Basic W3 Total Cache Settings for Best Performance

Browser Caching

This is enabled by default in Performance > General Settings. Click into Performance > Browser cache and enable the following:

  • Set Last-Modified header
  • Set expires header
  • Set cache control header
  • Set entity tag (eTag)
  • Disable cookies for static files


Enable from Performance > General Settings. Defaults work well and apply to CSS & JS, but not HTML.

Page Caching

Enable from Performance > General Settings. For “Page cache method” choose “Disk: Enhanced” if available. If any Opcode methods are available, pages will be cached to memory instead of disk, which is significantly faster, but outside of the scope of this basic guide. Use at your own risk…

From Performance > Page Cache, most default settings are good. DEFINITELY consider the “Never cache the following pages” section.

Cache Preload is optional, but recommended. As I mentioned, it is a better practice for WordPress to generate page caches rather than caching requests from the front end (clients).

NOTE: There is an option further down called “Compatibility mode”. The note states “This option should be enabled for most sites”. I never use it, but I work almost exclusively on DreamHost, where it appears to not be necessary.

These settings are the most benign, and should work in most cases. More performance can be gained on most sites with additional configuration, but consider each individually.

Here’s the link to my basic settings file. doesn’t support .php extensions, so I changed it to .ppt (W3TC will still read it!)



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