By Gamers For Gamers (BGFG) is a UK media publisher that specializes in Gaming and Tech. Founded in 2018 with the sole mission of becoming “the best PC tech online publishing house in the UK,” the company has experienced incredible growth of 200%, with its sites attracting 20 million users a year.
The majority of their traffic comes from organic searches, making fast load times a crucial factor in their websites’ user experience and SEO. Especially after the announcement of Google’s page experience update. Andrew Kirkcaldy, CEO of BGFG, tells us what made them give NitroPack a try:
The company first tested our Free plan on one of their flagship publications (https://www.pcguide.com/) in mid-2020:
Fast forward to today, and NitroPack is a key component in their technology stack, optimizing all of their websites. However, in this case study, we’ll look at how NitroPack optimizes their main website.
BGFG’s tech stack consists of a wide range of technologies, including WordPress for CMS, Cloudways for web hosting, NitroPack for web performance, Elementor for web design, and other optimization and analytics tools like Yoast, Redis, and Cloudflare.
The company had tried other optimization methods as well. However, none of them brought satisfying results:
The best way to see NitroPack’s impact is to run a parallel test on two versions of BGFG’s home page in Google’s PageSpeed Insights (PSI) - without and with NitroPack.
First, here are the Desktop PSI results without and with NitroPack:
And the mobile scores (without & with) :
BGFG managed to achieve these results with our Ludicrous mode in combination with some additional configurations:
Unfortunately, PSI doesn’t show Field data (which shows how the website is performing in the real world) for the BGFG’s website. However, the lab metrics flagged some major issues that hindered the website’s overall performance:
Let’s see the optimizations NitroPack applied that allowed the website to go into the green:
When testing the site without NitroPack, we can see how much of a negative impact unoptimized images have on the website’s performance:
Our complete image optimization stack solves both issues and more:
With NitroPack, BGFG easily passes all audits:
These techniques usually improve the First Contentful Paint (FCP) and Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metrics. With NitroPack, BGFG jumped in the green sector for FCP (decrease of 1.1s) and massively reduced the LCP (decrease of 4.9s) scores:
Another area that needed a boost was the interactivity metrics - Total Blocking Time and Time to Interactive:
Total Blocking Time (TBT) measures the amount of time during which Long Tasks (all tasks longer than 50ms) block the main thread and affect the usability of a page.
On the other hand, TTI tells you how long it takes for the page to become fully interactive - the page has to display useful content and respond to user inputs in less than 50ms.
To improve both metrics, NitroPack had to minimize the main thread work by removing the render-blocking resources.
As the PSI audit suggests, BGFG’s website had a main thread problem:
We can see in this WebPageTest waterfall chart that the website was sending too many render-blocking resources to the browser:
The browser needs to download, parse and execute each resource from 2-27 before proceeding with anything else. This naturally leads to slower load times, a non-interactive website, and an awful user experience.
As a result, all main thread issues are in the green:
And all of the render-blocking resources were eliminated from the waterfall chart:
After optimizing the images and render-blocking resources, the last issue that needed to be addressed was the huge Time to First Byte:
Time to First Byte (TTFB) measures how long it takes for a client’s browser to receive the first byte of the response from the server.
Without NitroPack, BGFG managed to achieve a TTFB of 822ms. For reference, anything below 200ms is considered a good TTFB.
Here, NitroPack’s advanced caching mechanism, along with some of the optimizations mentioned earlier, got the job done and reduced the TTFB. In fact, the TTFB is 10 times lower with NitroPack, when testing from the same location:
It feels great to achieve a perfect PSI score. But it’s even better to know that your web performance optimization efforts have a real-world impact.
For BGFG, using NitroPack helped them improve their SEO performance:
Niko has 5+ years of experience turning those “it’s too technical for me” topics into “I can’t believe I get it” content pieces. He specializes in dissecting nuanced topics like Core Web Vitals, web performance metrics, and site speed optimization techniques. When he’s taking a breather from researching his next content piece, you’ll find him deep into the latest performance news.