The Speed Study Goal

My goal with conducting these Speed Studies is to find out which strategies are the best at improving our site speed.

I’ll implement each strategy using the following approach:

  1. Setup the strategy on all 8 of our live test sites
  2. Then for the following 3 weeks, gather the load times from our Desktop Speed Test using GTmetrix. Each week we will test from a different location, starting in Dallas, then London and finishing off in Sydney.
  3. Next measure the impact of each strategy by comparing the average speed before and after
  4. Ultimately decide whether the strategy works?

Kraken Speed Study

With our 2017 baseline setup and both Imagify and EWWW already put to the test, lets try another image optimizer. What we’re expecting to see is the page size will reduce, what will be really interesting is whether there is any real speed improvement. The plugin we will use for this Speed Study is Kraken Image Optimizer, which is a freemium offering with over 20,000+ active installs.

To kick off this Kraken Speed Study, the first step is to remove EWWW and then install the Kraken plugin. Next I will follow these installation & setup steps for each of our test sites.

All Setup

I have now followed this process on all 8 of our Live Test Sites.

Next up is 3 weeks of testing – I am curious to see how much our speed differs between Imagify, EWWW & Kraken?


The Results – 2nd April 2017

After 3 weeks of testing, lets take a look at how much of an impact installing Kraken has had on our 8 hosts.

Speed Study 11 - Kraken Results Table


So how did Kraken perform? The average load time across 3 different testing locations was 3.57s, which is 6% slower than EWWW.

Even when we dig into the 3 locations we test from, all 3 experienced slower results. On top of that, there is also no difference in the other factors such as Page Size, Google & Yahoo Scores.

When it comes to making a call on whether Kraken is helpful, the answer seems as though it is a clear NO. However, in the section below where I break out each of our hosts, this overall conclusion will need to be revised – read on to find out what I’m going on about…

Individual Host Performance

Let’s now take a look at how our individual hosts performed:

Speed Study 11 - Kraken - Individual Host Performance

Major Observations

  • The results are mainly positive when it comes to our individual hosts:
    1. GoDaddy, SiteGround, Web Hosting Hub, Bluehost & Namecheap all experienced minor improvements of between 1% & 12%.
    2. InMotion Hosting & HostGator had minor negative impacts, ranging from 1% to 7%.
    3. But the big news story again, is that DreamHost continues to fall off the cliff!! After dropping from 2.92s to 6.04s between Imagify and EWWW, there is a further fall from 6.04s to 7.87s. We said after the last speed study that we needed to find out if this was a 1 off related to EWWW. The answer is it’s unrelated, so to make a proper apples to apples comparison, I’ve excluded DreamHost in the comparison table below.
  • The overall observation from where I sit is that the difference between EWWW & Kraken is minor, with just 0.04s separating them. As for a recommendation, Kraken is the preferred at this stage, with 1 image optimizer left to test.
  • Update: With all testing now complete, check out the results for all 5 Image Optimization plugins side by side.
Speed Study 11 - Kraken Results Table excluding DreamHost

What’s Next?

With the results for Imagify, EWWW and Kraken all locked in, it’s time to put to the test the final Image Optimizer for 2017?

So Speed Study #12 will focus on what speed improvement is possible with ShortPixel?

Speed Study #12: ShortPixel