One of the biggest issues I have had with THE Canadian Personal Finance Site is that it loaded like a pig (i.e. very slowly), and it frustrated me to no end that I might be losing potential readers because of this, so I have undertaken a small experiment using this site and my finance site to see whether there is a large difference between WordPress Cach’ing plug-ins or not.
Performance Optimization WordPress Plugins by W3 EDGE
On this site I am running W3 Total Cache and it seems to be a very “hands on” cache’ing system with lots of Knobs and Buttons to press if you want. It creates its own “Performance” menu where you can adjust things and you get a bunch of very useful info about what is going on with the cache and how you might improve your site’s performance. There is also a lot of opportunity to buy services from the Plug-in provider, but for now I am happy with what I am seeing (after a week of running).
On installation I’d say it was pretty straight forward, didn’t seem to create too much excitement, but it seems all of the cache’ing plug-ins have their own little “issues” with specific files in your WP-CONTENT directory or the actual CACHE directory that they are proposing to use. This is not something for a WordPress Neo-phyte to try, but I was OK with it (I view myself at the informed twiddler level).
There are plenty of metrics including Google Page Speed analysis capabilities which is useful to have (and can’t hurt in terms of Google getting more info about your site). If you look at the Google Pagespeed insights page this site gets rated 78 out of 100 with issues with Server Response Time and other issues, this seems OK, however not as good as I had hoped.
This plug-in cache’ing system is being run on The Canadian Personal Finance Site, and it seems to be making the site much quicker than it has been. Running and using this plug-in is fine for folks who don’t get too scared by WordPress, and it installed OK as well, however, it needed to have a specific file moved to be fully functional. I had to use an FTP client to move things around but it did seem to start up no problem after this small adjustment.
There is a set of useful menus which are pretty easy to navigate and in fact you can stay on the “EASY” menu and make the whole thing work without having to become too much of a wizard on things.
So far this seems to be helping speed up the site a great deal with Google Page Speed saying the home page is now a 94 out of 100 in terms of speed (it was much lower before I installed the Plug-in). I suspect this might be the right choice for the site and I am using the PHP cach’ing level (not quite the fastest but almost), and I will continue to monitor the performance week by week.
I am also interested in any opinions from any of my readers as well (in the comments).