Ghost vs Wordpress Performance

I've posted about my reasons for switching blogging platforms to Ghost, but ahead of doing so I wanted to be able to compare the performance benefits of doing so.  When I used Wordpress, I was managing the infrastructure myself, but also had to keep on top of the platform, including the plugins I was using.  I specifically mention that, as I know the number of plugins does have an issue on performance.  I used one, and that was for code highlighting.  The rest was standard Wordpress, and a basic theme.

I checked the performance of both the main page, which is a list of posts, and the Starting with Symfony - Performance issues page.  I did this to see how the site performs when people first load it, and it has to build a lot information from the database (for the main page), and then a page which has a few images, as well as a lot of text.  I don't run a popular site, so neither should be slow.

Home Page

Wordpress
The home page in Wordpress loaded in 973ms. Pretty quick, for a Wordpress site which is pulling back around 10 posts and building pagination. There's likely things I could have done to optimise it further, but it was pretty performant so I didn't want to waste time

Ghost
The home page in Ghost loads in 521ms. It also has an image as part of the heading (something Wordpress didn't), which takes 147ms itself to load. I might need a new theme to remove that image to make this faster.

Winner
Clearly Ghost is by far and away the winner here, being 47% faster than the Wordpress site. That's a lot by any stretch, even on a sub-second site. To achieve that speed on Wordpress, I'd have had to put in more time and money changing things around, and re-building a theme (probably).

Page load speed - Ghost vs Wordpress (smaller is better)

Blog Post

As already covered, the page chosen for this was done to allow a test of performance when other images are needed, not just text.

Wordpress
The post, plus images and associated JavaScript for the code formatting took 993ms in Wordpress. Still sub-second and performant, so quite pleasing to see. I know a lot of people (and businesses) who would love to see a sub-second page load time on their sites and blogs.

Ghost
Same content, same images (as I saved them from the Wordpress site to import them), and only a different platform. Ghost clocks this page in at 673ms - slightly over half a second.

Winner
Again, Ghost wins this one. it's around 32% faster when images are involved, and those could likely have been optimised for improved performance. It could likely be better again if the fonts were externally hosted and could be downloaded concurrently.

Platform Home Pages

It can be pointed out that I might have had the same performance realisations by moving my site to Wordpress.com and paying for hosting there, so I thought I'd do a comparison of the platforms themselves, on the infrastructure they use for their sites.  This is how they make money, so they should be on their best plans (or a better, custom one) to show off their abilities.

Both sites will have different layouts and content, but they should still be able to serve all of that content quickly, so here's how they stack up as organisations against one another:

Wordpress
Wordpress.org, which is what I was running on my platform as it's the open-source version, loads the home page in 1.14s. Given it has a few images, and some parallax type srolling, that is pretty good.

Wordpress.com, the commercial offering, loaded in 2.00s, but continued loading after the page was rendered, taking 5.95s. This has an embedded vidoe (twice) and an autoplaying place-holder for it, so there's a lot of content available.

Ghost
Ghost.org loaded in 1.49s. Slower than Wordpress.org, but faster than Wordpress.com. It also has regular pings going from the home page, so it never really finishes running.

Winner
Wordpress takes this one, but only the open-source one. Wordpress.org runs 23% faster than Ghost on their own platforms, but Wordpress.com runs 35% slower than Ghost.

Conclusion

Whilst not everyone will get the same results I did, and you should look into individual platforms comparing different ones with sites similar in content to your own when choosing a platform, you can double your page speed by switching to Ghost from Wordpress.  Not quite the 1900% improvement Ghost headline with, but it is a big jump.

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