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, use hourly monitoring via GT Metrix to independently gather the load times. To eliminate the possibility of location bias, I change the test servers each week, 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?

KeyCDN + Cloudflare + W3 Total Cache Speed Study

With Cloudflare proving to be a massive boost to speeds across all Caching solutions, let’s see how a traditional CDN like KeyCDN will go?

To kick off this KeyCDN + Cloudflare + W3 Total Cache Speed Study, we first need to setup KeyCDN. Once that’s complete, we then integrate it into W3 Total Cache. With Cloudflare already setup, I followed our step by step tutorial on How to Setup KeyCDN with W3 Total Cache 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 of an impact adding KeyCDN will truly have?

The Results – 16th Sep 2017

After 3 weeks of testing, lets take a look at how our 8 hosts performed with KeyCDN paired with W3 Total Cache & Cloudflare.

Speed Study 19 - KeyCDN + Cloudflare + W3 Total Cache Results Table


So how did KeyCDN perform when it was added to W3 Total Cache & Cloudflare? Well surprisingly worse, with the average load time across 3 different testing locations clocking in at 1.07s, which is 4% slower than W3 Total Cache & Cloudflare only.

When we dig into the 3 locations we test from, Dallas was the only location to improve by 1%, while dropoffs in speed were seen in London & Sydney of 2% & 9% respectively. Page Size & Google PageSpeed Scores were slightly worse off, while Yahoo YSlow Scores was slightly better.

So when it comes to making a call on whether KeyCDN was beneficial, the decision is really easy: NO!!

Individual Host Performance

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

Speed Study 19 - KeyCDN + Cloudflare + W3 Total Cache - Individual Host Performance

Major Observations

  • The results with KeyCDN are predominantly slower when it comes to our individual hosts:
    1. GoDaddy was the only host to experience a slight improvement in speed of 4%
    2. InMotion Hosting & HostGator were unchanged
    3. The other 5 hosts experienced slower speeds, ranging from 6% with Bluehost up to 9% with Web Hosting Hub & SiteGround.
  • The overall observation from where I sit is that KeyCDN did NOT improve speeds when paired with W3 Total Cache & Cloudflare.

What’s Next?

With KeyCDN proving ineffective with W3 Total Cache, lets find out if it’s helpful when paired with WP Super Cache.

So Speed Study #20 will focus on what speed improvement is possible when we bring WP Super Cache, Cloudflare and KeyCDN together?

Speed Study #20: Cloudflare + WP Super Cache + KeyCDN