Popular Magento themes performance: speed test results

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Amasty team loves testing things out, as in particular cases direct tests are the only way to find out what works best. Today we are going to share some results on Magento store performance with several popular themes and speak on how they influence your site’s speed.

The idea of the tests and this article came to me when I studied the data from xdebug profiler trying to find the reason of a client’s website low performance. I stumbled upon a fact that was worth digging in: a significant part of the request processing was used for running the theme code.

To check these results, I switched to the default theme, and the site speed increased. Of course, it wasn’t a 50% difference, but still it was pretty vivid. Now, here’s the question: how does using of different Magento themes affect the store speed? Do website administrators know about this aspect of choosing a Magento theme?

Get ready for the test

To answer this question, we decided to test a store’s speed with several popular Magento themes. To make the test more intrinsic, we downloaded the freshest Magento community edition (which was 1.9.0.1 for the moment of writing the article) and sample-data (which was 1.9.0.0). It was installed on a server with configuration as follows:

Hardware configuration

CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1270 (3.5GHz, 8 cores)

RAM: 16GB

Storage: 2 x 500G SSD at HW RAID1

Software configuration

Debian Wheezy 7.6 (x86_64)

Apache 2.2.22

PHP 5.4.4 (as mod_php with ZendOpcache 7.3)

MySQL 5.5.38

The test was performed with the help of Apache jMeter following the scenario:

  • The website main page is opened;
  • The ‘shirt’ search is performed;
  • The ‘sale’ category filter is applied;
  • ‘Slim fit Dobby Oxford Shirt’ product page is opened;
  • The product is added to the cart;
  • A switch to ‘Men / New Arrivals’ category is performed;
  • ‘Linen Blazer’ product is added for comparison;
  • ‘Khaki Bowery Chino Pants’ product is added for comparison;
  • The product comparison page is opened.

Each Magento theme was tested ten times with ten simultaneous server connections, and the average number was used as a result. Some themes are built with JavaScript, which may slow the request processing down from a website’s user point of view, but since there’s no clear way to check this with automation testing, we decided to omit this factor in our test and check only HTML generation performed by PHP interpreter.

Note: if you know how to perform the test including the work of JavaScript, please share your experience in comments.

We have chosen these themes for the test:

  • Magento Default (was a default theme up till 1.9.x)
  • Magento Modern (was distributed separately before, but now it’s a part of Magento)
  • Magento Responsive Design (appeared in Magento 1.9.x)
  • Ultimo
  • Fortis
  • HelloWired

To make sure the themes aren’t affecting each other, after each test the website and the database were deleted and uploaded from a backup copy. After that the test was performed once to warm the Magento cache. Apache was reloaded to clean ZendOpcache.

The test consisted of two stages:

  • jMeter runs tests of each theme on the server to exclude the factor of data transfer by means of the Internet. This stage shows the highest request processing speed.
  • jMeter runs tests of each theme by means of the Internet. In this case the result is affected by the time needed to transfer the data by means of the Internet, and the numbers shown are closer to the situation visible for the website user.

Test results

Server-based speed test results

Default

Responsive

Modern

Fortis

Ultimo

HelloWired

Main page

71

71

63

73

84

64

Search (shirt)

334

327

284

294

308

283

Apply filter (Sale)

204

181

167

187

186

175

Product page

222

219

183

230

240

197

Add to cart

489

525

434

445

443

453

Category page (New arrivals)

311

433

269

291

299

283

Add to compare (Linen Blazer)

438

542

360

378

401

382

Add to compare (Khaki Bowery Chino Pants)

428

544

356

374

391

383

Compare selected products

235

226

201

204

220

201

TOTAL

304

341

257

275

286

269

Results for server-based Magento speed test

Internet-based speed test results

Default

Responsive

Modern

Fortis

Ultimo

HelloWired

Main page

492

549

503

880

820

580

Search (shirt)

795

852

716

970

1121

816

Apply filter (Sale)

543

596

535

779

853

616

Product page

612

707

618

1037

1050

699

Add to cart

1272

1391

1246

1560

1687

1297

Category page (New arrivals)

765

973

719

969

1068

818

Add to compare (Linen Blazer)

1059

1234

1005

1255

1292

1061

Add to compare (Khaki Bowery Chino Pants)

1048

1246

1003

1281

1374

1044

Compare selected products

642

673

637

724

812

621

TOTAL

803

914

776

1051

1120

839

Results for Internet-based speed test Magento

As we can see from the charts, the ‘fastest’ theme is Modern, which is now included into Magento package. The slowest one is Ultimo. The difference between Modern and Ultimo performance is 10% in case of the server test and 31% in case of the Internet test.

Takeaway

Of course, making your store as fast as possible is a priority, as speed influences both the search engine rankings and the bounce rate, and people tend to like fast websites more and abandon too slow sites forever.

But we don’t want to talk you out of using ‘heavy’ themes. Great design is also an important factor, and the thing is to find the healthy balance and use a theme that is graphical and convenient enough and isn’t too slow. Performing some tests for the themes chosen maybe a good idea and you need to have a clear understanding of what your Magento store speed consists of.

Have anything to add about various Magento themes performance? Welcome to share your ideas in the comments section.

Andrey Tataranovich

Andrey Tataranovich

Andrei believes that only at work people can fully express themselves, so he does his best to implement all his knowledge while in the office. Having made computer science his hobby, Andrei is constantly developing his professional skills. But despite such a busy schedule he always finds time to read science fiction books and communicate with new interesting people.

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