WordPress is an amazing platform to create websites but it’s not perfect as it is. There are certain tweaks and changes that are needed to get the best out of the most popular CMS in the world.
WordPress cache plugins are one of the most common tools that are used to enhance website performance in terms of speed. These cache plugins reduce website load time which dramatically improves the user experience.
Cache plugins saves the dynamically generated HTML files and delivers them from the cache rather than requesting them every time a visitor hits your website. This directly impacts the load time of the website.
There are a number of popular WordPress cache plugins like WP Rocket and W3TC. But today, we are going to look at a new entrant in the caching industry, Swift Performance.
Swift Performance – WordPress Cache Plugin
Swift Performance is one of the latest addition in the WordPress plugin library. There are two version of this plugin:
Swift Performance Lite
Swift Performance Pro
Swift Performance Lite is the free version of the plugin and is available on the WordPress repository.
Swift Performance Pro is the premium version of this plugin with price starting from $29.
Note: For this review, we will be using Swift Performance Pro
Before moving on to the actual testing of the plugin, let’s have a look at some of the features of Swift Performance Pro
Smart Caching System
Swift Performance offers an intelligent caching system where it allows users to cache AJAX requests and dynamic pages. The plugin also lets users to set rules if they don’t want some files to be cached.
Swift Performance is compatible with WooCommerce, bbPress, Cloudflare and Varnish.
The most common cause of increased load time is heavy images on a website. Swift Performance provides customizable image optimization without any limit on the number of images.
The plugin lets users set the desired quality of the images and optimize the existing images automatically.
A major reason behind slow websites is the cluttered database. This is why Swift Performance offers a built-in Database optimizer to clean useless data like duplicated data and spammy comments.
Useless plugins cause websites to load slowly. Swift Performance disables all the plugins that are no longer used and only activates them when they are needed.
Testing Swift Performance Pro
Keeping all the features aside, it’s now time to put Swift Performance to test. We will be testing website speed under a number of circumstances to get a clearer picture of how good this plugin actually is.
We will be using Cloudways to host our staging website. Let’s check out some of the built-in features that Cloudways offers to better understand the testing environment.
- MySQL (You can choose MariaDB later on)
- FREE SSL certificates by Let’s Encrypt
Here are the server and application specifications:
- 1 GB Digital Ocean Server
- 25GB Harddisk
- Server Location: London, UK
- WordPress version: 5.0.1
We have imported 100 dummy pages on our staging site using FakerPress to make the site heavy.
Note: We have used Pingdom as our speed test tool. The location we have selected is London, UK.
Now, we will be testing Swift Performance Pro under four different scenarios:
Scenario 1:Staging website with Varnish enabled and Swift disabled
Scenario 2: Staging website with Varnish enable and Swift enabled
Scenario 3: Staging website without Varnish disabled and Swift disabled
Scenario 4: Staging website without Varnish disabled and Swift enabled
We have created these scenarios because Varnish has a huge impact on site speed. Testing Swift Performance Pro with Varnish enabled won’t give a clearer picture of how good the plugin is. Which is why we have disabled Varnish and tested the plugin again.
Scenario 1: Varnish Enabled and Swift Disabled
In this scenario, we have disabled Swift Performance to see how the website performs without any cache.
Scenario 2: Varnish Enabled and Swift Enabled
In this scenario, we have left Varnish enabled and have activated Swift Performance Pro.
We can clearly see that there is a difference in load time when Swift Performance is enabled.
Scenario 3: Varnish disabled and Swift disabled
For this scenario, we will disable Varnish because in the previous tests, Varnish contributed a lot to the reduction in page speed. To get a clearer picture, we have taken this added step.
The Cloudways platform allows users to easily disable Varnish at a click of a button.
Now that we have disabled Varnish, let’s see how our website performs without Swift Performance.
Scenario 4: Varnish disabled and Swift enabled
In this scenario, we have kept Varnish disabled and activated Swift Performance Pro.
Here, we can see how Swift Performance Pro performs without any assistance from the server side. There is a clear difference between the load time of the website when Swift Performance Pro is used.
It is pretty evident that Swift Performance Pro is an impactful WordPress cache plugin that efficiently reduces the load time of the website. After seeing these results, I am more than willing to use this cache plugin myself.
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