Drupal vs Joomla: performance

Which content management system is faster? Drupal or Joomla?

Experimental setup

I used the "Apache, mod_php, PHP4, APC" configuration from previous benchmark experiments to compare the performance of Drupal and Joomla on a 3 year old Pentium IV 3Ghz with 2 GB of RAM running Gentoo Linux. I used the following software: Apache 2.0.55, PHP 4.4.2, MySQL 4.1.4, Drupal 4.7.3 and Joomla 1.0.10.

I simply downloaded and installed the latest stable release of both Drupal and Joomla, and tried my best to make them act and look the same. To do so, I enabled the login form and the "Who's online" block. I also setup two links and a search widget in the top menu, enabled the hit counters for posts, and setup identical footers. Next, I created one author, one category and one post as shown in the images below.

Drupal post
Joomla post

Apache's ab2 was used to compute how many requests per second both systems are capable of serving. The page was requested 1000 times with a concurrency of 5 (i.e. ab2 -n 1000 -c 5). To test the impact of gzip-compressing pages we specified whether ab2 can accept gzip-compressed pages (i.e. ab2 -n 1000 -c 5 -H "Accept-Encoding: gzip;"). Note that ab2 did not request any images or CSS files; only the dynamically generated HTML document was retrieved.

Requests per second

Drupal vs joomla rps

When caching is disabled Joomla can serve 19 pages per second, while Drupal can serve 13 pages per second. Hence, Joomla is 44% faster than Drupal.

However, when caching is enabled Joomla can serve 21 pages per second, while Drupal can serve 67 pages per second. Here, Drupal is 319% faster than Joomla.

In other words, Joomla's cache system improves performance by 12%, while Drupal's cache system improves performance by 508%.

It is important to note that Drupal can only serve cached pages to anonymous visitors (users that have not logged on). Once users have logged on, caching is disabled for them since the pages are personalized in various ways. Hence, in practice, Drupal might not be 319% faster than Joomla; it depends on the ratio of anonymous visitors versus authenticated visitors, how often your site's page cache is flushed, and the hit-rate of your Drupal page cache.

Lastly, when serving gzip-compressed pages Drupal becomes slightly faster compared to having to serve non-compressed pages. Joomla, on the other hand, becomes a little bit slower. The reason is that Drupal's page cache stores its content directly in a compressed state; it has to uncompress the page when the client does not support gzip-compression, but can serve a page directly from the page cache when the client does support gzip-compression.

Document length

Drupal vs joomla length

The first figure shows that the cost of compressing or uncompressing pages is neglible. The second picture shows that it can, however, have significant impact on the document length, and hence, on bandwidth usage.

Drupal always attempts to send compressed pages. Joomla, on the other hand, doesn't compress pages unless this option is explicitly turned on.


dalin (not verified):

"Lastly, when serving gzip-compressed pages Drupal becomes slightly faster compared to having to serve non-compressed pages."

The graph shows the opposite.


The graphs look correct to me. For Drupal, the number of requests per second increases if you request gzip-compressed pages. More pages per second means less time per request, and thus better performance. For Joomla, you observe the opposite.

Anonymous (not verified):

As you have stated Drupal is slightly faster when gzipped.
The graphs state the same; have a look at the graph again.

I have compared 20+ sites from both sides. Overall Drupal performs better than Joomla on the servers I sell. One reason is that the skill level of Drupal users, I think, is higher than Joomla users'.

Mostly Drupal users tend to change/customize their server configuration more than normal Joomla site managers.

In industry Joomla usage (at least the last 7 months) shifted to be brochure site customers who need a fascinating look and few CMS features.

bertboerland (not verified):

Dries, if you got the impression from IRC that I thought it was a waste of time, I didn’t make myself clear. I think that both the research and the results are rather cool. In fact we should do this kind of research more often (when introducing new code, 4.7.x vs CVS HEAD to see if we are getting better) and in more ways (Drupal vs TROTW but also the impact of certain modules or even themes). Some of you might want to help out in a structured way.

lectric (not verified):

Robert, which of the improvements you point to will help a guy like me, who runs large membership-based site with high authenticated user activity? The numbers above make me feel rather left out, since as Dries says, caching doesn't help for authenticated users.

Gerhard Killesreiter (not verified):

Most of the patches - even if they are directed at anonymous users - will help a community site since they will take away some of the load that anonymous users generate.

Gerhard Killesreiter (not verified):

While the results for cached pages are nice, the fact that Drupal is only second when it comes to non-cached pages doesn't please me at all. :p

It would be interesting to compare the number of lines of code that get parsed for either CMSes' page.


I agree. It is a lot easier for Joomla to improve their page caching than it is for us to improve performance of non-cached pages ...

Pachat (not verified):

Very interesting. This may change with the new Joomla 1.5 when it comes out, for the new version will be much faster.


I'd be happy to do a performance comparison with Joomla 1.5 when it is released.

Francisco (not verified):

Well, at least the beta version is. Maybe a test between Drupal 5.0 beta 1 and Joomla 1.5 beta?

Anonymous (not verified):

The first beta does not include the new cache system as it is be refactored. It is on the list for beta 2.

Anonymous (not verified):

Why didn't you choose Mambo 4.6, which produces much better results than the two above?

Axel (not verified):

Just note, same technology realized in contributed module boost for Drupal 4.7 and 5 - see http://drupal.org/project/boost Static HTML generated for anonymous users, then PHP layer fully skiped on requests from cache (sessions checked by Apache mod_rewrite).

Anonymous (not verified):

I always love to see benchmarks. Though it does not surprise me much to find Drupal in the lead. I would be curious to see how Drupal 5.0 performs against the older 4.7 branch.

If you would like to save some time and effort, you can get both Drupal 5.0 and Joomla pre-configured with Apache, PHP, MySQL, under Windows, with the Web-Developer Server Suite.

Gabe (not verified):

Great test. However, this only proves that Joomla's cache system works on a higher level, caching modules/plugins/components rather than the whole page. Therefore, the default Joomla cache also works when the user is logged in.

There are a number of Joomla cache extensions (installed as plugins/mambots) that cache on the page level and will give you the same results as Drupal does. But like with Drupal, they only work for visitors and not logged in users.

Ryurik (not verified):

I tried Joomla and can say: Drupal is much faster, even without caching. Yes, in tests on pure installation Joomla is slightly better... BUT who uses a CMS without modules? Drupal's out-of-the-box functionality beats Joomla: forums, blogs, SEF URL, user fields, ...

For an honest test, install those modules on Joomla, and check performance. You will see that Joomla sucks ... It's two times slower than Drupal.

mindless (not verified):

It is great that you found out these statistics to be true related to cache. But I also think you should take a look into the ease of new users setting up a website on each platform.

I can tell you that Drupal is horrible if you do not have PHP coding experience.

The time it took to setup a menu item as an image in Drupal compared to Joomla disturbing.

Joomla ease of use 100% community support 100%

Drupal ease to setup a site with a few BASIC features 10% community support pretty horrible.


Performance and scalability is just one metric. For some people performance is more important than ease of use. For others, ease of use is more important than performance. For yet others, the availability of commercial support might be the key factor to chose one CMS over another. It obviously wasn't this post's goal to compare and weigh all possible metrics.

Junky (not verified):

Hi Dries, can you also benchmark against other CMSes like Modx, Spip, Redaxo?

naught101 (not verified):

Here, Drupal is 319% faster than Joomla.
Your maths is incorrect.

You are correct in the first column:
18.96/13.14 = 1.4429, or 44% faster

However, you claim that Drupal is 319% faster, but:
66.77/21.27 = 3.1392, or 214% faster (314% as fast).

For chaching+gzip:
67.37/21.12 = 3.1899, or 219% faster (319% as fast).

Also, Drupal's speed increase with caching is:
66.77/13.14 = 5.0814, or 408% faster, not 508% (413% for caching with gzip).

Aside from that, interesting post. I'm just using Joomla for the first time now, after using Drupal since 4.6.3 and loving it. I'm finding it fucking hard to use... This installer sure is pretty, but I have no idea how to configure this thing. I'll persevere, and might be convinced that it's good for some sites, however this post on CMSreport.com makes me doubt it.

Anonymous (not verified):

I installed Web-Developer Server Suite from devside.net

I installed Drupal and Joomla.

I ran ab -n 1000 -c 5 http://localhost/ Drupal and Joomla.

And I get about 250 request/sec on Drupal and 500 request/sec on Joomla. So Joomla seems to be a lot faster.

Any explanation?


Did you turn on Drupal's page caching mechanism? It is disabled by default. As you can see on my graphs, Joomla! is faster when the page cache is disabled.

alldrupaltheme… (not verified):

I would love to see more tests like this, with Drupal 5/6 and Joomla also with caching, and with optimized setups vs standard Drupal/Joomla setups.

Would it make sense to test this on my Windows laptop or would that give skewed results due to the hardware differences with a server?

bob (not verified):

Check this out and see what you think.


I wonder how fast Website Baker would be in comparison to drupal or joomla.

I been using it for about a year. I have about 10 sites up and about 10 more for customers. I have 1 site that gets about 1 to 1.5k unique visitors per day and it is rock solid with no problems.

I know that is not much but that is what I have to go on. Website Baker is seo friendly with the urls. It does not use the convoluted publishing system like joomla. Want a page with content? Just fill out a little form and type or paste in your content and it is done.

I am interested to know what others think of this cms.


Pula (not verified):

The article is very interesting but the other things need to be taken into account like the speed and the quality of a web hosting and also the other things like simplicity, computational complexity etc. Anyway, this is very interesting and this could be one of the reasons for moving Joomla from 1.0 table design to 1.5 css design and using ajax tools to make it faster.

[email protected] (not verified):
joomla (not verified):

This is a brilliant article and deserves a thanks for the trouble you went to in writing up this article. I intend to use some of these statistics in the a joomla tutorial service I intend to realise. Of course with your approval and with credits to the original owner :)

Patel (not verified):

Great job doing research. This kind of thing really helps because without tests like these one would have to blindly pick. I mean sure there are differences in features and such, but there are usually plugins of some sort that can be added to either one to make it run like you want to. The speed of the core files on the other hand is something which is a lot harder to tweak.

Lidia (not verified):

I installed Drupal, installation was easy, and I’m lovin it! Plenty of documentation as well. It’s so nice I can’t stop tinkering with it.

Gavin Doolan (not verified):

This test is a great post, but I'm wondering if there is any information on the latest releases. I notice my Drupal 5.x site is significantly slower without cache and CSS compression switched on (for obvious reasons), but perhaps compare Joomla 1.5, Drupal 6 (with Javascript compressions / css compression) and Wordpress 2.6.1. Now that would certainly be interesting.

Of course I know your busy too :).

I recently got into Drupal having used WP / Joomla and can say its an extremely well built system just not very user friendly to begin with.

tomy (not verified):

Open source content management systems can make the tasks of creating and managing your website a lot easier - and there's no licensing fee involved

The issues on comparisons between Joomla and Drupal are very common these days as they are currently considered the top two open source content management systems (CMS) out there. But, Which one is more usable, powerful and popular ?

It's a simple question with no simple answer

Please go to this link and answer some questions (especially for those who have experienced in using Joomla and Drupal --> Online Survey )


Loius (not verified):

Obviously, Joomla is a way better and popular than Druapl. Drupal's core is too complex and lack of support.

Anonymous (not verified):

I'd really like to see something similar but with comparable modules as the modules could have a significant impact on this, say maybe a social networking site comparison, and an e commerce site comparison, considering no one uses either system without a bunch of modules.

I'd also be interested to see the speed of the searches compared and also the speed of creating content as well.

I use Drupal simply because Joomla doesn't do what I need, I have no grudge against Joomla, it just lacks the fullness, scalability of Drupal which I require for my educational based sites.

Anonymous (not verified):

Joomla is crud, I refuse to even call it a CMS, the URL's are a joke too, you can always tell a Joomla site by the ugly url.

Kevin (not verified):

Respectfully, I am very happy with Drupal, but one thing makes it useless compared to Joomla and I am considering returning to Joomla.

That is that there is no reasonable file management and image management solution. I have spent all day trying to come up with a solution. WebFM is very buggy.

How can you call this a solution when your average user wants to put images up, and manage them, and you have no built in solution or standard solution?

This omission is unacceptable, even for free. It is like a free car with only 3 tires and no good solution for a 4th. I do not offer this as negative criticism, but as hope you will resolve this basic matter, and if I am less than straight-forward the severity of the oversight may not be seen.

Please do write me with the solution if I am wrong.

Don Asok (not verified):


I think you overlooked something.
Drupal is rich in image, video, audio and file processing.

Have a look:


Hoping you will get a better understanding of drupal multimedia features. There are 50 over modules available which will help to meet the most of file and media management in drupal.

Drupal 7 comes with these as inbuilt features.So a little patience and little search will help you to stick in drupal.

Have a nice time,
Don Asok