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 4 weeks, gather the load times from our Desktop Speed Test using GTmetrix
  3. Measure the impact of each strategy by comparing the average speed before and after
  4. Ultimately decide whether the strategy works?

Speed Study #4: KeyCDN

With the huge success of W3 Total Cache & WP Rocket in Speed Study 2 & Speed Study 3, let’s turn our focus onto CDNs.

The theory here is that by using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) your site’s content can be loaded from multiple locations around the world, rather than just 1. When someone visits the site, the CDN will direct them to the closest location, which results in the site loading quicker. What we’re interested in is how much of an impact will this have and is it worth the cost and effort in setting it up?

To perform this study, I will install KeyCDN on our 8 sites, then apply the same settings. To see what steps were followed, check out How to Setup KeyCDN.

KeyCDN Logo 75

All Setup

I have now followed this process on all 8 of our Live Test Sites.

Next up is 4 weeks of testing – I can’t wait to find out what sort of an impact KeyCDN will have. I am especially interested when we test from Europe and Asia Pacific, which in theory is where we should see the greatest improvement. Time will tell…


The Results – 2nd October 2016

After 4 weeks of testing, lets take a look at how much of an impact installing KeyCDN has had on our 8 hosts. In the table below, I’m comparing the average of the 4 weeks prior when just WP Rocket was setup, with the 4 weeks after with KeyCDN added:

Speed Study 4 - KeyCDN Results Table


So before we get into the details, let’s first remember that W3 Total Cache achieved a massive 37% speed improvement in Speed Study 2 and WP Rocket improved our load times by another 3% in Speed Study 3.

KeyCDN has improved the speed of our 8 hosts by a further 25%. The most noticeable speed improvement occurred in tests ran from Europe and Asia Pacific, while North America was effectively unchanged.

When it comes to making a call on whether KeyCDN is worth installing, I would clearly say YES for the following reasons:

  1. There’s a further 25% improvement in load time
  2. A minor 1% drop in Page Size to help reduce hosting / CDN bandwidth
  3. And once KeyCDN is initially setup, there’s no ongoing effort required 🙂

Individual Host Performance

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

Speed Study 4 - KeyCDN - Individual Host Performance

Major Observations

  • All of our 8 hosts enjoyed a healthy improvement thanks to KeyCDN, ranging from 17% to 33%.
  • We have experienced yet another lead change, with GoDaddy charging up the rankings from 5th into 1st.
  • What is interesting is how close all our hosts are now. The previous difference between 1st & 8th was 0.60s (2.22s – 1.62s), now it’s just 0.20s (1.50s – 1.30s).
  • The overall observation from where I sit is that KeyCDN has performed tremendously well, especially if a portion of your target audience is located in Europe or Asia Pacific!!

What’s Next?

With KeyCDN proving to be so successful, let’s now see how another popular CDN will perform. Speed Study #5 will focus on what speed improvement is possible with CloudFlare?

Speed Study #5: CloudFlare