SexyBookmarks and W3 Total Cache – The Battle

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plugin conflict sexybookmarks and w3 total cacheNo, it’s not a new online game. But I recently decided to run W3 Total Cache here at LoneWolf’s LMA.

And it didn’t play well with SexyBookmarks (is it just me, or is that kind of delicious name for a plugin 8=)

The Great Plugin Conflict

I installed the cache shortly after upgrading to WP 3.3, so at first I thought it was a problem with that. But my other sites that run both SexyBookmarks and WP 3.3 weren’t having any problems, so I turned back to the caching plugin.

The problem was that the icons for the bookmarking weren’t showing up on my posts. I did some digging and found that people using CDN with W3 Total Cache were having similar problems with their SexyBookmarks. But since I’m not using a CDN yet, the solutions that they presented didn’t solve my problem.

I looked at the source that was being served and it appeared that all the html and javascript for the SexyBookmarks was in the HTML received by the browser, but it wasn’t displaying. So there was something interfering with the javascript that displays the icons somehow.

So, here’s the conundrum. I want to run the cache to speed up response time of the site. This is good for SEO and user experience. It also saves the load on the server (so when I become incredibly popular my site won’t crash 8=)

But, the sharing icons are very important as well. In fact, it is critical to make sharing easy to build SEO in today’s world. So I need something there. And I really like SexyBookmarks. Not just the name, but the look of it as well. It is flexible and integrates well into my sites. But I was looking at the possibility that it would have to be replaced.

Getting Support

I decided it was time to contact support. I figured that the people at Shareaholic must have dealt with this before, so I left a support ticket there. Unfortunately, with the holiday season in full swing it kind of slipped through the cracks. But I finally heard back from them today (and we got it sorted out when they pointed me in the right direction).

In the short term, I added the ShareBar plugin to get the big social media names up there. I like it so much that I plan on keeping it up in addition to SexyBookmarks. I think they compliment one another quite well.

Anyway, back to the battle.

The Shareaholic rep reported that they were unable to find any reported problems with W3 Total Cache and SexyBookmarks other than those relating to the CDN. She tested on a test machine and couldn’t see the same problem.

But she was pretty sure that it had something to do with the minify options for W3 since Shareaholic already minifies the code that they use. She gave me a few things to try out (including going back to the Twenty Ten theme to see if there was a theme conflict).

The first thing I did was to tell W3 to leave the SexyBookmarks code alone when minifying. I went to the Minify tab of the W3 Total Cache plugin admin and added “wp-content/plugins/sexybookmarks/*” to the Never minify these pages list. Clear the cache, reload the page and voila — still no bookmarks 8=(

Dang! I was sure that was it.

So I went back to make sure I typed it right. It was fine.

More head scratching. Clear the caches again — selected Clear All Caches this time. Still no joy.

Scrolling through the General tab of the W3 settings and there it was! Minify mode! There is a line beside this option (which can be set to Auto (the default) or Manual).

Select manual mode to use fields on the minify settings tab to specify files to be minified, otherwise files will be minified automatically, but will not use the CDN.

Basically, this is telling me that if I have the mode set to Auto it will ignore everything on the Minify tab and just try to minify everything!

Sure enough, I changed this setting to Manual, cleared the cache and I was back in business!

Now, I did have another entry in the Never minify these pages list which may have been what is needed. The contents of that field are now:


So you might get by with just the first entry in that list, provided the Minify mode on the General tab is set to Manual.

But I don’t mind having the extra line in there. Shareaholic has everything minified already so that isn’t going to hurt anything.

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SexyBookmarks and W3 Total Cache – The Battle — 12 Comments

  1. I have a love-hate relationship with W3 Cache myself, Bill.

    It does help the loading speed quite a bit, but it also interferes with a number of plugins, including CommentLuv.

    By the way, wanted to thank you for your continuous support of Traffic Generation Cafe!

    • I hadn’t heard that it interferes with CommentLuv. I’m assuming that you’re talking about the Premium version.

      One other area that I saw it affected was that sometimes it will corrupt my .htaccess file. That’s not good at all. I had to disable it on one of the blogs I was using it on because of it. It was probably due to a conflict with another plugin or the theme, but I didn’t want to mess with it since it was for my wife’s business.
      Bill (LoneWolf) Nickerson recently posted…Integrity Marketing – Is This The Internet You Want?My Profile

  2. I am glad I found this, I am having some problems with W3 Total Cache already, and am looking at both SexyBookmarks and CommentLuv.

    My current problem with W3 Total Cache has to do with first byte time and time to first view. It is worse with w3TC then without… A real puzzle.

    Thanks for posting how to solve the problem with SB. Very pertinent to my work on our site.

  3. Bill,

    Great article…but are you sure you’re even minifying *any* Javascript at all now? If you select “Manual Mode” on W3’s “General Settings” tab, you then need to specify all Javascript files that you actually *want* minified in the “JS” section of the “Minify” tab–at least, that’s my understanding.

    I think the plugin might be working for you now because you’re not modifying *any* Javascript at all.

    I could be wrong, but have a look.


    P.S. I’m having the same problem you’re having (with Sexy Bookmarks). Thus, why I ended up on your site…. 🙂

    • Hi Mike

      You’re probably right about not minifying any of the javascript, but I’m not too concerned about that at this point. I’d rather have no minifying than no bookmarks. At least I get the caching benefit of W3.

      I find the admin pages a tad vague for W3.

      • Hi Bill, gathering from your situation above I’d suggest you take a look at the little understated “Help” button on the Minify page… it’ll look at your site and recommend bundling up the scripts it sees.
        By selectively excluding the bookmarking script you’ll get the caching without the problems. Worked for me.

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