UPDATED: We Improved Our Load Time by Over 75% – You Can Too!

In the tech world SEOAndy does what is called eat your own dog food – put simply this means being the trail subject for things before our clients are. So today I want to share one example of this strategy and how it’s seriously paid off – the result is in the headline, but here’s what we did.
A while back we upgraded our servers, one of the reasons was speed – you can read about it in our blog about how pagespeed can effect business income – since then we’ve constantly wanted to get more from our new managed surroundings to enable a better user experience for our clients website visitors. Ultimately, a faster website should mean more leads.

Today we made the move to find a better plugin to cache and speed up our website. After speaking with our managed server hosting provider, SWB, we decided to try WordPress Super Cache.

The results we’ve achieved are nothing short of amazing. Plus the plugin is less bulky and so less likely to go wrong!

Here’s what we did:

  1. Removed W3 Total Cache, our existing plugin. – creates a clean slate.
    Deactivate Plugin, Delete Plugin, Delete Cache Folders, Remove References in .htaccess
  2. Installed, & Activated WP Super Cache
  3. Basic Setup of WP Super Cache
    In Basic, Turn on Caching (Save)
    In Advanced…
    Toggle to “use Mod_rewrite”
    Toggle on all recommended sections
    Update Status
  4. Mod_rewrite changes
    You will be made aware changes are needed to enable mod_rewrite in .htaccess, scroll down the page and click to update the file.
    Note: sometimes permissions wont let this, copy everything in the green box and paste into your .htaccess file
  5. Remove Rejected User Agents
    3/4 the way down the page is a section called rejected user agents, delete everything and press update.
  6. Click CDN (if you use a cdn)
    Input your URL for the CDN pull (you will get this from your CDN provider – we use MaxCDN)
  7. Click Pre Load
    Enter a time of “10080” (1 week), Toggle to Pre Load Mode, Update Settings & Preload Cache
  8. Thats It!

In seven steps, that took around 15 and we achieved a page speed of 5.1 seconds, down from 21.8 seconds before the change in plugin.

That is 76.6% FASTER!!!

Can You Achieve This Speed Saving?

The first thing we need to say here is that not all sites are equal and that not all pages within a site are equal. We tested this using one of our most popular blogs, the seven features of a successful website, as you can see at 20mb it was a big one. But some of our clients have pages of 100mb or more, it the nature of what they do – other sites have pages that are just a few megabytes – we’ve on that is in kilobytes!

This all means that not all web pages will see the same increase in performance, our 100mb client see’s a performance increase somewhat more than 76%, but Subscription Coffee (1.99mb) saw only a 36% speed difference. But the important thing is that they all see a positive difference in moving to WP Super Cache.

Our test was carried out on a managed server, the same one we use for other large clients mentioned in the test above, but we’ve also tried this on shared hosting today and saw similar results – ranging from 15% speed increase to 40% increase in speed.

Give WordPress Super Cache a try and let us know how you get on.

UPDATE – We’re Now Even Faster! Boom!

ultra fast wordpress page speed

Following the original post (above) we have continued our hunt for the best “cache plugin” around for WordPress. By this we mean 2 simple things: speed & easy to set up.

A new plugin, a premium paid-for plugin, was recommended to us. WP Rocket.

WP Rocket claims many features over it’s competitors, two examples I find pretty awesome are Google Fonts Optimisation and DNS Prefetching. With a great list of features I expected this wordpress plugin to be a pain to set up, but it took around 5 minutes to install and configure – this isn’t as quick as WP Super Cache but is impressive.

And that result! 4 Seconds!

That is a stonking 81.7% increase in speed from having no caching plugin. That is also a further 5% increase in page speed on top of the speed WP Super Cache gives.

Conclusion: WP Rocket costs $39 per year (£25) and produces pretty fantastic results. However, the reality is that WP Super Cache is pretty awesome and it’s FREE!

For any site that operates for a medium to large size business (or enterprise) WP Rocket has to be the way to go. For bloggers and small businesses WP Super Cache is pretty damn good, and if you feel the need for speed you can always upgrade.


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