Remember when the Internet was new and fresh and you didn’t mind waiting five or ten minutes to see a web page load? Back then, slow, dial-up connections made getting to any site an excruciatingly slow experience. In 1998, Internet users had a lot more patience than they do today.

In 2011, if a site is slow to load up, users move on to the next site without a second thought. This can be a real problem for webmasters who design with PHP pages that are commonly used by WordPress site. These pages are dynamically built for each user, each time they visit the site. That’s where caching plug-ins like W3 Total Cache come into play.

Faster Load Times

W3 Total Cache creates cached versions of every page on your site, greatly reducing load time. Caching also helps improve overall server performance which has a huge impact on reader/customer retention. According to W3 Total Cache’s website, and several online review, this product can increase overall site performance by up to ten fold.

Affiliates who run small sites may not worry a lot about server or CPU speed and page load times, but they should. A big news event, viral video or successful promotion could easily crash a site, costing the webmaster plenty of potential affiliates in the process.

Installation & Configuration

Cache plug-ins like W3 Total Cache can be installed at any time, and most users report that installing the basic version is a fairly simple affair. Though users should be certain to remove all other caching plug-ins before installing this product on their console.

Configuring W3 Total Cache is fairly easy according to most users. Though there have been minor issues when applying advanced configurations.

Security Risks?

Some forum users have reported that installing W3 Total Cache has opened their site to malicious files, though product designer Frederick Townes strongly disputes that notion. He said in a forum posting that cache plug-ins are really only capable of storing copies of pages and any security issue is likely already present in cached page code. Townes outlines his explanation in some detail on his WordPress profile.

Is it a Good Fit?

W3 Total Cache is one of those plug-ins that you probably won’t need until you really need; and by then it may be too late. Given its reputation for easy installs and increased page load speeds, this plug-in seems like a good fit for affiliate site operators.

Download W3 Total Cache is available as a free download at the WordPress Plug-In Directory.

Have you used W3 Total Cache on your site? Let us know on our General Discussion Forum.  

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