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Content Delivery Networks – The Need for Speed

Content Delivery Networks – The Need for Speed

Posted by on May 16, 2014 in Featured, News

Content Delivery Networks – The Need for Speed

The biggest reason I decided to compare Incapsula and Cloudflare was to see which CDN could most improve page speed. My tool of choice for testing page speed is Google Developer PageSpeed Insights. Only one of the websites I tested had been optimized for speed ahead of time. That one had no real improvement on desktop page speed with either CDN, but a big improvement in mobile page speed on Cloudflare and a moderate increase with Incapsula.

The other websites had modest increases in mobile page speed. Desktop page speed increases were small to non-existent. Content Delivery Networks are definitely a factor where page speed is concerned, though adding a website to one doesn’t have as big of an impact as I had hoped.

See the details of my experiment regarding Bandwidth and Uptime in my article over on Champlain Host.

Check out my overall views on Cloudflare and Incapsula and details on the setup of each on Champlain Marketing.

Website Profiles

Pre-Tuned

Orange Glass Icon

  • CMS: WordPress
  • Size: Medium
  • Graphics: Heavy
  • Traffic: Low

For a website that was already very fast on a desktop with a score of 91 (out of 100), it was surprisingly slow for mobile with a 69. Cloudflare increased the mobile page speed by 9 percent. Incapsula increased it by just under 8 percent. Bandwidth was unaffected on both CDNs.


Bandwidth Hog

Grey Glass Icon

  • CMS: Joomla
  • Size: Huge
  • Graphics: Heavy
  • Traffic: High

This was the test I was most interested in and the one I had really hoped would show a reduction in bandwidth. No luck. The page speed, which is abysmal on both desktop and mobile (36 and 49 respectively) was only increased by less than 2 percent on both CDNs. This website is in the midst of a long overdue redesign and a CMS switch from Joomla to WordPress.


Featherweight

Blue Glass Icon

  • CMS: WordPress
  • Size: Tiny
  • Graphics: Light
  • Traffic: Medium

This tiny WordPress site hadn’t been optimized for speed before testing and the initial page speed score reflected that with a 59 for mobile and 69 for desktop. The Incapsula page speed improvements were more than twice those of Cloudflare with a mobile score of 64 and a desktop score of 75. Both CDNs gave this site over a 50% reduction in bandwidth.


The Sedan

Green Glass Icon

  • CMS: Joomla
  • Size: Small
  • Graphics: Light
  • Traffic: Low

This responsive Joomla website started off with a mobile score of 48 and a desktop score of 57. Both CDNs only gave this site a few percentage points of improvement on mobile and desktop scores. There were no bandwidth savings.


Artisan

Red Glass Icon

  • CMS: Joomla
  • Size: Small
  • Graphics: Heavy
  • Traffic: Medium

The initial score for this Joomla website was 53 for mobile and 67 for desktop. The modest improvements were nearly identical between the two CDNs. About 4 or 5 percentage points for mobile and 3 percentage points for desktop. There was however, a 50-30% reduction in bandwidth on Incapsula, and an even bigger reduction with Cloudflare.

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