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Try to measure the specific thing you want to improve upon, so then you can see the difference most reliably. If you want to improve transport time, then pull a static copy of the page (almost zero processing time) and download it with an app such as wget rather than view it in a browser.
For page processing time, build in timing to the page either directly into the programming or into the apache configuration.
Page render time can be tricky. I have done it in the past using a local copy of the site and a virtual machine with far too few resources. Make a virtual machine, boot the browser, clear the cache, scale back CPU to 1% and RAM to 1Mb and time loading the page from the local drive.