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 Comet Cache Speed Study #2

For the 2nd half of 2018, 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 is that we’re now going to test from 3 new locations: Vancouver, São Paulo & Mumbai.

We have just completed testing of Simple Cache & Cache Enabler and discovered that Cache Enabler improved our site speed the most. It’s now time to give another caching plugin a go.

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

2018 Comet Cache

How to Setup Comet Cache Enabler

To kick off this 2018 Comet Cache Speed Study, we need to install Comet Cache using consistent settings across each site. I used the settings included within our step by step tutorial on How to Setup Comet 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 Comet Cache can deliver, and is it more effective than Cache Enabler?

The Results – 21 Oct 2018

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

Speed Study 36 - 2018 Comet Cache Results Table


Let’s first see how Comet Cache performed compared to Cache Enabler? The average load time across our 3 different testing locations is 2.24s for Comet Cache, which is 3% slower than with Cache Enabler setup.

When we dig into the 3 locations we test from, all three were slightly slower with Comet Cache, with Vancouver experiencing the largest difference of 10%.

Interestingly when we look into the other GT Metrix stats, the Page Size slightly favored Comet Cache, while both Google PageSpeed & Yahoo YSlow Scores were exactly the same. 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 slightly in favor of Cache Enabler.

Individual Host Performance

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

Speed Study 36 - 2018 Comet Cache - Individual Host Performance

Major Observations

  • When it comes to our individual hosts, the comparison between Comet Cache & Cache Enabler surprisingly slightly favored Comet Cache:
    • 5 hosts experienced faster speeds with Comet Cache, ranging from 0.2% with InMotion Hosting up to 3% with Lightning Base.
    • 3 hosts were slower with Comet Cache, ranging from 0.1% with SiteGround up to a significant 27% with HostGator.
    • And once again, SiteGround has come out on top, as the fastest host using Simple Cache, Cache Enabler & Comet Cache.
    • The overall observation from where I sit is that there isn’t much of a difference between Comet Cache and Cache Enabler. The only clear call you could make here is that if your host is HostGator, Cache Enabler is strongly recommended.

What’s Next?

With Cache Enabler slightly edging Comet Cache when it comes to improving our site speed, let’s put another caching plugin to the test.

So for our next Speed Study, let’s load up WP Super Cache and see whether it proves to be quicker than Cache Enabler?

2018 WP Super Cache WordPress Plugin