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:
- Setup the strategy on all 8 of our live test sites
- Then for the following 3 weeks, gather the load times from our Desktop Speed Test using GTmetrix. Each week we will test from a different location, starting in Dallas, then London and finishing off in Sydney.
- Next measure the impact of each strategy by comparing the average speed before and after
- Ultimately decide whether the strategy works?
Imagify Speed Study
With our 2017 baseline now setup, lets apply our first speed strategy of optimizing the images on each site. What is expected is the page size will reduce, what we are really interested in is how much speed improvement is possible. The plugin we will use for this Speed Study is Imagify, which is a freemium offering from the WP Rocket team.
To kick off this Imagify Speed Study, the first bleedingly obvious step is to install the Imagify plugin. Next I will apply these settings for each of our test sites.
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 our speed changes, as well as compare the 2017 speed to those recorded in 2016?
The Results – 19th February 2017
After 3 weeks of testing, lets take a look at how much of an impact installing Imagify has had on our 8 hosts.
So how did Imagify go? Compared to the speed shown with No Optimizations in Speed Study #8, Imagify has not recorded any noticeable difference. The average speed before and after is exactly the same at 3.00s.
Even when we dig into the 3 locations we test from, the differences are minor for load time. On top of that, there is also no difference in the other factors such as Page Size, Google & Yahoo Scores.
When it comes to making a call on whether Imagify is helpful, the answer seems like No. But until we have completed the same tests on some other Image Optimizers, let’s hold fire and return over the coming months.
Individual Host Performance
Let’s now take a look at how our individual hosts performed:
- The results are actually rather poor when it comes to our individual hosts:
- GoDaddy was the only host to experience an improvement, and it was quite significant at 18%. That was enough to return GoDaddy to the #1 spot, overtaking SiteGround.
- The other 6 hosts all went backwards, with Bluehost being the most impacted, dropping 11%.
- Note: This was the 1st Speed Study for Namecheap after replacing A2 Hosting, therefore no previous speeds to compare to.
- The overall observation from where I sit is that Imagify has negatively impacted 6 out of our 7 hosts. As mentioned above, the recommendation will need to wait until the other Image Optimizers have completed their Speed Studies over the coming months.
- Update: With all testing now complete, check out the results for all 5 Image Optimization plugins side by side.
After the fairly poor showing by Imagify, let’s put EWWW Image Optimizer to the test.
So Speed Study #10 will focus on what speed improvement is possible with EWWW?