Using W3 Total Cache to Improve Core Web Vitals


One of the ways to quickly and easily improve the score of your Google Core Web Vitals tests is to use a caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache. By correctly configuring the W3 Total Cache plugin you can improve your site load speed and increase the score given by the Core Web Vitals evaluation. In this article, we will outline how to use W3 Total Cache to improve Core Web Vitals. 

Enabling Caching

Enable Page, Browser, and Object Caches

W3 Total Cache provides built-in page, browser, and object caches, each of which can be enabled in the W3 Total Cache settings.

Please see below for an overview of what these settings do:

Page Cache –  Enabling the page cache will allow the server hosting your site to cache entire pages, reducing site load times and increasing site responsiveness. This is useful for all websites, particularly those with complex page layouts.  

Browser Cache – Enabling the browser cache allows web browsers such as Google Chrome to cache web pages to further reduce site load times. Similar to the page cache, this is useful for all websites.

Object Cache – Enabling the object cache reduces the amount of time required for the execution of common operations, useful for sites with dynamic page elements. 

Database Cache – Enabling the database cache allows the site to cache the data stored in the database. This slows down site responsiveness, so it’s best to leave this option disabled and use the object cache instead.

To configure these settings, please see the following instructions: 

  1. Once logged into your WordPress Dashboard with W3 Total Cache installed, you should see a menu option labeled “Performance”. Click on this option and then navigate to General Settings
  2. On the next page, navigate to the section labeled Page Cache. Click the checkbox to enable the page cache, then select Disk: Enhanced from the dropdown menu. Once done, click Save all settings
  3. Next, navigate to the section labeled Browser Cache and click the checkbox to enable the browser cache. Click Save all settings
  4. Finally, navigate to the section Object Cache and click the checkbox to enable the object cache. The drop-down menu can be left as it is. Click Save all settings
  5. If the database cache is enabled, ensure that you click the checkbox to disable it before moving on to the next steps. 

Optimizing Page Elements

Enabling Minify 

Minification reduces site loading times by reducing the size and number of CSS and Javascript files. Enabling minify also automatically removes unnecessary data from CSS, Javascript, and HTML files. 

  1. Once logged into your WordPress Dashboard, navigate to the Performance section of the menu and select General Settings
  2. On the next page, navigate to the section labeled Minify. Click the checkbox to enable minification. 
  3. Next, for minify mode, select Auto. This will allow W3 Total Cache to automatically minify relevant page elements. 
  4. The rest of the settings can be left as the default. Click Save all settings to save your changes. 

User Experience Configuration

W3 Total Cache also allows you to customize certain aspects of the user experience. In the User Experience section, you can configure two options to further optimize your site and increase your Core Web Vitals score.

  1. In the W3 Total Cache General Settings menu, navigate to the User Experience section. The first option is Lazy Load Images. Click the checkbox to enable this setting.
    Enabling Lazy Load Images allows your site to load off-screen images more slowly. This is useful for sites with many images as it makes the site prioritize on-screen images. By avoiding unnecessary image loading, the site becomes more responsive and loads more quickly.  
  2. Next, click the checkbox for Disable wp-embed script. This removes wp-embed.js from your site. This script can increase site load times, so disabling it will further optimize your site.
  3. Once finished, click Save all changes.

Congratulations, you have successfully used W3 Total Cache to optimize your site! Now you should receive much higher scores from the Core Web Vitals evaluation process.