We Analyzed 5.2 Million Webpages. Here's What We Learned About PageSpeed

We Analyzed 5.2 Million Desktop and Mobile PagesHere’s What We Learned
About Page Speed

We Analyzed 5.2 Million Desktop and Mobile Pages. Here’s What We Learned About Page Speed
Brian Dean

by Brian Dean · Updated Oct. 08, 2019

We analyzed 5 million desktop and mobile pages to learn which factors impact page speed.

First, we established worldwide benchmarks for TTFB, Visual Complete and Fully Loaded load time metrics.

Then, we looked at how image compression, CDNs and hosting impact site loading speed.

Our data revealed some very interesting (and surprising) insights.

Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings:

1. In our analysis of 5.2 million pages, the average desktop Time to First Byte (TTFB) speed is 1.286 seconds on desktop and 2.594 seconds on mobile. The average time it takes to fully load a webpage is 10.3 seconds on desktop and 27.3 seconds on mobile.

2. The average web page takes 87.84% longer to load on mobile vs. desktop.

3. When comparing major CMSs against one another, Squarespace and Weebly have the best overall mobile page speed performance. Wix and WordPress ranked near the bottom.

4. On desktop, CDNs have the biggest impact on TTFB. However, on mobile devices, the number of HTML requests seems to affect TTFB the most.

5. Overall page size has a significant impact on desktop and mobile “Visually Complete” loading speed. Larger pages take 318% longer to visually load compared to smaller pages. We also found that gzip compression helps images load more quickly on both desktop and mobile.

6. Total page weight is the #1 determinant of Fully Loaded page speed. Light pages fully load 486% faster than large pages.

7. Wink and Gatsby are the fastest Javascript frameworks. Meteor and Tweenmax are the slowest. The fastest framework is 213% faster than the slowest.

8. Pages with very low or very high file compression have above-average page speed performance (measured via First Contextual Paint).

9. Third-party scripts significantly slow down page loading speed. Each third party script added to a page increases load time by 34.1 milliseconds.

10. We discovered that using responsive images results in the best overall image loading performance. Use of WebP was significantly less effective at reducing image load times.

11. GitHub and Weebly web hosts have the fastest overall TTFB Performance. Siteground and Wix are the slowest among the hosting providers that we analyzed.

12. China, Japan, and Germany have the fastest TTFB loading times. Australia, India and Brazil have the slowest TTFB times.

13. CDN usage was correlated with worse page speed performance. This is likely due to the fact that certain CDNs perform significantly better than others.

Benchmarks for Key Page Speed Load Time Metrics

Our first task was to establish benchmarks for important page speed metrics.

As you may know, “page speed” is actually made up of several distinct stages.

Stages of web page loading

Some of these stages occur at the server level. And others take place within the user’s browser.

And to fully understand how quickly pages load, we needed to drill down into each of these stages.

Specifically, we determined the average speed for:

  • TTFB: Time to first byte of HTML doc response
  • StartRender: When rendering begins
  • Visual Complete: User can see all page assets
  • Speed Index: How quickly a user sees a page load
  • onLoad: When all page resources (CSS, images, etc.) are downloaded
  • Fully Loaded: When a page is 100% loaded in a user’s browser

The average TTFB speed is 1.286 seconds on desktop and 2.594 seconds on mobile.

The average Start Render speed is 2.834 seconds on desktop and 6.709 seconds on mobile.

The average Visual Complete speed is 8.225 seconds on desktop and 21.608 seconds on mobile.

The average Speed Index speed is 4.782 seconds on desktop and 11.455 seconds on mobile.

The average onLoad speed is 8.875 seconds on desktop and 23.608 seconds on mobile.

The average Fully Loaded speed is 10.3 seconds on desktop and 27.3 seconds on mobile.

Key Takeaway: The average page loading speed for a web page is 10.3 seconds on desktop and 27.3 seconds on mobile. On average, pages take 87.84% longer to load on mobile devices than on desktop.

Weebly and Squarespace Have the Best Overall Speed Performance. WordPress Has One of the Worst

When it comes to page speed, which CMS is best?

To answer this question, we determined the CMS used for all of the sites in our data set. We then compared TTFB performance for each CMS that we discovered.

According to our data, Weebly and Squarespace come out on top for desktop.

And for mobile page speed, Squarespace is #1… with Adobe Experience Manager and Weebly rounding out the top 3.

What’s interesting to note is that, when it comes to mobile speed, WordPress is only the 14th best CMS that we analyzed.

Another popular CMS, Wix, also rated poorly for desktop and mobile loading speed.

Although WordPress powers approximately 30% of all websites, it’s clearly not optimized for page loading speed. That’s not to say WordPress is a bad CMS. It has other advantages (like ease of use, a massive library of plugins and SEO) that make it the go-to CMS for many site owners.

However, when looking strictly at website loading speed, it appears that other CMSs have a distinct edge over WordPress.

Key Takeaway: Among major CMSs, Squarespace and Weebly have the best mobile page speed performance. WordPress and Wix rank near the bottom.

Using a CDN May Help Desktop TTFB. Minimizing HTML Requests Is Key For Mobile TTFB

We analyzed the impact that various page characteristics had on TTFB (time to first byte).

Here’s what we found:

As you can see, using a CDN seems to improve TTFB for both desktop and mobile. However, CDNs appear to be more helpful on desktop compared to mobile. On pages loaded via a mobile device, the number of HTML requests had the greatest impact on TTFB.

While we did find a relationship between various page characteristics and TTFB times, page-level factors won’t make or break TTFB. TTFB is largely determined by the server’s response time, something we will cover a bit later.

Key Takeaway: Using a CDN and minimizing HTML requests may speed up TTFB on both desktop and mobile.

Large Pages Take 381% Longer to “Visually Complete” Load Compared to Smaller Pages

“Visually Complete” is when all of the visual content of a webpage inside of a user’s browser is loaded.

There may be scripts and other assets loading off-screen. But from a user’s point of view, the page is loaded.

Visually Complete is an important page speed metric because it affects a user’s subjective experience of how quickly or slowly a page loads.

As long as a user can see and use the page, it’s fully loaded… even though there may still be assets loading and rendering behind the scenes.

We discovered that page size (bytesTotal) had a significant effect on mobile and desktop Visually Complete load times.

However, page size is more important on mobile compared to desktop.

On desktop, use of a CDN was most strongly correlated with faster Visually Complete loading speed. With page size coming in as a close second.

On mobile devices a CDN was only the 5th most important factor.

So if improving mobile loading speed is a top priority for you, I’d consider doing as much as you can to reduce the size of your pages. This may mean deleting third party scripts. Or compressing images. The exact steps will depend on your site. However, it’s clear that, when it comes to Visually Complete speeds, it’s all about HTML size.

Key Takeaway: CDNs can significantly improve Visually Complete page speed on desktop and mobile. However, CDNs have a much bigger impact on desktop loading. For mobile, total page size is the most important factor for Visually Complete load times.

Total Page Weight Is Closely Tied to “Fully Loaded” Page Speed

Finally, we looked at factors that impact “Fully Loaded” page speed.

As the name suggests, Fully Loaded is when 100% of a page’s assets are loaded and rendered.

When it comes to Fully Loaded page speed, the total size of a page is by far the most important factor on desktop and mobile.

The number of requests also play a role in how quickly a page fully loads.

What’s interesting about this data is that there’s a strong overlap between desktop and mobile. Unlike many of the other metrics that we analyzed, desktop and mobile Fully Loaded seem to be impacted by the same set of variables (namely, page size and total HTML requests).

However, the importance of page size and HTML requests shouldn’t come as a big surprise.

Compressing images, caching and other steps usually reduce how long it takes a page to load. But they can only go so far. At the end of the day, for a page to be “Fully Loaded” a browser has to load all of the assets on a page. And the more assets there are to load, the longer it will take for the page to load.

This is probably why CDNs don’t seem to have much of an impact on Fully Loaded page speed (3rd in overall importance on desktop, 10th on mobile). CDNs can improve image load times. But they don’t do much to help with 3rd-party scripts and other assets that can slow things down.

Key Takeaway: Total size impacts Fully Loaded page speed more than any other variable on both desktop and mobile. Large pages (>3.49 MB) take 486% longer to fully load compared to smaller pages (<.83 MB).

Wink and Gatsby are the Fastest JavaScript Frameworks for Average-Sized Webpages

When it comes to prioritizing what to load on a page (and when), JavaScript Frameworks do a lot of the heavy lifting.

This is why almost 76% of all websites make use of these frameworks to create pages that are efficient, secure, and standardized.

We first gathered benchmarks for how often each Framework was used across the web.

React is by far the most commonly-used JS Framework (25.3% of sites use it). TweenMax (10.3%) and RequireJS (9.5%) are also fairly popular

Next, we wanted to figure out which JavaScript frameworks performed best on small (<1,264,374 Bytes) medium (1,264,374 and 4,019,332 Bytes) and large (>4,019,332 Bytes) pages.

For small pages, RightJS came out on top.

For medium pages, Wink and Gatsby performed best.

And for large pages, Gatsby and Riot had the fastest FCP times.

Overall, the choice of a JavaScript framework can make a significant impact on FCP times. In fact, for medium-sized pages, the best JS framework (Wink) loaded 213% faster than the slowest framework (Meteor).

Although there’s quite a bit of overlap for the best and worst performers (for example, Gatsby and RightJS were in the top 5 among all three page size categories), it does appear that certain JS Frameworks work best on certain sized pages.

For example, Riot is a great framework for large pages (2nd overall).

However, for small pages, Riot fared significantly worse (15th overall).

Key Takeaway: There’s no “best” JavaScript framework for every situation. For sites with lots of small-sized pages, RightJS is your best bet. For websites with mostly large pages, Gatsby looks to be ideal.

Pages with Low or High Compression Levels Have the Fastest Load Times

Compressing page files on a server is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, compressing files significantly reduces page weight.

However, compressing files before sending them from the server entails additional work on the browser, as the client needs to decompress the files before rendering them.

As part of this analysis, we set out to answer the question: does compressing files actually improve page speed?

To answer this question, we classified FCP into three categories (Fast, Average, Slow):

Fast: 0-1000ms
Average: 1000ms-2500ms
Slow: < 2500ms

We then compared FCP speed and levels of compression among small, medium and large pages.

For small pages, lower levels of compression were associated with faster FCP load times. However, load times pick up again at very high (90-100%) compression levels.

Medium-sized pages had a similar distribution:

Large pages had an even more extreme reverse bell curve distribution:

Although the exact distribution between page sizes differed, the takeaway is clear: pages with very low or very high levels of compression load the fastest.

In fact, you can see a dip in FCP performance for pages that compress a moderate amount of their files.

Specifically, pages that compress 60%-80% of their files perform the worst.

Therefore, when it comes to improving page speed, super low or super high levels of compression tend to work best. Low levels of compression reduce the work needed by the browser. And high levels of compression outweigh taxing work on the client side with a smaller payload.

Key Takeaway: Pages with very low or very high compression have better performance vs. pages with moderate levels of compression.

Third-Party Scripts Negatively Impact Load Times

Not surprisingly, we found that third-party scripts (like Google Analytics, social share buttons and video hosts) result in slower FCP times.

In fact, we found that each 3rd party script increases page load time by 34.1 milliseconds.

Our findings are in-line with others (like this) that discovered that third-party scripts have a massive impact on page speed.

Obviously, the impact depends on the script being used. Certain third-party scripts (like Hotjar) load relatively quickly. Others, including Salesforce, are notoriously slow.

In short, third-party scripts lead to longer load times. And the more scripts a page has, the slower it tends to load.

Key Takeaway: Each 3rd party script used on a page increases page load time by 34.1 milliseconds.

Responsive Images Appear to Improve Page Load Times More Than Lazy Loading and Use of WebP

Images play an extremely important role in website performance for two main reasons:

First, images take up a sizeable amount of a page’s overall size.

Second, user attention tends to focus on images that appear on a page. And if those images load slowly, this can negatively impact UX.

Because images can make or break a site’s loading speed, we decided to compare the performance of 4 different approaches to image optimization:

  • WebP: Developed by Google, WebP is an image format that can be smaller in size compared to other file formats, but still results in a similar level of image quality.
  • Optimized Images: “Optimized Images” are when different versions of an image are served depending on the user’s device, location and more. We included the use of a Content Delivery Network (CDN), Image Compression, and other Image Optimization Web Services under this category.
  • Defer Offscreen Images When images below the fold load when a user scrolls to that point on the page. Also known as “lazy loading”.
  • Responsive Images: When images dynamically adapt to browser window size.

And when we compared these various approaches for Lighthouse speed scores, Responsive Images came out on top.

We also analyzed which approach led to the most 100/100 Lighthouse scores. And the results were very similar.

Key Takeaway: Although the WebP may improve image compression compared to PNG and JPEGs, at this time very few sites have implemented this new image format.

GitHub and Weebly Hosting Has the Best TTFB Performance. Siteground and Wix Have The Worst

We compared the page speed performance of major web hosting providers.

Considering that server response time has the greatest impact on TTFB, we analyzed how different hosts performed on that key metric.

Specifically, we classified TTFB into three categories (Fast, Average, Slow). And we looked at the percentage that each host appeared in each category.

Here are each web hosting provider’s TTFB performance on desktop:

Github, Weebly and Acquia were the top 3 performers for desktop TTFB. Automattic, Wix and Siteground fared the worst.

We ran this same analysis for mobile TTFB. Here are the results:

As you can see, Github performs extremely well on both mobile and desktop. Which, considering that Github Pages only serve static resources, should come as no surprise. Which means that, in many ways, Github isn’t a 1:1 comparison to “normal” web hosts.

Seravo, Netlify and Weebly round out the top 4. Wix and Automattic are at the bottom of the list.

What’s the takeaway from this analysis?

TTFB is just one of many factors to consider when choosing a host. There’s also cost, uptime, customer support, features, and more.

That said, when it comes to fast page load times on desktop and mobile, Github Pages is by far the best option among major hosts. Wix and Automattic hosts tend to have slow TTFB times.

Key Takeaway: Among major hosting providers, Github and Weebly performed best on desktop. According to our analysis, GitHub and Seravo were the fastest mobile hosts. However, it should be noted that Github Pages only serves static pages, which gives it an inherent advantage over the other hosts that we analyzed.

China, Japan and Germany Have the Fastest TTFB Load Times

We compared TTFB loading times for 11 countries from our data set.

Here’s a country-by-country breakdown for desktop speeds:

And mobile:

Key Takeaway: China has the best mobile and desktop TTFB performance. Next comes Japan and Germany with fast page speeds that are above the global averages. France, UK, Canada, US, and Russia have an average page speed. Australia, Brazil, and India have speeds that are below global averages.

Pages With CDNs Perform Worse Than Those Without a CDN

One of our most surprising findings was that pages that utilized a CDN actually fared worse than those that didn’t use a CDN.

This was true for both desktop:

And mobile:

How could this be?

In theory, because it delivers content close to where a user is located, a CDN should improve page speed across the board.

However, that wasn’t the case in our analysis.

We hypothesized that not all CDNs are created equal. In many cases, using a poorly-optimized CDN can actually slow things down.

And when we analyzed the performance of the top 18 of the top CDN providers, we did, in fact, discover a massive difference in performance.

Specifically, we noticed that (on desktop) the best CDN performed 3.6x better than the worst CDN. Which helps explain why CDNs don’t automatically improve performance.

To make the poor performers easier to spot, we compared CDN performance to the global average.

We then put each CDN into one of three buckets:

  • Good (Fast % and Slow % are better than the average across all providers)
  • Average (Fast % or Slow % are better than the average across all providers)
  • Bad (Fast % and Slow % are worse than the average across all providers)

Here is a summary of performance for each provider:

Desktop

Good: Airee, Amazon Cloudfront, Azure CDN, CacheFly, EdgeCast, Fastly, GitHub Pages, Google Cloud, KeyCDN, MaxCDN, Netlify
Average: CDN77
Bad: Akamai, ArvanCloud, Cloudflare, Fireblade, Incapsula, Sucuri

Mobile

Good: Airee, Amazon Cloudfront, Azure CDN, CDN77, EdgeCast, Fastly, GitHub Pages, Google Cloud, KeyCDN, MaxCDN, Netlify
Average: Fireblade, Incapsula, Sucuri
Bad: Akamai, ArvanCloud, Cloudflare

Key Takeaway: Using a CDN won’t automatically improve page speed performance. Certain CDNs perform significantly better than others. Therefore, it’s important to go with a CDN that performs well on both desktop and mobile.

Conclusion

If you want to learn more about how this analysis was done, feel free to check out our study methods PDF.

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Which finding from this study stood out to you?

Or:

Which finding do you plan on taking action on?

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below.

508 Comments

  1. Hi Brian,

    “Pages With CDNs Perform Worse Than Those Without a CDN”…

    I was NOT surprised because I’m FROM India and Backlinko.com opens very slow sometimes here.

    I think you use CDN (You have a YouTube video on CDN, maybe in “Advanced SEO tutorial”)

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Rintu, that could also be due to the fact that our pages are HUGE with lots of high-res images. Like the analysis found, it’s kind of hard to get around that.

      1. Hi Brian,

        For me this page loads very fast. But im curious why you choose to use 1400px wide images when they get displayed at 700px? For me at least.

        Does this make the images sharper? I think it ads allot of html size or not?

        Just curious 🙂

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Hi Tim, it’s because it makes them sharp no matter what the device (even on Retina displays). The downside, as you pointed out, it that they make our pages much bigger… which slows things down.

      1. So from what you’re saying Brian – there’s no choice but to choose UX over speed when it comes to images?

        Users are more likely to wait a bit longer when they know they’re getting an in-depth piece of content.

        I’m guessing image compression is a no goer as well.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          That’s basically what I’m saying. It’s a choice: do you want a fast page or a beautiful page? To me, I’ll take a beautiful ever time.

          As you said: people are willing to wait for something special.

          BTW, you can compress images without losing quality… to a point. We use kraken.io for that.

        1. Well users might be able to wait, but don’t think Google will like this😉

      1. Joel Davis Avatar Joel Davissays:

        Hi Brian, your pages are huge! and since there are so many images, have you considered using the loading attribute for your images?

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Hi Joel, yes they are 🙂

          Do you mean lazy loading?

      1. Hi Brian thanks a lot for this guide it would be extremely helpful for me now to know and decide the best hosting platforms, frameworks and CDN’s that would give best results.
        But for my current wordpress and shopify sites I want to optimize for speed not just with plugins, amp or CDN’s but by some advanced stuff like improving render path blocking. Can you please give a guide on the advanced topics related to site speed or tech SEO or please suggest some good sources to learn these stuff in deep?
        Awaiting for the reply!!
        Either way keep up the amazing work, big fan😄😊👍👍

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          You’re welcome. I know a little bit about site speed, but I’m probably not the best person to write about advanced topics.

      1. allan Avatar allansays:

        Hi Brian,

        Awesome Data. Hope 2.0 will include SSL provider. SSL is almost 60% culprit of TTFB.

        Was trying to improve our site TTFB on all the information available on the web.

        Found this site https://woorocket.com talk about WP Site Speed & Performance Optimization. The site Load crazily fast under 100ms.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Thank you, Allan. I’ll check them out.

        1. Checking woorocket. 1.5 seconds is the Time To Interactive, which is what Google uses for one third of their indexing algorithm. This was done in Cognito mode in Chrome, which excludes any extensions, to get a true reading.

          Also, Lightspeed will use a slow 4G network for testing now as a default. However, half the world is still on 3G networks. You can however create a 3G profile to to get a more accurate page load speed from half the world. Use this as your benchmark.

          Also, looking further at woorocket, they still have a few things to learn. As they reference using CloudFlare for a CDN and Kinsta for hosting. Understandable, if you haven’t really spent the hundred hours or more in researching all aspects of latency on the web.

      1. Neo Avatar Neosays:

        Interesting study.
        In most hosting comparison studies I found that Kinsta and Siteground performing better than wpengine.

        Another popular blogger from UK did a similar test only on hosting and found wpengine towards the bottom and wpxhosting at the top.
        This is going to add more confusion for those who are looking for a new webhost.

        1. This is true Neo. Create confusion on newbies. 🙂

    1. Anthony Avatar Anthonysays:

      Sorry to but in here but I feel compelled to say. I’m no expert but as far as I can determine the reason that WordPress has so many webs site around the world is because 19 years ago it was one of the first and it was free. So those that are still using it are either those that cant transfer off it very easily or those that mistakenly believe that it must be popular and so use it now. It does not help that many that still use it are reluctant to admit they are stuck with it. And that is how the myth continues that its a great web site builder. For many reasons I have found this not be the case.

    1. It also depends on your internet speed, ping etc. CDN is definitely a thing for better load time. I have checked with and w/o CDN. It increases upto 50%.

    1. @RINTU BISWAS

      1. “Pages With CDNs Perform Worse Than Those Without a CDN” – The answer is Yes and No, Yes – if your target audience is only from India then it is better not to use CDN because most of the CDN don’t have server in India (some do) that why you will get worst performance . If your target audience is from all over the world (Global) then using CDN is much better and it can also reduce server load and at the same time you will be protected your site from DDOS attack.

      2. I was NOT surprised because I’m FROM India and Backlinko.com opens very slow sometimes here – It should be slow because Backlinko CDN is Stackpath or MaxCDN, they don’t have Server in India which mean the content is delivered from nearest location i.e could be from Singapore, HongKong ) & total page size of this page is 8.98MB which is really heavy.

      If Backlinko enable Lazy load page size can be reduce significantly.

      Cheers

  2. Aditya Verma Avatar Aditya Vermasays:

    Siteground amongst slowest? Hard to believe. A lot of people may doubt this. However, thanks for the research.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Aditya, that’s just what the data says. I’m open to hearing what people’s experience has been with them.

      1. This is epic Brian, thanks for all you do.

        To follow up on the Siteground comment — I recently did a little testing of my own for a recent blog post. As a control, I tested WordPress + Siteground out of the box — no plugins or add-ons, just a clean WordPress install, the default theme, and the sample page.

        The page size was 51.6KB with a load time of 895ms. 100%D and 99%M on Google Page Insights. Once I started adding themes and installing plugins, a different story.

        I think it’s fair to say that SiteGround + WordPress can be lightning-fast if you know what you’re doing.

        Fascinating outcomes really. Thanks again!

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Hi Taughnee, thanks for sharing that! Super interesting. It’s always good to hear how things go with a controlled experiment like that. Our data set was based on real sites “in the wild”. The upside of this approach that it’s a more representative of how sites on different CMS’s, hosts etc. load in real life.

          But the downside is that it’s not totally controlled. There are confounding variables at play. So yeah, it’s interesting to see what you found from your controlled experiment. Thanks again!

        1. Hi Taughnee,

          I agree with you even we have different plugins and a theme and some scripts as well, and we are on WordPress + Siteground where our Desktop is 100% (600ms) and Mobile is 92% (2.3sec). We are using Sucuri CDN.

          and most of our client sites have a similar speed as trying our best to take care of things during the development which can hurt the speed later.

        1. I agree!
          I tested the same thing and I gotta say siteground is super fast and score 99 and 100, if you start adding themes you gotta play a lot with it to reach a high performance but it worth it.
          BTW- Gatsby people! That’s the future if you ask me, I love it! Just you gotta know what you are doing

      1. Do you have experimented with WPEngine and Kinsta hosting? Because both provide managed WordPress hosting.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          I’ve tested them, but it’s been many many years. I’m not sure how they stack up now.

      1. Siteground has the reputation to be amongst the fastest webhosting companies but I experienced the opposite myself too. Perhaps they performed better in the past but they certainly don’t atm.

        I’m actually surprised about the extreme bad performance of WP. With plugins like WP Rocket, Smush it, Autoptimize, and the likes, I didn’t expect it to end up at the bottom of the list.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Hi Ramon, it could be that many WordPress owners don’t actually install those plugins in the first place. Or that all the other plugins they do install ends up slowing things down.

    1. Yeah! It´s hard to believe that Siteground was the slowest hosting provider. I would say it is one of the best I´ve ever tried. For example it´s much better than other very well know such as Bluehost. What kind of websites did you use in this research. It would be nice to have some examples of websites used in this research…

        1. Ryan Avatar Ryansays:

          I see the Siteground employees are out in force today.

    1. I respect Brian work a lot, but I can’t believe in this conclusion.

      1. Another awesome analysis Brian! Although I do feel you are giving WordPress a harsh evaluation. Many WordPress users do not perform any speed optimisations using plugins and/or choose a slow loading theme which will cause their WordPres site to load slowly. While I do believe the WordPress core can always be optimised better for speed, there is always room for improvement, I know for a fact that WordPress can be lightning fast. As such I feel your analysis reveals that only a quarter of WordPress users are doing the following with their sites: Using a lightweight theme (which there are plenty of to choose from), limit the amount of unnecessary plugins and only choose ones that do not negatively impact speed too much, then optimise images and site for speed using compression and speed plugins. I believe the real reason WordPress is scoring so badly in your reports is the vast amount of inexperienced WordPress users and the plethora of slow loading themes and plugins which is causing bloated websites for those that either do not care or do not know how to correct.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Hi Max, thank you! That’s a good point (and one that a few others have brought up). My take is that, yes, that does partly explain the reason that WordPress rated so low in our analysis. But, as you said, it’s not fast out of the box (when compared to other out of the box solutions, like Weebly). It CAN be fast with the right optimization. But in the wild, WordPress tends to be slow.

  3. Diaz Avatar Diazsays:

    Hi, Brian!

    Every articles you write, have many images which helps the visitors to understand about the content.

    But, how you can speed the website much faster with rich of visual content? You’re so great and your site so fast!

    Please explain me.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Diaz. Being a highly-visual site, our pages don’t load super quickly (according to most tools). But we do the best we can in terms of compression. So it’s good to hear that Backlinko is loading quickly for you.

      1. Diaz Avatar Diazsays:

        Only image compression? How can you explain me use software or online compressing image tools?

        The problem, I also compress the image, but the site are slow 🙁

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Not just image compression. We also use a great host, a light weight theme… and we have a full-time developer who does great work fine tuning things so the site loads quickly despite out massive pages.

  4. WOW! This is epic 👏

    Thanks for compiling… now I’ve got some work to do 😂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Ryan! I felt the same way, LOL. We do our best with page speed. But considering how many high-res images we use, the site isn’t the fastest. Working on this study made me want to make site speed a higher priority!

      1. Image quality is low on the list of user priority. Speed is number one. Everyone hates a slow site. I’d dumb down those retina images.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          I’m sure there are people on both sides. I personally prefer image quality over speed.

  5. Hey Brian – super post! Curious as to whether you’ve ever thought about going a step further and analysing any correlation between speed and serp rankings. I guess we all know it plays *some* role – but we I don’t think anyone has ever truly studied it closely. Perhaps it would be too difficult to be conclusive?
    Colm

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Colm, thank you! We did actually look at that correlation a few years ago: https://old.backlinko.com/search-engine-ranking. But I’d be curious to see how that works now that Google is mobile-first and seems to be putting more of an emphasis on site speed.

      1. Aha yes indeed you did! forgot about that one 🙂
        Thanks Brian!
        Colm

  6. Looks like I need to learn more about Weebly.

    Thanks for the research!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Andrew. Needless to say, speed is just one factor that I’d consider when picking a CMS. For example, we still use WordPress even though it’s pretty darn slow.

      1. Francis Lemonnier Avatar Francis Lemonniersays:

        There’s a way to have the best of both worlds with plugins like wp2static…

        You can manage your website remotely with WordPress and publish a static site.

        It’s very fast and secure.

        There are some limitations but if your site doesn’t need dynamic content, you can use 3rd party scripts to handle forms and comment modules…

        Thanks Brian! The data you pulled was revealing.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Hi Francis, thank you. Static site + WP actually something that we’re exploring right now.

    1. I would never consider Weebly or any similar options. While WordPress might be trickier when it comes to loading speeds, it wins hand down when it comes to versatility, SEO out of the box etc. Speed alone (although this can also be dramatically improved) shouldn’t be the deciding factor. I’ve made faster websites on WordPress than others on Wix or similar platforms. it’s not what you’re using, it’s how you are using it.

      1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

        👍👍👍

  7. Thank you so much for this valuable research in to site speed. I have been wondering for quite some time now about all the information that is covered in this post. The CDN, Responsive images and Javascript framework sections really gave me clarity on how I can improve site speed for our clients

    Cheers

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Pieter, you’re welcome. I’m glad you were able to get some takeaways that you can use to speed things up.

      1. I used to run a personal Squarespace website and I cam confirm that it was super fast. However, I switched to WordPress a couple of weeks ago, mainly because of the plugins, SEO, etc. Thanks for one more valuable article, Brian.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Thanks George. Great point there: even though it can be slow, I still use and recommend WordPress. It just has so many great features.

  8. Weebly… Fascinating.

    Ave 10.3 sec to fully load…

    Suddenly I don’t feel that bad about my 2.6 sec any more…:)

    I still need to pay attention to reducing image weight.

    Thank you for the insights – it puts many things into perspective.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Peter, you’re welcome. Yeah, that number stood out to me too. It is an average, so it’s possible some massive/slow pages are driving that number up. But still: 2.6 seconds ain’t bad!

  9. Siteground is gone lose alot of customers today! Thanks brian for awesome content, Love it

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I certainly hope not. Even though site performance is important, I wouldn’t base my choice of host based on that alone. There’s also reliability/uptime, support etc. etc.

      1. Awesome post Brian. Makes me think if you are a data scientist by night…

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          HA! Far from it. I just work with people who are excellent at data science.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Nathan!

  10. Hey Brian, when you talk about WordPress, are you referring to wordpress.com or self-hosted wordpress sites? I can get wordpress website fully loading in under 500ms. The key to achieving this is to not bloat out WP with plugins and to use hosting that specifically uses Litespeed server.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Oliver, we’re talking about any site that uses WordPress as a CMS. So that includes both. You’re right: I don’t think that WordPress is necessarily slow (although it has a reputation for being somewhat slow out of the box). And you’re right: it may be partially due to the fact that WP owners weigh down their site with lots of plugins etc.

      1. Ah interesting, this was my question as well..

        I used to think that wordpress was the fastest CMS. Thats kinda bad news because Ive grown to love wordpress and how it works.

        I used to use elementor but that slowed my site way down. Now I use siteorigin page builder which seems allot faster.

        Would be better to not use any site builder but if I manually have to create colums and divs with all css it would take me allot more time to build a page 🙂

        Related post plugins also slow down your site allot I think..

        1. Oliver Avatar Oliversays:

          Moving my clients’ sites to a Litespeed enabled server has been the ‘easy win’ to achieving fast load times. Even on brochureware sites that use a pre-made theme such as Divi, once the Litespeed cache is primed they can load in under 200 milliseconds.

          Litespeed reduces the TTFB really well and blows setups like NGINIX/Varnish out of the water. It also integrates nicely with WordPress and has built-in image optimisation and automatic webp image serving/lazy loading.

          I tend to code my own themes with CPTs and Custom Fields usually converting a pre-made HTML template and usually stick to around 4 maybe 5 core plugins.

  11. I haven’t finished reading the previous post due to the detailed explanation.

    This post concludes everything about page speed, great work.

    Please keep it up, backlinko is the best source for SEO by far.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      👍👍👍

  12. What an in-depth research on page speed Brian. Thanks for sharing it!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome 👍👍👍

      1. Thanks for sharing in depth Insights about page speed. Valuable Content.

  13. Jaya Avatar Jayasays:

    Hi,
    Brian.
    I loved your content but the question coming to my mind is.
    I have checked some of your blog post score in Google page speed test, it’s lower than 50 for both mobile and desktop but then also your blog post are ranking. What is it? How you are able to rank well even when the page size and speed it very much low? And on the other side Neil Patel blogpost is also ranking but which technology he is using that his 20 images ranked blog post size is not more than 500kb and 60 requests?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Jaya, I think the explanation is basically: site speed is a Google ranking factor. But it’s one of hundreds. So it’s possible to rank with a relatively slow site.

      1. Jaya Avatar Jayasays:

        Can you tell us how to compress the web page codes into paragraph like removing all the space and comments to decrease the web page size like Neil Patel does on his blog post?
        Please answer to this

        1. jo Avatar josays:

          Great article, as always. Good hints. Of course, some results could be affected by various factors. For example, maybe some hosting providers have different customer base or serve a lot also in countries with slower connections. Maybe WordPress is so down in the results becouse it is usually packed with plugins that other platform don’t even have.

  14. Gonna see things quite different after reading this post.

    Pretty eye opening study Brian!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Farhan. Same here: I was super surprised by our findings that CDNs usually lead to slower websites. But it does make sense when you consider how many sites have their CDNs set up incorrectly.

  15. Another great article Brian. My website pages load a bit slow & I will definitely need to apply some of the tips from your article. Thanks again!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Darshana, sounds good. Let me know how it goes.

  16. Hi Brian,

    This is very detail report for me, a newbie of page speed !

    I have using a hosting which is included CDN already!

    Thanks!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Laura, no problem. Happy to help. In that case, I’d recommend testing how your site performs with and without a CDN. Sometimes those built-in CDNs aren’t the best. That said, I always recommend using a CDN when possible because it’s also good for site security.

  17. Thanks Brian for all the info and statistics.

    I’ve been on a big push lately on improving site speed with all my clients. It is good to see data that isn’t specific to how exactly you should optimize your site for speed but rather what are the potential costs/benefits to speeding up your site via specific site speed optimization practices.

    I specifically found the CDN research to be most interesting.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Austin, that finding stuck out to me as well. It shows that these best practices (like using a CDN) have a place. But they need to be setup correctly to actually work.

  18. Abdul Avatar Abdulsays:

    Hi Sir Brian, that was some interesting discoveries there! Intact I was shocked to see siteground among the bad guys 🙂 However what did your findings made of Shopify? And I would also like you to produce a comprehensive guide for WordPress on how to load faster both on mobile and desktop especially mobile. Thanks for your awesomeness.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Abdul. We actually didn’t look at Shopify in this analysis. But considering how fast its growing, it would be an interesting platform to check out.

      1. Yes! Definitely looking for the Shopify-specific insights.

  19. Very interesting about the WordPress thing… but I think that’s largely due to many people that use it not being professionals. I’m able to get performance very high for WordPress. So in the right hands, it can make a big difference.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Doug, I see what you mean. But wouldn’t you say that Squarespace appeals to people that aren’t professionals? And they came out near the top.

      1. I would guess that WordPress is used by a lot of people who ‘sort of know’ what they are doing or ‘don’t know’ leading to slower load times. Squarespace however has recognised this and I am sure does a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of optimising images etc backend so the user doesn’t have to.

        Very interesting about the CDN’s however. Did Caching enter into the research at all?

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          That could be, Tim. I’m honestly not sure what Squarespace does behind the scenes to make their sites fast (or how much they leave up to their users to figure out). Interesting point that I hadn’t thought of!

        1. I 100% agree @Tim Chorlton. My first thought was that WordPress leaves 90% of the work up to the end users, which will create a massive variance in the outcomes. Whereas a CMS like SquareSpace will drastically limit what role the user plays in the performance, and only allows them to focus on the design aspect. This keeps the quality of the pages running smoother, more lightweight, and consistent. WordPress Admins come in every shape and size, some admins think it is still ok to put long run videos as the header for mobile devices…I feel this greatly impacts the data.

          @Brian Dean, that said, unbelievably fantastic article. I felt myself completely enthralled in the page wanting to read more. This is pure brain candy for me and directly impacts my business. Thank you sir for a job well done!

      1. An0n Avatar An0nsays:

        M8, Square Space and Weebly CMS hosting are limited their own hosting (optimized for their own software) and they have a maximum of 1-2% market share compared to WordPress +30% of all websites and over 60% of the CMS market share..

        This data is pretty skewed as WP is the most used CMS. It is super easy to get decent ratings (2-6s total load time) with WordPress by using decent/good hosting and caching plugin.

        I have over 30 WP-sites hosted and the best of them are fully loaded desktop 1.3-1.5sec and worst are around 5-6s. For mobile these same measures are around 3-4sec for the best and around 10s for the worst. No magic tricks or any high-level technical stuff used.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          I’m not sure how market share plays a role. So if 60% of CMS’s are WordPress, that explains why they’re slow? I don’t understand the logic there.

          And yes, WordPress can be quick when optimized correctly (which it sounds like you’ve done). But “in the wild”, WordPress sites simply aren’t fast.

  20. Wow, very surprised the average page takes longer to load on mobile over desktop. I would’ve expected the complete opposite!

    Also interesting to see that Cloudflare performs so poorly on both desktop and mobile.

    A lot of this is over my head (I didn’t even know there were multiple JS frameworks), but I’m definitely sending this to my web developer. Great study, Brian!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Kyle, I think the explanation there is that most pages are basically the same size on desktop and mobile. Especially now that people are using responsive design vs. “m dot” pages. So even though it may be mobile-optimized for UX, the actual page is the same size. And when you load a big page on a mobile device, it’s just gonna take longer to load up. Hope that makes sense.

  21. Thanks Brian, for showing the actual facts about siteground. There are many gurus who recommends siteground just for the affiliate commission without even digging dip down.

    Thanks,
    Umesh Sigh

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Umesh.

  22. Right article @ right time. I thought of implementing Cloudflare CDN on my local business website. After reading this article I decided not to.

    4 days back, I was thinking of traffic sources and shawn from thrive themes sent an email at the right time just like your email today.

    I am surprised how this things are happening.

    Thanks Brian.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Avinash. I’d still strongly consider using a CDN. There are a lot of advantages of using them (like security). And if they’re setup right, they can help with site speed too.

    1. Although CloudFlare performed poorly for speed on AVG, It provides amazing security, free SSL, HTTP2 pushes, and provides caching and dynamic compression which DOES help. So you win some you lose some. I don’t work for, nor have relations with anyone there but I support the tool regardless of this report. For a free service with paid options, what it provides is well worth implementing for the very minimal loss.

      Run your own tests. Run test pre-installation, install and test again. I think you’ll be surprised.

  23. I have never even heard of some of these CDN’s before, I will have to do some research into the CDN’s I’ve never heard of and maybe make the switch.

    Also, Weebly is crazy fast for a CMS. I didn’t expect the CMS to even be in the top 10. Thanks for all the hard work!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Dillon, same here. I had heard of most of the big names (like Cloudflare). But a good chunk of these CDNs were new to me too.

  24. Warren Vick Avatar Warren Vicksays:

    No mention of http2?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Warren, we didn’t look into http2 in this analysis. Maybe next time!

  25. Cris Avatar Crissays:

    Hey, Brian. What about Dreamhost? Is it any good?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Cris, we didn’t analyze Dreamhost. And they’re one of the few hosts that I don’t have personal experience with. So I don’t have much to say about them.

      1. Brian,

        So, which hosting have you tried so far? Which ones would you recommend for a startup project and, more in general, websites for small businesses (no e-commerce)?

  26. Hi Brian,
    Thanks for sharing this amazing piece of content. I have a question that what If we used Cloud or Window Hosting on our website? is it fast or not and what is your opinion about BlueHost and Godaddy Hosting?
    Looking forward to your reply.
    Cheers,
    Hamza Hashim

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Hamza, I’m honestly not sure that one is clearly superior to the other. To me, it’s more about the company and service than the servers themselves (although that does make a difference). If you’re sharing a server with 1000 other sites, your site’s going to be slow no matter what.

  27. I think it is important to note that when a Squarespace or Weebly site is built, the user doesn’t choose the host. These sites are self hosted on servers optimized specifically for their sites. Compare that to WordPress where the website owner often chooses their own host (usually the cheapest option) that will ultimately affect the pageload times. So WP load times are and average of all hosts, not necessarily the CMS itself.

    WP Engine is one of the fastest hosts, so WordPress sites on this host would give people much faster WP sites. Choice of host is super important if you care about site speed, so i’m glad you did rate hosts.

    Thanks again for all your insightful data Brian.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Mike, great point there. Especially considering how many WordPress sites are hosted on $5/month hosting plans. And yes: I always recommend that people upgrade their hosts if they can swing it. You can compress images all day long. But nothing’s going to give you a bigger boost than a solid host that’s optimized for your site’s architecture.

  28. Nick_D Avatar Nick_Dsays:

    Cracking analysis Brian. Interesting about the CDN, that will ruin a few people’s afternoons! The last few sites I designed I have used responsive images for the heroes or large carousels (4 diff sizes for each) and yes, it makes a noticeable difference certainly on the mobile score

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Nick, thank you! And I’m glad to see that your real-world experience lines up with what the data found.

  29. Hi Brain, most of the wordpress website is not optimised for speed. That’s why most of the wordpress website slow. But WordPress have lot of plugins for speed up website. I really enjoy to use wordpress. Because its very easy and lot of fetures. Anyway, Thanks for your valueable research.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Mike, that’s true: there are many WordPress sites that are super slow because they’re not setup correctly. But they also have plugins that slow things down. So to me, it might actually balance out.

  30. Siteground affordable plans upto Go Geek are slow though they have best support system to deal customer issues.

    I found wpx host also good and my site speed got better.

    Though my page is heavy and is 1.5 MB and I am trying to trim things down.

    The more feature you add like live chat and all it brings speed more down.

    Too many requests it cause.

    Also, I found Jetpack making too many requests and this is what makes people leave it.

    Though it does have great functions but there are numerous requests from one plugin.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Naveen. That’s basically what we found: there are things you can do to speed things up. But at the end of the day, a big page loads slower than a smaller page.

  31. Thanks Brian

    This is a huge loads of information. Come to think of i recently move to Siteground because of this.

    But now i know. Thanks i really appreciate this knowledge.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Olusola.

  32. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for putting this all together! Impressive…

    Too bad that mainstream services like WordPress and also Cloudflare are significantly underperforming. For WordPress this was already clear to me: free, flexibility and noob-friendly use comes at a price after all. But if you keep your design and choice of plug-ins down to the must-haves, you still can get good speed.

    Only the stats about Cloudflare shocked me a bit… Of course, it’s available for free and not a real CDN, but this makes me rethink using it. I’ll run some tests with the other CDN’s to check out the difference.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Will, you’re welcome. I’m with you: WordPress can be pretty quick. But it’s not super fast out of the box.

  33. Hi Brian,

    Thank you for the valuable research you have done here. Is it possible to give you more insight on how to optimize websites with Big Data and long content? One of my clients who generate more than 500 articles a day with around 700 words on each and around 2 images.
    This is obviously a huge data to manage which might slower your website speed. Can you help me with this?

    I have just started learning MongoDB after a friend suggested to use for big data or do you have any suggestion

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Sunita, I’m not a developer so I’m not the best person to ask about this. I do know that WordPress has a WordPress VIP service designed for content-heavy sites. I don’t know much about it but it might be worth looking into.

  34. Hi Brian, great content. Did you take into consideration the volume of content on a website when selecting the 5+ million sites? I’ve noticed that a lot of the Squarespace and Weebly sites tend to be amateur bloggers or very small businesses. They seem to inherently have a lot less content and depth than WordPress sites, which could skew the analysis.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Luke, thanks! We didn’t drill down that specifically. But you raise a great point that some WordPress sites can have more content. My only potential counterpoint is that Squarespace and Weebly sites tend to be really image-heavy compared to WordPress sites (which are mostly text). So I’d say that, in many cases, Squarespace and Weebly sites are actually bigger in terms of filesize than WordPress blogs.

      Plus, Wix is similar to Squarespace and it ended up ranking low in our speed rankings.

    1. Hey Brain, thank you for what you had given to the SEO community.
      But indeed, I doubt your thoughts regarding SiteGround, as I’m using their service for such a long time. Can’t believe on this, but the fact that you derived from your case study of “FIRST BYTE” is acceptable, and will research for the same.

      1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

        Hi Rohit, I definitely wouldn’t switch hosts based on this analysis (especially if you’re enjoying working with SiteGround). It’s more to establish benchmarks.

  35. I’m wondering if overall speed of WordPress sites is as meaningful as it seems in your data. There are various online reports about significantly different page load times for different WordPress themes. For example, Avada seems to be the most popular WP theme, but is reportedly slower than many other themes, possibly related to the depth of features included. So I have to wonder how “WordPress” sites might compare with other CMS’s if WP sites with faster WP themes were analyzed?

    Similarly, might other factors be at work here, such as whether WP sites are fully updated vs running old versions, sites that are running too many or inefficient plugins, etc.? So is it really fair to lump all WP sites together in an analysis like this? The results are interesting, but I suspect we should be careful about making any overly-broad conclusions.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Richard, you bring up a good point. A “WordPress” site can look completely different depending on the version, theme, plugins, hosts etc. Not all WP sites are created equal. That said: you could largely say the same for Drupal and they ranked above WordPress in our speed rankings.

      1. It’s been a few years since I touched Drupal, but even back then I think it had caching built-in. WordPress does not, that’s going to drastically impact TTFB.

  36. I was very surprised to see Siteground ranked as one of the worst hosts for speed in your study Brian. I only recently moved my site to Siteground so I hope Siteground act on your results and push for improvements!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Val, how has the experience been with them so far? Like I mentioned in another comment, speed is just one thing a host brings to the table.

  37. Great stuff as ever Brian.

    Certainly found certain CDNs to be slower as well.

    Glad we’ve got you in our corner though, no one has time for the kind of research you do 😉

    Dave

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Dave. Yup, I’ve got nothing but time on my hands 😂😂😂

  38. Bradley Avatar Bradleysays:

    Hey Brian. Did you include Webflow in your CMS analysis? We used them to grow our blog to 150k pageviews a month and it is so powerful, and seems very quick to load, it’s just no one seems to widely recognise them yet in such tests.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Bradley, we didn’t include Webflow in our CMS analysis. But you’re not the first person that’s told me that they’re really happy with it. If we do a 2.0 version of this study we will definitely also look at Webflow!

  39. Andy Duinker Avatar Andy Duinkersays:

    Have you tested WPX hosting? One of the fasted known to man. Cheers

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Andy, I haven’t actually. I’ll check them out!

  40. Tom Avatar Tomsays:

    These results are a little surprising to me. I noticed that you didn’t discuss the location, device, and network connection these tests were run with. Can you elaborate?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Tom, I recommend checking out the methods PDF at the end of the post. It outlines how the study was done and the sample we used for the analysis.

      1. Tom Avatar Tomsays:

        I missed that link, thanks!

        So, CUXR only takes newer versions of Chrome into effect (and further subsetting by users that have opted in to data collection – it’s questionable whether performance-needy users are enabling extra data transfer here). HTTP Archive is only testing on Chrome from Redmond, CA. This would leave several truck widths in the accuracy of the analysis to drive through, wouldn’t it? There are literally zero Safari/Mobile Safari page loads in this data set for one.

        Another question, how many sites/pages were in each CMS platform sample? How were you able to determine this programmatically (as I imagine you didn’t hand classify millions of URLs)?

        Thanks for this. Questions aside, we need more content like this in the world.

  41. This is a fantastic post. As to the WordPress loading speeds, are you factoring the bloat that comes from “too many plugins”?

    I find that a lot of WordPress sites which are sluggish tend to have a ton of unneeded or redundant plugins, or plugins which are left active when they are not needed – like a “duplicate page” plugin, as an example.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Bill, thank you! We didn’t factor that in as we wanted to compare each CMS on equal footing. That said, you’re right: part of the reason WordPress ranked low on the list may be because of plugin bloat. It’s a real problem.

  42. chetan kamble Avatar chetan kamblesays:

    Hi Brian, Thanks for the in-depth analysis, Great stuff. I am working on Magento. I just wanted how good Magento is for SEO and Speed test performance.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Chetan, you’re welcome. We didn’t look specifically at Magento here, so I’m not sure how it stacks up vs. the platforms that we analyzed.

  43. Frank Avatar Franksays:

    How did Bluehost not make the list? That’s the bread and butter for most affiliate bloggers. Or did I just answer my own question?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Frank, we didn’t look at Bluehost or Hostgator this time. Hopefully next time!

  44. Very Interesting Brian –

    I’d love to see an update in a couple of years and see how the results of mobile speed and load times compare when 5G is fully rolled out. I’m expecting to see mobile more comparable to desktop then.

    Thanks for this!.

    Epic study!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Derek, you’re welcome! That would be interesting. 5G seems to be insanely fast, so that’s definitely a game changer.

  45. Tony Bologne Avatar Tony Bolognesays:

    Are you just ignoring the actual content that is on the sites? How can you compare platforms like this without taking into account the content that each site is loading?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Tony, we didn’t take the content on each site into account. We looked at the platform as a whole.

  46. It’s a shame only TTFB is shown for hosting provides, and that this grouping into Fast/Medium/Slow was the scoring method.

    I would’ve preferred to see the total load times and skip the binning–show average and median. Seems to me there’s enough data points that you’ll get a normal distribution and even just the average is representative. I don’t trust the binning to show a true story.

    For example, I have used both WP Engine and Kinsta. Kinsta is consistently faster for my site than WP Engine, by quite a lot. You can see some funny business on WP Engine just looking at its proportion of “Slow” bins, but it wins because only the “Fast” bin is really considered.

    Plus you have all the peeps saying they don’t believe the Siteground numbers. Makes me wonder what its total load time looks like.

    All in all, an interesting and valuable article. Being a quant sort of guy, I just want more, LOL!

    PS Might have also been interesting to look at some of this vs site traffic. In other words, what might be best providers/practices for big vs small sites.

    Relying only on TTFB may be good for SEO, but I don’t think it matters at all for user experience. So, we don’t get to see a benchmark that’s relevant to user experience.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Bob, one of the things that’s tough about doing these industry studies is choosing what to analyze. When you have a dataset of 5M+ pages, it’s tempting to analyze everything possible. But you quickly realize that it’s not possible and that you have to “choose your battles” (so to speak). So yeah, I agree that approach would have also bubbled up some interesting findings too.

      And I’m glad to see that you enjoyed the post!

    1. Pat Avatar Patsays:

      @Bob, that’s the very interesting thing with Siteground. The ttfb can be frustratingly long but total load times is barely longer. For example, ByteCheck returns 751 ms ttfb for the home page of one of my sites. The total load time for the same page is also 751 ms. Google PageSpeed gives “first contenful paint” at 2 s. That’s also the time for “time to interactive”.

  47. Great study. Very thorough. I always knew WP was sluggish, but wow… it is downright snail-like. Though, I found that theme choice can impact the speed of a WP site. It would be cool to have a WP theme comparison. Divi vs. Avada, vs. etc…

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Steve, absolutely: WP can be slow or fast depending on how it’s setup. But according to this analysis, it tends to be slow most of the time.

    1. Yes, amazing insight.. Kinda bums me out..

      I use ASTRA theme with Origin Sitebuilder, WP Super Cache and Autoptimize.
      Everything with speed in mind..

      Would be cool if there was a self hosted version of Squarespace or Weebly!
      Or does anyone here has suggestions with self hosted CMS with ultra high speed?

  48. Paul Avatar Paulsays:

    Hey Brian,

    You missed testing Limelight Networks’ CDN (yes, a major provider).
    They have been awarded several times at major events, so they should’ve been included in the testing. Just my two cents.

    Thanks for the analysis, there is work to be done for many of us.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Paul, thank you! If we re-run this analysis I’ll look into Limelight Networks.

  49. Sanjay Avatar Sanjaysays:

    I have respect for your work, but this time I don’t agree this time.

    Siteground is fast and good hosting compared to many. You have compared it with Static website hosting platforms, In all case static website will outperform dynamic sites based on WordPress or other CMS.

    its also depends on the theme and plugin used by WordPress website. A good theme with right plugin can do much better than most of the CMS or services mentioned here

    Siteground has mainly WordPress sites and therefore it is unfair to compare it with githubs, netlifly etc. which are static site hosting platform.

    Also, comparing different JavaScript framework without much detail is totally wrong. Many things depend on the way they are implemented and there is lot of factors that make one application faster or slower than other.

    To me this is misleading and completely wrong presentation without knowing actual implementation of each website

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Sanjay, you’re 100% right, comparing a traditional host to Github isn’t fair. That’s why I pointed that out twice in the post: it’s a key point.

      But I don’t agree that you can’t analyze things in aggregate. It’s not perfect by any means, but it does give you an idea of how things load in the real world.

  50. Wow, Dean, that’s some very extensive research. What disappointed me was that WordPress was so far down the list for mobile loading speed. My site’s WP lol. I will have to look into speeding it up. I will download the Pdf. Thanks for all your research, your the TOPS!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi April, you’re welcome. We’re on WP as well. Even thought it can be slow, it’s still my top choice.

  51. Great post as always Brian. Articulate and insightful. Thanks and keep up the great work.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome!

  52. Hi Brian,

    Amazing content! I think in CMSs comparison maybe could be better to split the research in two groups, the first one for self-hosted services like Wix, Squarespace etc and second one install-able CMS like WordPress, Joomla etc. In first case the optimization on pagespeed depends mostly from the solution provider, in the other case from website creator – designer and web hosting.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Vasilis, good point there. There’s a possibility that because WordPress is self-managed, that it’s slower. But it could also just be that WP sites are bigger and take more time to load. It would be interesting to drill down into each CMS to figure out why one is faster than another.

  53. Very interesting overview!

    But, it’s not really fair to see you say WordPress is ‘slow’ when it’s not hosted the same way as Squarespace or Wix. WP is self-hosted so the speed mostly depends on the exact host business uses… Not really a fair ‘conclusion’ it seems.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Adrijus, fair point there. However, the point is that, in the wild, Squarespace sites tend to load quickly. Why that happens is another discussion.

  54. If a site is already ranking well, and has terrible site speed from a CMS, do you think it’s worth using all the SEO budget for a redesign on a faster or custom platform?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Ryan, I’d actually use the SEO budget on content, outreach and links. If a site is ranking well I’m usually reluctant to make wholesale changes. You never know what can happen.

  55. Kinda funny that a lot of testing was done of websites built on CMS platforms. It’s very well known fact that CMS will always be much slower than any custom website.

    It’d be interesting to see the correlation between loading speeds and rankings of CMS vs custom non-CMS websites.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      What do you mean by “Custom website”? Like a static HTML site?

  56. This is an awesome report, thank you.

    I’d LOVE to see all this data filtered by CMS in each category, so it can be an “apples to apples” comparison every time.

    All of my clients use WordPress, so I can easily ignore data from providers like Github hosting and Wix/Weebly/Squarespace. But when looking at a general host’s performance (such as SiteGround or Bluehost) who hosts all types of sites, not just WordPress sites, it’s not particularly informative.

    Any way to filter/limit the data set to the approx. ~2 million WordPress sites in your list? Thanks!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Andrew, thank you!

      That’s something I’d like to look into in a 2.0 version of this study. That would be interesting. For the record, I 100% agree with what you’re saying with WP vs. Github. I made sure to emphasize that in the post.

  57. A large majority of my clients use WordPress. Are there plugins that can help page speed? Yet, adding more plugins, I would assume, may slow down speed as well. So would plugins not be worth it? Maybe a blog post on “Page Speed Optimization for WP Sites” would be an awesome/useful resource.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Cody, a plugin that compresses images and maybe a lazy loading plugin will usually result in a net positive.

      1. I would rather use free third party sites like ‘compressjpeg .com’ or ‘compresspng .com’ for image compression than a plugin.

  58. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for sharing such an informative article, it will help me to improve our website speed.
    Also, how would you compare StackPath CDN with CloudFlare and SiteGround with HostGator? Please, share. Thanks again 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Md, I’d have to analyze that specific combo to be sure which is best.

      1. I will wait. Thank you!

  59. Hi Brian,

    I just want to add, How you install WordPress plays an important role in overall loading speed.
    I tested a $5 DO droplet,
    1.) with one-click WordPress image.
    2.) With Runcloud.
    3.) CyberPanal on Ubuntu 18.04 (OpenLiteSpeed+LSCache)

    Now I am settled with CyberPanal as it allow me to control OpenLiteSpeed, which can support high-amount traffic and loads quickly.
    While both (1) and (2) gives timeout in testing.

    So I guess, the priority should be how you install WordPress.

    PS: I am not related to CyberPanal in any matter.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Interesting stuff, Devendra. Thank you! It’s always good to get data like that.

      1. I ran some tests.

        10,000 total Client hit (60second): 30,000 hits was Sucess (100%)

        So the cheapest VPS plan (with correct config) able to handle 500 hits per second is insane right? I think it can go further than that.

  60. Hey Brian,
    this is awesome, however for me a couple of things missing. Maybe another post could dig into these.
    1. I use 3 different speed test sites. Pingdom, GTMetrix and Lightspeed. They all give wildly different load times for the same location.
    2. How can we reduce loading times in WordPress? The instructions that are given, such as “Decrease http requests” or “optimize CSS and js” are Chinese for the average blogger. I tried several optimization plugins, but several of them ruined the look of my page, e.g. it looked like an unresponsive mobile page on desktop, content reaching outside the screen.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Peter. 1. I notice the same thing. I think it’s because they’re loading using different “devices”. And they score things differently. 2. I recommend hiring a developer to help you implement that kind of thing. It can be totally worth it.

  61. Robert Avatar Robertsays:

    Hi Brian Dean Team,

    what Tool/Software do you use for your nice Charts on your Website? Thanks.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Robert, we work with a professional graphic designer who does these for us.

  62. Impressive (and detailed) post Brian, thanks very much.

    I tried out Siteground a couple of years ago and was disappointed.

    I did some work for a client about a year ago and was impressed with the performance of their site (hosted on Siteground Starter), so much so that I moved my site to it (https://rife.agency/) which according to Ubersuggest has a mobile loading time of 3 seconds – which is pretty good as I haven’t done anything to it other than install W3 Total with default settings.

    Gotta dash as want to put Weebly to the test!

    Thanks again,
    Richard

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Richard, you’re welcome. Glad you enjoyed it. Re: SiteGround Starter, that’s super interesting!

      1. Actually, just checked. I don’t have W3 Total installed, it’s SiteGround’s own Supercacher.

        I will get around to reading their doc one day!

  63. hi Brian, great content again. I was surprised to know a few factors affect poorly loading speed of a webpage such as CDN, some great CMS like wordpress, weebly, wix etc.

    I have a website made using WordPress with elementor page builder and Astra theme. But its loading speed it way high in both mobile and desktop. I am using a few plugins such as w3 total cache, lazy loader, etc to improve the speed but, I didn’t get the expected result.

    Every time I analyse my website on GT metrix, Google page speed insight it showed very poor score. The errors are: too many http requests, some page coding ( js and css ) couldn’t be loaded etc.

    Do you have any idea how to fix those and improve speed?
    Probably I am not ranking high enough because of this factor.

    Thanks
    Manoj

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Manoj, thank you. I actually recommend working with a developer to help you. It’s not a magic bullet. But they can usually get to the bottom of issues like that.

  64. As a grad school drop-out I love the way you format these studies, doing the results at the top and details below. It’s awesome. Great study.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Dan. BTW, I’m a fellow grad school dropout!

  65. You’ve discovered some really interesting insights here.

    I’d be interested in comparing different WordPress setups, because loading speed varies vastly on WP depending on theme, media/images and compression, caching, and plugin choice.

    When I was getting started building WP sites, a couple of mine took over 10 seconds to load because I was inexperienced with the above factors. Now it’s unacceptable for a site to take longer than 2.5 seconds to load in my book.

    It seems a little unfair to WP because it’s a basic skeleton that gets a bad rap because of its users.

    Wix deserves a bad rap though, because so much is built into the CMS that doesn’t allow you to optimize for speed (or SEO, of course).

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi David, thank you! Very fair point there: WP speed is more about how its setup. At least that’s part of the story.

      I say that because Squarespace is not super flexible (like Wix) and it loads really quickly. So I think that “user error” is part of the explanation for slow WP sites. But not the whole enchilada.

  66. In my opinion, it is such a difficult task to succeed a very high score on page speed if your website is service advertisements because most of the suggestions are related to minimizing number of requests or redirects, minifying JavaScript, setting an expiration and more. Basically it doesn’t work with the advertisement websites and really not sure that what it will be a solution of succeeding a high score in this consequence.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Jacob, there’s some truth to that for sure. It falls under the “3rd party script” thing that we looked at: they slow things down quite a bit.

  67. Sad to see you guys didn’t test or use @BunnyCDN since they obviously perform better than cachefly in https://cdnperf.com on their latest CDN performance.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Ben, I’ll have to check it out. We tried to include as many CDNS as we could. But there are hundreds.

      1. Certainly, but I would have assumed the top performing ones from a resource like cdnperf would have made the list instantly 😉 But great work on the article. Just wish it included them. https://bunnycdn.com cause any time I see KeyCDN or cachefly, I think instantly people would like bunnycdn better. So that’s why it sorta triggered me. lol

  68. Your analysis lists Wix as a framework, but not Shopify’s Liquid. Why?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Mark, we weren’t able to look at sites that run on Shopify in this analysis, but we will probably look into that next time.

  69. Andrew McFadden Avatar Andrew McFaddensays:

    Hi Brian,

    Any chance we can see the distribution for these scores? I really prefer to see other metrics besides average/mean. Having worked on sites large and small, I also think this analysis tends to reveal the technical skill of the developer. There might be clear advantages, but the wordpress site with 20-100 plugins is obviously going to be slower than the static site…right?

      1. Andrew McFadden Avatar Andrew McFaddensays:

        The queries include the median in most cases. Might be interesting to see if there is a meaningful difference between the average and median and if it changes the rankings. Alternatively, you could include it in the top line numbers for TTFB, first content, etc.

  70. Jaro Avatar Jarosays:

    Hello Brian,
    thanks a lot for this analysis!
    I just wonder, how speed correlates with ranking 🙂 Any thoughts about that?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Jaro, you’re welcome. That’s something I want to look into more.

  71. Jay R Avatar Jay Rsays:

    Hey Brian,

    Though I should let you know, on the CDN image Suciri it’s actually “Sucuri”.
    Anyways, awesome post, keep it up.

    Best Regards,
    JR

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Jay, thanks for the heads up! We’ll get that typo fixed.

  72. The wordpress rankings could be a major shock for people who have always trusted this CMS.

    But i think with plugins like AMP, companies finds a way to be better at mobile page speed.

    In the end WordPress (and CMS in general) allow people without coding knowledge to create more than decent websites for their companies.

    Thank you for this study, Brian. Would you recommend CMS as wordprees? Or you think they are outdated.

    Best regards

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Tomas, “In the end WordPress (and CMS in general) allow people without coding knowledge to create more than decent websites for their companies.” I 100% agree.

  73. Hey Brian, this is indeed a great post! I recently created my website and have been aggressively researching on how to improve Page speed. This article is a treat for me.

    I did have one question though – for parameters like ‘Fully loaded’, don’t you think a higher loading time for Mobile pages would have a correlation with the hardware configuration as well? Desktop users may have a much more standardised hardware and OS (mostly Windows or MacOS) across the world, but the ability of a mobile device to decompress gzip files quickly, render the webpage, etc. should depend on its hardware, which widely varies from low-end Androids to high-end iPhones. Just a thought. Extremely useful analysis though. Thanks!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Dharmendra, thank you! Yes, I would expect that. It’s actually true for desktops too (try loading YouTube on an old PC!). But it’s more pronounced on mobile devices.

      1. Hardware is certainly part of the equation. But loading a site over a mobile/cellular network vs. a land-based connection is also a significant factor in slower load times.

        (I live and run a business from an RV, using mobile networks with all manner of hardware, including desktop computers and smartphones.)

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Very true, Teresa. Great point.

          Also, it’s cool that you’re running your business from an RV!

  74. This is super helpful, thanks so much for sharing all this info Brian! Lots to digest here. The conclusions on CDNs and hosting (e.g. Siteground) are surprising, but as you mention, there are soooo many factors to consider when deciphering “why.” Love your feedback (in comments earlier) on images – choosing between “super fast” and “beautiful.” Like so many other things, it really depends on your intentions.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Kurt, you’re welcome! 1000%: the goal of this analysis was more to determine benchmarks. The “why” part is a completely different type of study, usually with a smaller sample size and a more controlled environment for testing A vs. B.

  75. You must put allot of work into this research.. Its hard for us to move our site. Besides working to reduce home page size to increase on page speed increases, can you recommend ways to speed up. Thank you

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Will. A ton of work went into this piece for sure. Compressing images is huge. In my experience, that’s the #1 thing (along with having a great host)

  76. Emily Schroer Avatar Emily Schroersays:

    Hi Brian,

    For the CMS page speeds – what factors were looked at to determine those? Did you compare similarly-structured sites across various CMS’s?

    Just curious, as I wonder if an easy-to-use CMS like WordPress might be more likely to attract a larger number of your average mom-and-pop shops (who may know nothing about page speed or website structuring), thus bringing down WP’s averages?

    Let me know if I’m misunderstanding this – thanks for this incredible resource!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Emily, we didn’t do that sort of comparison. It was simply the average page speed for each CMS.

      You’re right: it could be that WordPress users have certain characteristics that other CMS users don’t. But I’d question the fact that WP attract mom and pop shops more than Squarespace and Weebly. To me, those are geared more towards non-techie folks.

      1. Emily S Avatar Emily Ssays:

        Got it! And yes, that’s probably true; I was basing my thought off the fact that it’s one of the most-used CMS’s, though to your point, this doesn’t necessarily speak to the average expertise of its users.

        Thanks for clarifying, Brian!

  77. Nice work again!

    Are you using any CDN in your site? If yes, which? Which do you prefer most for wordpress sites?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Prayas, yes we use a CDN here (provided by our host). I don’t have one in particular that stands out as great, so I’d consider testing some of the CDNs at the top of our list.

  78. Great timing on this Brian. As of June 2018 we noticed a “speed update” in the algo and moved one site to WPEngine and that helped recover rankings since everything else was ok/better than competing sites (on page, off page SEO) ect.. this was the only thing we noticed the site can be better with (speed & TTFB)..

    Then when Algo hit again in June of this year noticed they turned up the Google PageSpeed insights notch once again and with mobile first indexing we even notice bad mobile score on pagespeed insights had worse rankings vs. good desktop score rankings were still ok so the scores even correlated to each index and scores. We have now taken it a step further besides WPengine because some sites have horrible themes that still won’t help. You will have to get rid of the theme as well. We are now following a process we tested and has been working by using WPengine, elementor pro, using an elementor template/elementor hello theme/wp default theme, autoptimize plugin, wp rocket lazy load and this has helped us get 60-70 mobile scores sometimes (90-100 depending how big the page is as you point out), and 90-100 scores on desktop. Hope this helps anyone using WordPress still.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi TJ, great stuff! Thanks for sharing that. We did use WPEngine back in 2013, and didn’t have the best experience. Maybe it’s time to give them another look.

      1. lucio Avatar luciosays:

        Which host provider are you using, Brian?

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Pressidium

  79. This must have been so fun to design and run! Performance optimization is my bread and butter so this was a pleasure to read.

    I think this confirms a couple of really important things. Any self-managed CMS can be slow in the wrong hands if you do not know what you are doing. WordPress can be really fast if the right hosting, theme, plugins etc are chosen.

    Similarly, any CDN can slow things down if not configured properly. For example, Cloudflare and Amazon have some of the highest Points of Presence (close to 200) out of the CDNs analyzed whereas KeyCDN has among the lowest (currently 34). So this finding is really surprising and makes me think a plethora of users have some serious misconfigurations to work on!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Mike, thank you! I totally agree: a big chunk of whether or not a WordPress site loads quickly or not is on the user. I’ve seen WordPress sites load super slowly and somewhat quickly. But I do think, overall, WP isn’t super fast unless it’s optimized to the gills.

  80. Very insightful, especially about the responsive images and CDNs.
    I think the page sizes are backwards here: “Large pages (3.49 MB).”

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Clint! And thanks for the typo heads up.

  81. This was a great article and has some really useful information. I hope in your projects going forward that you would consider putting Webflow into your research. I think its a great platform that has a lot to offer and is growing pretty rapidly.

    Thanks!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Chris, we definitely need to include Webflow in our next analysis. I’ve heard great things about it and it would be great to get some data as well.

  82. Hi Brian,
    This study is amazing. I am mostly shocked to see that using a CDN can slow things down. I actually used a speed optimization service and they put me on Cloudflare, and now I find out it’s actually one of the worst on speeds. whomp whomp. Disappointing. Looks like I have a lot of work to do! I value speed and I try to achieve it in every way I can because I write travel guides and most of them are picture heavy. I agree with you that UX should take precedence over speed, so I’ll try to make up for it in other ways.
    Thanks for embarking on such epic research.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Ioana, thank you! The way I see it, speed is great. But no one visits a site because it’s fast. People visit sites like yours and mine because of the content (and in many cases, the visuals).

  83. What about Amp? Any tests results for this?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Ben, we didn’t look at AMP. That would be cool though.

  84. Ben Avatar Bensays:

    Hi Brian,

    Keen to get your take on this – we use WP Engine for hosting and they’ve recently reached out to discuss getting using the new C2 Architecture: https://wpengine.com/blog/real-world-results-wp-engine-new-google-compute-optimized-infrastructure/

    They’ve mentioned that this will make our site much faster – but for us to be eligible we would need to upgrade to a dedicated server (which presumably would be the thing the *actually* gives us the biggest shift in site speed. BUT – looking at the results from your study, I would say that our sites are actually fairly middle-of-the-pack so I’m wondering how much could really be gained from doubling our hosting costs.

    I’d also be keen to see how some of the pages included in the report are converting – we’ve been given a ton of vanity metrics about site speed and conversion rates, but if the majority of sites are performing at the same level, again, how much is *actually* gained from having a faster site!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Ben, my take would be to see if you could test it out with a staging version of your site. Then, see if the boost in performance is worth it. Or see if it’s easy to switch back if it’s not worthwhile. It’s one of those things that you have to test out to see how it works.

      1. While I’m a big fan of WordPress and been developing with my team all the sites on WP exclusively, I’m not surprised that you found it slow ‘on average’. Since anyone can throw up a WP site, but not anyone is aware of how to properly optimize it, it’s no wonder tons of slow sites appear. Pretty much every plugin you add, will load on every single page something, so we manually go and disable them so they load only where necessary. Time-consuming but powerful. While not always possible, we often manage to get many even visually heavy pages loading below 1s. Thanks for the research and article, Brian. Well done!

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Well said Uldis!

  85. Paul Avatar Paulsays:

    Amazing data, well done, this is extremely impressive. Whilst I love wordpress I have always recognised that any CMS that stores its assets in a database that are retrieved dynamically through queries to render a page have that extra overhead. I worked on the UK Census project in 2009 and we knew performance would be a huge and so all pages were static as far as possible; data entered had to be stored in a DB but this did not affect page render speed.

    We all have so much to do now – stripping out redundant css and or making it inline, etc. I recently tried to find a decent web builder software that would build flat pages but options were limited.

    This makes reliance on WordPress hard now and also a harder sell to clients – as well as myself!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thank you, Paul. I appreciate that.

      I’m with you: I also live WordPress but it is slow. This isn’t the first analysis to find this to be the case. With enough optimization, WordPress sites can run quickly. But it’s tough due to the limitations that you pointed out.

      1. Paul Avatar Paulsays:

        Hi, Brian, many thanks for replying 🙂 I shared the post around a number of groups on FB, getting some interesting responses. One guy mentioned the acabado theme which apparently is extremely fast on wordpress. I’ve been through a few web builders including Divi but now settled on Thrive Architect and Theme mainly because of the fantastic suite of sales oriented plugins and to keep all support issues under one roof. But I really should also find out about its speed. Thanks again for sharing this incredible info, I love this kind of detailed research but this s beyond my current resources.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          You’re welcome, Paul. And thanks for sharing the post!

  86. Brian, as usual, stelar content. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Marcelo. Glad you liked it!

  87. Mirella Avatar Mirellasays:

    Nice read on a very important topic! I understood GZIP doesn’t work on any image formats except SVG files because they are text directions to draw shapes. GZIP only works by compressing repeated strings of text. JPG/PNG/GIF/WEBP are already compressed by their format’s nature which doesn’t include significant repeated bits (binary files). They aren’t further compressed by processes that contract/expand over the wire like GZIP because the CPU cost of doing this is higher than simply delivering the bigger uncompressed file. Therefore a site full of JPG’s could realize slower performance if GZIP is enabled.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Mirella, that’s interesting. I didn’t know that about GZIP. I thought it re-compressed those formats, which did help. But, the way you described it, it does make sense that it wouldn’t always result in a faster-loading website.

  88. I’m not sure that it makes sense to compare site speed of WordPress to Squarespace. Squarespace is an all in one platform that controls hosting. The speed of WordPress depends on the hosting that the website chooses with tons of options out there. I have a ton of sites ranking on page 1 for various keywords and I am outranking all of the other pages using WordPress. As you already know the hosting impacts the speed a lot and the hosting is what impacts TTFB. The theme is also a big impact. So when you compare speed for WordPress to Squarespace, it is misleading for those that don’t understand that they are two completely different set ups.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Brian, thanks for your comment. And I 100% see what you mean: in some ways, WordPress and Squarespace are different. Our main goal of this study wasn’t to analyze why one platform performed better than another. It was more to establish benchmarks about how different platforms load in the real world with a large sample size. As you said, there are lots of potential reasons that WordPress came out so low on the list: poor optimization, plugins, themes, hosting etc. But part of the reason may be that the CMS just isn’t very well optimized for speed out of the box. This would be a really interesting area for a followup.

  89. CDN performance heavily depends on whether the page is cached AT THE PARTICULAR DATACENTER NEAREST TO YOUR LOCATION.

    If no one form your neighborhood has visited the site lately, the page is not cached and the CDN goes to the origin server to load it.

    Ironically, this means that the more datacenters a CDN has – the slower TTFB can be.

    PS. Unless your site is super popular (think nytimes) and regularly opened form all locations.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Alex, that’s super interesting.

  90. Dave Avatar Davesays:

    Fantastic information, thank you very much.

    I was wondering if you could clarify what you mean specifically by ‘Responsive Images?’ (Particularly in contrast to ‘Optimized Images.’)

    Do you mean using the “srcset” and “sizes” attributes of the or tags? Or simply using a single optimized image and scaling it using CSS?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Dave, you’re welcome. I’ll need to double check that with the team that did the analysis. But I believe it’s images that are scaled depending on the device, window size etc.

      1. David Avatar Davidsays:

        Thanks. Checking with the team would be great. Looking for an answer to “scaled how?” as there are a couple different approaches available.

  91. Hi Brian,
    That’s a great analysis, regarding Gatsby, do you suggest using it in blog have a huge amount of content?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Omar, thank you It’s hard to say without seeing the specific site and what “huge amount of content” means. Even then, I’m not a developer so I’m probably not the best person to ask!

  92. Great post as always Brian, so really helpful information. Glad I’m with Squarespace now 🙂

    One thing, you have spelt my home country Australia wrong in the images. There’s an extra ‘i’ in there.

    Cheers

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Troy. Oops! I’ll ask our designer to get that fixed.

  93. Bruce Avatar Brucesays:

    Probably the most comprehensive article on page speed I’ve read to date. Massive gratitude for all your hard work. I’ve started migrating all WP sites as static files to Netlify and have seen massive improvement in speed, so I can personally validate some of your findings. I’m curious though, why did you choose to leave out the entire continent of Africa in your experiment?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Bruce, thank you! Good question there: it’s because we didn’t have sufficient data and/or that we had trouble identifying traffic from that region. It’s the same reason that we didn’t analyze data for Bluehost hosting: our tools weren’t able to reliably determine which sites were hosted with them.

  94. Shai Avatar Shaisays:

    Always had my suspicion about most CDNs. Call me old school but always preferred well coded, fast, light websites. Great read and well presented as alway Dean. Well done.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Shai. Well-coded, fast light websites will probably never go out of style.

  95. Pawel Hyzopski Avatar Pawel Hyzopskisays:

    thanks for the data, but the data is just that, irrelevant, as you measured random sites, and random site dont do squat.

    if we would measure in a similar fashion my ability to perform a surgeries, i would suddenly become an expert.

    add to the mix, size is not all. no of scripts is not all.

    you got the data, if your up to the task, split it up further, and slice it to compare apples. (its gonna take a lot more time than you spent)

    i can already tell you that lot of your data is skewed by the fact that lot of sites reside on a overpriced and overcrowded environments, and this is very common. closed cms can offer ‘better’ performance but for a hefty price ($ and in usability).
    even on a single supplier you can have both(fast and slow), just because one resides on the older architecture and not been moved yet. Or one is over sold.

    and your major hosting providers are actually a ‘minor’ ones to avoid(mostly not all). they are the reason we got what we got. (and closed cms should be counted in a separate categories, they wastly differ).

    why not a bunch of other on a plate ?

    “As of January 2018, DigitalOcean was the third-largest hosting company in the world in terms of web-facing computers.[4][5]”

    and there are others.

    i could go on,

    all in all, lots of data, bad questions, bad answers.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Pawel, I can kind of see some of your points. But I obviously disagree with your assessment. Just because there may be confounding variables doesn’t mean that the data is invalid.

  96. Hi Brian,
    I have to say that you just made my day. 🙂 I’m a website designer that uses Weebly and I tend to have a major case of imposter syndrome for not using WordPress. But for me, Weebly is what I learned and it works perfectly for me and my clients. I’ve been able to get some good Google search rankings with the built-in SEO fields and I love their templates. This report helps me feel a bit more justified in my decision to use Weebly. I know it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for the life coaches, therapists, and other solopreneurs that I tend to help, they love it. Thanks so much for this report!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Elaine, no worries. Happy to help. I’m glad you now have some data to back up you’re love for Weebly.

  97. Gerson Avatar Gersonsays:

    Hi Brian. Thanks for the article. I’m from Australia – just curious if you know of any thing my hosting partners can do to speed up the TTFB? And wondering why on average this is slower in Australia?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Gerson, you’re welcome. I’m honestly not sure why TTFB in Australia was slower. The best way to improve host performance is usually to get a dedicated server… or switch hosts to one that’s better and faster.

  98. Hallo all, For 15+ years I have used Irfanview for image compression. I just ran one of my images through Kraken.io. Surprise surprise, it gave a 1.7% additional compression. Irfanview is totally free and I compress my images – it gives a choice – to 30%. That usually results in a 3 – 8 x size reduction, depending on the variebility in the image structure. Irfvanview is a desktop program and lightning fast and moreover: FREE. It also allows for features like size manipulation and color adjustments. I have tried many image software programs, but for website management with juge image content like mine, nothing beats the agility and foto management speed of Irvanview.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Kashif.

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