Server side caching: a great way to speed up your site! (Joomla and WordPress optimization experience)

Website visitors have a low attention span. We’ve mentioned many times how crucial it is not to let page load times exceed 2-3 seconds. This was demonstrated by a test done at Amazon which showed that every 100ms increase in load time resulted in a 1% drop in sales. With Amazon’s annual turnover close to $50B, that would result in lost sales of $5B if the site took just 1 second longer to load.

We analyzed our own website, which is based on Joomla Content Management System, and our blog, based on WordPress. We found that even from monitoring locations closest to our servers, there’s a 100ms wait to get first byte. That may sound reasonable, but if the browser is making multiple requests to your website (for media files or javascript, etc.) it reduces full page load times significantly.

After doing some research on Joomla and WordPress performance we found several performance tips for decreasing that load time. One of the important ones is to use server side caching. Fortunately, both applications have caching modules available.

For Joomla we installed a System Cache plugin that comes with Joomla. Details are at With the plugin installed, we saw a nice decrease of about 100 ms in response time, shortly after 12:00.
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On WordPress we used a plugin called WP Super Cache: and after installing it we achieved a noticeable drop in response time for our blog. You can see a ~90% drop at 16:00:

This shows how dramatic load time improvements can be when you use server side caching. If you plan on trying it out, the best way to measure the improvement is with our External and Fullpage monitors.

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