Setting up W3 Total Cache for Events Manager

W3 Total Cache is currently one of the most popular caching plugins for WordPress. If set up correctly, it can significantly reduce the time it takes to load your website pages as well as the load on your server.

Events Manager and Events Manager Pro already works out the box with W3TC, but there are certain settings, particularly surrounding the CDN which you can tweak and get the best out of both plugins.

This isn’t a comprehensive tutorial and we’re assuming you have already set up W3TC correctly, there are plenty of great tutorials out there already, these are recommendations specifically geared towards sites using both Events Manager and W3TC together.

1. Page Caching? Registered Users vs. Visitors

Page caching can be a great help, since your site is not repeatedly regenerating the same page over and over again. This can really make a difference when you’re displaying many events on one page, or calendars containing hundreds of events, since minimal CPU work is needed to regenerate these pages once cached.

One caveat you may experience is if you’re caching pages for both visitors and registered users. Since Events Manager serves up different booking forms to registered and guest users, some being unique to each visitor, you should not serve cached versions of these pages.

There’s two options here, and the right one really depends on how your website works and what content you display to your registered users vs. non-registered users.

Don’t cache pages for logged in users (recommended)

If you’re displaying different content unique to each user (e.g. the WP Bar at the top, user account info, etc.) then chances are you’ll want to just check the ‘Don’t cache pages for logged in users’ option. Whilst your logged in users won’t get cached pages, this will still help significantly by reducing the load your visitors impose on your servers . Since visitors will always see the same page content you can safely serve them cached pages, including those containing our booking forms etc.

w3tc-cached-users

Cache pages for both registered and guest users

If you can display the same content to both registered and non-registered users, then you will need to prevent event pages containing booking forms form being cached. Also, bear in mind that conditional placeholders such as {is_logged_in} may not work as expected.

You can selectively choose to not cache event pages by adding this to your cache exception list e.g. /events/*

w3tc-cached-exceptions

If you do go this way, you may want to consider changing the permalink slugs of locations and categories (in Events > Settings > Pages > Permalink Slugs in your wp admin area) so they are hosted outside of your events url pattern, so that only single event pages are cached. Since location pages won’t change from user to user then it would be wise to let these pages be cached.

2. Make sure W3TC includes our scripts, styles and images

If you’re using CDN (which is recommended by the way) then you’ll want to make sure that W3TC includes JavaScript, CSS and images which are related to Events Manager.

This is very easy, simply visit the CDN settings page of W3TC and scroll down to the advanced panel and find the Custom file list: option. Enter these values below the ones already there, each on a new line.

wp-content/plugins/events-manager-pro/includes/js/*
wp-content/plugins/events-manager/includes/css/*
wp-content/plugins/events-manager/includes/js/*

w3tc-cached-cdn-custom

If you have been using Events Manager for a while, earlier versions of the plugin used to store images in a specific folder, so you may want to add this line as well:

wp-content/uploads/events-manager/*

3. Make sure thumbnails get cached too

If you’re using TimThumb to cache images, you may also need to add some special rules to your CDN in order for these images to get cached,  we have made a separate tutorial for those using Amazon CloudFront.

Alongside that, you also need to add another rule to the custom file list in step 2:

wp-content/plugins/events-manager/includes/thumbnails/timthumb.php

If you are using normal WP Thumbnails, which you can choose to do in our Settings > General > Performance Optimization (as of EM 5.3.3) settings, then W3TC should already be using the CDN to serve these files.

6 Comments

  1. Cargo Trax says:

    Great blog. I have bookmarked it right away !
    Wordpress has done great thing for our business. I recommened it to everyone !

  2. The w3 total cache is a highly recommended plugin for a faster site/blog load, but it is quite complicated for WP beginners to use effectively. Tutorials like this would be much appreciated!

  3. Pontus says:

    You might want to add that W3TC can create caching issues with the login function (not exclusively the EM login though). I had an issue (in Firefox) where I logged in under the single event page, but nothing would happen = the page would reload and the login form would still be there but with no error message. When I reloaded the page once more or went to a different page and back, the site/event would show me as logged in. This even though I had “Do not cache pages for logged in users” activated. The solution for me was “Flush Cache Login”, a plugin only devoted to solve login caching issues.

    • marcus says:

      Good point but not usually necessary.

      This is an edge case because the form is powered by JS meaning a booking form will work if cached. In your case, something probably caused the JS to break in your theme or another plugin and you have the fallback method. Without caching, you’d get a page reload and the booking is made.

  4. Hi,

    Are the recommendations here still current and up-to-date? I am about to install a CDN and thought it worth checking, particularly the part about updating the custom file list?

    Alex

  5. marcus says:

    Yes, this should all work as before, I don’t think the settings pages on W3TC have changed so the screenshots should also be up to date.

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