Comparing the Site Speeds of Different Website Builders

By Danny Mann

PageSpeed

Site speed is important for every website owner. If your site is slow, the user experience will suffer, along with its search ranking. A very popular and useful tool to measure a site’s speed is Google PageSpeed Insights. Here’s how Duda uses it to improve your sites.

Key elements of a Google PageSpeed score

Before we get into the specifics about how Duda does regarding site speed, let’s take a moment to examine what Google PageSpeed looks for. These are the key elements that affect a website’s PageSpeed score the most:

  1. Server response time – This is the time the browser waits for the server to send a page. In Duda’s case, the server generates a specific page fitting the requesting device type, dynamic widgets and inSites so the server code and resources have to be optimized.
  2. Optimizing images – In order to reduce network traffic, images on a website should:
    1. Fit the size requested (You shouldn’t send a 1080×1920 pixel image for a small 50x50px box)
    2. Undergo a lossless compression algorithm – these lower the image weight  without changing the quality
  3. Minification of CSS and JavaScript – In order to reduce network traffic, stylesheets and JavaScript code can have their weight greatly reduced by undergoing a minification process. This removes unneeded code and characters (like spaces, line breaks, comments), replaces names with shorter ones and so on. They become quite unreadable to a human, but the browser handles them just fine.
  4. Compression & Browser Caching – Resources such as HTML, JavaScript, CSS stylesheets, SVG images, etc., have their weight greatly reduced by being zipped on the server (as they are basically plain text). Browsers then unzip these files, so they can be properly displayed. This process reduces file size (and thus network traffic) considerably. In addition, the browser can cache resources locally, such as JavaScript, images and stylesheets, so if it has already encountered them, it won’t have to download them again on inner pages.
  5. Render blocking CSS and JavaScript – The browser has to wait for scripts and stylesheets and apply them before it can display the page. This one is by far the toughest, as nearly every website builder has this issue. The more render blocking resources you have and the lower a website’s score.

Our score

To see how we did, we created a site on our responsive website builder, DudaOne, using a restaurant template without adding or removing any content. We then tested its score on PageSpeed. Below are the results.

Our score was:

Desktop: 86/100

Mobile: 71/100

This might seem low; however, it’s a pretty good score. You’ll see what I mean when you compare it to other companies’ scores in the following sections.

Let’s analyze the score:

  1. The main detractors from our score are the scripts and stylesheets that delay the browser from rendering the page.
  2. Other key detractors are, images that aren’t well compressed – this is mainly due to Duda serving interlaced images, it increases the file size slightly but makes the images appear gradually on the screen.  Also we serve images that would look good in a retina screen, so their size is slightly bigger than what is needed.
  3. Some external resources (Facebook, Google Maps, Google Analytics, etc.) have a small cache time.

Duda

Comparison – Other website builders

Next, we visited different website builders and created a site using one of their restaurant templates. We took the generated site (without adding any content manually) and tested it via PageSpeed.

Wix – Desktop: 77, Mobile: 69

Wix

Weebly – Desktop: 85, Mobile: 69 (Note: this template hardly has any content in it)

Weebly

Squarespace – Desktop: 72, Mobile: 36

Squarespace

Duda’s score outperforms all of these sites. Obviously, a site’s score could change on all builders once you add content to it, but in most cases the templates already have quite a lot of content in them, and are a fair representation of a site with content (with the exception of Weebly).

Comparison – Some popular websites
For a little more reference, here are the scores of some of the most highly trafficked websites out there.

Amazon.com: Desktop: 84, Mobile: 45

Yahoo.com: Desktop: 86, Mobile: 66

Wikipedia.org: Desktop: 85, Mobile: 66

Ebay.com: Desktop: 82, Mobile: 42

Craigslist.org: Desktop: 67, Mobile: 48

YouTube.com: Desktop: 73, Mobile: 63

Again, Duda’s score outperforms all these sites especially on mobile.

How did we achieve top position

In the above section, we’ve seen Duda’s score is better on desktop and mobile than all the other website builders we’ve tested. It wasn’t always like this. Had you tested our sites 6 months ago our mobile score was in the low 50s and our desktop score was in the low 70s.

Our current great scores are due to the work we’ve been investing in:

  1. Optimized images – Our images, and any image you upload to our sites, go through a process that generates a number of images in different sizes (to be served as needed) and compresses them without losing quality
  2. Server response time – Sites hosted on Duda are served very quickly. We write our code and design our infrastructure specifically to this end
  3. Minification, compression and browser caching – Duda’s resources are served properly after being minified, compressed and telling the browser they can be cached for a long period
  4. Render blocking scripts and stylesheets – These were minimized as far as we could, some were made asynchronous, some moved to the body and some joined with others
  5. CDN – the images and many of the stylesheets are served from a server closest to your physical location, this doesn’t really affect the PageSpeed score but it does affect the site speed
  6. Automation – We test our score every night in an automatic process to make sure we’re not dropping due to a change we’ve made to the product

How do you affect the score

If your site is built on DudaOne, we already take care of everything for you. The main things you can still do that will harm the score and more importantly slow down your site, are:

  1. Adding direct links to external unoptimized images – To resolve this, simply upload the images to your site using our editor and we’ll optimize them for you.
  2. Adding direct links to external CSS/Javascript files that are unoptimized and/or delay the rendering of the page – You should probably avoid this as much as you can, but if you must add your own script or style sheet:
    1. minify it
    2. serve it compressed with cache headers
    3. place it in the body or load it asynchronously (if possible)

In conclusion

image05

We do the heavy lifting for you! (my son having fun)

Duda takes site speed very seriously. We use PageSpeed to make sure the sites built by us are as fast as possible. We invest time and effort in improving that score, and we invest even more in keeping it.

The mobile score might seem low at first glance; however, as you’ve seen here, it’s a very good score, and it’s better than our competitors/some of the top sites on the web.

Feel free to test any site on PageSpeed Insights, especially sites you’ve built on other builders.

Please note that PageSpeed also provides a score for user experience on mobile, in which Duda scores a perfect 100, but that is a topic for a different post…

Read more about Google PageSpeed Insights rules and suggestions here.

 


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About Danny Mann

Danny is Duda's Infrastructure team lead. When not programming/scripting he likes hiking in the beautiful landscapes of Israel and photographing them.
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