Core Web Vitals: WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Joomla, Duda, & Drupal

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The recent Core Web Vitals technology report indicates that, in April 2024, five out of six of the leading content management systems demonstrated a decline in performance compared to the start of the year. Insights from real-world performance data gathered by HTTPArchive shed light on the factors contributing to this downward trend in performance scores.

Core Web Vitals Technology Report

The Core Web Vitals (CWV) rankings are derived from a blend of real-world and lab data. Real-world data is sourced from the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX), while lab data is obtained from an HTTP Archive public dataset (which is based on websites featured in the CrUX report).

This data is utilized to generate the Core Web Vitals technology report, which can be analyzed to assess the mobile and desktop performances of various content management systems in numerous configurations. Additionally, it provides insights into JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and image weight data.

The metrics presented in Search Engine Journal articles focus on mobile data measurements. These scores are represented as percentages, indicating the proportion of website visits that achieved a satisfactory Core Web Vitals (CWV) score.

Here’s the background information regarding the scoring for Core Web Vitals (CWV) within the context of HTTP Archive:

“Core Web Vitals:
Various methodologies exist to gauge the performance of a website or a collection of websites concerning CWV. The approach adopted by this dashboard closely aligns with the CWV evaluation method employed in PageSpeed Insights.”

And here’s the information pertaining to the lab data provided by HTTP Archive:

“HTTP Archive evaluates individual web pages rather than entire websites. Additionally, due to capacity constraints, HTTP Archive is restricted to testing one page per website. Typically, the homepage or root page of the origin is the most logical choice for testing purposes.”

Quotations sourced from HTTP Archive.

Top Core Web Vitals Performance

Among the six content management systems (CMS) compared, Duda emerges as the top performer. Duda, a closed-source website builder platform favored by agencies and developers for managing extensive portfolios of client sites, achieved a commendable 71% good Core Web Vitals (CWV) score. Its lead is substantial, standing at 13 percentage points ahead of the runner-up, Squarespace, another closed-source website building platform.

Consistently, websites built with Duda exhibit superior CWV performance compared to other CMS options. Squarespace, Drupal, and Wix closely trail behind, displaying similar performance scores, while Joomla and WordPress rank fifth and sixth, respectively.

WordPress Is Faster But Other Factors Slowing It Down

Despite being ranked sixth, WordPress showcased a relatively smaller decline in performance compared to other leading content management systems. This trend likely mirrors the continuous performance enhancements embedded within each new iteration of WordPress. For instance, WordPress 6.5, rolled out in early April 2024, introduced more than 100 performance enhancements spanning both backend and frontend operations.

In April 2024, WordPress experienced a marginal decrease in performance compared to the beginning of the year, amounting to less than one percentage point. Notably, this drop is considerably less pronounced than that observed in the top-ranked CMS, Duda, which encountered a decline of 5.41 percentage points.

Chrome Lighthouse serves as an automated tool for assessing website performance. In January of this year, WordPress garnered a Lighthouse score of 35%, indicating that 35% of measured WordPress sites attained a favorable Lighthouse Core Web Vitals (CWV) score. Although there was a decline in CWV scores for WordPress in February and March, it rebounded to 35% in April, potentially reflecting the numerous performance enhancements introduced in WordPress version 6.5.

However, the average Page Weight scores likely contributed to the performance lag. Page Weight denotes the average volume of bytes transmitted over the network, with potential for compression. Initially, the average Page Weight of WordPress sites stood at 568.48 in January, escalating to 579.92 by April, marking an increase of 11.44.

Moreover, the average download size of images surged by 49.5 Kilobytes from January to April 2024. This increase is predominantly influenced by how publishers utilize WordPress, rather than how WordPress itself is utilized. These factors could be contributing to the essentially stagnant performance change observed this year. Nevertheless, maintaining virtually unchanged performance is preferable to the larger performance declines experienced by other content management systems.

Top CWV Performance By CMS

Here’s the list of top performers based on the percentage of sites utilizing each CMS that achieved a good Core Web Vitals (CWV) score:

  1. Duda: 71%
  2. Squarespace: 58%
  3. Drupal: 54%
  4. Wix: 52%
  5. Joomla: 43%
  6. WordPress: 38%

Performance Drops By CMS

The performance decline observed across various content management systems (CMS) reveals an intriguing pattern: four out of six systems exhibited significant decreases in performance. Below is a breakdown of the performance drops, represented as percentages with negative values indicating a decrease.

List By Performance Change

Wix experienced a performance drop of -7.11, making it one of the steepest declines among the CMSs analyzed. Duda followed closely behind with a drop of -5.41. Joomla and Drupal also exhibited notable decreases, with drops of -2.84 and -2.58, respectively. In contrast, WordPress showed the smallest decrease in performance at -0.71.

Interestingly, Squarespace bucked the trend by experiencing an increase in performance, with a positive score of +3.92.

Core Web Vitals Scores – Takeaways

Duda emerges as the undisputed champion in Core Web Vitals performance, surpassing every other content management system in this evaluation. Squarespace, Wix, and Drupal closely follow, forming a tightly contested group. Among the six platforms analyzed, only Squarespace managed to enhance its scores this year.

Interestingly, the performance of the remaining platforms declined slightly in April compared to the beginning of the year. This dip could be attributed to increases in page weight, particularly in images. However, there might be other factors contributing to this anomaly that aren’t captured in the HTTP Archive reports.

Despite these fluctuations, the WordPress performance team continues to make notable improvements to the WordPress core. The marginal performance drop of less than one percent could potentially be attributed to how publishers are utilizing the platform.

Overall, it’s evident that all platforms included in this comparison are making steady strides towards improvement, establishing them all as winners in their own right.

Original news from SearchEngineJournal