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 Rocket 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.

Over the last 5 months of testing we have discovered that Cache Enabler has improved our site speed the most. It’s now time to give a premium caching plugin a go.

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

2018 WP Rocket

How to Setup WP Rocket

To kick off this 2018 WP Rocket Speed Study, we need to install WP Rocket using consistent settings across each site. I used the settings included within our step by step tutorial on How to Setup WP Rocket.

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 Rocket can deliver, and is it more effective than Cache Enabler?

The Results – 23 Dec 2018

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

Speed Study 39 - 2018 WP Rocket Results Table


Let’s first see how WP Rocket performed compared to Cache Enabler? The average load time across our 3 different testing locations is 2.05s for WP Rocket, which is 6% faster than with Cache Enabler setup.

When we dig into the 3 locations we test from, all three were faster with WP Rocket, with Vancouver experiencing the largest difference of 9%.

Interestingly when we look into the other GT Metrix stats, Page Size, Google PageSpeed & Yahoo YSlow Scores all favored WP Rocket. 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 WP Rocket.

Individual Host Performance

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

Speed Study 39 - 2018 WP Rocket - Individual Host Performance

Major Observations

  • When it comes to our individual hosts, the comparison between WP Rocket & Cache Enabler proved that the nearly all of our hosts preferred WP Rocket:
    • 7 hosts experienced faster speeds with WP Rocket, ranging from 1% with HostGator up to 12% with Bluehost.
    • 1 host was 1% slower with WP Rocket, and that was InMotion Hosting.
    • And for the first time, Bluehost was the fastest host across the 3 weeks of testing with WP Rocket. Previously, SiteGround has come out on top as the fastest host using Simple Cache, Cache Enabler, Comet Cache, WP Super Cache & W3 Total Cache.
    • The overall observation from where I sit is that WP Rocket has proven to be the most effective at speeding up our hosts.

What’s Next?

Well that draws a close to 2018, which saw a total of 15 Speed Studies completed. I would say that the overall lesson learnt was WP Rocket has proved to be the fastest caching plugin for our WordPress hosts.

I wish you all the best for the upcoming Christmas & New Year festivities and for an even bigger and better 2019!!

2018 Celebration