Efficiency and Stability Improvements in Nelio A/B Testing 4.0

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A few weeks ago we released Nelio A/B Testing 4.0. This new version is a great step forward in terms of stability, efficiency, and compatibility. As always, it’s available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard. If you want to know what’s new, keep reading!

What Matters Is On The Inside

One of the things that worried us the most was the overall performance of Nelio A/B Testing. We’ve always wanted to offer a fast and reliable plugin that “simply works” under all installations (and, if it doesn’t, just let us know and we’ll help you).

One of the most complex tasks of any A/B Testing solution is tracking and processing your visitors behavior. And that’s something we’ve taken care of from the very beginning! However, there still were a few tasks that were carried out by your WordPress server:

  1. Determining whether the current page is under test (AJAX call)
  2. Randomize which alternative has to see each of your visitors (AJAX call)
  3. Load the alternative content (regular request)

In order to maximize the efficiency of our plugin and reduce page-load times, version 3.0 introduced a Performace MU-Plugin—a super-small plugin that optimized any AJAX requests triggered by our plugin. Unfortunately, this was not enough.

WordPress is an incredible Content Management System, but when it comes to AJAX calls it certainly gives some headaches. Just think about it: every time we trigger an AJAX request we’re basically asking your server to start the whole WordPress machinery. And that’s just to determine whether the page is under test. For all pages in your site. For every visitor in your site. Huge!

So what did we do? Nelio A/B Testing 4.0 is the first release to focus only on what’s under the hood! Thus, we got rid of the Performance MU-Plugin and we moved all the work related to tasks 1 and 2 somewhere else! From now on, your WordPress server will have one, and only one, task: serving (original/alternative) content to your visitors. That’s it! Any other task will be conducted by Nelio’s cloud servers and/or your visitors’ web browsers.

What About Caches?

Nelio A/B Testing is, as always, compatible with your Cache systems. How? It’s extremely easy: all your (cached) pages contain Nelio’s tracking script. This script is responsible of loading alternative content from your server when alternative content is available. When loading alternative content, Nelio adds one (or more) GET parameter in the URL:

  • http://example.com/some-page/?nab=0
  • http://example.com/some-page/?nab=1
  • http://example.com/some-page/?nab=2

that specifies whether the original (nab=0) or an alternative version (nab=1 or nab=2) has to be loaded. Thanks to this parameter, your cache system will see different URLs depending on which alternative is being loaded and, therefore, it will cache each alternative as if they were different pages (even though some are just a variant of the former).

This “testing” parameters are added by our tracking JavaScript on the client side. You can read more about how Nelio decides when alternative content has to be loaded and how it’s requested in our Knowledge Base.

…But We Don’t Forget The User Experience

Also, we’ve polished some details in the administration pages of our plugin:

  • New Settings Page. We added in-line help for all Settings. Tweaking the plugin is easier than ever.

    Nelio A/B Testing 4.0 Settings Page
    Settings Page in Nelio A/B Testing version 4.0 includes in-line help for all options.
  • A/B Testing WordPress Landing Pages. We’ve added a new kind of experiment: A/B Testing Landing Pages. According to our information, the page you test the most is your landing page… then, why don’t we make a specific experiment for those?
  • Help option. We got rid of the unused “Feedback” section and we now offer you a direct link to our Knowledge Base. There, you’ll find updated information about our plugin and you’ll have the opportunity to open a support ticket whenever you’re in trouble.

Publishers: Get Ready For Social Networks!

From now on, tested pages will include a special GET parameter named nab. As we’ve just seen, this parameter specifies which version (nab=0 means the original version, nab=1 the first alternative, and so on) has to be loaded. If you’re running Headline experiments, you can now share the alternative headlines in your social networks and see which one drives more traffic to your website! Each time a visitor lands to the tested post, a conversion will be counted. Easy, right?

What’s next?

This is what we’re working on right now:

  1. Support for Custom Post Types. The next release of Nelio (4.1?) will include support for Custom Post Types, which means you’ll be able to test your WooCommerce products, your Videos, your Articles, and so on!
  2. Redesigned Results Page. We’re currently working on a new design for our results page. As soon as we have a beta version available, we’ll share a screenshot for you guys to see it!
  3. Improved Goal Management. From now on, we’ll automatically combine all your goals into a unique, consolidated goal that offers a global view of the performance of your experiments.
  4. Advanced Support for Social Networks. Share your content on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, … and test the impact of those shares in your WordPress! How? We’re still working on it, but we’ll keep you posted. Any ideas are appreciated!
  5. WooCommerce Support. WooCommerce is an amazing WordPress-based e-commerce platform, and we want to add explicit support for it in Nelio A/B Testing. We want to help you test new prices, offers, product descriptions, product galleries, related products, and more! Again, share your ideas with us 🙂

As you can see, there’s a lot of things going on. We know there’s plenty of stuff that can be done in Nelio and that we want to implement… and that’s why we want to know your opinion about it. Let us know what you need and we’ll address your demands first!

Happy Testing 😀

Featured image by KellarW.


He obtained his PhD in Computer Science at UPC. David leads the analysis and design of our services and the user support area. He's interested in a variety of areas, including conceptual modeling, virtual reality, and 3D digital printing. He contributes to the WordPress community by participating in meetups, seminars, and the WCEU.

One thought on “Efficiency and Stability Improvements in Nelio A/B Testing 4.0

  1. Thanks for the info guys. Keep up the good work! Love how so much is handled on the Nelio servers. Makes it easy on us since we use a development, staging and production environment.

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