I decided to run some speed tests, after speeding up Spontaneous Derivation. You’ll note that S∂ still has quite a few plugins enabled.
My domain has a couple other sites on it, so I decided to run a speed test on all three.
Without further ado: the contestants!
The most complex theme with the most plugins that affect display, the most widgets, and the most pictures of the lot, with various little image backgrounds as well.
The header image also has the largest file size (55.68 KB).
The front page currently includes a Sarah Palin lolPolitics further down. Not to mention that most articles are included in their full and questionable glory instead of hidden behind a cut.
Some of the 16 widgets are huge: the blog roll (multiple sections in the gray sidebar), the three RSS widgets, and the 15-tweet Twitter Tools widget.
S∂ is also the only site without WP Super Cache completely on (and not even half-on).
WP Widget Cache, which will help with all those widgets. And… that’s about it.
The least complex theme: two columns, and nine widgets, all relatively small. There are almost no plugins to filter content.
The header image weighs in at 31.45 KB. There are no decorative background images.
The front page uses the cut effectively and only has five posts.
May we also mention that this theme is slick as heck.
WP Super Cache is turned on.
The quotations widget has questionable query performance, and the Flickr widget is not cached, apart from whatever WP Super Cache can deliver.
That’s about it.
The header image is extremely light (19.36 KB), and no other image backgrounds around.
10 posts on the front page, usually under a cut.
WP Super Cache is turned on.
Middling in terms of theme complexity: three columns and eight widgets.
The Speed Test
We’re using iWebTool’s Website Speed Test and running the three against each other six times (since that’s the number of times the tool can be run without a paid account in an hour, and I didn’t feel like wasting more time…).
The results of each run:
Size: 212.54 KB of HTML
Total time (s) Average: s/KB 2.63 0.01 2.52 0.01 1.15 0.01 1.12 0.01 1.16 0.01 1.07 0.01
Average total run time: 1.61 seconds
Average seconds per KB: 0.01 seconds
Size: 23.65 KB of HTML
Total time (s) Average: s/KB 0.52 0.02 0.53 0.02 0.52 0.02 0.52 0.02 0.59 0.02 0.52 0.02 0.53 0.02
Average total run time: 0.53 seconds
Average seconds per KB: 0.02 seconds
Size: 37.94 KB of HTML
Total time (s) Average: s/KB 1.59 0.04 2.26 0.06 1.61 0.04 1.61 0.04 1.67 0.04 0.54 0.01
Average total run time: 1.55 seconds
Average seconds per KB: 0.04 seconds
Holmesian Derivations performed the best overall, reliably downloading in half of a second each time. Even on a KB per KB basis, it’s still only 0.2 seconds per KB. It had the least to render.
Fictional Derivations performed second best, with an average run time of 1.55 seconds. Its speed was slowest (0.4 seconds per KB), and while it had more to render, it was only 14 KB more. That’s an egregiously long time, but is probably mostly due to 10 posts versus only 5.
Spontaneous Derivation was the slowest at an average of 1.61 seconds to download. However, S∂ also had the most to render by far—nearly 9 times more than Holmesian Derivations, and 5.5 times more than Fictional Derivations. Its speed was by far the fastest—0.01 s/KB.
Now, this is a really informal and totally unstrict benchmark test, so conclusions are pretty fluffy to draw.
However, S∂ performed the best in terms of getting its content out, if not in terms of how much it needed to get out there. Holmesian Derivations was the trimmest, but with a worse speed than S∂.
What if S∂ was running with WP Super Cache, too? Who knows? I don’t want to try; this was mostly for fun. But realistically speaking, S∂ should have taken much longer—and it would have, were it not for WP Widget Cache.
So I will say this: WP Widget Cache rules the house when it comes to not performing expensive queries and not pulling down and re-parsing RSS XML on every single load.
Best. Plugin. Ever.