A few days ago I began the process of removing W3 Total Cache from all my blogs and replacing it with
Quick Cache WP Super Cache. Why, you might wonder, would I do that. The simple answer is that W3 Total Cache conflicted one too many times with other plugins. I’m getting old and tired and I’m fast coming over to the idea that if a plugin’s too much hassle to setup then it shouldn’t call itself a plugin so much as it should call itself a nail in sanity’s coffin.
You’d expect it to be easy to remove W3 Total Cache. And it should be but it hooks its tentacles into a blog’s htaccess file, sticks multiple files into the blogs wp-content directory and, after removal, Google persistently requests (no longer existent) cached minified CSS files. All in all, it’s a bigger pain than being kicked in the ass by a galloping donkey on steroids.
Removing W3TC is a bit of an art. For one, you will need to find an adequate replacement for it. I’ve moved over to
Quick Cache WP Super Cache and I’m very happy with it. I’ve performed no speed tests and no server load tests to compare it with other cache plugins but I can say that, to me at least, most of the sites I’ve installed it on feel faster and more responsive than when they used W3 Total Cache. Sites hosted on my home server now load instantly with W3 Total Cache where as they took a second or two with W3TC.
Removing the Monster
Important: keep the plugin enabled until told to disable it. If you’ve already disabled and deleted W3 Total Cache then I suggest you re-install it and re-enable it then follow these instructions to properly remove it.
- Make sure the latest version of W3 Total Cache is installed
- Ensure your htaccess file has its permissions set to at least 644
- Ensure wp-config.php has its permissions set to at least 644
- Enter W3TC’s General Settings panel (Performance>General Settings)
- Disable all caching
- Run through the list of enabled caching types and untick “Enable” for each and every one of them
- At the bottom of the General Settings page is a Miscellaneous section, untick everything in it
- Click “Save All Settings”
- At the top of the screen, in red writing, you will now see that it says “The plugin is currently disabled”.
- Go to your WordPress plugins panel and find W3 Total Cache (Plugins>Installed Plugins)
- Deactivate W3 Total Cache
- Delete W3 Total Cache.
- Browse your site’s root directory with either an FTP program or your host provided file manager and enter the directory “wp-content” then delete the files (if they exist)
- Still in the wp-content directory, delete the directory “w3tc” and all its content
- Check the site’s .htaccess file has no W3TC re-write rules in it
- Finally, unless you want to install a new cache plugin, open the site wp-config.php file and change the line that reads
I would love to advise you on which WordPress cache plugin is best but that’s a server and site-by-site dependent issue. What works well for one site on one server will not work well for all sites on the same server or on different servers. Saying that, WP Super Cache is pretty good.
Resources & Links
Update 7th June 2012
Since writing this post I have switched from Quick Cache to WP Super Cache. Over the past few months, both WordPress and my host’s server environment have been updated; Quick Cache hasn’t and it appears to have lost performance. I now advise WP Super Cache over Quick Cache.
Update 31st October 2012
I no longer recommend Quick Cache as a replacement for W3 Total Cache. I use WP Super Cache which works great. Install WP Super Cache, enable it then click the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab. Configure it to use htaccess rewrite rules, tell it not to cache RSS feeds and select all recommended settings.
Quick Cache will cease to be supported by its developers after 2012 ends.