Overall performance improved more than two and a half times from the end user’s perspective
We recently moved two client sites from a major host to our hosting server. This gave us a good chance to compare performance between their server and ours, using the same exact code base, line for line.
Both sites had caching software: the major host site used WPSuperCache, our sites use Google PageSpeed (optionally), which works at the web server level.
So the first thing we did was run a web crawler to download all the pages and images from the web site:
|Site||Number of Files Served||Total Time||Network Speed|
|Site One on Major Host||153||1m 16s||1.24 MB/s|
|Site Two on Major Host||228||2m 13s||860 KB/s|
|Site One on Applied Autonomics LLC Secure Server||118||30s||4.40 MB/s|
|Site Two on Applied Autonomics LLC Secure Server||196||58s||3.08 MB/s|
The difference really shows up when you look at the side by side chart (in seconds, lower is faster):
These results are similar to the end users experience, since the web crawler pulled entire pages at a time.
One of the things that you can do to make pages load faster is to cache (preload), combining files, and optimizing content. We do this at the server level.
At the major host, the sites used WPSuperCache. WPSuperCache is a WordPress plugin that allows caching at the site level. Although it is one of the best solutions available, you see that the server based cache, using our configuration, did a better job of optimization and file combination. This means that the end user’s browser has to download fewer files. So our hosted sites load faster (and if it is a repeat visitor, sometimes the files do not have to be downloaded, as we tag the files so that the browser can keep local copies).
Hardware and network also make a difference. We spend the money, and use high-speed servers with solid state disks (data is stored in chips, not spinning platters) and high speed network connections. This shows in the network speed.
We use metrics based management of our processes. Hosting is a process, so we spend considerable amount of time and detail on optimizing each and every setting. One advantage of automation and standardization, is that when we learn something at one site, all clients benefit.
The speed of a site really makes a difference to the end user. A client’s site is the 24×7 live window into their business, and is often a first impression. These are good results, but we will not slack in continuing to improve, and delivering more value to our clients.performance 1