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I am creating a 20-page site that will go on shared hosting. Each page will be about 20 KB (including HTML, CSS, and images common to all pages). To avoid manually adding navigation elements to each page, I am considering using a CMS. However, I am concerned that on a busy server, using a CMS would make the site load more slowly.

In a shared hosting environment where PHP is run as a CGI binary, how much does a CMS (WordPress, Drupal, etc.) generally affect page load time, compared to both "plain HTML" static sites and those using PHP as merely a templating language?

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You can use WordPress with WP Super Cache plugin which "generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After a html file is generated your webserver will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts." –  LazyOne Jul 31 '11 at 1:10
    
agree with @Lazyone. There will be definitely be an impact, but the good thing most well known CMSes have caching addons/plugins. The ones that are driven by htaccess will have load times very close to loading static html files –  freethinker Jul 31 '11 at 11:19

3 Answers 3

The more heavy duty the CMS (or framework) generally the more overhead you are going to see. It is very hard to draw up a table of how much overhead per setup because as has already been mentioned there are plugins and things you can do to improve performance.

I think the thing to do in this situation is test. Put your static page up against a standard wordpress (or whatever) page with the same content. If there is no noticeable difference then the CMS should probably be picked because it offers you more flexibility in the long run.

Most CMS will come with something that will let you (or have easy ways to let you) export your pages as static files, so another option would be to start with the CMS and if speed or resource becomes an issue export them and host the static files (this is essentially what LazyOne mentioned with WP Super Cache)

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The short answer is: it depends.

Another short answer is: it doesn't matter.

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For most circumstances we're talking about 1 second of difference. You mention this is a small business web site. Consequently, I'm assuming the web site won't be getting hammered by hundreds of simultaneous users. Consequently, this 1 second of processing time won't accumulate to create any noticeable difference.

For a small business that is working to establish their newly created web presence it's pointless to spend time worrying about performance. (You don't have any traffic yet.) It's more important to regularly generate compelling content and get them engaged with the web site. To do that, they need a CMS. If they are lucky, they will get to worry about performance issues someday.

And when that day comes, as others mentioned, there are caching options and alternate deployment methods that can be used.

Best of luck!

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The performance will drop only when generating the pages. By default some CMS do not Cache (pre-generate) the pages, that means that every time someone visit that page the php script is executed, the performance will greatly decrease.

If you use proper Cachin, the server should run the php script only once and generate the static page, that means that there would be almost no performance impact.

There are many Cachin plugins available for every CMS.

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