September 25, 2014
We recently migrated several of our managed websites over to WP Engine. We’d heard of page speed improvements noticed by other web developers to their own websites, although we remained skeptical and avoided turning suddenly optimistic. We’ve counted too many fruitless attempts to accelerate loading times in the past. Besides, page loading speed wasn’t the main reason for moving the websites from HostGator to WP Engine.
In the end though, we welcomed this added benefit of hosting with WP Engine, which is undoubtedly confirmed by the Googlebot itself. Just check our Webmaster Tools’ data below of the improved page speed for our websites.
TradingGraphs.com: The financial blog’s page speed experienced a spectacular improvement. Googlebot now spends less than a second to crawl a page on average, when it used to spend more than four seconds for the same task.
StoiximaOnline.com: This Greek blog certainly benefited by the migration, as the new WP Engine server is now located in UK, compared to HostGator’s default location of Texas. Given the blog’s main traffic comes unsurprisingly from Greece, visitors saw a dramatic improvement in page speed, leading them to check out more pages per visit. And more pages/visit means more pageviews/day even with the same incoming traffic, hence more revenue per month! Yet, a regular visitor of the website does not come from Greece. Googlebot noticed that page loading speed was significantly increased, leading to 60% reduced time spent downloading a page. As a consequence, Googlebot now crawls twice the pages it used to crawl per day, indicated by the charts at Webmaster Tools.
Other websites saw similar improvements in their loading times, although not that noteworthy.
Does hosting with WP Engine improve the page speed of your website or blog?
Chances are that your website page speed will most probably increase. Note that several factors affect page speed, not just the hosting server. Before hosting our websites with WP Engine, we had optimized page loading speed via popular WordPress plugins, like Total Cache, by reducing images’ size, caching with CDN and installing speed-optimized themes by ThemeForest. We even tried Nginx for WordPress instead of resource-hungry Apache configuration!
You may not notice a significant change in your Google Analytics data though. Our own data suggests that visitors continue accessing the websites at the usual speeds, unless Analytics’ data are off.
We recommend checking the data at Webmaster Tools alternatively. More specifically, we are interested in the ‘Crawl Stats’ tab, where ‘time spent downloading a page’ is found. If the chart shows a declining line such as in the charts above, you can be sure your website’s page speed has improved. Even if your visitors do not concur, Googlebot’s activity is an undeniable proof.
In Google’s eyes your website speed has increased. As page speed plays a crucial role in search engine rankings nowadays, we wouldn’t be surprised if your page rankings will have a boost.
People over at WP Engine celebrate OctoberPress Hosting Fest and offer a discount code good for 3 free months of hosting with an annual hosting plan! The personal plan starts at $29/month, so the ‘OctoberPress14‘ discount code will save you $87 when you sign up for a year.
Photo by Alejandro Mejía Greene.