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 WP Super 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 Cache Enabler & Comet Cache 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 WP Super Cache is at speeding up our sites from their new locations?

2018 WP Super Cache

How to Setup WP Super Cache

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

The Results – 10 Nov 2018

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

Speed Study 37 - 2018 WP Super Cache Results Table


Let’s first see how WP Super Cache performed compared to Cache Enabler? The average load time across our 3 different testing locations is 2.21s for WP Super Cache, which is 1% slower than with Cache Enabler setup.

When we dig into the 3 locations we test from, all three were slightly slower with WP Super Cache, with Vancouver experienced the largest difference of 3%.

Interestingly when we look into the other GT Metrix stats, the Page Size slightly favored WP Super 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 37 - 2018 WP Super Cache - Individual Host Performance

Major Observations

  • When it comes to our individual hosts, the comparison between WP Super Cache & Cache Enabler proved that a majority of our hosts preferred Cache Enabler:
    • 6 hosts experienced slower speeds with WP Super Cache, ranging from 1% with InMotion Hosting & Lightning Base up to 11% with HostGator.
    • 2 hosts were faster with WP Super Cache, ranging from 2% with Web Hosting Hub up to 4% with Namecheap.
    • And once again, SiteGround has come out on top, as the fastest host using Simple Cache, Cache Enabler, Comet Cache & now WP Super Cache.
    • The overall observation from where I sit is that there isn’t much of a difference between WP Super 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 WP Super 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 W3 Total Cache and see whether it proves to be quicker than Cache Enabler?

2018 W3 Total Cache WordPress Plugin