing, we will start with next step:

How to Configure W3 total cache:

Though set up option in W3 total cache is way advance than Super cache and newbie might get confuse with tons of options. So here is a quick configuration guide and settings which I’m using on my blog.

Setting up W3 total cache plugin

Once you have installed and activated W3 Total cache, go to Pefromance > General settings and enable all the cache options you want to enable. Later on you can make changes in individual settings, to fine tune your W3TC configuration.

Configure W3 total cachedifferent-option

If you see the above screenshot, you will realize how many options that we can configure in the setting panel and in this tutorial, I will not be writing about configuration for CDN, but will be sharing about optimizing your blog using  total cache.

General Settings:


From general settings, you can activate and deactivate caching. So check the first box which says general and click on save changes. After making changes, click on Preview to check if everything is all right and click on deploy to make this setting live.

Page Cache Settings:


This is the usual settings which we use with plug and play installation of Super cache plugin. By default all essential settings are checked, kindly review all checked boxes again and proceed to next setting.

Minify settings:

minify-settings All the settings in minify are again plug and play but if you are not using CDN, you might like to disable the Automatically upload modified files option.

Database Cache:


Most of time WordPress site goes down because of lots of database queries. This option cache database queries and save lots of resources. Must have feature for any cache plugin.

Like this other options are also plug and play and within minutes you can configure this plugin. This is simple tutorial and I’m currently testing this new cache and load time using W3 total cache. Once everything is working properly for next couple of hours, I will also install CDN and will come up with a tutorial on that.

Do let us know which cache plugin do you use and which one you recommend? Super cache or W3 total cache?

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Article By
Harsh Agrawal is a blog scientist and a passionate blogger. He is blogging since 2008 & writes about Blogging, SEO, Make money online & tech. His blog, ShoutMeLoud receives 1 million Pageviews/month and have over 700K subscribers.


COMMENTs ( 49 )

  1. says

    Can anyone increase information on stopping /de-activating the plugin while touching code or similar activities. Will it.damage.much the performance or rankings on google?

    And how do you clean cache for that matter?

    Im installing W3 Total cache today on my blog and the following week will hire CDN service MaxCDN for 9 bucks a month. Great deal!
    That plan services 2 blogs and includes better performance for standard and mobile/responsive sites.

    Million thanks Harsh!

  2. Shravan says

    Hi harsh thanx a lot for this tutorial ….. Actually before a month I used this plugin but uninstalled it and moved to w3 super cache … But I guess some files left over my database and ftp and now before a week I deleted w3 super cache and again back to w3 total cache …. My database and ftp is now look a trash box with many unwanted queries and files …. Anything I can do to rectify everything and keep my database and ftp clean ? :)

  3. adeem says

    Thanks a lot for a very useful post! I have been using W3 Total Cache and love the results. It has a great effect to speed up my website and I cannot imagine not having a caching plugin. I really like how you went through the settings in your post. I think that the vast number of settings in the plugin can be overwhelming and to know which one to switch on or off can be a challenge. I have minify turned off too as you suggest because it was causing problems with my blog’s CSS.

    I do have the database cache turned on and I use Cloudflare as a CDN. I will have to experiment by turning the database cache off and seeing if it further speeds up my site. Do you see a decrease in speed if this is turned on with a CDN?

    Thanks again!

  4. says

    While w3tc is very good and does a good job in getting a better pagespeed score, you need to complement the plugin with minit plugin (github) and wp-smushit (for image optimization).
    After having installed minit plugin , my

    Hope this helps.

    • says

      Thanks for your suggestion on Minit plugin and I have to try it. For image optimisation, I’m already using plugin, but I also ensure to compress images before uploading using imageoptim app (Free) on my mac.

  5. vikas says

    Hello Harsh, After installing this plugins every time when I select the enabled button then my website page loading time decreases… very good plugins for fast page loading..

  6. K ajay says


    This plugin is now lot of new features. I think you should update your blog post with latest configurations. Cheers

  7. says

    I have few issues related to W3 Total Cache. Can anyone help me out?

    1) I am getting the error message on WP-Dashboard as below.

    Recently an error occurred while creating the CSS / JS minify cache: File “/home/basunxe3/public_html/wp-content/themes/pub/minileven/js/small-menu.js” doesn’t exist.

    2) From Google Page Speed
    “Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content
    Your page has 5 blocking script resources and 2 blocking CSS resources. This causes a delay in rendering your page.

    None of the above-the-fold content on your page could be rendered without waiting for the following resources to load. Try to defer or asynchronously load blocking resources, or inline the critical portions of those resources directly in the HTML.

    Remove render-blocking JavaScript:

    Optimize CSS Delivery of the following:”


    Leverage browser caching
    Setting an expiry date or a maximum age in the HTTP headers for static resources instructs the browser to load previously downloaded resources from local disk rather than over the network.

    Leverage browser caching for the following cacheable resources:

    • Mike McKoy says

      I’m getting this error as well… Recently an error occurred while creating the CSS / JS minify cache: File “/home/foreverh/public_html/blog/wp-content/themes/default/style.css” doesn’t exist.

      Any ideas? Im using twentyfourteen right now.

  8. says

    hi Harsh , After installing this plugin , my adsense impression gone down where no change in traffic ( analytics ) , like i am getting 15k visitor per day but impression in adsense is about 9 k .Any idea why ??

  9. Dumindu says

    According the source code of this site, you are now using wp super cache. Is there any reason for this switch; W3TC to WPSC ?

  10. Jamson says

    Hey ! I need some help i have installed this plugin on my blog but after the installation my site doesnot open a blank page is shown, what to do now? admin page is not opening too. waiting for your reply…

  11. Lalit Indoria says

    Hi Harsh,
    I wish you write a new post for updated W3 Total Cache plugin with the CDN options and place a link to that post here because there are some changes in the plugin options. Moreover, CDN plays a vital role in optimizing a site’s speed.

  12. Sherzod says

    Great plugin! But, when I use minifying option, there is some error occurs and all my css and js files are gone, if i try to open them, only one string “bad file param”. Does anyone has the same problem? Could someone figure it out?

  13. Robuster says

    I’ve used W3TC forever and love it! Thanks for this :) It’ll be useful when I’m being lazy and want something to refer to ;)

  14. Anu says

    Dear w3 total cache plugin is giving lot of problen at my site as my site is in go daddy and they dont alow .htaccse file to read and write.

  15. calvin says

    I just read this article and really interested to use this service…hmm… could it be used to store all my images and thumbnails that have been attached in my blog?

  16. Blog Experiments says

    I’m new to blogging, I successfully integrate W3 Total Cache + Amazon S3 + Cloudfront on my blog. It will surely rock your shared hosting.

  17. Roy Scribner says

    I tried it on one of my blogs, last year. It had some neat features (looks like a few more, now!) and I kind of liked it, but a few things actually slowed my load times down (like compression). If you are thinking about using a CDN, though, it definitely makes a lot of sense.

  18. Sammy | Free Home Business says

    I faced some problems with my site before I had caching plugin and my site is hosted on Hostgator. It was somehow sucking up huge server resources and Hostgator decided to take down my website altogether.

    They mailed me of course and recommended I use this W3 caching plugin. When hostgator has recommended it, there’s no further questioning to do. I installed it immediately. A little tweaking here and there and my site was good to go again.

    Thanks Harsh for this tutorial. Though I have already installed it myself, a non-technical person like me can never understand the options provided and what they are supposed to do. So we never know whether to enable it or disable it.

    With tutorials like these, we can go back to what we do best and that’s promoting our business…

  19. Crunchynow says

    thanks for the tutorial…..i was looking for it….

    but hostgator is not allowing me to install this plugin, can anyone help me?????

    • says

      Hey CrunchyNow
      I just had a word with Hostgator live tech support and I asked the question:
      Which Cache plugin do you recommend Wp Super cache or W3 Total cache and they answered me W3 total cache is much better… I believe this answer will help you..

  20. Mani Viswanathan says

    I would give a +1 for posting this post. W3 Total Cache is a must use plugin. Its similar to Super cache, but as Harsh said its a combination of 3-4 plugins including gzip,minify,etc. So if you configure it smartly then you can decrease your load time to a gr8 extent.

  21. Sathish @ TechieMania says

    Hi Harsh, I haven’t used this plugin since I am using Super Cache Plugin and I am pretty much satisfied with it. Anyways thanks for your tutorial.

    • says

      Sathish Super cache is great and I have nothing against it.. I wanted to configure CDN and for that reason I moved one of my blog to W3 total cache and after looking at response..I will see if I will be moving ShoutMeLoud to W3 total cache + CDN or not…

  22. Tech Maish says

    I have already install the plugin, but were not able to configure it. Thanks harsh for providing the tutorial.

  23. Dinesh says

    Good information Harsh. I’m using this on my blog and it works great.
    It depends on the hosting server also. Wp-Super cache did not do anything for me, W3 did the trick. I can see the improvement in yslow,Google page speed test and some online tools after enable W3.

    You could find some useful settings under ‘Browser Cache’ settings to speed up more.

    Yes, as Eddie said, you cant see the real changes on your blog (stylesheet or sidebar, headers..etc) when W3 enabled. You must clear the cache or disable the plugin until complete modifying theme.

    Looking forward your deep instructions on W3.

    • says

      I agree with you on that Dinesh. Though many people make mistake by installing W3 total cache along with super cache, which created lots of issues like 404 not found and all….
      I have completely uninstalled Super cache and installed W3 total cache and my site is loading faster now….

      • kurakaniz says

        hrash, previously i had installed wp super cache and removed that plugin but i am still seeing the supercache folder in cpanel which had some posts linked in it. i tried to delete that but i could not delete it.

        what happen if i use w3 total cache in this condition. please help me

  24. Joynal Abedin says

    I am using Hyper Cache in my blog. It’s doing great. I did not touched a single time after activating this plug in.

    I think Hyper Cache is great caching plugin for medium size blog like me.

  25. Eddie Gear says

    I use the W3 total cache Harsh, however… I’m not very happy with it. For some reason or the other I am having to manually clear cache every time I make a change on the website.

    • says

      Eddie I’m still playing with W3 total cache on one of my site..
      The thing is 6-8 months back when I got to know abt W3 total cache, they had lots of issues..But now they have added lots of feature.. In short they have combined 3-4 WordPress optimization plugins into one.. So I’m kinda loving the features but only thing which I need to make sure is all settings are perfect… !!
      Which version you are using?

    • Shanker Bakshi says

      Thats a irritating stuff :-( so to avoid this you just need to deactivate your W3 total Cache plugin while doing designing or tweaking stuff and activate again after you done with that.

    • Kartik @Techntricks says

      Eddie Gear wants to say that when we make changes on website like formate or any other to see d result we have to clear Cached pages. which is time consuming….