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WordPress vs Jekyll/Octopress speed test

I was jealously comparing the load-times of a Jekyll/Octopress-powered website to my WordPress load-times. The whole page clocks in at 1.2 Seconds to my 2.7 seconds even after SuperCache and CloudFlare have had a chance to help out. Beyond the speed hit, WordPress has never been a great tool for publishing code samples, and I’ve been worried about security; so if it’s noticeably faster, I may have to switch.

But I need to know how relevant the server is to Jekyll’s speed advantage? I host on Dreamhost 1 and I’m happy so I’m not willing to switch. Specifically, I’m focusing on the time to load the initial HTML, since that’s where WordPress is really falling down, and we can load jQuery from a CDN and asynchronously load much of the media.

Even with caching enabled, WordPress is taking ~2 seconds on Dreamhost

Even with caching enabled, WordPress is taking ~2 seconds on Dreamhost

OctoPress on Dreamhost loads the HTML in ~0.1s

OctoPress on Dreamhost loads the HTML in ~0.1s

Even with caching, WordPress drags on for 2 seconds generating the page 2, a quick test with the default Octopress layout gives 78ms (the page size doesn’t give a fair comparison, but even making the page larger returned results to the 100-150ms range).

That’s too much of a speedup to ignore; for comparison, Google’s homepage takes 202ms for just the html (that page is almost 3x as big, but the goal here isn’t for a perfect comparison, just order of magnitude guesses, the time-to-onload ratio is similar, .8s to .9s). Testing locally gives similar results for loading the HTML: Octopress: 273ms, WordPress: 2s, Google.ca: 137ms.

And some more data-points:

  • Octopress took about an hour to get up and running, the documentation is great, but WordPress was essentially one click on on Dreamhost. I can call that a rounding error, as always pow is a charm to set up.
  • I used exitwp.py to convert 65 old posts on euri.ca, the html->markdown conversion couldn’t handle weird JavaScript but otherwise it was a piece of cake. There’s still going to be a fair amount of manual tweaking to get the posts presentable.
  • With 65 posts, “bundle exec rake generate” takes just under 20 seconds on an old Macbook Air, that’s long enough to be annoying. I’ll probably wrap it up with a script to smush.it et cetera.

So it looks like I’m going to have to seriously consider switching. There are still a few issues not least of which is that I promised myself I wouldn’t get bogged down in web design ever again, and there isn’t the same world of ready-to-go themes. But I also don’t see support for footnotes and I’m going to leave some dead links unless there’s a way to add support for category pages and archives by month.

  1. This is a referral link, if you want to use EURICA as a discount code, you’ll save $53, but I recommend them even if I don’t earn a dime, I’ve had a very good experience with them
  2. I reloaded both pages a few times to warm up the CloudFlare cache

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