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Top 5 Nginx plugins for WordPress

You surely know that WordPress is one of the most popular publishing platforms of all times. According to its authors WordPress powers more than 24% of the web, that makes WordPress the most successful web platform in this days.

It’s easy to install and fast to learn, it has a clean interface with all the powerful plugins that you can imagine to turn your basic WordPress installation into a complete professional-corporate website.

However, WordPress still has one big problem: it’s performance. WP includes some native caching mechanisms but those are not as good as other third party solutions like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache plugins, that can make a huge difference when your WordPress starts having more than 1k posts and 10k visitors per day.

And if you are looking to achieve more performance for your WordPress installation, you’ll have to switch from the old fashioned Apache web server, to the all mighty Nginx, a web server that powers the busiest websites on the internet, and that has became one of the top choices for developers and sysadmins that are looking for better website and server performance.

Nginx can bring you a hole new world of possibilities to your projects, speeding up your performance up to 200% than with traditional Apache installations, Nginx resource usage are really low, it allows you run it as stand alone or as proxy, also has great high performance cache capabilities and it is 100% integrated with different apps and the most popular programming languages. And of course, that includes the number one blogging platform: WordPress.

While you can run WordPress entirely without any kind of Nginx plugins, it requires some expertise and hours of your time. That’s why some people are delighted to make your WordPress experience even easier when you are working with Nginx on the backend.

Today we will show you the Top 5 WordPress plugins for Nginx, to make your life easier when you are powered by this fantastic web server.

Top 5 best Nginx plugins for Wordpress

1. W3 Total Cache: probably the most popular Wordress performance plugin ever created, it allows you to setup different kind of caches like Page Cache, Database Cache, Browser cache, and much more. And of course, it does include native Nginx support. When you install the plugin, it will detect that you are running Nginx and run some operations to create a file called nginx.conf in the root of your website public directory. Nginx.conf will be the key part of your WordPress + Nginx optimization,as 90% of the caching configuration will be placed there.

2. Nginx Helper: this Nginx plugin for WordPress adds really cool stuff to your Wordprss administration by removing the index.php from the permalinks using Wordpres + Nginx. It also adds support for redis-cache with the nginx-srcache-module, also supports nginx fastcgi_cache_purge & proxy_cache_purce cache purging, and allows you to configure the Nginx purging settings.

3. Nginx Cache Controller: is a plugin that provides some functions to get a better cache control over Nginx proxy_cache function. It allows you to send X-ACCEL-EXPIRES on the header, it also allows you to specify the available cache time, and adds a clear cache option on your admin menu bar for fast cache clean up. Some other functions: Nginx proxy_cache automatic purging when you post a new article or someone send you a comment to your blog posts and get IP address of your visitors by adding the HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR variable into your headers.

4. Nginx Mobile Theme: this plugin allows you to switch your WordPress theme according to the User Agent detected on the Nginx reverse proxy. It also allows you customize multiple mobile device support via filter-hook, and to clear the cache of your Nginx proxy_cache from the WordPress admin interface. In order to work properly it requires the Nginx Cache Controller to be installed.

5. Nginx Cache Optimizer: this cool plugin lets you mix two cache mechanisms to make your WordPress faster than ever. First, it uses the proxy_cache feature of Nginx to cache your common information, and then stores more cache data on Memcached, the fastest way to cache on RAM memory. Other features are: purge Nginx cache when content updates are detected (new post created, new comment, etc).

From our experience, the most useful and fast way to integrate Nginx with WordPress is using W3 Total Cache plugin, that also includes, purging, Memcached integration, CDN integration with popular providers like MaxCDN, Akamai, and much more.

Conclusion

Mastering Nginx is not an easy task, you will have to read lot of its documentation to understand how it works, it can take time. And while you start understanding Nginx, it can be really helpful to get some help from Nginx plugins that can help you to manager your Wordpres + Nginx integration, allowing you to manage Nginx stuff like cache, expiration and more directly from your WordPress Dashboard.

Try this Nginx plugins and let us know which one fits you better. If you know any other WordPress plugins that can be useful for Nginx users, please share it using the comments form from below.

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Esteban Borges

Linux Geek, Webperf Addict, Nginx Fan. CTO @Infranetworking

  • Jesse

    Hey Chris! Not sure if you’re still running ScaleScale or not… hope so.

    If interested we released a free Clear Caches plugin for WordPress sites on Nginx:

    https://github.com/littlebizzy/clear-caches

    It supports clearing caches for Nginx, PHP OPcache, and object caches (native WP functions).

    It’s also included (free) as part of SlickStack: https://slickstack.io