WP Rocket is one of the best known and most popular performance optimization plugins for WordPress. It is a commercial plugin in a field where there are indeed solid free options, so many people are left wondering if it is worth it.
In terms of what it does, it takes care of all of the basics. That includes:
- Caching. This is it’s main function. Also includes advanced rules to take fine-tuned control of the caching.
- Media. Lazy loading images, iFrames and videos.
- Database optimization and cleanup
- CDN integration. Can offload assets to your CDN automatically. Optionally, automate it using their own RocketCDN service.
- Heartbeat control.
To be clear, none of these functions are exclusive to WP Rocket. However, I will say that it does a very good job of implementation. The caching is extremely fast. And they have designed the interface and documentation to be very user-friendly for people who don’t understand all of the geeky terminology.
WP Rocket also does a good job of playing with others. For instance, they maintain inclusion and exclusion lists to ensure their caching doesn’t break other third-party plugins and services. They update it every week. This does a good job of ensuring WP Rocket will work well right out of the box without breaking other plugins.
I do think a little too much of the backend interface is dedicated to cross-sells and advertising. It is a commercial company, so some of that is to be expected. However, there is valuable screen space taking up advertising things like RocketCDN and Imagify (their image optimization plugin).
There are also optimizations I’ve seen in alternatives that are not included in WP Rocket. For instance, there’s no options for disabling unused Wordpress components, controlling remote fonts, or a script manager for plugins to control where and when they load. Perhaps they just consider that beyond the target audience of WP Rocket and they’re just trying to do the big things really well. If you want those kinds of fine-tuned controls, you’d need another performance plugin.
All in all, I think WP Rocket shines as a powerful and user-friendly caching and performance plugin that does a good job of… just working. It is designed mainly for people who just want it to work without having to become an uber-nerd to figure it out.