Case Study – How to Speed Up WordPress Site By 3.74s – Part 1 – Lazy Mans Approach

Speedometer iconA few weeks ago I decide to do a case study on how to speed up WordPress site by making a few changes to your existing website. Bloggers are always talking about having to upgrade their hosting plan to optimize their site speed however those getting started may not be able to invest in a high cost monthly hosting plan. Right now I’m using GoDaddy as my hosting provider – current plan is Ultimate.

What I did was calculate my current site speed measuring it using Pingdom.com, WebPageTest.org and GTMetrix.com. After calculating average starting site performance, I made 6 adjustments to my blog within WordPress before retesting calculating the average during each stage.

There are two parts to this Case Study.

Part 1: The lazy mans approach to speed up WordPress site. This optimization only involves updating and removing junk on your site. I’ll be installing two plugins to speed up WordPress. Very basic optimization tweaks for those that have little time.

Part 2: Advanced WordPress optimization implementing recommendations provided by Pingdom.com, WebPageTest.org and GTMetrix.com. This will be a step-by-step walkthrough on how you can apply the same changes to your site. After each recommendation is fixed, I’ll retest using all 3 speed tools.

Let’s get right to it…Here is Part 1 In Full…

Calculating Performance:

I tested my current site speed using Pingdom.com, WebPageTest.org and GTMetrix.com. I wanted to calculate my average loading time before making any changes within WordPress. I ran the test using each tool 8 times scattered throughout the day. Each stage of testing lasted 2-3 days before making my first adjustment within WordPress and then resuming my testing.

Altogether there were 6 stages during Part 1 of this Case Study…here are the stages

  • Average Load Time Before Starting Case Study
  • Deleting Theme Files
  • After Removing Deactivated Plugins: 6 PLUGINS
  • Updating WordPress and Plugins Installed
  • After Installing JPEG Compression – Ewww Optimization Plugin
  • Quick Cache (Speed Without Compromise)
  • Final Breakdown of Statistics & Performance
  • Part 2- WordPress Optimization Case Study – Step -By-Step Correcting the Recommendations

Information Display:

You’ll notice that with each test I’ve displayed numbers. Here is what you’ll find:

  • Stage # and Description of Adjustment
  • Speed Tool
  • Images of All (8) Tests Performed (click to enlarge image)
  • Time in Seconds as Represented on Each Image
  • Average Time Added and Divided by 8
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Stage 1 – Current Load Time (Total of 24 Trial Runs)…

Pingdom.com (8):

 

 

 

Time in Seconds: (4.37)+(5.49)+(3.17)+(4.21)+(5.85)+(2.54)+(12.65)+(4.51)

Average Time = 42.79/8 = 5.34s

WebPageTest.org (8):

 

 

 

Time in Seconds: (14.42)+(33.56)+(16.01)+(110.58)+(14.91)+(16.36)+(24.40)+(12.49)

Average Time = 242.73/8 = 30.34s

GTMetrix.com (8):

 

 

 

Time in Seconds: (5.46)+(5.38)+(5.04)+(8.36)+(4.60)+(7.01)+(9.11)+(4.48)

Average Time = 49.44/8 = 6.18s

Stage 1 complete.

Stage 2 – Deleting Theme Files (Total of 24 Trial Runs)…

Pingdom.com (8):

Site Speed Overview - Pingdom_4Site Speed Overview - Pingdom_3Site Speed Overview - Pingdom_2Site Speed Overview - Pingdom

 

 

Site Speed Overview - Pingdom_THEME_8Site Speed Overview - Pingdom_7Site Speed Overview - Pingdom_6Site Speed Overview - Pingdom_5

 

Time in Seconds: (4.86)+(5.00)+(9.91)+(9.25)+(4.86)+(4.66)+(5.14)+(3.17) 

Average Time = 46.85/8 = 5.85s

WebPageTest.org (8):

Site Speed Overview - WebPageTest_4Site Speed Overview - WebPageTest_3Site Speed Overview - WebPageTestSite Speed Overview - WebPageTest_2

 

 

Site Speed Overview - WebPageTest_9Site Speed Overview - WebPageTest_8Site Speed Overview - WebPageTest_5Site Speed Overview - WebPageTest_7

 

Time in Seconds: (4.87)+(6.20)+(6.39)+(6.27)+(20.56)+(35.45)+(4.62)+(4.94)

Average Time = 89.30/8 = 11.625s

GTMetrix.com (8):

 

 

 

Time in Seconds: (3.99)+(3.88)+(3.78)+(6.07)+(3.76)+(3.73)+(3.45)+(3.75)

Average Time = 32.41/8 = 4.05s

Stage 2 complete.

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Stage 3 – Update WordPress and All Active Plugins (Total of 24 Trial Runs)…

Pingdom.com (8):

 

 

 

Time in Seconds: (4.50)+(5.70)+(2.79)+(4.78)+(4.02)+(4.86)+(2.71)+(4.86)

Average Time = 32.22/8 = 4.27s

WebPageTest.org (8):

 

 

 

Time in Seconds: (42.07)+(6.11)+(6.12)+(5.10)+(13.97)+(16.57)+(14.58)+(20.56)

Average Time = 125.08/8 = 15.63s

GTMetrix.com (8):

 

 

 

Time in Seconds: (5.10)+(5.26)+(5.43)+(56.03)+(5.19)+(4.55)+(8.39)+(13.05)

Average Time = 103/8 = 12.87s

Stage 3 complete…

Stage 4 – Deleting 6 Deactivate Plugins (Total of 24 Trial Runs)…

Pingdom.com (8):

 

 

 

Time in Seconds: (3.28)+(3.39)+(4.33)+(8.44)+(2.61)+(3.19)+(4.66)+(4.32)

Average Time = 34.22/8 = 4.27s

WebPageTest.org (8):

 

 

 

Time in Seconds: (15.13)+(18.28)+(15.73)+(16.64)+(13.42)+(17.56)+(16.00)+(15.94)

Average Time = 128.70/8 = 16.08s

GTMetrix.com (8):

 

 

 

Time in Seconds: (5.32)+(9.38)+(5.45)+(5.12)+(5.04)+(4.84)+(10.11)+(4.81)

Average Time = 50.07/8 = 6.25s

Stage 4 complete…

Stage 5 – Installing JPEG Ewww Optimization for Wordpress (Total of 24 Trial Runs)…

Pingdom.com (8):

 

 

 

Time in Seconds: (2.49)+(2.82)+(2.94)+(6.93)+(4.39)+(9.57)+(4.66)+(5.49)

Average Time = 34.63/8 = 4.32s

WebPageTest.org (8):

 

 

 

Time in Seconds: (17.83)+(13.71)+(15.12)+(14.11)+(13.35)+(16.52)+(12.74)+(14.26)

Average Time = 117.64/8 = 14.70s

GTMetrix.com (8):

 

 

 

Time in Seconds: (4.04)+(4.73)+(11.08)+(6.89)+(4.13)+(4.62)+(4.80)+(5.96)

Average Time = 46.25/8 = 5.78s

Stage 5 complete…

Stage 6 – Installing Quick Cache (Speed Without Compromise) (Total of 24 Trial Runs)…

Pingdom.com (8):

 

 

 

Time in Seconds: (3.85)+(1.62)+(3.23)+(1.82)+(1.83)+(4.91)+(1.71)+(1.60)

Average Time = 20.57/8 = 2.57s

WebPageTest.org (8):

 

 

 

Time in Seconds: (12.25)+(13.13)+(11.67)+(12.69)+(14.11)+(11.26)+(14.68)+(12.82)

Average Time = 102.61/8 = 12.82s

GTMetrix.com (8):

 

 

 

Time in Seconds: (6.84)+(5.66)+(3.82)+(5.36)+(5.97)+(7.39)+(6.68)+(4.80)

Average Time = 46.52/8 = 5.81s

Stage 6 complete…

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Final Breakdown of Statistics & Performance:

pingdom-logo

 

Original Load Time:  5.34s (No Adjustments)

  • Stage 2 – 5.85 (Delete Theme Files)
  • Stage 3 – 4.27 (Update WordPress & Plugins)
  • Stage 4 – 4.27 (Delete 6 Deactivated Plugins)
  • Stage 5 – 4.32 (Installing JPEG Optimization)
  • Stage 6 – 2.57 (Installing Quick Cache)

Final Load Time: 21.28/5 =  4.25s (+1.09)

webpagetestlogo

 

 

Original Load Time:  30.34s (No Adjustments)

  • Stage 2 – 11.625 (Delete Theme Files)
  • Stage 3 – 15.63 (Update WordPress & Plugins)
  • Stage 4 – 16.08 (Delete 6 Deactivated Plugins)
  • Stage 5 – 14.70 (Installing JPEG Optimization)
  • Stage 6 – 12.82 (Installing Quick Cache)

Final Load Time: 70.85/5 =  14.17s (+16.17)

gtmetrix_logo

 

Original Load Time:  6.18s (No Adjustments)

  • Stage 2 – 4.05 (Delete Theme Files)
  • Stage 3 – 12.87 (Update WordPress & Plugins)
  • Stage 4 – 6.25 (Delete 6 Deactivated Plugins)
  • Stage 5 – 5.78 (Installing JPEG Optimization)
  • Stage 6 – 5.81 (Installing Quick Cache)

Final Load Time: 34.76/5 =  6.95s (-0.77)

Concluding Part 1- The Lazy Man’s Approach

After making basic changes to my WordPress blog, using Pingdom.com as the indicator, I’ve shed 1.09s off my load time. I’m still not happy with the results because my goal is to be between 50%-75% faster than most of the other websites.

My current load time after making these adjustments is: 4.25s (Pingdom.com). I fall roughly into the 25% column.

Check out this graph I’m using to compare my data:

page speed load time equation

Provided by Moz.com

  • If your site loads in 5 seconds it is faster than approximately 25% of the web
  • If your site loads in 2.9 seconds it is faster than approximately 50% of the web
  • If your site loads in 1.7 seconds it is faster than approximately 75% of the web
  • If your site loads in 0.8 seconds it is faster than approximately 94% of the web

What’s Next…Part 2 (Coming Aug 20th)

Case Study – How to Speed Up WordPress Site By 20% – Part 2 – Advanced Optimization

This will cover how making changes recommended by Pingdom.com, WebPageTest.org and GTMetrix helps optimize my WordPress site. It will take some work and I’ll display my implementation process step-by-step so you guys know exactly what to do.