Factors to Consider
Before I show you the results I should mention that this is still an ongoing process. I’m still learning new tricks, testing out different plugins, and doing what I can to try and get the website to load consistently at around 2 seconds – in the U.S. and Europe. There are a lot of pieces of the puzzle to consider when it comes to improving load times – below is a highlighted list:
Your Host – This is a big piece of the puzzle here on how fast you can get your site to load. If your on a shared host like I am? I can and do get around a 2 second average. It still spikes up due to the fact that the server tends to get pretty loaded during certain times of the day. If your business can justify the cost then I would still suggest moving off to a dedicated service such as WP Engine.
Use of a CDN – A Content Delivery Network can help offload server loads on your web server and also help load your site quicker to locations outside of the country of origin. I’m using a combination of CloudFlare and MaxCDN to help do this. There are other great solutions out there from Amazon, Google, Cloudfront just to name a few.
How Much Traffic? – This helps determine how fast your website will load as well. Considering I have a fairly low amount of traffic lately its easier for me to get better performance. The more traffic you receive the more your server will need to work. So load times will slowly start to increase. Although I’ve had up to 50-70 UV’s (at the same time) here on Host Gator and there were no issues.
Wait – CloudFlare AND MaxCDN?
Yup, I started using both. Why? Well… it goes like this:
Read More: CloudFlare Review – Does it Really Work?
Since the two Services really are separate from each other. I figured why not try using both and see what happens?
They aren’t the uber fast times in milliseconds you would get with having a highly optimized dedicated server(s). I am able to get a pretty consistent 2 seconds load time**. And this is on a pretty loaded shared web server with lord knows how many other sites on it with Host Gator. Also its important to note that I made sure to clear my cookies/cache etc. before testing on each site. I also ran the tests one after the other from each site to try and keep things fair.
I was shocked the first time I noticed a sub 2 second report from Pingdom. I usually have so much crap running on the site due to testing plugins etc that it is usually around 5-10 seconds depending on the day. So when I saw this I was extremely pleased. For me 2 seconds is the magic sweet spot I’ve been looking for.
I’ve never had such a low score from GTmetrix! At 1.43 seconds I think its pretty respectable from the usual 4-6 second load times I usually get from them. And no I didn’t hammer the site until it loaded a cached version of the site and snap a screen. I hit the button and prayed like mad I finally had things setup and optimized correctly!
Google Page Speed
I really dislike Google Page Speed. I’ve had it to where both scores were in the upper 80’s. You know what I really dislike? When they state that the issues needed to be addressed ARE THERE OWN ADVERTISING… I guess that means in order to get a perfect score I’d need to drop Adsense, Google Fonts, and my G+ authorship as well? Sometimes Google frustrates me to no end.
The reason why the Mobile score is so low? Look at the “I Broke It” section below to get an explanation.
Were you aware that Google’s Adsense even offered you a performance scorecard as well? With the improved page speed and tweaks that I’ve done over the past months Adsense loves the website now. The only thing hurting me? Mobile user experience. Check the section below on why the “Multi-screen” section isn’t scoring as high.
** Note: If the server or network is getting hammered? Then you can watch the load times go back up to the usual 5 seconds +/-.
BTW – I Broke Stuff
This is still an ongoing journey. StudioPress released to an update to the Genesis child theme I’m using and its finally re-done in HTML5/CSS3. So I’m working on converting the site to it. I still need to find better ways to offload work/optimize the web server so I can get the speeds down even more.
As I find out even better ways to improve WordPress Load times even more – I will definitely share them with you. Do you have any tips for me? Drop me a comment!