Divi vs. Storefront after the Divi Performance Update

Nick Roach, founder and CEO of Elegant Themes, just announced a performance update for my favorite theme: Divi. The theme now concatenates and minifies CSS and JavaScript. Wait! Isn’t that exactly what Autoptimize, my favorite concatenation plugin, does?!

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So, how do they work together? Does Divi replace Autoptimize or do they complement each other? Time to pull on our lab coats and do some testing, shall we?

We will be testing on a WordPress 4.8.1 with no optimizations or plugins except WooCommerce 3.1.1 installed as Divi features extensive WooCommerce compatibility and this is where performance really helps with: selling stuff. While we are at it let’s pit our performance optimized Divi against superfast Storefront for fun and reference.

Storefront 2.2.5

Storefront is done by Automattic, the guys that maintain WooCommerce itself, and can be considered the default theme for WooCommerce. It is known to be sleek and fast. A worthwhile competitor for Divi.

We will use Storefront as a reference to see what concatenation does to a theme when examined with PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom. This will hopefully set the Divi performance update into perspective and help us to better evaluate its quality.

Page Speed Insights w/o Autoptomize

On Google’s PageSpeed Insights our site scores a 88/100 for mobil and89/100 for desktop running Storefront with Autoptimize disabled. That is better than I expected.

Storefront with no Autoptimize on PageSpeed Insights

Pingdom w/o Autoptomize

On Pingdom our site scores a perfomance grade B86 with Storefront and Autoptimize disabledPingdom counted 28 Request generating 829 milliseconds load time at 470.5 kB page size.

Storefront with no Autoptimize on Pingdom

Page Speed Insights w/ Autoptomize

On Google’s PageSpeed Insights our site scores a 88/100 for desktop this time running Storefront and Autoptimize enabledMobile even drops by 6 points to 82/100.

Storefront with Autoptimize on PageSpeed Insights

Pingdom w/ Autoptomize

On Pingdom our site scores a perfomance grade A92 with Storefront and Autoptimize enabledPingdom counted 15 Request generating 733 milliseconds load time at 462.5 kB page size.

Storefront with Autoptimize on Pingdom

Thoughts

With Autoptimize enabled, Storefront performs actually worse on Google’s PageSpeed Insights. It is complaining about Reducing server response time then, which is higher now because the server has to do more work concatenating and minifying files. Autoptimize really shines in conjunction with caching available and when multiple plugins need to be concatenated. In our test-setup neither is the case.

Pingdom transparently shows us what Autoptimize really does though. It reduces requests by 52% (from 28 to 15), load time by 11.58% (from 829 to 733 milliseconds) and page size by 1.7% (from 470.5 to 462.5kB).

But this is all just in order to get attuned to the topic. Now on to the real question: how cool is the Divi Perfomance Update when put to the test.

Divi 3.0.66

Divi can be considered a BIG THEME with its native Divi Builder, various shortcodes and tons of customizing options. I’ll eat my shoe if it turns out to be as fast as stingy optioned Storefront. Tension is rising 🙂

Page Speed Insights w/o Autoptomize

On Google’s PageSpeed Insights our site scores a 74/100 for desktop and 82/100 on mobile running Divi with Autoptimize disabled. That must be the first time that I see PageSpeed Insights rank mobile higher than desktop.

Divi without Autoptimize on PageSpeed Insights

Pingdom w/o Autoptomize

On Pingdom our site scores a perfomance grade B86 running Divi with Autoptimize disabledPingdom counted 28 Requestgenerating 940 milliseconds load time at 555.4 kB page size. While load time and page size are a little higher than with Storefront, this still is a fantastic result in my opinion.

Divi without Autoptimize on Pingdom

Page Speed Insights w/ Autoptomize

On Google’s PageSpeed Insights our site scores a 75/100 for desktop running Divi with Autoptimize enabled which is a 1 point gainMobile on the other hand drops by 9 points from 82 to 73/100. Seriously, Google?

Divi with Autoptimize on PageSpeed Insights

Pingdom w/ Autoptomize

On Pingdom our site scores a perfomance grade A91 running Divi with Autoptimize enabledPingdom counted 17 Requestgenerating 963 milliseconds load time at 549.3 kB page size.

Divi with Autoptimize on Pingdom

Thoughts

How Page Speed Insights can possibly consider a page 10.98% worse on mobile while requests have dropped by 39.29% at the same time is beyond me.

Pingdom again provides details on what Autoptimize did with the site. It reduced requests by 39.29% (from 28 to 17), increased load time by 2.45% (from 940 to 963 milliseconds) and reduced page size by 1.1% (from 555.4 to 549.3kB).

Conclusion

Storefront is a minimal theme by design. Automattic‘s business model is to sell extension-subscriptions for otherwise free WooCommerce. Would be bad if their standard theme would cover much functionality, right? The more surprising, that Storefront and performance optimized Divi show comparable results when put to the test.

Divi is a theme packed to the brim with functionality, it only concatenates and minifies its own files though. Everything else, like child theme/plugin CSS and Javascript, benefits from AutoptimizeAutoptimize shines in conjunction with a caching plugin in order to not stall server response times with workload. On a site with few plugins, no caching and low latency it doesn’t do much though.

Oh, and Google PageSpeed Insights is a weirdo.

Are you as impressed with Divi‘s performance as I am or do you read those results differently?

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