A short while ago I reviewed the W3 Total Cache plugin for WordPress.
Careful chappie that I am, I always review the source code of new articles immediately after they’ve been published, to make sure all my on-page SEO stuff looks OK.
So I was a bit surprised when I reviewed the source code of my last article and found a series of CSS files, which shouldn’t have been there because they’d been added to the Minify function of W3TC.
Or so I thought!
After a bit of hunting around, it turns out that Thesis automatically applies a date stamp to the CSS files whenever they’re updated. This shows up as a string of numeric characters that are appended to the file name and extension – like this:
During the process of setting up W3TC you’ll remember that you need to find your CSS and JS files and add them to the appropriate fields in the Minify settings page.
This works perfectly well – unless, of course, you change the filenames!
So, because Thesis appends these date stamps, it’s changing the filename – which W3TC therefore sees as a different file and doesn’t include in the Minify process unless you manually add it.
And, because it’s not in the Minify process, it sits in your source code as a normal CSS file.
Long story short, Chris Pearson is, as we speak, writing a filter which will be released in a new build of Thesis and will address this problem – hopefully this week.
In the meantime, if you’re a Thesis user and experiencing the magical re-appearance of CSS files in your page source, simply add the ‘new’ CSS files to Minify.
Adding these files to the Minify section restores your site’s performance (which does get slightly degraded once the duplicated files are created) and doesn’t have any negative effect.
Or, at least, hasn’t had any negative effects on this site!
I have about 4 versions of the same CSS files added to Minify for this site now
As soon as the new filter is released I’ll add an update to this article. So if you’re interested in getting it, leave a comment, click subscribe to comments, and I’ll add the update and leave a comment once it’s available.
(Clicking ‘subscribe to comments’ will ensure you’re notified by my comment when the new filter is ready).