When it comes to making WordPress faster, everyone I know will suggest installing their own favorite caching plugins. But, how to make it faster without a caching plugin? The answer is yes, it is.  How?

The answer is CloudflareHowever, it’s not enough just putting it to stand in front of your site. You need to set it up more, to make your WordPress site loads as fast as a static site.

What to set up?

You need to set up Cloudflare to cache static HTML of your WordPress site. 

I know that some WordPress caching plugins already do this. Some of them will generate a static HTML version of your WordPress site and serve it to users. In this way, the one that serves the request will be the server where you host the site. 

On the other hand, if you set up Cloudflare to do that, the one that serves the request will be Cloudflare itself. This way, the requests won’t touch your server. Cloudflare will serve it as long as it has a valid cache on its side.

My experience

Here’s how I do this:

  • I remove the Autoptimize plugin. Lately, when I checked the score on a tool like Google Pagespeed Insight, I saw the score is getting worse.
  • When I remove the plugin, the score is still the same. Not sure why.
  • At this point, I have put Cloudflare in front of the site. 
  • Until I stumbled upon on this post on Cloudflare documentation about Caching Static HTML with WordPress
  • Then, I decided to give it a try.
  • Once I finished with it, I run another speed test on all of my favorite tools. You can check the result there.

The drawback

Because I am on Cloudflare free tier plan, the Bypass Cache on Cookie option is not available. That option, if available, will prevent Cloudflare to cache the WordPress admin. Without that option, my WP Admin won’t show the most recent changes I made.

It’s not a big deal for me because I’ve found workarounds for this:

  • Go to the Cloudflare dashboard and purge the cache from there.
  • A better workaround is installing the Jetpack plugin and use the admin dashboard from WordPress.com. I prefer this one.
  • The best one, though a bit hectic is going to Cloudflare dashboard and enable the “Developer Mode” while you’re doing the activities on your admin dashboard. Then, disable it again once you’re done.

Or, for those who can spend $20/month, they can upgrade to the Pro plan and get that option enabled.

Verdict

In short, the way to make WordPress faster without caching plugin is setting up Cloudflare to cache static HTML of your WordPress site.

Compared to all WordPress caching plugins, serving the static HTML site through Cloudflare cache will be much faster. 

Not only that, this will reduce the load on your server, using fewer resources, saving more bandwidth, which in the end will allow your WordPress to serve more readers in a faster and better way.

Such a way is a lot simpler than converting your whole WP site into a static HTML and host it on Netlify. I am sure it’s also easier than setting up a headless WordPress and connect it to Gatsby or any other static site generator. 

Yet, this way will give you exactly the speed of the static HTML site. Is there a better way than this?

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