Performance Testing Gantry 5 in Wordpress v Joomla
We believe in "best tools for the job" so when considering client requirements it's important to be platform-agnostic. This means staying up to date with current software trends.
We maintain a fully functioning basebuild for both Wordpress and Joomla which is used to kickstart all new website builds. Recently we ran some performance tests across both basebuilds.
For an agency, it's important to stick with a standard set of high-quality plugins/extensions which boost or enhance the core software, and then implement a minimal of additional software to achieve the client's goals. This ensures a website which provides optimal performance, stability and security.
Every extra piece of software installed in a website is another place where potential bloat/performance issues may arise, and where a potential security issue may exist in the future. Plugins/extensions which are not maintained in the long term are one of the primary reasons a website starts to slow down, malfunction or is compromised.
For this test, we utilised a set of basic functionality that all websites generally include, and then depending on platform either configured the core software or selected plugins/extensions that were comparable to the other in terms of functionality.
It's extremely important with a CMS website that any plugins/extensions used are well supported and regularly updated. A good indicator of good software is to browse the "Popular" list of each plugin/extension directory and read some reviews, then test, test, test.
In some instances, software developers offer both a Wordpress and Joomla version of their software so where that is available we standardised across both platforms.
The basic functionality in each build is:
- Gantry 5 framework & Helium theme/template (free and available to both platforms)
- Akeeba Backup Pro (both)
- Akeeba Admin Tools for firewall/security (both)
- Editor - core Gutenberg editor (Wordpress), JCE Pro (Joomla)
- Contact page form - WPForms Lite (Wordpress), core Contact (Joomla)
- Gantry 5 Swiper slideshow for the home page (both)
NO SEO, caching or any other kind of optimisation was performed on either site prior to the testing. The only caching is the inbuilt Gantry 5 compiler which compiles CSS and cannot be turned off easily. The same 250kb JPG image was used in the slideshow on each site.
That's pretty much it. Quite minimal. Of course, live sites generally include a lot more performance and end-user-focussed functionality.
Testing was conducted on 2 December 2021. We loaded each build up into different directories within the same hosting account. Joomla was installed in /site1, and Wordpress was installed in /site2.
Here are the GTMetrix screenshots of results (click to enlarge):
And here are the Lighthouse screenshots of results:
If you're interested in what each build looks like on the frontend:
As stated, these are very minimalistic builds and no optimisation has been performed. Regardless, a broad conclusion is that both performance and functionality is comparable across both platforms. Where one platform may be slightly better in one measurement, the other may be slightly better somewhere else, but both results are similar. There was no "red". Optimisation would likely make these differences negligible.
One of the reasons we like Gantry 5 is because it is extremely lightweight when compared to a lot of other themes/templates, while also being highly configurable. This means it is already quite well optimised "out of the box". The benefit of being able to use it cross-platform cuts down on the amount of time we need to spend on front-end development in website builds, and allows us to produce the exact look and feel the client wants, regardless of platform.
While each platform has dedicated fans that will not consider the other option, we maintain that the best thing for clients is "best tools for the job" and sometimes, one platform does a particular thing better than the other. This process has given us confidence that both platforms allow us to deliver the best result for our clients.
If you'd like any more information about this test, or if you need assistance with digital, please feel free to get in touch.