Kinsta and WP Rocket: Now Speeding up WordPress Together

Updated on May 09, 2018

We are always looking for new and innovative ways to further speed up and optimize your WordPress sites.¬†ūüöÄ For the past couple months, our team has been working behind the scenes with the developers at WP Rocket to coordinate some changes with their brand new version¬†3.0 plugin (released April 3, 2018). We are excited to announce that WP Rocket 3.0 and Kinsta are now fully compatible and will be from here on out.

Check out everything you need to know below about using WP Rocket at Kinsta and how it can be a great match for you and your clients.

Using WP Rocket at Kinsta

For those of you who aren’t familiar with WP Rocket, it’s a popular all-in-one premium caching and optimization plugin for WordPress.¬†Normally we don’t allow caching plugins in our environment because they conflict with our built-in caching solution. However, as of WP Rocket 3.0, their page caching functionality will automatically be disabled when running on Kinsta servers. Previously, this had to be done manually with their page caching module.¬†We have also removed the plugin from our banned list.¬†ūü§ė

This allows you to now use Kinsta’s caching solution but still take advantage of the amazing optimization features WP Rocket has to offer (we will dive into these below).

Why is caching important? Caching is the process of storing resources from one request and reusing those resources for subsequent requests. Basically, it¬†reduces the amount of work¬†required to generate a pageview and decreases the load on the web server. It’s the number one way to negate the delay from the dependancy WordPress has on PHP and a database (read more about WordPress vs static HTML).

WP Rocket 3.0 Features

If you haven’t seen the new 3.0 version of WP Rocket yet the UI is beautiful;¬†while still being easy to use and navigate! Below we’ll dive into a few of the recommended features that you can utilize from WP Rocket to speed up your WordPress site, as well as how its synced with the Kinsta environment.

We will also be running some speed tests to see which options have the most impact on a live site. Remember though, results can vary from site to site, so make sure to test on your own site or staging. If you’re using a staging site at Kinsta, WP Rocket has whitelisted our URL structure (staging-sitename.kinsta.com) which means it will not count as a site against your overall license count. The same goes for running on localhost.

WP Rocket UI

WP Rocket UI

Clearing Cache

Even though caching is automatically disabled in WP Rocket when running on Kinsta, the “Clear cache” option in the WP Rocket menu is synced up with the Kinsta environment. If you clear your¬†WP Rocket cache, it actually clears your entire site’s Kinsta cache instead.¬† How cool is that?¬†ūüėĬ†And as always,¬†you can clear your Kinsta cache from the top right-hand side of the admin bar.

Clear cache (2 ways)

Clear cache (2 ways)

The “Purge this URL” also works the same way, but instead of purging your site’s entire cache it clears the cache of the URL you’re currently on. This is great if perhaps you made a manual update to a page or post. For performance reasons, we don’t recommend constantly clearing your site’s entire cache, as it then has to rebuild. Purging individual URLs is a much better way.

WP Rocket purge cache on individual URL

WP Rocket purge cache on individual URL

If you change something on your WordPress site, such as a plugin or theme, you might see a warning from WP Rocket. The Clear cache button here also clears the Kinsta cache.

WP Rocket changes clear cache

WP Rocket changes clear cache

Lastly, if you click on the “Clear Cache” button from the WP Rocket dashboard, this also clears the Kinsta cache.

WP Rocket remove all cached files

WP Rocket remove all cached files

File Optimization

Under the “File Optimization” menu they give you the ability to optimize your CSS and JavaScript files. Let’s dive into each of these a bit.

WP Rocket file optimization

WP Rocket file optimization

Basic Settings

  • Minify HTML: Minifying HTML removes whitespace and comments to reduce the size. We ran speed tests and saw a 0.84% decrease in load time with this option enabled.¬†‚ŹĪ (Disabled, Enabled) You might not see crazy improvements with this feature, but generally, less whitespace and code is a good thing.
  • Combine Google Fonts files:¬†Combining Google Fonts will reduce the number of HTTP requests. If you are utilizing a host with HTTP/2 enabled, it is no longer recommended to combine files due to improvements with parallelization. Kinsta fully supports HTTP/2. Loading your fonts from your own CDN can also sometimes improve performance. Check out our guide on how to host local fonts.
  • Remove query strings from static resources: Your CSS and JavaScript files usually have the file version on the end of their URLs, such as domain.com/style.css?ver=4.6. Some servers and proxy servers are unable to cache query strings, even if a¬†cache-control:public¬†header is present.¬†So by removing them, you can sometimes improve your caching. We ran speed tests and saw a 1.86%¬†decrease in load time with this option enabled.¬†‚ŹĪ (Disabled, Enabled) Read more about how query strings work. Note: You can’t use this along with the¬†minify CSS or JavaScript options.

CSS Files

  • Minify CSS files: Minify CSS removes whitespace and comments to reduce the file size.¬†We ran speed tests and saw a 1.69%¬†decrease in load time with this option enabled.¬†‚ŹĪ (Disabled, Enabled) Due to the way CSS works, this could break your site, so make sure to test it. Again, in general, less whitespace and code is a good thing.
  • Combine CSS files:¬†Combine CSS merges all your files into 1, reducing HTTP requests. If you are utilizing a host with HTTP/2 enabled, it is no longer recommended to combine files as they can now be loaded in parallel over a single connection.¬†Kinsta fully supports HTTP/2. Read more about combining external CSS.
  • Optimize CSS delivery:¬†Optimize CSS delivery eliminates render-blocking CSS on your website for faster-perceived load time. Read more about this in our in-depth articles on render-blocking CSS and optimizing critical rendering path.¬†We ran speed tests and saw a 0.17%¬†decrease in load time with this option enabled.¬†‚ŹĪ (Disabled, Enabled) Remember though, this is more about perceived load time rather than actual load time.

JavaScript Files

  • Minify JavaScript files:¬†Minify JavaScript removes whitespace and comments to reduce the file size.¬†We ran speed tests and saw a 0.84%¬†decrease in load time with this option enabled.¬†‚ŹĪ (Disabled, Enabled)¬†Due to the way JavaScript works, this could break functionality with your plugins or theme, so make sure to test it. Again, in general, less whitespace and code is a good thing.
  • Combine JavaScript files:¬†Combine Javascript files combines your site’s JS info fewer files, reducing HTTP requests. If you are utilizing a host with HTTP/2 enabled, it is no longer recommended to combine files as they can now be loaded in parallel over a single connection. Kinsta fully supports HTTP/2.
  • Load JavaScript deferred:¬†Load JavaScript deferred eliminates render-blocking JS on your site and can improve load time.¬†Read more about this in our in-depth articles on render-blocking JavaScript. This can also break your site if you aren’t careful, so make sure to test. We ran speed tests and saw a 1.35%¬†decrease in load time with this option enabled.¬†‚ŹĪ (Disabled, Enabled)

Media

Under the “Media” menu they give you an option to lazy load your images and video, as well as disable additional scripts from loading such as Emojis and Embeds. Let’s dive into each of these a bit.

WP Rocket media optimization

WP Rocket media optimization

LazyLoad

Lazy loading is an optimization technique that loads visible content but delays the downloading and rendering of content that appears below the fold. By enabling the lazy load option it can improve actual and perceived loading time as images, iframes, and videos will be loaded only as they enter (or about to enter) the viewport and reduces the number of HTTP requests.

  • Enable for images:¬†We ran speed tests and saw a 3.89%¬†decrease in load time with this option enabled.¬†‚ŹĪ (Disabled, Enabled)
  • Enable for iframes and videos:¬†We dropped eight YouTube videos onto a page¬†and saw a 74.43%¬†decrease in load time with this option enabled.¬†‚ŹĪ (Disabled, Enabled) WP Rocket has an option to automatically replace a YouTube video with their preview image. This is an incredibly powerful way to speed up videos on your WordPress site.

Check out our in-depth tutorial on lazy loading in WordPress.

Emoji

With the release of WordPress 4.2 came the integration of emojis into core for older browsers. The big issue with this is that it generates an additional HTTP request on your WordPress site to load the wp-emoji-release.min.js file. And this loads on every single page.

Disable Emoji: The disable emoji option¬†will reduce the number of HTTP requests. It won’t break them, it will simply default back to the user’s browser emoji version. We ran speed tests and saw a 2.2%¬†decrease in load time with this option enabled.¬†‚ŹĪ (Disabled, Enabled) Check out our in-depth article on disabling emojis.

Embeds

With the release of WordPress 4.4 came the oEmbed feature into core. You have probably seen or used this before. This allows users to embed YouTube videos, tweets and many other resources on their sites simply by pasting a URL, which WordPress automatically converts into an embed and provides a live preview in the visual editor.

However, what this means is that it also generates an additional HTTP request on your WordPress site now to load the wp-embed.min.js file. And this loads on every single page.

Disable WordPress embeds: The disable embeds option¬†will reduce the number of HTTP requests. We ran speed tests and saw a 4.9%¬†decrease in load time with this option enabled.¬†‚ŹĪ (Disabled, Enabled) Check out our in-depth article on disabling embeds.

Preload

Under the “Preload” menu they give you an option to enable sitemap preloading, preload bots, and prefetch DNS requests. Not all of these will work at Kinsta. But let’s dive into each of these a bit.

WP Rocket Preload

WP Rocket Preload

Sitemap Preloading and Preload Bot

We don’t recommend using either of these options and in fact, they most likely won’t work at Kinsta.

Prefetch DNS Requests

DNS prefetching allows you to resolve domain names (perform a DNS lookup in the background) before a user clicks on a link, which in turn can help improve performance. It is done by adding a rel="dns-prefetch" tag in the header of your WordPress site. We recommend adding prefetch to external requests from your CDN, Google Fonts, and Google Analytics. Here is an example below:

<link rel="dns-prefetch" href="//cdn.domain.com/">
<link rel="dns-prefetch" href="//fonts.googleapis.com/">
<link rel="dns-prefetch" href="//www.google-analytics.com">

This is harder to speed test, but you can rest assured it will help speed up your site.

Advanced Rules

Due to the fact that WP Rocket syncs to the Kinsta environment cache, you can’t use the advanced rules. If you need to exclude a URL or directory from caching you can always reach out to the Kinsta support team.

Database

Under the “Database” menu they give you the ability to perform cleanups on posts, comments, transients, and tables.

WP Rocket Database

WP Rocket Database

Post Cleanup

It is not uncommon for older sites to have 100+ revisions on their main pages. This is simply due to years of editing and updating content. Let’s say for example a site has 700 pages or posts with 150 revisions on each, this would be over 100,000 entries in the database. This takes up storage space, and even with database indexes, this can sometimes harm performance. WP Rocket gives you the option to delete the following:

  • Revisions
  • Auto-drafts
  • Trashed posts

Check out our in-depth post on how to optimize revisions for faster performance.

Comments Cleanup

Similarly to revisions, spam and trashed comments can simply add up to wasted space over time. WP Rocket gives you the option to delete the following:

  • Spam comments
  • Trashed comments

If you aren’t using comments on your WordPress site we recommend simply¬†disabling comments to prevent spam from coming through at all. You then also don’t have to worry about installing spam plugins.

Transients Cleanup

Transients in WordPress are sometimes overlooked, but they are very important! In fact, we’ve seen¬†corrupted transient cache completely take down a WordPress site.¬†ūüė® These are meant to be temporary and so it’s safe to remove them and we do recommend it. If they are needed by a plugin they will automatically be regenerated. WP Rocket gives you the option to delete the following:

  • Expired transients
  • All transients

Database Cleanup

The database cleanup option reduces the overhead of database tables. However, at Kinsta we utilize InnoDB instead of MyISAM and therefore this is not usually needed. InnoDB has shown to perform better and be more reliable. A big reason to use InnoDB over MyISAM, is to take advantage of row-level locking. This allows your queries to process faster. If you migrate your WordPress site to Kinsta, this is one of the optimizations our engineers make on your site.

Automatic Cleanup

WP Rocket also gives you the option to schedule automatic cleanup of your database on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This is scheduled with a CRON job behind the scenes.

CDN

Under the “CDN” menu you can enable a third-party content delivery network. This is really a no-brainer when it comes to performance. They take the load off of your web server while speeding up the delivery of content to your visitors thus making their experience better. Check out why we think every site should be using a CDN.

If you’re a Kinsta client, this menu won’t be needed as the Kinsta CDN is automatically deployed on your site behind the scenes. But if you’re using another third-party CDN provider, you can input their information on this screen.

WP Rocket CDN

WP Rocket CDN

Add-Ons

Under the “Add-Ons” menu they give you the ability to enable Cloudflare.¬†If you use the WP Rocket Cloudflare add-on, you no longer need the official Cloudflare plugin. WP Rocket provides the same functionality of providing originating IP addresses.

WP Rocket add-ons

WP Rocket add-ons

If you are using WP Rocket with another hosting provider you will also have the option to enable Varnish. However, since this would conflict with our cache solution here at Kinsta this is automatically hidden.

Final Speed Tests¬†‚ŹĪ

We then ran some final speed tests with everything enabled so you could see a before and after. Note: this WordPress site is hosted at Kinsta.

Before WP Rocket

We ran 5 tests in Pingdom without WP Rocket and took the average.

Before WP Rocket

Before WP Rocket (Pingdom speed test)

We then ran a test in Google PageSpeed Insights without WP Rocket.

PageSpeed Insights before WP Rocket

Google PageSpeed Insights before WP Rocket

After WP Rocket

We then ran 5 tests in Pingdom with WP Rocket and options enabled and took the average.

After WP Rocket

With WP Rocket (Pingdom speed test)

We then ran a test in Google PageSpeed Insights with WP Rocket.

PageSpeed Insights with WP Rocket

Google PageSpeed Insights with WP Rocket

Here is the takeaway from the results above:

  • In our Pingdom tests we saw a 9.12% decrease in total load time when running WP Rocket. While this might not seem crazy high, this only took a few minutes and less than 10 clicks to accomplish.
  • Remember that WP Rocket’s bread and butter is in their caching solution. But here at Kinsta, we are already using our built-in cache, so we are only sharing results of their other optimization features. So really it’s a 9% improvement on top of Kinsta’s lightning fast cache.¬†‚ö°
  • The site we were utilizing for the test is fairly optimized already. Larger sites and those that are not as optimized will easily see even greater results.
  • Curious why there are additional requests in the final version? This is usually due to lazy loading of images as it creates blank¬†data:image/gif;base64 requests. But don’t worry, it’s still going to be faster.
  • If you’re hosting video you could possibly see decreases in load time of up to 50% or more. This is accomplished by utilizing WP Rockets feature that replaces YouTube videos with clickable preview thumbnails. This is really handy!
  • In our Google PageSpeed Insights tests we saw an¬†increase in our score from 88/100 to 98/100. However, scores are not as important as overall load times, so take these with a grain of salt. We discuss this in our article about Google PageSpeed Insights.

As you can see above, WP Rocket makes it incredibly easy to speed up your site with just a few simple clicks!

Summary

The team at WP Rocket consistently push out new features that directly co-align with the web performance recommendations we share at Kinsta. You can expect to see an even tighter integration with their plugin over the next few months! We are excited that clients can now use this plugin without any additional modifications needed.

We would love to hear what you think? Do you use WP Rocket? Let us know below in the comments.

This article was written by Brian Jackson
Brian is the Chief Marketing Officer at Kinsta. He focuses on everything from developing new online growth strategies, content creation, technical SEO, and outreach within the community. He has a huge passion for WordPress, has been using it for 8+ years, and even develops a couple premium plugins. Brian enjoys blogging, movies, and hiking. Connect with Brian on Twitter.

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  1. Gravatar for this comment's author
    David April 6, 2018 at 5:44 am

    I was worrying many things of wp-rocket settings for my kinsta hosted website. this post solved everything.
    Thank you

    1. Gravatar for this comment's author
      Brian Jackson April 9, 2018 at 9:36 am

      Great, glad it was helpful David!

  2. Gravatar for this comment's author
    Nicolas April 7, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    That is a really great news, I love an use WP Rocket on all my sites and I was a little annoyed to not be able to use it on Kinsta, now I can remove four plugins and just use WP Rocket :)
    Kinsta is even better with this plugin.

    1. Gravatar for this comment's author
      Brian Jackson April 9, 2018 at 9:37 am

      Glad to hear it Nicolas! This is exactly why we wanted to make sure WP Rocket would work at Kinsta :)

  3. Gravatar for this comment's author
    Matt April 8, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    I just let my WP Rocket lapse and not get my renewal discount and the BOOM, you guys support it now. DOH.

    I hope I can get that discount back as WP Rocket is by far my favorite optimisation tool.

    1. Gravatar for this comment's author
      Brian Jackson April 9, 2018 at 9:37 am

      Haha, sorry for the bad timing Matt. Hopefully, you can get your discount back for WP Rocket.

  4. Gravatar for this comment's author
    Chad Barnes April 9, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    Brian, thanks for writing! I LOVE seeing the additional opportunity for speed improvement. I installed WP Rocket on our SkyrocketWP (https://skyrocketwp.com) site and noticed that (1) the speed of our site improved and (2) the WP Rocket lazy load feature fails to load images over CDN. Any idea how to force that to happen?

    1. Gravatar for this comment's author
      Brian Jackson April 9, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      Hey Chad, I haven’t seen that happen. In fact, my test site up for writing this post is still live. https://wpdev.ink/lazy-load-test/ You can see that the lazy loaded image is loading from Kinsta CDN. I took a quick look at your site and your images are loading from Kinsta CDN and they are lazy loaded. Perhaps you figured something out :)

      1. Gravatar for this comment's author
        Chad Barnes April 9, 2018 at 10:23 pm

        Weird deal. I just ran another performance test using GTMetrix and it shows that the following URL isn’t loading over CDN:

        https://skyrocketwp.com/wp-content/themes/Divi/core/admin/fonts/modules.ttf

        Pingdom reports that the following URLs are loading over CDN:

        https://skyrocketwp.com/wp-content/cache/min/1/21e4094d083dc22c787ce2ff220885c6.js

        https://skyrocketwp.com/wp-content/cache/min/1/c59adce6ca56000c913e56e9ad4b2def.js

        https://skyrocketwp.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-rocket/inc/front/js/lazyload-8.6.0.min.js

        Peculiar that:

        – The tests show different URLs

        – Pingdom produces radically different scores for ‚ÄúCombine external JavaScript‚ÄĚ each time I perform the test. Scores are typically either 80-something or 40-something

        РMy fullwidth images (e.g. header) don’t load properly on the initial load on mobile, but display on the second load on mobile (presumably serving a cached version at that point)

        1. Gravatar for this comment's author
          Chad Barnes April 9, 2018 at 10:24 pm

          Correction: Pingdom reports that the following URLs AREN’T loading over CDN:

          1. Gravatar for this comment's author
            Brian Jackson April 9, 2018 at 10:32 pm

            Oh, I thought you meant your images themselves. Now that you mention it, I do see an issue with lazyload-8.6.0.min.js not loading over Kinsta CDN. Most likely the issue is same for the other URLs and if we fix one it will fix the others. I’ll pass this issue along to dev team. Thanks for the heads up!

          2. Gravatar for this comment's author
            Alex de Borba April 10, 2018 at 7:22 am

            The very same happened to us, once we enabled LazyLoad for images all our images failed to load across the site. Chad explained with more detail.

          3. Gravatar for this comment's author
            Brian Jackson April 10, 2018 at 1:16 pm

            Thanks Alex. We are looking into this.

          4. Gravatar for this comment's author
            Brian Jackson April 20, 2018 at 8:43 am

            Temporary workaround. Simply go into WP Rocket settings and enable their “CDN” option. No need to input the Kinsta CDN URL. Just enable CDN and you’ll see those JS deferred and lazy load files load from Kinsta CDN :) Make sure to clear cache after. We’ll work with WP Rocket team to get this fixed, but hopefully, that should resolve your issue for now.

  5. Gravatar for this comment's author
    Chad Barnes April 9, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    I did say images initially. Sorry for the confusion and thanks for looking into it!

  6. Gravatar for this comment's author
    Alex de Borba April 10, 2018 at 7:30 am

    On our top bar – besides WordPress standard options – have Script Manager (perfmatters), Ad Health (Advanced Ads), Forms (Gravity Forms), WP Rocket, and Clean Cache (Kinsta Cache), which altogether takes a lot of space.

    Kinsta Cache Plugin is extremely needed because it establishes some kind of direct connection with WordPress, or can we ask support to have the plugin removed, and just flush the cache when needed using My.Kinsta?

    1. Gravatar for this comment's author
      Brian Jackson April 10, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      Hey Alex, I’ll pass this feedback along regarding the toolbar. Thanks!

  7. Gravatar for this comment's author
    Angraj April 10, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    I could really see the difference in page loading speed after enabling wprocket with kinsta.

    But I am getting errors on my google webmaster for amp pages after using wprocket on my site http://hinditracks.in . That is for The tag ‘amp-facebook-like’ requires including the ‘amp-facebook-like’ extension JavaScript. Plese suggest me how could I correct the errors?

    1. Gravatar for this comment's author
      Brian Jackson April 10, 2018 at 9:34 pm

      Hey Angraj,
      We haven’t done a combination of tests with other third-party plugins. I’m assuming you’re using the popular AMP plugin? You might try disabling the JavaScript optimizations in WP Rocket to see if things go back to normal… then enable them one by one. Or ping the WP Rocket team, as they might already know of a conflict somewhere with the AMP plugin.

  8. Gravatar for this comment's author
    David April 22, 2018 at 7:30 am

    Hello
    I just set Kinsta cache expire intervals to 6 months.Support team took more than 15 minutes to set it up. I don’t know what they did?
    So now Should I install Wp-rocket Page cache disable plugin?
    or
    Still, Wp-Rocket work well?
    Thank you

    1. Gravatar for this comment's author
      Brian Jackson April 23, 2018 at 9:47 am

      Hey David,
      If you have any questions about how your cache is configured, our support team can always help. In regards to WP Rocket partnership, you can install and use it without any additional configuration. Your site will still use Kinsta cache, and you can use the other optimization features of WP Rocket. Thanks

  9. Gravatar for this comment's author
    Steve Mitchell April 24, 2018 at 10:21 am

    What is Kinsta’s recommendation regarding combining WP Rocket + Autoptimize + perfmatters? It used to be you recommended Autoptimize + perfmatters but with the partnership with WP Rocket, is Autoptimize not necessary? What about perfmatters?

    1. Gravatar for this comment's author
      Brian Jackson May 20, 2018 at 11:56 pm

      Hey Steve! It really depends on what you are trying to accomplish and what works best for your site. If you have a license for WP Rocket, Autoptimize might not be necessary. Perfmatters also has slightly different features, such as the Script manager, local analytics, etc.

      Either way, they are all great plugins.

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