How We Cut WordPress Load-times By 50%

Infra, Making websites run faster

Websites thrive or fail on site speed.  A lightning fast site is sleek, and improves the user experience, making conversions of any kind more likely as a result of reduced friction.

Slow site performance will lose users, and can severely impact a businesses bottom line.  Users today expect to have websites load fast. Anything else is frustrating, looks unprofessional, and encourages visitors to click away from your site, and over to a faster competitor.

1 in 4 visitors abandon a website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load, and visitors lost is money lost. There’s a huge amount of research proving that optimising your site speed is one of the most affordable, and highest ROI investments a business can take.

At Code4 we pride ourselves on making sites run fast.  In fact we’ve always made it our focus to ensure your website is backed by solid infrastructure. 

One way we do that is by using the best tools and platforms.  In one of our more recent searches for faster platforms, we came across Kinsta, and frankly, we were blown away by it.

While a highly valuable tool for publishing content, traditionally WordPress has had a reputation for being slow and for this we’ve held back on recommending it in many cases. Thankfully with this discovery we’re now able to support it in more cases, which, while still not the perfect CMS, is often a time and money saver for our clients.

How we measured this.

Of course, it’s easy to run tests and extract the most incredible metric (you know, the one makes the sale) and for that we used several measures to ensure we weren’t just seeing things (that we wanted you to see). Our first measure is the before and after snapshot speed. This is primarily used to ensure the migration was successful but also acts as our proof-point against what we expected from the move.

Pingdom page speed performance improvement before and after migrating to Kinsta.
Pingdom page speed performance improvement before and after migrating to Kinsta.
Here we've used Pingdom.com's free page speed tool to measure instantaneous page load speed before and after migration to Kinsta. This is just one metric we might use, additionally we'll also use Google Lighthouse which is built into Chrome

More importantly is aggregate change over time, for simply measuring a single page load time from one device (that is typically on a very fast connection) is far from the real world conditions that we need to improve for. For this we used the Google Analytics page load metric as it allows us to compare a window of time since the migration with the same window before the migration. A neat little trick we implemented to improve the accuracy of this metric was to increase the setSiteSpeedSampleRate() at least a week prior to the migration so that we could compare with a larger sample than the default 1% that Google Analytics samples.

Before and after page load metrics of Wordpress websites that Code4 has migrated to Kinsta.
Closer attention needs to be paid to the core performance metrics that are 'Avg. Page Load Time' and 'Avg. Page Download Time'. In some cases 'Avg. Redirection Time' increased as the migration also involved moving to HTTPS, which creates in effect redirects every page request while caches and indexes are updated to reflect the new secure URLs.

Why Code4 uses Kinsta

  1. Speed obsessed architecture.  Kinsta employ state of the art tech and are seemingly always testing the latest tools and protocol versions to push the limits of their incredible infrastructure.
  2. Highly secure network. They implement a number of active and passive measures to stop attacks.  Continuously monitors for up-time, detects DDoS attacks (you don’t want this), regularly scans for malware and adds hardware firewalls to keep your site safe.   This means that your site is monitored and secure all day, every day, 365.
  3. Use of Google Cloud.  Everything on Kinsta is connected through Google Cloud, which is designed to minimise distance and hops between your users and the data centre. This results in your data being transported faster and more securely.
  4. Unrivalled scaling. Traffic is usually predictable, but Kinsta is prepared for even the most unpredictable traffic surges – whether they’re called by something going viral or a new product launch.  This means that even in extreme scenarios your site will be able to handle whatever the internet throws at it.

That’s why we prefer Kinsta. It truly gets results.  After moving many clients over, we’re pleased to report that reliably we see improvements in page load times of at least 30%. The results vary widely for each website has unique properties that may or may-not be affected by the default Kinsta advantages. And so, from here we’re often able to improve performance further by activating other optimisations such as image compression, asset consolidation and caching techniques, but that’s for another time.

Speed sells.  So if you’re fighting the WordPress slug, get in touch!

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