Optimize WordPress For Speed: Case Study

Hello Everyone! I’m proud to present my complete case study on how to Optimize WordPress For Speed. In this case study, we will take a slow WordPress website. We will test the effectiveness of the Swift Performance PRO plugin on the website’s speed and optimization score.

Optimize WordPress For Speed: Environment Setup

Before we dive down to the case study, allow me to present the testing environment:

  • Latest WordPress release at the time of writing this case study. Version Number: 5.2.4
  • Solid Hosting Plan, The testing is done on my development server, which is quite the beast. However, in order to duplicate the most common environment. I’ve set up a separate account on my shared hosting server. Meaning, this is the most common of hosting types you will encounter and use for your website. Shared Hosting(Multiple clients per host).
  • Dummy Data Being Used is the official Woo Demo products CSV file found here: sample CSV file + duplication to add more content
  • DB Size after Dummy DEMO content upload: 12mb
  • Installation Size After dummy demo content upload: 250mb
  • Products: 61
  • Posts: 107
  • Pages: 28
  • Number Of Plugins: 16
    • WooCommerce
    • YITH
    • WPForms Lite
    • WP Mail SMTP
    • WooCommerce Stripe Gateway
    • WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips
    • Variation Swatches for WooCommerce
    • WooCommerce – ShipStation Integration
    • MC4WP: Mailchimp for WordPress
    • iThemes Security
    • WooCommerce Services
    • Google Captcha (reCAPTCHA) by BestWebSoft
    • Elementor
    • Polylang
    • Duplicate Post
    • YITH WooCommerce Wishlist

Finally, you should know I messed up this website pretty good 🙂 more than usual. I did it on purpose, to push things to the extreme.

The Demo Content

This Demo installation represents a common WordPress website. Moreover, you should know im not going to perform any “manual” optimization. The purpose of this case study is to see the effects of the swift performance caching plugin without any other interference or developer work. Finally, The website is not pretty to the eye, its not its purpose. However, it is filled with relevant and common elements you will find in REAL LIVE WEBSITES. Making this case study as real as it can get! (Carousels, sliders, product and post grids, counters, images, buttons, accordions, tabs and more)

Staging Links:

If you can’t wait and read through the case study and you want to see the final results, you can check out the versions of the WordPress website below.

On one hand, we have the version Without Optimization

on the other hand, we have the version which was Optimized By Swift Performance

Now that we got all the technicalities out of the way, we can finally begin!

Initial Website Speed Results Without Optimization by Swift Performance

Im going to go right on ahead and run the website trough 3 website page speed engines.

Be advised, im testing from EUROPE, my server location is closer to Europe than it’s to the USA.

  • GT Metrix
  • Pingdom
  • Webpage speed test

let me point out right from the bat, the results arent pretty at all. We will start with the test from gtMetrix.

wordpress page speed optimization

The GT Metrix score, well, it’s pretty bad, to say the least. Let’s see what Pingdom tells us.

optimize wordpress website speed

Surprisingly, Pingdom wasn’t very harsh on us. Nevertheless, it’s not an optimal page speed score. Moving on to WebPageSpeedTest.

wordpress website optimization

Our final page speed result, and as you can see we got an F on 2 critical factors. That’s not good.

In conclusion of our initial test results, Well, they are pretty bad. This website is not up to the standards and search engines will probably “look down” on it. Resulting in your website ranking poorly if at all.

WordPress Speed Optimization Plugin – Swift Performance

I duplicated our website to a new domain(It has its own duplicated DB and installation root folder). This version will have Swift Performance installed. Let’s begin with the results. We are going to use the same website speed testing tools as we used above.

Let me tell right off the bat, the results are spectacular!!! let take a look at the results, Now keep in mind, the only thing I’ve done on this version is to install the swift performance pro plugin. The rest of the data is the same. Same Plugins, products, dummy data, posts, scripts, themes, styles, etc.

The difference is just amazing, it really gets the job done. Moreover, I got to say it’s super fast. Take a look below.

Firstly, Lets Test at GTMetrix:

wordpress theme optimization

The difference is amazing. Even I was surprised. Moreover, take a look at the comparison table below. On one hand, we got the results from the not optimized version. On the other hand, we got the version that was optimized by the Swift Performance Pro plugin. Not dont be alarmed by the placeholder image showing the site to be broken, its one of the most amazing features of swift called: LOAD CRITICAL CSS ON SCROLL(gtMetrix crawl BOT doesn’t scroll the page that’s why the rest of the CSS wasn’t loaded fully). if you enter the website you see that everything is normal 🙂

Website VersionPage Speed ScoreYSlow ScoreLoading TimePage SizeNumber of Requests
Not OptimizedF(23%)E(56%)15.5s8.90MB332
Optimized By SwiftC(76%)A(90%)1.9s889KB10

Secondly, We Got Pingdom:

Swift performance

Our second test result on the optimized version is also excellent! Like I said before, the difference is jaw-dropping. Especially on page size, the number of requests and loading time! basically everything. Moreover, I have collected the data of this test in a table as well, for your convenience.

Website VersionPerformance Grade Loading TimePage SizeNumber of Requests
Not OptimizedC(71%)3.67s6.6MB280
Optimized By SwiftA(93%)1.32s1.7MB27

Lastly, Lets Test at WebPageTest:

wordpress plugin for speed optimization

Last but not least, the WebPageTest tool, we got 3/3 guys. I consider these results to be perfect.

Website VersionFirst Byte TimeKeep-AliveCompress TransferCompress ImagesCaching
Not OptimizedFAABF
Optimized By SwiftAAABA

Well, we reached the end of our testing process. The results were pretty much conclusive. Finally, let’s move on to the final part of this case study and have a few words about the results.

Optimize WordPress For Speed: Case Study Results

Well, it has been quite a ride. We started off with a very bad and disastrous website. What I wanted to check in this case study, is, if the installation of the WordPress page speed plugin called Swift Performance could really solve problems right off the bat. Apparently, as we saw here together, it can! To tell you the truth, I was quite a skeptic, I did think it would make a difference. However, I didn’t expect it to be soo significant.

Moreover, I did also believe that a developer’s help will be required on a website in such a poor state. (like the one we used in our case study). In addition to being wrong on this one, I was also surprised for the good.

In conclusion of our case study: Optimize WordPress For Speed

To sum up, I really hope you enjoyed this case study. Even I got surprised today by the big impact and difference the Swift performance plugin can make. My final conclusion is that it’s awesome in addition to getting the job done perfectly it’s also lightweight. This is a breath of fresh air, due to the fact that WP Rocket has been at the top of the optimization plugins for WordPress. It now has a worthy competitor, I even might say, a winner. What do you think?

Feel free to comment and express your opinions in the comment section below.

Finally, a little bonus for those who want to get the Swift Plugin, you can use my 40% partner discount code on all plans here: SWIFT PERFORMANCE COUPON 2019 40% OFF , Another Article About WordPress Optimization Here.

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