It’s been just over a week since I started my Virtual Private Server (VPS) on DigitalOcean and created this blog. Since then I’ve written a few blog posts and added a few plugins. An interesting thing occurred that has somewhat consumed me…watching my 362 ms +/- response time skyrocket to a high of 1,201 ms. What the hell!
Granted 1,201 ms still bests almost all of my other websites with 2 different hosting companies, but the whole point of paying for a VPS was to get kick-arsh performance.
A quick Google for “Best WordPress Cache Plugins” brought me to W3 Total Cache, a plugin I’ve used in the past.
Honestly, in the past I’ve tried almost every cache plugin I could find, and I’ve NEVER seen a bit of difference. Continuing my honesty, I’m sure I had no idea what the hell I was doing as I configured them. I never followed the many configuration guides out there, I just tweaked the settings that made sense. I’m not blaming anyone…yet.
To ensure success this time I removed a critical risk from the equation, myself. I did a quick search for a step-by-step configuration guide to W3 and followed it to the letter. I found some more tips the next day and applied them as well. Guess when I configured the plugin correctly:
Oh yeah baby! 375 ms! There’s definitely something to be said for following the instructions. (Please don’t let my wife know I’ve followed the instructions. She’ll want me to follow them the next time we buy and need to assemble furniture from Ikea, or ask for directions when she believes we’ve gotten lost during a Sunday car ride.)
Knowing the success I got from W3 I decided to install it on a couple of my other websites that were on shared hosts (GoDaddy and BlueHost). I followed the EXACT SAME instructions that got me my results on the VPS. Umm, Houston. We have a problem.
This site on BlueHost went in the wrong direction! I followed the exact same instructions as I did on this site. I tried it again on a site hosted on GoDaddy:
Again, poor results. This is what I’ve seen in the past. A slight drop, but nothing compared to what I’ve heard people were getting (and that I now have on my VPS.) Could it be the shared hosts? Do I need to configure the plugin differently when on a shared host?
Looks like I have some work ahead of me. I need to set up a controlled experiment, with an exact site deployed on both the VPS and a shared host. I’ll write a future post to let you know what I find.
(If you have any tips on how to configure the W3 Total Cache plugin on either GoDaddy or BlueHost, please share!)