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Are you looking for the best WP Rocket settings to speed up your website and pass Google’s Core Web Vitals in Google PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix?

WP Rocket is the #1 rated WordPress caching plugin on basically every Facebook Group poll that you see online because it offers the most features than any other caching plugin.

With so many options to choose from between WordPress caching plugins, it’s hard to know what WP Rocket settings should be enabled or disabled, and whether or not you have two caching plugins doing the same thing.

One of my favorite things about WP Rocket is that it takes care of everything in one single plugin, so you don’t need to download a bunch of optimization plugins which only increases the chance of hurting your website speed due to conflicting plugins trying to do the same thing.

This WP Rocket best settings tutorial will guide you through each area and tell you exactly which settings you should apply depending on your situation so that you can have a very fast WordPress site that passes Google’s Core Web Vitals which will get you a precious Google ranking boost.

One important thing to keep in mind – the WordPress hosting you use is the most important factor for having a fast WordPress website.

If you are using slow WordPress hosting, your site will be slow no matter how many optimizations you do to it.

Therefore, head over to the Start Blogging 101 hosting page to determine if you’re using slow hosting and if you could benefit from upgrading to higher performance hosting.

Here is a screenshot of my speed performance results on this site (hosted on a Cloudways Vultr High Frequency server) while using the best WP Rocket settings which I’ll go through in detail throughout this post.

Google PageSpeed Insights Mobile Tab 99 Score Start Blogging 101

As you can see, the page above scored a 99 in Google PageSpeed Insights and has a Largest Contentful Paint of 2.1 seconds, a Total Blocking Time of 0 ms, and a Cumulative Layout Shift of 0.

These are amazing numbers that pass all of Google’s Core Web Vitals on the mobile tab of Google PageSpeed Insights which is the main item you should be optimizing for in order to get the Google ranking boost for passing Core Web Vitals.

Getting high scores like these is very easy by doing four things:

  1. Using fast, reliable hosting (See hosting page)
  2. Using a lightweight, customizable WordPress theme (I highly recommend the Kadence Theme or you can read my full Kadence Theme Review)
  3. Not using third-party page builders and using the built-in WordPress editor (Gutenberg) to build your page (WordPress Without Page Builders – Facebook Group)
  4. Using a high-performance caching plugin (WP Rocket)

This WP Rocket tutorial is one of the most comprehensive guides on the web right now. It’s a longer one, but I encourage you to use the Table of Contents below and follow along as you need.

P.S. If you haven’t already purchased WP Rocket, I would really appreciate it if you used my affiliate link. I create some of the most in-depth WordPress guides to help thousands of people like you and I wouldn’t be able to do it without all of your support. Thank you kindly!

So, are you ready? Let’s speed up your website.

Best WP Rocket Settings

Use the best WP Rocket settings guide below to jump around as you need:

1. Dashboard

WP Rocket Dashboard

The WP Rocket dashboard is pretty basic.

Here, you can see which license you have. I currently have the Infinite license so I can use it on as many websites as I’d like because it’s the caching plugin I recommend for basically any site.

You can also see your Expiration Date of when your WP Rocket license will expire.

After your WP Rocket license expires, WP Rocket will still work, but you won’t receive any support or future updates.

I would highly encourage keeping your license renewed each year if you’re using WP Rocket because each update is crucial in making sure your site doesn’t break.

On the dashboard, you can also get RocketCDN which is their own CDN for an additional cost.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend RocketCDN as there are other better CDNs that integrate perfectly with WP Rocket that I discuss in the CDN section.

2. Cache

  • Enable caching for mobile devicesEnabled
  • Separate cache files for mobile devicesDisabled
  • Enable caching for logged-in WordPress usersDisabled (unless you use a theme or a plugin that has users log into your site)
  • Cache Lifespan – 10 hours is the default. Setting it to 24 hours will use less server resources.
WP Rocket Cache Settings

These are the best WP Rocket settings for the cache section assuming that you’re using a mobile-responsive WordPress theme (which should be nearly all of them) and don’t allow users to login to your site.

Mobile Cache – This enables caching for mobile devices. You should enable caching for mobile devices (the first checkbox). Do not enable “separate cache files for mobile devices” unless you have a dedicated theme or plugin only for mobile devices (you probably don’t). Also, if WP Rocket detects any of these specific themes/plugins, it will enable that option by default for you and be grayed out.

User Cache – This option creates a dedicated set of cache files for each logged-in WordPress user. Leave this option disabled unless you use something like a membership theme or plugin where users log in and each user has different content that they see.

Cache Lifespan – Here is where you can specify the time after which the global cache is cleared. The default is 10 hours. You can leave it at 10 hours if you like. If you’re like me, I only update my posts a few times a week. In this case, you can bump it up to 24 hours. Besides, you can always manually clear the cache whenever you want. The lower the number, the more server resources will be used since it will be rebuilding the cache each time after the specified time. Bumping it up to a higher number will save on server resources.

3. File Optimization

  • Minify CSS filesEnabled
  • Combine CSS filesDisabled
  • Optimize CSS deliveryEnabled
  • Minify JavaScript filesEnabled
  • Combine JavaScript filesDisabled
  • Load JavaScript deferredEnabled
  • Delay JavaScript executionEnabled
Best WP Rocket File Optimization Settings

These are the best settings for the File Optimization section within WP Rocket, but you have to be careful with a few of them.

The File Optimization section contains a gold mine of optimizations that will help you pass Core Web Vitals and will take care of a lot of the speed suggestions in Google PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix.

Read on to get an explanation of each WP Rocket File Optimization setting below.

Minify CSS and JS Files

You should enable both settings: Minify CSS files and Minify JavaScript files. Doing this will increase the loading speeds of your website by removing all unnecessary characters in your CSS and JS files such as empty spaces, empty lines, and comments.

Minifying your CSS and JS files is generally safe and shouldn’t break your site.

However, you will see a warning when you enable these options that says “This could break things! If you notice any errors on your website after having activated this setting, just deactivate it again, and your site will be back to normal.

WP Rocket Warning This Could Break Things Activate Minify CSS

After enabling these options, click through your site and make sure everything still looks good.

Combine CSS and JS Files

If you enable the Minify CSS files and Minify JS files options, then the option to Combine CSS files and Combine JS files will light up.

I personally would recommend disabling both the Combine CSS files and Combine JS files.

Besides, if you enable the “Delay JavaScript execution” feature which I’ll go over shortly, then the Combine JS files feature will be disabled by WP Rocket automatically to ensure scripts are loaded in the proper order.

Generally, if your hosting supports and uses HTTP/2 (which almost all of them should), you want to disable both the Combine CSS files and Combine JS files options.

Plus, with HTTP/3 coming on the horizon, you will have better performance by not combining your files.

The reason for this is because HTTP/2 allows for all the small files to download simultaneously which means they all load up at the same time without each file slowing the other one down.

If you combine all your files into one big file, your server will generally take longer to download all those versus just leaving them separate.

Also, combining all those files means that something could go wrong and break on your site because scripts aren’t always loaded in the correct order.

Exclude CSS or JS Files

If minifying or combining your CSS or JS files causes an issue, you can use the “Excluded CSS Files” or the “Excluded JavaScript Files” sections to specify URLs of CSS or JS files to be excluded from minification and concatenation.

Optimize CSS Delivery

The WP Rocket Optimize CSS Delivery option helps address the “Eliminate render-blocking resources” suggestion in Google PageSpeed Insights for your CSS files.

It does this by automatically generating the critical path CSS needed to render the visible part of your website.

This means that WP Rocket goes and figures out only the minimum necessary CSS needed to load all your content above the fold for each public post type (posts, pages, products, etc.).

Then, all of the remaining CSS files get loaded asynchronously, deferred, without render-blocking which is why this helps address the “Eliminate render-blocking resources” suggestion in Google PSI.

You want to enable the option to “Optimize CSS delivery” in WP Rocket.

However, you want to be careful with this feature. Every single site is different. Sometimes, the critical CSS that WP Rocket generates doesn’t work exactly as planned.

After enabling this option, you will want to check your pages and make sure everything loads up correctly.

Also, run a few pages through a Google PageSpeed Insights test and see if your Core Web Vitals scores are better.

If not, you could always turn this feature off.

Load JavaScript Deferred

The WP Rocket Load JavaScript deferred option is one of the best ways to fix the “Eliminate render-blocking resources” suggestion in Google PageSpeed Insights for your JavaScript files.

Just as the Optimize CSS delivery option helps eliminate render-blocking CSS files, the Load JavaScript deferred option helps eliminate render-blocking JavaScript files which are usually the heaviest files and should help dramatically lower your First Input Delay time for Core Web Vitals (or Total Blocking Time).

You should enable the option to “Load JavaScript deferred.”

For the best performance on your site, it’s usually recommended to load JavaScript files in the footer of your website or defer them so that they don’t block the downloading of other assets on your site which slows it down.

Enabling this option will load each JavaScript file on your website with the defer attribute.

If you find that enabling this option breaks your site due to a problematic script, you can specify URLs or keywords of JavaScript files to be excluded from defer.

Delay JavaScript Execution

The Delay JavaScript execution feature in WP Rocket is an incredible feature that could potentially increase your website’s loading time by several seconds.

What does it do? Delay JavaScript execution improves performance by delaying the loading of all JavaScript files and inline scripts until the user interacts with your page (for example, scrolling, moving the mouse over the page, touching the screen, pressing a key, etc.).

If you’re familiar with lazy-loading for images, this works like lazy loading, but for JavaScript files.

The Delay JavaScript execution feature improves several speed recommendations in Google PageSpeed Insights including the following:

  • Remove unused JavaScript
  • Minimize Main thread work
  • Reduce JavaScript Execution time
  • Total blocking time
  • Time to Interactive
  • First contentful paint

You should enable the “Delay JavaScript execution” option in WP Rocket.

Enabling Delay JavaScript execution will also likely improve your Largest Contentful Paint and First Input Delay for Core Web Vitals due to delaying the heavy resource-intensive JavaScript that many websites run (such as third-party scripts like Google Analytics, AdSense, live chat plugins, Gravatars, Facebook Pixel, YouTube embeds, and social sharing plugins).

One important note, if you enable the Delay JavaScript execution option in WP Rocket and have the Combine JavaScript files option enabled, it will automatically disable the combine JS option to ensure that scripts are loaded in the correct order so that your site doesn’t break.

This is why I highly encourage not combining your CSS and JS files because your site will likely be faster (assuming it’s using HTTP/2) and your site will have a lower chance of breaking.

If you decide not to use this feature or it doesn’t work as expected for you, disable this option and consider trying the Flying Scripts plugin created by Gijo from WP Speed Matters which is an extremely well-built plugin that works similarly and should vastly increase your Core Web Vitals scores.

4. Media

  • Enable for imagesEnabled
  • Enable for iframes and videosEnabled
  • Replace YouTube iframe with preview imageEnabled
  • Add missing image dimensionsEnabled
  • Disable WordPress embedsEnabled
  • Enable WebP cachingEnabled

Nearly every WordPress site should enable all the options in the Media section of WP Rocket which includes LazyLoad, Image Dimensions, Embeds, and WebP compatibility.

Best WP Rocket Media Settings

One important note is that WP Rocket itself does not create WebP versions of images. You will need to use another plugin such as ShortPixel to do that for you. I’ll discuss that more in the Enable WebP Caching section.

Lazy Load

The LazyLoad section in WP Rocket will fix the “Defer offscreen images” suggestion in Google PageSpeed Insights.

Lazy loading is used to delay the loading of images, iframes, and videos until the user scrolls down on your page and actually needs to see them.

This significantly helps your site out in several ways. It will help reduce the initial load time of your pages, the number of initial HTTP requests, and also save server resources since images will only be requested and downloaded if the user scrolls to them.

You should enable all three checkboxes in the LazyLoad section of WP Rocket:

  • Enable for images
  • Enable for iframes and videos
  • Replace YouTube iframe with preview images

NOTE: WordPress introduced native lazy loading with version 5.5. This native WordPress lazy loading will automatically be disabled when WP Rocket’s LazyLoad is active, so there’s nothing you have to do.

The “Replace YouTube iframe with preview images” feature will drastically help increase your page speed and Core Web Vitals scores if you use embedded YouTube videos on your site.

This feature will show a preview image in place of your video rather than loading all of the bloated code that comes with an embedded YouTube video.

Then, if the user clicks play, all of the code will be run then.

If you use any type of video on your WordPress website, whether it be YouTube videos or course videos with an LMS using something like Vimeo, then you should definitely check out my Presto Player plugin review.

Presto Player is the only WordPress video player plugin you need. It takes any type of video you’d need on your site and supercharges it along with including performance options to significantly speed up your website speed.

Add Missing Image Dimensions

The “Add missing image dimensions” feature in WP Rocket helps fix the “Use explicit width and height on image elements” suggestion in Google PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix and this will also significantly help fix your Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) scores for Core Web Vitals.

You should enable the “Add missing image dimensions” setting in WP Rocket.

How does adding the missing image dimensions help fix your Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) scores?

When a page goes to load, if there is no explicit width and height specified for an image, there will be no space reserved for that image which causes all of the content below the image to shift when the image finally loads in. This increases your CLS number and leads to a poor experience for your users.

By enabling the “Add missing image dimensions” setting, WP Rocket will go through and automatically apply all the correct image widths and heights for applicable images.

In turn, this will reserve the correct amount of space on your page when it goes to load. Now, when the image finally loads in, none of your content shifts because there was a blank white box already in place for the image.

This will decrease your CLS number and lead to a great experience for your users.

Disable WordPress Embeds

If you’ve ever used Cloudflare on your site and enabled Cloudflare’s hotlink prevention setting, the “Disable WordPress embeds” setting in WP Rocket works similarly.

This setting will prevent others from embedding content from your site, prevents you from embedding content from other (non-allowed) sites, and also removes JavaScript requests related to WordPress embeds which will help reduce a few initial HTTP requests.

You should enable the “Disable WordPress embeds” setting in WP Rocket.

Enable WebP Caching

You should enable the “Enable WebP caching” setting in WP Rocket ONLY if you’re using WebP images on your WordPress site.

If you want to learn more, you should read more about WP Rocket WebP compatibility.

NOTE: WP Rocket does NOT create WebP images for you (I wish it did). They suggest you use the Imagify plugin to do this since it was created by their parent company. I’m not a huge fan of Imagify. Most people prefer to use ShortPixel instead. ShortPixel is also starting to allow converting images to AVIF format which is even better than using WebP.

Using a good image compression plugin such as ShortPixel to create WebP or AVIF versions of your images will fix the “Serve images in next-gen formats” suggestion in Google PageSpeed Insights.

WP Rocket automatically detects some common image compression plugins and will enable the WebP caching setting for you if you’re using:

Another option to serve images in next-gen formats such as WebP would be to use an excellent CDN such as Bunny.net to serve your assets and hook it up through WP Rocket. More on that in the CDN section.

5. Preload

  • Activate PreloadingEnabled
  • Activate sitemap-based cache preloadingEnabled
  • [SEO Plugin] XML sitemapEnabled
  • Enable link preloadingEnabled
  • Prefetch DNS Requests – Tells the browser to perform the DNS resolution of third-party sites before its needed.
  • Preload Fonts – Enter fonts on your site to be preloaded.

Using preloading in WP Rocket will tell browsers to start fetching resources that will be needed soon which can help improve your website speed and fix some preloading suggestions in Google PageSpeed Insights.

For example, say we know that Google Fonts are going to be loaded on our site. We can preload the request to Google Fonts which will tell the browser that we’ll need Google Fonts before the browser even gets the request.

This helps speed up your WordPress site. It’s almost like giving your site fortune-telling powers. 🔮

Best WP Rocket Preload Settings

These are the WP Rocket best settings for the Preload section. I’ll discuss each section in more detail below.

Preload Cache

When you install WP Rocket for the first time, the “Activate Preloading” setting will be enabled by default, and your site’s home page and links found on it will be preloaded immediately to ensure that your site is fast right away.

You should enable all of the checkboxes in the “Preload Cache” section of WP Rocket:

  • Activate Preloading
  • Activate sitemap-based cache preloading
  • [SEO Plugin] XML sitemap (if using a SEO plugin)

If you use an SEO plugin such as Rank Math, SEOPress, The SEO Framework, All-in-one-SEO, or Yoast SEO, the sitemaps that are generated by those plugins are detected, and checking the “Activate sitemap-based cache preloading” will use those sitemaps for preloading.

If you don’t use one of those plugins or you want to specify sitemaps for preloading, you can enter the URLs in the “Sitemaps for preloading” section.

Enable Link Preloading

You should enable the “Enable link preloading” setting in WP Rocket.

Enabling this option will improve the perceived loading time of pages for a user who is navigating around on your site.

How does enable link preloading work? If a user hovers over (or touches) a link on your site for 100 ms or more, the HTML of that page will start to be fetched in the background. That way, when the user actually does click or tap the link, the page will appear to load instantly.

Pretty neat, huh?

Keep in mind that this setting only improves the user experience and does NOT improve any page speed suggestions in Google PageSpeed Insights or GTMetrix.

That being said, this is an extremely nice feature for giving your users a positive experience on your website which is always a great thing.

Prefetch DNS Requests

If you use third-party content on your website (for example, Google Fonts, Google Analytics, AdSense, Google Tag Manager, YouTube, Gravatars, etc.), you may want to add the origin domain to the “URLs to prefetch” box.

What prefetching DNS requests in WP Rocket does is that it tells the browser to perform the DNS connection before the file is needed which can slightly boost your page loading time.

How do you use DNS prefetching in WP Rocket?

  1. Find the third-party domain you’re loading on your site
  2. Remove the http or https and keep the double slash //
  3. Only enter the top-level domain of the third-party site

So, for example, if you have a request to Google Fonts that looks like this:

https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Roboto:900%2C400%2C500%2C300%7CRaleway:700%2C300%7COpen+Sans:300%2C800

You would enter it in the “URLs to prefetch” box, like this:

//fonts.googleapis.com

Luckily for you, there’s a WP Rocket Prefetch DNS Requests example list you can use over on Github which should cover the vast majority of sites.

Here’s the example list that you can copy and paste into your “URLs to prefetch” box.

//maps.googleapis.com
//maps.gstatic.com
//fonts.googleapis.com
//fonts.gstatic.com
//ajax.googleapis.com
//apis.google.com
//google-analytics.com
//www.google-analytics.com
//ssl.google-analytics.com
//youtube.com
//api.pinterest.com
//cdnjs.cloudflare.com
//connect.facebook.net
//platform.twitter.com
//syndication.twitter.com
//platform.instagram.com
//disqus.com
//sitename.disqus.com
//s7.addthis.com
//platform.linkedin.com
//w.sharethis.com
//i0.wp.com
//i1.wp.com
//i2.wp.com
//stats.wp.com
//pixel.wp.com
//s.gravatar.com
//0.gravatar.com
//2.gravatar.com
//1.gravatar.com
//www.googletagmanager.com
//www.googletagservices.com
//adservice.google.com
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com
//tpc.googlesyndication.com
//bp.blogspot.com
//1.bp.blogspot.com
//2.bp.blogspot.com
//3.bp.blogspot.com
//4.bp.blogspot.com
//ajax.microsoft.com
//ajax.aspnetcdn.com
//s3.amazonaws.com
//code.jquery.com
//stackpath.bootstrapcdn.com
//use.fontawesome.com
//player.vimeo.com
//github.githubassets.com
//referrer.disqus.com
//c.disquscdn.com
//0.gravatar.com
//2.gravatar.com
//1.gravatar.com
//ad.doubleclick.net
//googleads.g.doubleclick.net
//stats.g.doubleclick.net
//cm.g.doubleclick.net
//stats.buysellads.com
//s3.buysellads.com

NOTE: If you use a lot of third-party content on your site, you may see a recommendation in GTMetrix to “Reduce DNS Lookups.” Using the “Prefetch DNS Requests” in WP Rocket will NOT make this recommendation go away. The only way to reduce DNS lookups is to actually remove the third-party content from your site.

Preload Fonts

The Preload Fonts feature in WP Rocket allows you to tell the browser to start downloading fonts that it otherwise wouldn’t realize until much later, usually due to the font being referenced within a CSS file.

NOTE: To improve the Largest Contentful Paint metric for Core Web Vitals, Preloading Fonts will be disabled by WP Rocket automatically on pages where Optimize CSS Delivery is active.

Which fonts should I preload? After running your page through Google PageSpeed Insights, you may see a speed suggestion that says “Preload key requests.”

If you open this up, you should see any font files that need preloading. They may look like “…fonts/custom-font.woff2“.

  1. Right-click on the recommended font in Google PSI and copy the URL
  2. Paste the URL into the “Fonts to preload” box in WP Rocket

Keep in mind that the font MUST be hosted on your own domain, or your CDN’s domain.

You cannot enter externally hosted fonts such as Google Fonts here. As of WP Rocket version 3.7, Google Fonts are automatically optimized, so there’s nothing you have to do.

If you only use Google Fonts (that are not locally hosted) or you use system fonts, you do not have to do anything with the Preload Fonts section.

6. Advanced Rules

WP Rocket Best Settings Advanced Rules

WP Rocket Advanced Rules are used mainly for eCommerce sites, but if you use any of the major WordPress eCommerce plugins such as WooCommerce or BigCommerce, WP Rocket is already compatible with all of those.

WP Rocket automatically excludes the “Cart,” “Checkout,” and “My Account” pages from the cache for these plugins:

  • WooCommerce
  • BigCommerce
  • Easy Digital Download
  • iThemes Exchange
  • Jigoshop
  • WP-Shop

Therefore, if you use any of the eCommerce plugins listed above on your WordPress website, you don’t have to add anything in your Advanced Rules in WP Rocket as it should already work as expected.

If you’re having any issues with cart widgets, caching, or other issues related to eCommerce, then check out the Using WP Rocket On Your Ecommerce Site documentation.

Never Cache URLs – Here is where you can specify URLs of pages or posts that should never be cached (enter one per line). If you’re using an eCommerce plugin that isn’t supported by WP Rocket, then you can add your cart and checkout pages here which will exclude these pages from the cache.

Never Cache Cookies – This option will prevent caching and optimization based on the presence of the specified cookie. This is similar to the above option, but using cookies instead of URLs. You can specify full or partial IDs of cookies that, when set in the visitor’s browser, should prevent a page from getting cached (enter one per line).

Never Cache User Agents – This option is used to prevent cached and optimized pages from being served on certain devices and in certain browsers. You can specify user agent strings that should never see cached pages (enter one per line).

Always Purge URLs – When a post or page is updated on your site, WP Rocket goes and partially clears the cache including the cache for that post or page, your home page, and related content. So, all of the common use cases should already be covered. However, you can specify URLs that you always want purged from the cache whenever you update any post or page (enter one per line).

Cache Query StringsCache for query strings enables you to force caching for specific GET parameters. This is only used in some very specific cases.

7. Database

The WP Rocket Database section allows you to clean up your database and also schedule automatic database cleanup which will optimize your site for fast loading and reduce database bloat.

That being said, you want to be aware of what each of these database cleanup options does and whether you want to clean them up or not.

Best WP Rocket Database Cleanup Optimization Settings

These are the best WP Rocket settings for the Database cleanup and optimization section. If you use post revisions or auto drafts, do not check the “Revisions” or the “Auto Drafts” boxes.

Let’s go over each WP Rocket database optimization option in more detail.

  • Revisions – These are older versions of your posts and pages that get saved after you’ve hit “Publish.”
  • Auto Drafts – These are automatically saved drafts of your posts and pages that get saved as you’re writing before you hit “Publish.”
  • Trashed Posts – These are posts that you’ve deleted and put in the trash.
  • Spam Comments – These are comments that have been marked as spam, either by a plugin or manually yourself.
  • Trashed Comments – These are comments that have been deleted and put in the trash.
  • Expired Transients – Transients are temporary options that are created by plugins. They are safe to remove.
  • All Transients – As stated above, transients are temporary options that are created by plugins and are safe to remove. Transients are frequently re-created by plugins so you may not see the number hit zero even after removing.
  • Optimize Tables – This will optimize the tables in your database so they are running efficiently without any bloat.
  • Schedule Automatic Cleanup – Here you can choose how frequently you want your database to be cleaned up and optimized by WP Rocket. You can choose “Daily,” “Weekly,” or “Monthly.” I would recommend choosing “Weekly” so your database stays optimized every week.

After you run the database cleanup, it cannot be undone. So, before you clean up your database, especially if you’re removing post revisions, you should make sure you have a backup of your website in case you remove anything you didn’t mean to.

Most good WordPress hosts should automatically do a daily backup of your website, so you should be good, but you could always install a backup plugin such as UpdraftPlus to have backups separate from your host.

8. CDN

A CDN is a content delivery network. In other words, it’s basically a number of servers that are spread all throughout the world that work together to provide fast delivery of content to users no matter where they are located.

Do I need a CDN? The answer is… it depends.

Is the majority of your website traffic in the same continent as your hosting server? If so, you may not want to use a CDN as it can actually slightly slow down your website by adding another layer.

However, if you have a decent amount of your traffic coming from all over the world, then it probably makes sense to use a CDN.

A CDN will cache the content of your website on a number of servers around the world and then when someone goes to access your website, it will pull the data from the CDN server closest to that user which will greatly speed up the time it takes for them to see your website loaded.

Which CDN should I use with WP Rocket?

  • BunnyCDN – For the best performance, BunnyCDN is highly recommended. Although BunnyCDN isn’t free, it only costs pennies per GB of data served, so it’s very affordable. The instructions for how to set up BunnyCDN with WordPress using WP Rocket are very easy to follow. All your assets can be served through a CDN URL. So, for example, your static files could have a URL such as “cdn.startblogging101.com”.
  • Cloudflare – Since Cloudflare is free, it’s a very popular option for many websites. That being said, Cloudflare doesn’t allow you to serve your assets through a CDN URL, so it’s not a true “CDN.” Cloudflare offers a service called APO (Automatic Platform Optimization) for $5/month which is well worth it and can greatly reduce your TTFB. If you decide to use Cloudflare with WP Rocket, you will set that up in the Add-Ons section, not in the CDN tab.
  • RocketCDN – RocketCDN is a CDN offered from WP Rocket and you’ll see it mentioned throughout their plugin in several places. RocketCDN is the easiest CDN to set up through WP Rocket, but for $7.99/month, I personally think using BunnyCDN or free Cloudflare is a much better choice with better performance for less money. RocketCDN is powered by StackPath.

How to Set Up Bunny.net CDN With WP Rocket

For this section, I’ll show you how easy it is to set up a CDN with WP Rocket. I personally recommend using BunnyCDN.

Step 1 – Sign up for a CDN (I recommend BunnyCDN).

Step 2 – Create a pull zone and choose the locations you want.

Bunny.net Add Pull Zone Tutorial
  1. Go to the “Pull Zones” tab and click the “Add Pull Zone” button.
  2. Enter the “Name” of your Pull Zone where your files will be accessible. This will be your website. For example, “startblogging101“.
  3. Enter the “Origin URL” of your website that you wish to accelerate. In my case, “https://startblogging101.com/“.
  4. Choose the “Pricing zones” where you want your data to be served. Certain geographical zones have different costs. I would recommend leaving all locations checked.
  5. Last, click “Add Pull Zone” to add your new Pull Zone.

Step 3 – Copy your provided “CDN Domain” in the “Installation With Third-Party Plugins” section.

Bunny.net CDN Installation With Third-Party Plugins WP Rocket
  1. In the “Select Your Platform” section, choose “WordPress.”
  2. In the “Installation With Third-Party Plugins” section, copy the value next to the “CDN Domain.”

Step 4 – Paste your “CDN Domain” into the CDN CNAME(s) field in WP Rocket.

WP Rocket CDN Settings

Step 5 – Hit “Save Changes.” Now, the URLs of all your static files (images, CSS, JavaScript) will be rewritten to the CNAME(s) that you provided. Congratulations! You have successfully set up BunnyCDN with WP Rocket.

Exclude files from CDN

Here, you can specify URLs of files that should not be served via CDN if you’re using a CDN with WP Rocket (enter one per line).

9. Heartbeat

The WordPress Heartbeat API provides a connection for real-time data transfer and syncing between the server and the browser.

WP Rocket Heartbeat Settings

Here are some examples of where the WordPress Heartbeat API is used:

  • Autosave and revisions in the post editor
  • Notifications in the WordPress admin dashboard
  • Letting you know a post is locked when another editor is working on a post
  • Real-time data displayed on the dashboard by eCommerce plugins

The Heartbeat API runs a set of tasks every 15-60 seconds which consumes server resources and can cause high CPU usage.

Therefore, WP Rocket offers an option to reduce or disable the Heartbeat API’s activity to help save some of your server’s resources.

You should enable the “Control Heartbeat” option in WP Rocket.

Reduce or Disable Heartbeat Activity

In this section, you have three options for various areas of your site: do not limit the activity, reduce the activity, or completely disable all activity.

Reducing activity will change Heartbeat frequency from one hit each minute to one hit every 2 minutes.

Keep in mind that disabling Heartbeat entirely may break plugins and themes that rely on using the Heartbeat API.

Here are my recommended settings for reducing Heartbeat API activity in WP Rocket:

  • Behavior in backendReduce activity
  • Behavior in post editorReduce activity
  • Behavior in frontendReduce activity

If you know with absolute certainty that you have no use for the Heartbeat API in one of these areas, then you can choose “Disable” for that area.

However, simply reducing the activity in each of these areas is going to save quite a bit on your server’s resources while still allowing everything to work properly which is always a good thing.

10. Add-Ons

With version 3.9, WP Rocket got rid the add-ons for “Google Tracking” and “Facebook Pixel.”

Both of these add-ons were used to help fix the Google PageSpeed Insights recommendation of “leverage browser caching” if you were using Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel on your website.

Instead, now all JavaScript files are delayed by default since WP Rocket version 3.9 until user interaction (which I discussed in the Delay JavaScript Execution section).

There are still a few WP Rocket add-ons offered which I will cover.

Varnish

If your site is hosted with Cloudways, WP Engine, or Flywheel, your site will use Varnish for server-side caching.

WP Rocket will automatically detect the environment and enable the Varnish add-on for you.

WP Rocket Varnish Add-On Hosted With Cloudways

For example, I’m using Cloudways to host this website and you can see that WP Rocket detected my hosting and automatically enabled the Varnish add-on.

If your site is hosted with SiteGround, Kinsta, or Pressable, you don’t need to enable this option because the WP Rocket cache already gets synced with their server cache.

How to Set Up Cloudflare With WP Rocket

In the Rocket Add-ons section of WP Rocket, there is an option to integrate your Cloudflare account with WP Rocket.

NOTE: You don’t need to use the WP Rocket Cloudflare add-on in order for your site to work through Cloudflare – it’s only an added convenience. If you have your site working through Cloudflare already, Cloudflare will be active on your site whether you enable the Cloudflare add-on or not. Using the Cloudflare add-on with WP Rocket simply gives you the ability to easily access some settings directly within WP Rocket.

Step 1 – Switch Cloudflare Add-on status to “ON” and then click the “Modify Settings” button.

WP Rocket Cloudflare Add-On Enabled

Step 2 – Get your Global API Key from Cloudflare and paste it into WP Rocket.

  1. Within Cloudflare, click on your account icon in the upper-right and choose “My Profile.”
  2. Then, click on the “API Tokens” tab.
  3. Under the “API Keys” section, click the “View” button on the “Global API Key” line.
  4. Enter your account password and you’ll get your Global API Key. Copy it and paste it in the “Global API key” section in the WP Rocket Cloudflare section.
How to Get Cloudflare Global API Key

Step 3 – Fill in your “Account email” that you use for Cloudflare in the appropriate box in the Cloudflare add-on section.

Step 4 – Get your Zone ID from Cloudflare and paste it into WP Rocket.

  1. On your Cloudflare home page, choose your site.
  2. You’ll be on the “Overview” tab for your website. Scroll down until you see the “Zone ID” in the sidebar on the right.
  3. Copy your website’s Zone ID and paste it into the “Zone ID” section of the WP Rocket Cloudflare add-on section.
Cloudflare Zone ID and Account ID

Step 5 – Under the “Cloudflare Settings” section within WP Rocket, flip the “Optimal settings” toggle to “ON” and leave “Development mode” and “Relative Protocol” set to “OFF.”

Best WP Rocket Cloudflare Add-On Settings

Step 6 – After you have all your Cloudflare add-on fields filled out in WP Rocket and the ideal WP Rocket Cloudflare settings set, hit “Save Changes.” Congratulations! You have successfully set up Cloudflare with WP Rocket.

Here’s a list of all the WP Rocket Cloudflare Add-on fields explained:

  • Global API Key – Found in your profile under the API Tokens tab.
  • Account Email – The same account email you use for Cloudflare.
  • Zone ID – Found in your site’s “Overview” section in the sidebar.
  • Development Mode – Temporarily activates development mode for your website. Development Mode allows you to temporarily suspend Cloudflare’s edge caching and minification features. This gets turned off automatically after 3 hours.
  • Optimal Settings – It’s highly recommended that you enable this setting. WP Rocket will automatically set your Cloudflare configuration for the best speed, performance grade, and compatibility. This option will do a number of things including:
    • Set Cloudflare’s caching level to Standard
    • Activate Cloudflare’s minification
    • Deactivate Rocket Loader (Rocket Loader usually causes more issues than it solves)
    • Set Cloudflare’s browser cache to 1 year
  • Relative Protocol – This setting rewrites the URLs of static files (CSS, JavaScript, images) to use a relative protocol (// instead of http:// or https://). This setting should only be activated if you use Cloudflare’s “Flexible SSL” feature. If your site runs on full SSL (which most of them should), then you do NOT want to use this feature.
  • Clear All Cloudflare Cache Files – This will clear the Cloudflare cache. This should only be needed for troubleshooting or if you think Cloudflare is serving outdated files.

Sucuri

If you use the Sucuri Website Firewall (WAF) and have their caching enabled, then you’ll want to enable the Sucuri Add-On in WP Rocket.

Each time the WP Rocket cache is cleared, it will automatically clear the Sucuri cache as well.

This will keep both the WP Rocket and Sucuri caches in sync so that your site is always up-to-date with the latest content.

In order to get your Sucuri Firewall API key (for plugin), first login to Sucuri.

Next, click on your site and go to the API tab.

Copy the API key (for plugin) field, then paste your Sucuri API key into the “Firewall API key (for plugin)” box in WP Rocket.

The Sucuri Firewall API key must be in the format of: 32 characters / 32 characters.

Lastly, click “Save Changes” and your Sucuri Add-On will be successfully set up in WP Rocket.

11. Image Optimization

WP Rocket recommends that you use the Imagify plugin for image compression since it’s their own plugin.

WP Rocket Image Optimization

I used Imagify with WP Rocket for many months, but it wasn’t my favorite plugin to use because it would take a long time to compress images on the fly.

You can certainly give Imagify a try if you would like, but there are two other options to try that I think are better alternatives.

  1. Use the ShortPixel plugin instead of Imagify. ShortPixel does image compression on the fly along with converting images to next-gen formats such as WebP. ShortPixel is even a step ahead as they are already starting to offer AVIF format which provides even better image compression with higher quality images than WebP.
  2. Use BunnyCDN as described in the CDN section to have BunnyCDN compress your images and serve them in next-gen formats by using their “Image Optimization” feature. No extra plugin required.

12. Tools

In the Tools section of WP Rocket, you have a few options of exporting your settings, importing your settings, or doing a rollback to a previous version.

WP Rocket Tools Export Import Settings and Rollback

Export settings – Download a backup of your settings so that you can import them on another site or give them to someone else.

Import settings – Choose a WP Rocket settings file from your computer and then click the “Upload File and Import Settings” button to have WP Rocket import all the settings for you.

Rollback – If the latest version of WP Rocket causes issues on your site (for example, your site doesn’t look right, something broke, etc.) and turning off certain settings doesn’t work for you, you can always rollback your WP Rocket to the previous version that was working in an emergency.

13. Tutorials

WP Rocket gives you a convenient Tutorials tab in their plugin with WP Rocket tutorial videos embedded directly within the plugin itself.

WP Rocket Tutorial Videos

This allows you to view tutorials directly from WP Rocket on certain areas within the plugin so that you can be better informed on what the WP Rocket best settings are for your website in order to speed it up.

14. Documentation

One of the biggest perks to using WP Rocket is the documentation they provide. It’s fantastic.

If you’re ever wondering what the best WP Rocket settings are for your website, you can simply click “Need Help?” on any of the sections and a popup will show up in the lower-right corner with a documentation article explaining everything you need to know.

WP Rocket Documentation Need Help

Otherwise, feel free to check out the WP Rocket Knowledge Base which is the external version of all their documentation which is loaded with information about the ideal WP Rocket settings to choose for your website setup.


And that’s a wrap! I hope this very detailed tutorial on the WP Rocket best settings helps you to speed up your slow WordPress site and pass Google’s Core Web Vitals which will get you that coveted ranking boost!

Did this WP Rocket tutorial help you pass your Core Web Vital scores? Let me know down in the comments below.

Go speed up those websites,
Jake ✌️

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