[Case Study] How List25 Performance Was Improved by 256% by Speeding up WordPress

[Case Study] How List25 Performance Was Improved by 256% by Speeding up WordPress

Sujain Thomas
Written by Sujain Thomas
March 2, 2016

In case you want to speed up WordPress or want to know the various optimization tricks that would help your site load quickly. This article will give a case study of how a team managed to speed up WordPress and optimize the List25 site and in the process tried to boost performance.

WordPress speed is very important for SEO. A faster site has more page views, better engagement of users and better sales. For instance, a one-second delay is likely to cost a 7% drop in sales and 11% less page views as well as a reduction in customer satisfaction.



The following is a case study that shows results of List25 site and how it was accomplished.


List25 is an entertainment blog that was started by Syed Balkhi. The site contained over 1.5million subscribers and the YouTube channel contains over a quarter billion views.  The site’s content is mostly videos and images and uses terabytes in terms of bandwidth that helps in keeping the cost down. You can reduce the page abandonment and improve the loading time on your site.

Before the team began the optimization process, they were able to speed up the server response time and improve how well the site loads. They changed the speed from 2.21seconds to 1.21seconds, which was 45% faster. The following are the techniques that the team used to speed up the WordPress site.

Below you’ll discover the challenges that we faced:

[Tweet “#CaseStudy of @List25 shows how they improved their load speed in a 45% from 2.21s to 1.21s.”]

WordPress Hosting

It is crucial to have a good we host to help with your website speed. The more List25 became more popular; it outgrew the previous company that helps with hosting the site. The hosting company could not handle the site any more as the site had millions of views; however, the hosting company (HostGator) was only adequate for smaller companies.

In order to solve this problem, the team decided to enlist the services of SiteGround that would provide good hosting services. The difference in server response time was 442ms to 172ms in terms of response time. This was an improvement of 256%.

For platforms like WordPress, Magento and Joomla, SiteGround has built performance boosters. Basing on the platform for your site, SiteGround ensures that they optimize your servers to ensure that they are better in their overall performance. These are some of the data support services that the team used.

Caching Plugin


After webhosting, caching is very important when speeding up WordPress. When you have a visitor on your WordPress site, the server passes a request to MySQL database that finds the requested page and generates it so that the visitor can view the page. This takes up much in terms of resources. With Caching, you are assured of saved resources in terms of time.

Concerning List25, the use of SiteGroundSuperCacher is used to help clients. Additionally, there is advanced caching using a performance booster known as Varnish. However, if you do not have SiteGround, you are assured that setting up a cache for your WordPress will help boost your speed using solutions like WP Super Cache and W3Total Cache.

The team made use of W3 Total Cache that provides a variety of caching options, object caching, and database caching. As there are more companies specializing in use of WordPress, there will be more caching solutions that will be built. WPEnging and Pagely offer their own caching system that is built in.

CDN Solutions

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. This can help you in boosting the speed of your website. The team made use of MaxCDN from the beginning of List25; therefore, this part did not change.

CDN allowed the team to serve all JavaScript, CSS, and image from a Content Delivery Network. This helped in determining the location of the site visitors and providing content from the server to the nearest visitor. In case you do not want to use the CDN solution, there is always the option to use cloudfare.

Reduction of HTTP Requests via Combination of Files


The more you add plugins to a system, the more they add their own CSS and JavaScript files. For each additional file, the system reads it as a new HTTP request. The team combined these CSS and JavaScript files to reduce the requests and speed up the loading time. Essentially, fewer requests help in providing better performance and loading smaller JavaScript files. However, you need to keep making changes as plugins normally change overtime.

Image Sprites

The team made use of image sprite to help in combination of social media icons to a single image as opposed to multiple images for every social media icon. When the need arose to display a particular icon, the team would use CSS to help in the following.

  • Loading the image as a background image
  • Definition of the height and width of the icon
  • Setting the icon into a background position unless required

Using this method, the request for the image is normally done using bandwidth. Any other request for the image normally results in a cached version being loaded and only a single image is loaded at a time.


Essentially, the site’s speed was improved significantly. The load time for List25 went up from 2.2 seconds to 1.22 seconds. In addition, the server response time was improved significantly. This did help reduce the amount of time that one would spend downloading a page using Google bot and helped reduce the crawl rate.

The bounce rate dropped by 7% as the site was loading faster and the switching of host ensured that the numbers of server errors were greatly reduced.


To sum up, it is rather clear from the List25 case study that improved loading speed can improve visitor engagement. The techniques discussed in the case study have covered the various improvements that the team made that helped optimize the WordPress site for the client and in the process improved the speed of the site.

Originally published March 02, 2016 - Updated April 15, 2019
Sujain Thomas
Sujain Thomas is a data IT professional who works closely with DBA experts. She has written many articles that would help people who deal with database support services. You can read her articles online on Business2Community, TheSelfEmployed.
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