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 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.
- Next measure the impact of each strategy by comparing the average speed before and after
- Ultimately decide whether the strategy works?
2018 WP Fastest Cache Speed Study
In our most recent Speed Study, Comet Cache was able to comfortably outperform Hyper Cache. Now let’s throw another caching plugin into the ring and see which performs better.
So this Speed Study will look into how effective WP Fastest Cache is at speeding up our sites?
How to Setup WP Fastest Cache
To kick off this 2018 WP Fastest Cache Speed Study, we first need to install WP Fastest Cache using consistent settings across each site. I used the settings included within our step by step tutorial on How to Setup WP Fastest Cache.
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 WP Fastest Cache can spring a surprise against the more fancied caching plugins like W3 Total Cache & WP Rocket.
The Results – 07 Jul 2018
After 3 weeks of testing, lets take a look at how our 8 hosts performed with WP Fastest Cache installed.
Let’s first see how WP Fastest Cache performed compared to Comet Cache? The average load time across our 3 different testing locations is 2.73s for WP Fastest Cache, which is 47% slower than with Comet Cache setup.
When we dig into the 3 locations we test from, all were slower with WP Fastest Cache, most notably Dallas which was a whopping 180% faster. It should be noted that there appeared to be issues with clashes between plugins during this first week of testing in Dallas. Even after this had been resolved for London & Sydney, WP Fastest Cache was still slower than Comet Cache.
Interestingly when we look into the other GT Metrix stats, WP Fastest Cache outperformed Comet Cache & Hyper Cache across Page Size, Google PageSpeed & Yahoo YSlow. While these results are useful, they only paint part of the picture. Your actual load time is always the key stat to measure.
So when it comes to making a call on which caching plugin is preferred, the decision is strongly in favor of Comet Cache.
Individual Host Performance
Let’s now take a look at how our individual hosts performed:
- When it comes to our individual hosts, the comparison between WP Fastest Cache & Comet Cache also favored Comet Cache:
- All 8 hosts experienced slower speeds with WP Fastest Cache, ranging from 14% with InMotion up to 129% with HostGator.
- The overall observation from where I sit is that Comet Cache should always be considered the preferred caching plugin.
With the first half of 2018 coming to a close, it’s time for a big change up. For over 2 years, I have been testing exclusively from 3 locations; Dallas, London & Sydney. It’s time for a change!!
So over the 2nd half of 2018, I will be testing from 3 new locations:
- Vancouver, Canada
- São Paulo, Brazil
- Mumbai, India
Our first test will be to turn off all caching plugins, so we can find out the baseline speeds for each of these new locations.