Speeding Up WordPress

I decided to try out Ricardo Galli Granada’s WordPress Cache (WP-Cache) plugin and see how much speed it actually added to my blogs’ load times.

As the plugin advertises, WordPress is already pretty trim when it comes to MySQL database calls and PHP pagination, so this plugin is really only useful on high activity sites, or sites with really slow servers. My blogs are in the middle, and so neither of these situations really apply. But I tested it anyway.

Some notes on the tests

The first two tests were done recording total load time of the page. The WP-Cache plugin will not cut down on the load times of JavaScript files or images, which usually are the bulk of load times. However, good browser caching and keeping JavaScript libraries to a minimum can help with those.

The Tests

Testing on Post: China: “Give us your weird, your bizarre, your fuddled masses…” | 258 KB | www.TheHumanaught.com
Without plugin the average load time was: 14.18s
With plugin the average load time was: 7.49s

Testing on Post: Free Stock Photography | 112 KB | www.DaoByDesign.com
Without plugin the average load time was: 3.34s
With plugin the average load time was: 3.04s

I decided to see the actual HTML load difference, and it is considerable, though on a small scale. Using the same post as the last test (yesterday’s post on this blog), the average HTML load time was 1.91s without the plugin, and 19ms (0.19s) with it.

Conclusions

With attention spans roughly the length of a toddler’s shoelace, every millisecond counts in getting your page up and in front of your visitors’ lovely faces. As such, I’ll be holding on to this plugin and keeping an eye on its performance over time.

For anyone curious on how to check the load times of their pages (in a variety of ways), you should get the Firebug plugin for Firefox. It is absolutely essential for any Web developers, as it allows you to “edit, debug and monitor CSS, HTML and JavaScript live in any Web page.”

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