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 Vancouver, then São Paulo and finishing off in Mumbai.
  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 #2

Over the last 3 weeks, we have set our hosts a new challenge, and that is how will they perform in new locations around the world. We have performed speed tests exclusively from Dallas, London & Sydney across the last 2 years. So the change up for the 2nd half of 2018, is that we’re going to test from 3 new locations: Vancouver, São Paulo & Mumbai.

We have just completed 3 weeks of testing with WP Fastest Cache installed. It’s now time to give another caching plugin a go.

So this Speed Study will look into how effective Simple Cache is at speeding up our sites from their new locations?

2018 Simple Cache

How to Setup Simple Cache

To kick off this 2018 Simple Cache Speed Study #2, we 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 how much of a speed boost Simple Cache can deliver, and is it more effective than WP Fastest Cache?

The Results – 09 Sep 2018

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

Speed Study 34 - 2018 Simple Cache Results Table


Let’s first see how Simple Cache performed compared to WP Fastest Cache? The average load time across our 3 different testing locations is 2.25s for Simple Cache, which is 17% faster than with WP Fastest Cache setup.

When we dig into the 3 locations we test from, all were faster with Simple Cache, most notably Vancouver and São Paulo, which were respectively 27% and 28% faster.

Interestingly when we look into the other GT Metrix stats, WP Fastest Cache outperformed Simple Cache across Google PageSpeed & especially Yahoo YSlow. Once again, Page Size was effectively unchanged. 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 in favor of Simple Cache.

Individual Host Performance

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

Speed Study 34 - 2018 Simple Cache - Individual Host Performance

Major Observations

  • When it comes to our individual hosts, the comparison between WP Fastest Cache & Simple Cache also favored Simple Cache:
    • 7 hosts experienced faster speeds with Simple Cache, ranging from 0.5% with Bluehost up to a whopping 57% with GoDaddy.
    • Note: It would be fair to assume that something has happened to GoDaddy during the WP Fastest Cache testing period, either a clash with WP Fastest Cache or an unrelated performance issues.
    • The only host to be slower with Simple Cache was Namecheap, which was a fairly minor change of 2%.
  • Once again, SiteGround has come out on top, as the fastest host using both WP Fastest Cache & Simple Cache.
  • The overall observation from where I sit is that Simple Cache has slightly outperformed WP Fastest Cache across the majority of our hosts. Therefore, Simple Cache should be considered the preferred caching plugin.

What’s Next?

With Simple Cache proving to even further improve our site speed, let’s put another Caching Plugin to the test.

So next up, let’s load up Cache Enabler and see whether it proves to be quicker than Simple Cache?

2018 Cache Enabler WordPress Plugin