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?

2018 WP Super Cache Speed Study

We have just completed the reset of the baseline speed by removing all speed optimizers. We are now ready to kick off the 1st speed study of 2018, where we’ll discover how much of an impact adding WP Super Cache will have on our site speed?

WP Super Cache

How to Setup WP Super Cache

To kick off this WP Super Cache Speed Study, we first need to install WP Super Cache. I followed our step by step tutorial on How to Setup WP Super 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 what sort of an impact WP Super Cache will have?

The Results – 11 Feb 2018

After 3 weeks of testing, lets take a look at how our 8 hosts performed with WP Super Cache installed.

Speed Study 25 - 2018 WP Super Cache Results Table


Let’s first see how WP Super Cache performed compared to No Optimizations? The average load time across our 3 different testing locations is 2.09s for WP Super Cache, which is 35% faster than with No Caching / CDN Optimizers setup.

When we dig into the 3 locations we test from, all experienced speed improvements, ranging from 33% faster in Sydney through to 38% in Dallas. The 3 other metrics of Google PageSpeed Scores, Yahoo YSlow Scores and Page Size were all predominantly unchanged.

So when it comes to making a call on whether WP Super Cache was beneficial, the decision is easy -> YES, as expected, WP Super Cache comfortably outperformed having no caching plugin.

Individual Host Performance

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

Speed Study 25 - 2018 WP Super Cache - Individual Host Performance

Major Observations

  • The comparison between No Optimizations & WP Super Cache are all favoring WP Super Cache when it comes to our individual hosts:
    1. All 8 hosts experienced faster speeds with WP Super Cache, ranging from 10% with Lightning Base & GoDaddy up to 61% with HostGator. It is worth noting the impressive turnaround for HostGator, going from one of the slowest hosts with No Optimizers, to being the fastest with WP Super Cache on board.
  • The overall observation from where I sit is that WP Super Cache is the preferred option for all hosts.

What’s Next?

With WP Super Cache proving how beneficial Caching Plugins can be, let’s find out how a competitor will go?

So Speed Study #26 will focus on what speed improvement is possible when we use W3 Total Cache?

2018 W3 Total Cache