Is Joomla 3.5 Really 50% Faster than Joomla 3.4.8?

Rumors spread around quickly, and the latest rumor, besides the one that states that the world is not flat, is that Joomla 3.5 is 50% faster than Joomla 3.4.8. To be more specific, the rumor states that Joomla 3.5 is 50% faster because, unlike Joomla 3.4.8, it can run under PHP 7. So, the rumor can be traced down to another rumor which states that PHP 7 is 50% faster than PHP 5.

So, is it true that PHP 7 is 50% faster than PHP 5?

Zend’s website proclaims that it is, more or less, true. In fact, they (Zend – the developers behind PHP) say that Drupal is 72% faster under PHP 7, and Magento‘s catalogue is over 100% faster (we know, where is Joomla, huh?). If you’re thinking that this is too good to be true, then you are probably right: the scripting language (PHP is a scripting language) is very, very rarely the bottleneck on any website. In 99.99999% (that’s five decimal nines) of all cases, the bottlneck is the database server. So, any improvement at the scripting language’s level is always negligible since a Joomla page (or a page on any other CMS) has to wait on the database server before it is served to the client.

Of course, the above assumes that Zend’s hype is not merely a propaganda – but this is not really the case. In fact, most of those who tested PHP 7 on any website are claiming that they are getting worse results than with PHP 5, which doesn’t necessarily mean that the Zend team is lying with statistics, but it definitely means that all Zend tests were run in optimal environments where PHP 7 excels.

But what if PHP 7 is really 50% faster than PHP 5?

As stated above, the bottleneck of any CMS is the database, so even if PHP 7 is ten times (1000%) faster than PHP 5, nobody will feel it.

Of course, there are some Joomla administrators out there who are claiming that their websites are flying with Joomla 3.5 and PHP 7, but we think that this is a case of the emperor has no clothes, and it’s only a matter of time before everyone becomes aware of the fact that it’s all a hype, and that Joomla 3.5 is not even slightly faster than Joomla 3.4.8 (simply because the necessary database optimizations were not implemented).

So, if you’re excited about upgrading to Joomla 3.5 because you’re thinking that it can resolve all (or even some) of your performance issues, then think again, because your performance issues are almost invariably caused by MySQL and not PHP. If this post made you hesitate a bit and you want to seek some advice before updating to Joomla 3.5, then please contact us. Note that our super affordable fees apply.

One Response to “Is Joomla 3.5 Really 50% Faster than Joomla 3.4.8?”
  1. Comment by Ran — May 24, 2016 @ 3:37 pm

    Indeed. I am changing my Joomla site design so I said to myself “If I am putting this effort, let’s upgrade to PHP 7”. I started with XAMPP PHP 5 and then switched to PHP 7. Maybe there was a change but nothing I would say “wow or even good” about it. Images, MySQL, extensions, scripts, CSS optimization, and so on will give much (much much) more improvement in site performance over upgrading to PHP 7.

    Not to mention the new SEF which is still not here, duplication with almost anything in Joomla, canonical which still dose not work properly (removed in 3.5.1) and so on.

    The Joomla team should just make a new Joomla (only allow migration of content). Some might leave at the beginning but it’s the only option for this CMS.

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