Powered Cache 3.4 Turbocharged: Making Your Site Better, Faster, Stronger

I’m thrilled to announce the release of Powered Cache 3.4, marking a significant milestone in our journey to provide you with the most robust and efficient caching solution for your WordPress website. This update is packed with new features, improvements, and fixes to enhance your site’s speed, user experience, and manageability.

Let’s dive into the key highlights of this release.

Replace YouTube videos with Thumbnails

In our quest to make your pages load faster without compromising user engagement, we’ve introduced a new feature that replaces YouTube videos with thumbnails until they’re actively clicked. This not only speeds up page loads but also conservatively uses bandwidth, ensuring a swift browsing experience.

More Control Over Lazy Loading

Understanding the need for flexibility, we’ve added an option to exclude specific images and iframes from being lazy-loaded. This ensures that critical visuals and content are immediately available to your visitors, providing a seamless browsing experience.

Improved Object Cache Management with a Critical Alert System

For those of us leveraging memcached for object caching, we’ve introduced an essential update to help navigate around a common challenge that could inadvertently slow down your site.

Given that memcached has a maximum allowed object size limit of 1MB, it becomes a critical point of concern when the alloptions value exceeds this threshold. Instead of boosting your site’s performance, an oversized alloptions can significantly degrade it by not fitting into memcache. To address this, we’ve implemented a warning system that alerts you when alloptions approaches or exceeds this size. (700KB for warning, 900KB for alerting)

This feature is designed to safeguard your site’s performance by preventing such a critical issue from going unnoticed, ensuring our caching strategy truly optimizes your site’s speed and efficiency. You may also want to use the Performance Lab plugin; it provides a health check for autoloaded options, and you can easily see which option(s) causes the most problems.

Preloader Enhancements

Preloader Request Interval

By adjusting the interval between requests, you can prevent your server from being overwhelmed by too many simultaneous requests. This is particularly beneficial during peak traffic times or on shared hosting environments where server resources are at a premium.

If your site is hosted on a robust server, you might opt for shorter intervals to speed up the caching process. Conversely, if you’re working with limited server resources, setting a longer interval can help mitigate the load.

Previously, adjusting the preloader’s behavior required technical knowledge of hooks and coding. With this feature, control over the preloading process is made accessible to users of all technical levels through a simple settings option, making optimization efforts more inclusive.

Preloader Feedback Message

We know how the preloader has been tirelessly working away in the background, like a silent ninja, optimizing your site’s performance without much fanfare. But, let’s face it, not knowing what’s going on behind the curtain can be a bit unsettling.

That’s why we decided to bring some light to the backstage with a feature that gives you a peek into the preloader’s journey as it processes URLs. Now, while it’s diligently running, you’ll receive friendly nudges, letting you know about the progress being made.

Preloader Cache Footprint

With the “Preloader Cache Footprint” feature in Powered Cache 3.4, we’re adding a sprinkle of clarity to the caching process. Imagine this feature as a gentle whisper, telling you the tales of which pages the preloader has brought to life in the cache.

A small, yet mighty feature to keep you informed.

One-Click Update and Cache Purging

In previous iterations, updating settings and purging the cache were separate steps, but we’ve combined them into a single, efficient action. With just one click, you can now save your new configurations and simultaneously clear the cache. This ensures that changes take effect immediately across your site, and that visitors will be accessing the freshest content without any outdated cache data interfering.

This new button not only saves time but also reduces the complexity of site maintenance, making it an essential update for both novice users and experienced webmasters. It may seem like a small step, but for user experience, it’s a giant leap, reinforcing our dedication to providing practical, user-friendly solutions. (Props @emreerkan, for bringing this idea)

Performance and Strategy Improvements

We’ve refined the page cache purging strategy to be more efficient, ensuring that your cache is always fresh and relevant.

Refined Cache Purging Strategy

With our improved approach to page cache purging, it is more intuitive and effective. The goal is to ensure that your cache reflects the most current and relevant content without holding onto outdated information. This refined strategy intelligently identifies which cached pages need refreshing, reducing the overhead on your server and keeping your site’s content fresh for your visitors.

Optimized Preloading Process

The preloader, an unsung hero in the background, has received a significant tune-up. By minimizing unnecessary requests, it now works more judiciously, focusing its efforts only where needed. This optimization means your server resources are used more efficiently, leading to faster page loads and a smoother experience for your users.

Enhanced Security: Cloudflare Extension Updates with Advanced Encryption

In an era where security is paramount, the Cloudflare Extension within Powered Cache has received pivotal updates to provide even stronger defenses for your digital presence.

Encrypted Cloudflare Credentials

In a significant advancement for data protection, this release introduces robust encryption for Cloudflare API keys and tokens within the database. This pivotal update ensures these vital credentials are fortified against unauthorized access, setting a new standard in safeguarding sensitive information. It addresses a common concern across many plugins, where API credentials were previously stored in plaintext, including in some official solutions.

Exercise caution if a WordPress plugin (including our own) requests Cloudflare’s Global API key; we advocate for the use of API tokens instead of global API keys. Consider a scenario with 100 sites; compromising a single site could potentially endanger the control over the rest. Given that Cloudflare’s Global API keys are now regarded as legacy, it’s smarter to opt for API tokens that offer limited access, particularly as Cloudflare offers a streamlined interface for managing these settings.

I highly recommend to fellow plugin developers to read Felix’s blog post about Storing Confidential Data in WordPress.

Cloudflare IP Verification

In addition to encryption, we have also implemented a stringent IP verification process. This process cross-checks incoming IPs to confirm they are indeed part of the Cloudflare network and restores the client’s real IP when needed.

Revamped Delayed JS Execution

The handling of JavaScript dependencies is more sophisticated, utilizing the defer.js library for improved performance. Certain elements, such as interactivity and image blocks, are exempt from delayed JavaScript execution to maintain compatibility with WordPress core functionalities. Users also gain the ability to set delay JS timeout preferences, offering control over script loading based on timing or user interaction.

Fixes and Updates

  • A fix has been applied to the CDN dropdown width, ensuring a better user interface experience.
  • We’ve addressed a compatibility issue with the core image blocks lightbox feature in lazyload, ensuring seamless integration and functionality.
  • Various dependency updates have been made to keep Powered Cache secure and stable.

Moving Forward Together

Ignore the typos on the image; it’s AI-generated obviously 🙂

Powered Cache 3.4 represents our commitment to delivering cutting-edge solutions that empower you to build faster, more reliable websites. We’re excited for you to experience the improvements and look forward to your feedback.

Upgrade to Powered Cache 3.4 today and elevate your website’s performance to new heights!

Here is the changelog if you want to see the list of changes.

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