How to make X Theme & Cornerstone compatible with W3 Total Cache

If you’re planning on using a WordPress page builder theme you can’t go past X. Themeco’s X Theme and Pro are quickly becoming the most advanced and user friendly page builders WordPress has to offer. Packed with features and constantly evolving in both community and support X is becoming a standard for building powerful WordPress sites without heavy coding.

However Themeco’s own supercharged page builder aka “Cornerstone” does have some plugin compatibility issues. Especially with speed enhancement plugins such as W3 Total Cache, Javascript Optimization and Page Speed Optimization (just to name a few).

In this tutorial we will look at how to make X theme and Cornerstone compatible with W3 Total Cache and other speed optimization plugins you need so you can speed up your site without affecting the page builder.

Cornerstone compatability issues

X theme has some highly advanced built-in software as standard including automatic .css and .js minification and ready to use child themes for making custom edits. Themeco’s dedicated production team works tirelessly to update and improve their software and make Cornerstone one of the best page builders available. However with all of that accessibility and .js power comes some drawbacks.

Cornerstone is notoriously not very compatible with some more advanced speed optimization plugins. This means after you’ve done all that hard work speeding up your site chances are you’re going to run into some compatibility issues later on.

We’ve spent a lot of time learning how to speed up our own Pro Theme site to load in less than a second using Advanced speed plugins such as W3 Total Cache, Javascript Optimization and Page Speed Optimization. But after all that work the page builder was completely unresponsive! And we needed to find us (and you) a real working solution.

Luckily we found a simple fix using the Plugin Organizer.

When utilized this nifty little plugin will allow you full access to all of the speed optimization plugins you like. And make sure everything is compatible with X theme’s Cornerstone and Pro Theme’s Header, Footer, Content Builder arsenal.

Make X theme compatible with W3 Total Cache using Plugin Organizer

Maybe plugin conflict isn’t actually the right word to use here. Technically X theme works well with w3 Total Cache plugins. Things just get rocky when you’re trying to load the page builder when cache plugins are enabled. It’s the cache, especially, which causes problems here making it very difficult to isolate the issue for a direct fix.

Those who have been using X theme for some time would not be a stranger to the message “The preview was unresponsive after loading. This is most often related to a plugin conflict or aggressive page cacheing” and often the only solution is to disable and/or delete the speed plugins entirely. The the page builder and the speed plugins are like two of your friends who really don’t like each other. So we need to find a solution to separate them.

The solution!

Disable all speed optimisation plugins while logged into admin!

By disabling the plugins for the Cornerstone page builder while logged into administrator we can get the best of both worlds – access to Themeco’s page builder and all the speed plugins working nicely in the background.

Thankfully Plugin Organizer will do just that, and it’s not going to add any loading time to your site either. You will be able to work plugin conflict free with the page builder and still have access to all the speed plugins your heart desires.

“The preview was unresponsive after loading. This is most often related to a plugin conflict or aggressive page cacheing”

Using Plugin Organizer to disable W3Total Cache on admin

Plugin Organizer by Jeff Sterup is an advanced plugin organization tool that allows you to disable plugins for selected pages (and URL’s!) for your site. This is an advanced user plugin so take care if you’re trying to use its extra features. If you have a website with a lot of plugins you may benefit from its more advanced functionality. However for today we’re going to take advantage of the plugin filter which is very useful for us.

Step 1. Download and activate Plugin Organizer

Firstly upload and activate the Plugin Organizer plugin. Plugin Organizer is available from the official plugins page. You can download it from, or you can add it directly from the plugins page inside the WordPress dashboard. Simply search “plugin organizer” and it should be the first to show up. Click Install and Activate.

Step 2. Enable Selective Plugin Loading

Next you need to enable a few basic settings. In the Admin Side Menu scroll down to Plugin Organizer > Settings to open up the main settings page. For our use we need to ensure the Fuzzy URL Matching, Selective Plugin Loading and Selective Admin Plugin Loading options are On.

You can use the following settings as recommendations for the remaining options.

  1. Fuzzy URL matching – On
  2. Ignore URL Protocol – Off
  3. Ignore URL Arguments – Off
  4. Only allow network admins to change plugin order – No
  5. Auto Trailing Slash – Off
  6. Selective Plugin Loading – On
  7. Selective Mobile Plugin Loading – Off
  8. Selective Admin Plugin loading – On
  9. Disable Plugins by role – On

Leave all other settings as default.

Step 3. Create a plugin filter for the Cornerstone pagebuilder

Navigate to Plugin Organizer > Plugin Filter in the Admin Side Menu and click on Add Plugin Filter.

Once the Plugin Filter loads scroll down to the Plugin Organizer and enter in the details below.

NAME – Create a name (we used Cornerstone Plugin Filter, but you can make it anything you want).

PERMALINKS – Next we will add your domain which will trigger the filter – (take note if your website is http or https here).

SETTINGS – tick the “Also Affect Children” box.


Step 4 – Select which plugins to disable

Scroll down to the bottom half of the plugin filter to select which plugins to move across. Here you will have the choice to disable just one, some, or all of the plugins.

Select the plugins you would like to move from the Available Items and drag them across to the Disabled Standard – Administrator. In our case we’re only going to move across the plugins which we know are causing conflicts for the page builder.

Now the filter is finished and you can publish!

You will know if it’s worked when the W3 Total Cache menu has disappeared from the admin bars on the left and top of the WordPress administrator screen. You will now be able to work on Cornerstone without it being affected by the speed optimization plugins. W3 Total Cache is still running in the background, so any visitors using your site will still receive the speed benefits here.

How to switch off the filter

If you need to switch the plugin filter off navigate back to the filter and uncheck the “also affects children” check box. This acts as an on/off switch whenever you need to work on the speed plugins instead.

Step 5 – Clear all your caches and test

Now just to be sure it’s all done, clear any cache attached to plugins and completely clear your browser cache. Then navigate to the X Theme content builder and you should be good to go!

Plugin Organizer is open source and free to use, however you can donate to Jeff here.

Extra FAQ’s and troubleshooting

Why can’t I disable the speed plugins on the page builder URL’s?

We tested extensively to see if the plugins could be disabled for specific URL strings, but at every corner we ran into problems. So as a consolation we decided to disable the speed plugins when admin is active. This way the page builder is accessible and on the front end your visitors will always be delivered speedy content because the cache and speed plugins will always be active.

But I’m still getting the message “The preview was unresponsive after loading. This is most often related to a plugin conflict or aggressive page cacheing”

Even after the speed plugins have been disabled you may still be seeing the above messages. If you’re still receiving this plugin conflict message it could be one of the following:

  1. There are additional plugins affecting the page builder. You can test by adding more plugins to the plugin filter here and checking the page builder again.
  2. The browser is being tempramental. You can try returning to the content screen to try another page. If you try and load another page and you’re still having problems then it could also be an issue with your host.
  3. Hosting issues with X theme. If you think this is the case read more below for advice and recommendations.

X theme hosting issues

X theme is a powerful theme and to get the most out of it you also need a powerful hosting solution. With the plugin setup above you can disable all plugins for the page builder URL’s, however you might still have this message pop up from time to time. This can also be due to your web hosting not having enough power to handle the theme.

We are in the process of building a hosting solution specifically for X theme and Pro, which has allowed us to inline critical CSS, async javascript and load our site almost instantaneously. I you would be interested in our hosting solutions and would like to hear updates from us, you can sign up for our newsletter below.

Other compatibility issues

If you have other questions about X theme and Pro compatibility let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.