Trusted WordPress tutorials, when you need them most.
Beginner’s Guide to WordPress
25 Million+
Websites using our plugins
Years of WordPress experience
WordPress tutorials
by experts

How to Add Expires Headers in WordPress (2 Methods)

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on WPBeginner. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations. Learn more about Editorial Process.

Do you want to learn how to add ‘expires headers’ in WordPress?

Expires headers are rules that let web browsers know whether to load a web page resource like images from the visitor’s browser cache or from your server. These can help improve the performance of your site.

In this article, we will show you two ways to add expires headers in WordPress.

How to Add Expires Headers in WordPress

How Are Expires Headers Used in WordPress?

The first time someone visits a web page on your WordPress website, all of the files are loaded one by one. All of these HTTP requests between the browser and your WordPress hosting server increase the web page loading time.

Browser caching stores some or all of those files on the visitor’s computer. That means that the next time they visit the page, the files can be loaded from their own computer, boosting your WordPress website performance and improving user experience.

Now you might be wondering how the browsers know which files to save and how long to keep them. That’s where ‘expires headers’ come in.

The rules about which files to save and how long to save them are set using either expires headers or cache-control headers. In this article, we will focus on expires headers because they are simpler to set up for most users.

Expires headers set an expiration date for each type of file stored in the browser cache. After that date, the files will be reloaded from your server to give visitors the most recent version of the page.

We will show you how to add expires headers using two different methods. The first method is easier and recommended for most users. You can click the links below to jump ahead to your preferred section:

Video Tutorial

Subscribe to WPBeginner

If you’d prefer written instructions, then just keep reading.

Method 1: Add Expires Headers With WP Rocket WordPress Plugin

WP Rocket is the most beginner-friendly WordPress caching plugin on the market. Once enabled, it works immediately to improve your website speed without having to mess with complicated configuration settings like many other caching plugins.

WP Rocket is a premium plugin, but the best part is that all features are included in their lowest plan.

HP Rocket

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the WP Rocket plugin. For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once installed and activated, WP Rocket will automatically turn on browser caching. By default, it adds expires headers and cache-control headers with the best settings to speed up your WordPress site.

That’s all you need to do. If you want to learn more about the plugin, then see our guide on how to properly install and set up WP Rocket in WordPress.

If you’d prefer to use a free caching plugin to add expires headers to your website, then we recommend you take a look at W3 Total Cache.

W3 Total Cache offers some of the same features as WP Rocket, but it’s not as beginner-friendly. You will have to manually enable expires headers since it doesn’t enable them automatically.

Method 2: Add Expires Headers in WordPress Using Code

The second method to add expires headers in WordPress involves adding a code snippet to your WordPress files. We don’t recommend it for beginners since a mistake in the code could cause serious errors and break your site.

Before making these changes, we recommend that you first back up your WordPress site. For more details, see our guide on how to back up and restore your WordPress site.

With that said, let’s take a look at how to add expires headers by adding code to WordPress.

Determine if Your Website is Running Apache or Nginx

First, you need to figure out whether your website is using Apache or Nginx servers. You need to browse to your website, right-click the page, then select the ‘Inspect’ option.

Right Click the Inspect Option

Next, you need to click the ‘Network’ tab at the top of the page.

You may need to refresh the page for the results to load.

Click the Network Tab

After that, you can click your domain name at the top of the ‘Name’ column.

Then you should scroll down to the ‘Response Headers’ section and check for an item called ‘server’.

Check the Response Headers Section

This will show you which web server is being used. In this case, the site is running on an Nginx server.

Now that you know which web server your site is using, use the links below to jump ahead:

How to Add Expires Headers in Apache

To add expires headers to an Apache server, you need to add code to your .htaccess file.

To edit this file, you need to connect to your WordPress hosting account with an FTP client or your host’s file manager tool. You will find your .htaccess file in your website’s root folder.

Find .htaccess in the Root Folder

Note: Sometimes, the .htaccess file can be hidden. If you need help finding it, then see our guide on why you can’t find .htaccess on your WordPress site.

Next, you need to add expires headers to turn on browser caching. This tells the web browser how long it should store your website resources before they are deleted.

You can add the following code near the top of your .htaccess file:

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/png "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/svg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType text/css "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/pdf "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/javascript "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-javascript "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access 1 year"
ExpiresDefault "access 3 days"

These values should work fine for most sites, but you can adjust the time periods if your needs are different.

Notice that the code sets different cache expiry dates based on the type of file. Images are cached longer than HTML, CSS, Javascript, and other file types because they usually stay the same.

How to Add Expires Headers in Nginx

If you are using an Nginx server to host your WordPress blog, then you need to edit the server configuration file to add expires headers.

How you edit and access this file depends on your host, so you can reach out to your hosting provider if you need help accessing the file.

Then, you need to add the following code:

location ~* \.(jpg|jpeg|gif|png|svg)$ {
  expires 365d;

location ~* \.(pdf|css|html|js|swf)$ {
  expires 3d;

This code will set the expiration times for the different file types. Notice again that images are cached longer than HTML, CSS, JS, and other file types since images usually stay the same.

We hope this tutorial helped you learn how to add expires headers in WordPress. You may also want to see our ultimate WordPress security guide to improve your website security and our expert pick of the best email marketing services to grow your traffic.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us. Here's our editorial process.

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

The Ultimate WordPress Toolkit

Get FREE access to our toolkit - a collection of WordPress related products and resources that every professional should have!

Reader Interactions

7 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
    Every month, our top blog commenters will win HUGE rewards, including premium WordPress plugin licenses and cash prizes.
    You can get more details about the contest from here.
    Start sharing your thoughts below to stand a chance to win!

  2. Jiří Vaněk says

    I would like to ask where the error could be. I have Expire headers set in htacess. Directives are fine. Even so, AIO SEO keeps telling me that they are not set. Where to look next?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      We would recommend reaching out to AIOSEO’s support to make sure there isn’t a detection issue you are running into with your site’s specific setup.


  3. Ivan Gneiding says

    I added the code into .htaccess (apache server) but still complaining about expires headers. What else should I do?
    Thanks in advance.

  4. Lasha says

    Many people have problems with expire headers and this is a great guide. But for this kind of thing, I always prefer plugins then manual code injections.

Leave A Reply

Thanks for choosing to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our comment policy, and your email address will NOT be published. Please Do NOT use keywords in the name field. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.