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:
- Setup the strategy on all 8 of our live test sites
- Then for the following 4 weeks, gather the load times from our Desktop Speed Test using GTmetrix
- Measure the impact of each strategy by comparing the average speed before and after
- Ultimately decide whether the strategy works?
Speed Study #3: Caching with WP Rocket
With the huge success of W3 Total Cache in the Caching Speed Study completed this week, it proved the value of Caching. So this speed study will look at another Caching plugin, so that we can ultimately find out if WP Rocket can achieve similar or better results.
To perform this study, I will install WP Rocket (a paid WordPress plugin) on our sites, then apply the same settings. To see what steps were followed, check out our tutorial on How to Setup WP Rocket.
I have now followed this process on all 8 of our Live Test Sites. Unlike with W3 Total Cache, where GoDaddy and A2 Hosting were exceptions, this time I was able to install and setup on all of our hosts.
Next up is 4 weeks of testing – I can’t wait to find out how WP Rocket compares to the amazing performance of W3 Total Cache.
The Results – 4th September 2016
After 4 weeks of testing, lets take a look at how much of an impact installing WP Rocket has had on our 8 hosts. In the table below, I’m comparing the average of the 4 weeks prior when W3 Total Cache was setup, with the 4 weeks after changing over to WP Rocket:
So before we get into the details, let’s first remember that W3 Total Cache achieved a massive 37% speed improvement in Speed Study 2. With that in mind, WP Rocket has actually improved our load times by another 3%, which is great to see.
When it comes to making a call on whether WP Rocket works, I would say YES for the following reasons:
- There’s a further 3% improvement in load time (on top of 37% in Speed Study 2)
- Another 9% drop in Page Size to help reduce hosting / CDN bandwidth (on top of 16% in Speed Study 2)
- And once it’s setup, the Caching process is automated, so there’s no ongoing effort required 🙂
Individual Host Performance
Let’s now take a look at how our individual hosts performed with WP Rocket:
- Our hosts had mixed results with WP Rocket, with 6 hosts getting a boost, however InMotion Hosting & SiteGround performed better with W3 Total Cache.
- InMotion slipped from 1st to 3rd, with the fastest host title now belonging to Web Hosting Hub.
- The overall observation from where I sit is that both Caching plugins have performed tremendously well, with WP Rocket just slightly ahead!!
And the Caching Plugin Winner is…
With Caching proving to be so successful, let’s now turn our attention to Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). Speed Study #4 will focus on: What speed improvement is possible with KeyCDN?