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 Simple Cache Speed Study

In our most recent Speed Study, W3 Total Cache was surprisingly able to outperform WP Rocket. Now let’s throw another caching plugin into the ring and see which performs better.

So this Speed Study will look into whether Simple Cache can speed up our sites more than W3 Total Cache?

2018 Simple Cache

How to Setup Simple Cache

To kick off this 2018 Simple Cache Speed Study, we first need to install Simple Cache using consistent settings across each site. I used the settings included within our step by step tutorial on How to Setup Simple Cache.

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 whether Simple Cache can spring a surprise against the more fancied W3 Total Cache.

The Results – 15 Apr 2018

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

Speed Study 28 - 2018 Simple Cache Results Table


Let’s first see how Simple Cache performed compared to WP Rocket? The average load time across our 3 different testing locations is 1.90s for Simple Cache, which is 7% slower than with WP Rocket setup.

When we dig into the 3 locations we test from, all experienced drops in speed, with the most noticeable being Sydney which was 12% slower.

It was the same story when we look into the other GT metrix stats, with WP Rocket being more effective at reducing the Page Size, and much higher scores for Google PageSpeed & Yahoo YSlow.

So when it comes to making a call on which caching plugin is preferred, the decision is easy -> WP Rocket.

Individual Host Performance

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

Speed Study 28 - 2018 Simple Cache - Individual Host Performance

Major Observations

  • When it comes to our individual hosts, the comparison between WP Rocket & Simple Cache are predominantly favoring WP Rocket:
    1. The exceptions were Lightning Base, GoDaddy & Namecheap, which were 1% to 2% faster with Simple Cache setup.
    2. The remaining 5 hosts experienced noticeably slower speeds with Simple Cache, ranging from 5% with Bluehost & HostGator up to a whopping 32% with Web Hosting Hub.
  • The overall observation from where I sit is that WP Rocket is the preferred caching plugin.

What’s Next?

With WP Rocket proving to be faster than Simple Cache, let’s find out if we can find another caching plugin that can go faster?

So Speed Study #29 will focus on what speed improvement is possible when we use Cache Enabler?

2018 Simple Cache WordPress Plugin