We recently tested the page speed of WP Engine’s CDN, but now let’s take a look at Jetpack’s Photon module. I’ll be comparing my personal blog (hosted on GoDaddy’s managed WordPress hosting) with and without the Photon module activated.
Jetpack Photon Page Speed Test
I’ll run the test on this page of my personal blog, as it contains 17 individual photos, plus an additional photo gallery. I’ll test from two different server locations (New York & Texas).
Because Photon only works with the images inside of pages/posts, it wouldn’t be a valid test to compare total load time. Here’s what the load times looked like. I highlighted a few oddballs that stood out.
Valid Testing Metrics
Not only do we need to isolate the load time of images only, but specifically those images that are served up via Photon. Photon uses WordPress’ cloud, which hosts images on i0.wp.com, i1.wp.com, i2.wp.com, etc.
Pingdom also gives us a page load breakdown by domain. We’ll isolate analternate.com & wp.com to get some workable data.
I took one test from before Photon (2.80s), and one test from after Photon (2.86s). Let’s look at the breakdown by domain.
Page Load Percentage Without Jetpack Photon
Page Load Percentage With Jetpack Photon
Enable Jetpack Photon
First, be sure you have the Jetpack plugin installed.
Then, navigate to your Jetpack page, and click Activate next to “Photon.” That’s it. No settings to configure. It just works.
I refreshed the page to make sure the 17 images were now being served up by WordPress.com’s cloud, as opposed to GoDaddy’s server.
- Before Photon, the total load time was 7.5% slower. This would imply that Photon loaded the images faster than our GoDaddy server.
- If we subtract the time of analternateroute.com assets loading from before to after, we get 31%. Because the only change we made was enabling Photon, we can assume this 31% came from images inside the post.
- Compare this to the increased percentage on wp.com (23.5%), and it appears that wp.com (Photon) served up the images faster than analternateroute.com (GoDaddy’s server) did.
Is Jetpack Photon worth it?
For sites with very few images inside of posts, probably not.
For sites with at least 5 images inside of some posts/pages, I’d say yes. A 7.5% difference in image loading time is fairly significant. And that percentage would likely increase on a page with even more images (or really large file sizes).
What is your experience with Jetpack Photon? Has it decreased the load time of your pages?