WP Rocket Review 2021- Is CDN Good Enough for Web Vitals, Traffic and Revenue

Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a set of servers located at different centers of the world. It speeds up web content by caching resources like JS, CSS, and HTML close to the visitor location. 

Rocket CDN is one of the popular networks from the WP Rocket plugin brand. Auto-configured when you purchase the plan.  Also Read – DreamHost DreamPress Review – Best WordPress Hosting of 2021

WP Rocket is a cache plugin and costs different from the CDN. But both are more integrated. 

WordPress is the most popular content management system in 2021. Made of PHP code and other snippets. Also Read – Core Web Vitals : DreamPress + GeneratePress – Is it Worthy – Test Results

Cache plugins like WP Rocket do gzip compression, defer JS code, delay JS code, minify CSS and JS assets, lazy load images and make all the static assets more easily accessible. 

Pros of Caching and CDN

Across the globe, data centres act as temporary storage places for website images, fonts, and other resources. The original server location may be in the United States or Australia. Also Read – [Review] DreamPress and TTFB – Can we get good value with DreamHost’s plan?

When a user from the United Kingdom tries to connect to a server in Sydney, the latency and time taken to deliver different scripts, style sheets, font files, and plugin files take a lot of time to provide the web page.

WP Rocket and CDN said to make the web page load faster. 

This review will see the real results of speed, user experiences, traffic, and revenue on using WP Rocket and Rocket CDN together. 

WP Rocket

Our earlier articles have covered different aspects of performance, speed, and user experience of using WP Rocket with WordPress. 

Rocket CDN

StackPath and its high-powered CDN power it. If you have few websites, then it is the best option to have a CDN.

Because configuring a StackPath instance requires expert-level skills on multiple sites. Also Read – Ad Inserter Pro Features (aff)

It may be cheap, but the technicality is difficult for the average WordPress user. 

Reduce latency, round trip time (RTT) and save bandwidth costs with our customized CDN network: RocketCDN is here to make your website faster and your visitors happy.

Source: https://wp-rocket.me/rocketcdn/

Benefits – WP Rocket CDN

The benefit of RocketCDN is that we’ve created the service to configure everything optimally for you. We do the following automatically:

  • Create unique rocketcdn.me CNAME – (cannot be changed or customized.)
  • Apply GZIP compression
  • Apply CORS headers for Webfont compatibility
  • Set a cache-control browser cache header
  • Serve assets over HTTP/2
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Also Read – 10 Elusive Features of Ad Inserter Pro – Best WordPress Advertising Plugin

Additional Pros

RocketCDN also provides these benefits:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • All CDN files automatically served over HTTPS
  • SSL Traffic included
  • All Global PoPs (Points of Presence) included

If you’re trying to choose only one service to use, we cannot say which is better; they are simply different, so you would have to perform tests to check the results for your specific site.

Support – WP Rocket CDN

Slow compared to DreamHost, SiteGround, and other hosting companies.

You don’t have a chat support team for immediate answers. If you want to get, a simple query answered, you have to raise a ticket.

In these pandemic times, it even takes 3 to 4 days to get an answer. Rocket CDN is a one-time install and forgets solution. If you are looking for troubleshooting support, then it will take time. 

Also Read – [Review] #1 Best AMP Plugin in 2020 – Ideal Settings

Support team members skilled people and give exact answers to the question you pose. 

> Site hosted on Dreamhost shared hosting plan and using Cloudflare free plan.

Cloudflare is not a traditional CDN (technically speaking, it’s a proxy); therefore, it’s possible to use it simultaneously as RocketCDN.

Cloudflare provides other useful features related to security, for example.

RocketCDN will take care of delivering static files – JS, CSS, images – to your visitors from servers close to them.

Source: Rocket CDN Support Team

Test Website

  1. The site hosted on DreamHost on a shared host plant.
  2. Created under a separate user, which improves the site performance.
  3. There were 25 active plugins.
  4. For Adsense(display) and AnyClip (video ads) inside the content, the Ad Inserter Pro plugin used. 
  5. The site was using the free version of Cloudflare. Normal security settings used. 
  6. We used No minification options. 
  7. We installed the GeneratePress theme and its premium plugin with slight modifications to the header and sidebars.
  8. No header existed on the post pages. It is one of the ultrafast themes in the WordPress industry. 
  9. WP Rocket plugin used for cache enabling. We enabled no mobile caching. 
  10. The cache lifespan was 24 hours.
  11. We enabled No minification of CSS and JS. Delay JS execution and Defer JS not allowed. 
  12. We unchecked all the File Optimization options.
  13. LazyLoad was for YouTube iframes and videos. 
  14. We enabled Link and cache preloading.
  15. We enabled WebP caching for images.
  16. Previously images compressed using the Imagify plugin.
  17. We activated Rocket CDN.
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Rocket CDN Note

All URLs of static files (CSS, JS, images) will be rewritten to the CNAME(s) you provide.

It is not required for services like Cloudflare and Sucuri.

Source: WP Rocket plugin installation

Other Test Features

Initially, I enabled the Fast Velocity Minify (FVM) plugin for minification. Disabled and its cache cleared. We also removed the WP Rocket cache, OPcache, and Cloudflare cache. We also purged the Rocket CDN cache. 

The test URL had 11 images. We tested only the non-AMP or desktop version of the page. Since AMP plugin is installed, results could be complicated with the mobile version. 

We allowed both display and video ads in the testing.

We used an unthrottled connection and used the Chrome browser option in the GTMetrix test. The URL tested 2 times so that it’s cached properly. 

TTFB (Time to first byte)

The first byte received by the client from the server makes the user experience very good. It is generally measured using the time to the first byte. If the server is good enough, you should have quick initial response times. 

But as per the support team of WP Rocket –

> If I use your Rocket CDN services, will it improve the first byte or TTFB times.

No, because the purpose of RocketCDN is to serve static files – JS, CSS, images – to your visitors from servers close to their location, but not the first request to your HTML document. So RocketCDN will benefit your loading time if you have visitors from different parts of the world. In those cases, your site will load faster.

However, if your site is hosted on a server in the same geographic location as your visitors, the benefit will not be great unless your server is slow or has limited resources. In that case, only, RocketCDN could be faster for your location.

Source: Rocket CDN Support Team

Using the GTMetrix Test we measured the TTFB times from 3 different locations.

  • San Antonio, TX, USA – 412 ms
  • Mumbai, INDIA – 1300 ms
  • Sydney, AUSTRALIA – 473 ms
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Result: We can see that TTFB times are much slower when compared to using Cloudflare APO or DreamPress plan of DreamHost. A TTFB time of below 200ms is considered optimal for static sites. 

The above results show that Rocket CDN does not improve TTFB times.

Core Web Vitals

One of the best user experience signals as of June 2021 measured by Google is web vitals.

In the GTMetrix test, they are measured in the form of largest contentful paint (LCP), total blocking time (TBT), and cumulative layout shift (CLS). 

 LCPTBTCLS
San Antonio, TX, USA9.3s785ms0.04
Mumbai, INDIA13.1s1200ms0.04
Sydney, AUSTRALIA9.8s547ms0.26

Except for CLS, other web vitals were not good from the US, INDIA, and AUS

Result : It indicates that Rocket CDN does not improve the Core Web Vitals.

Change of Hosting and Rocket CDN Active

I canceled the DreamPress managed WordPress hosting plan of DreamHost around Aug 17th, 2021. The traffic was increasing for the past week but stopped on Aug 19th. 

I enabled Rocket CDN on Aug 21st and observed the traffic for the next few days. The site was now under a shared hosting plan. WP Rocket cache system was active. 

Organic Traffic

After the 19th, traffic started decreasing and did not increase even after the installation of Rocket CDN. 

Bing traffic increased slightly compared to Google traffic. Mobile traffic nearly constant as served from the AMP cache system. 

Desktop traffic also decreased after the DreamPress plan removed and did not increase much after enabling Rocket CDN. 

US traffic was the most important traffic for my site as it generated the most publisher revenue and did not increase after Rocket CDN was active. Other countries’ traffic like India, UK was not that much different. 

I also checked the publisher revenue of Google Adsense from all channels after DreamPress deactivated. There was a sharp decline in the $ revenue. It did not increase even after Rocket CDN was active. 

Conclusion

We observed the different speed, user experience, traffic, and revenue parameters after Rocket CDN was active on my site.

Though it was early to analyze the results of these parameters, there was no significant improvement in 5 days. 

One thing was clear that DreamPress had an added advantage in all the aspects compared to the shared hosting plan and CDN. 

4.7/5 - (11 votes)
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