A few months ago I tested a number of Joomla template providers (read the review here). Amongst these providers was one of the Rockettheme templates based on Gantry 4. Actually this template was among the slower ones in the test with disappointing performance. Now recently Rockettheme released a new version of Gantry, Gantry 5. Also their templates are now based on this framework. Since they claim the framework is built from the ground up for speed (see their blogpost) I decided to check it out again and see if this claim holds up.
Working on the configuration I immediately noticed the new configuration options, which are very different from Gantry 4, but this shouldn't be too problematic for most, it works pretty intuitive. Also I noted the template includes a nice 404-page, which is always nice for SEO purposes. Then, how about it's performance.
First I created a clean Joomla installation with the Protostar template and measured it's performance using GTmetrix. Then I installed the Gantry 5 Component and the free Hydrogen template (both available from gantry.org/downloads). Then I reconfigured the template so that the frontend had the same output as the Protostar version, with the same modules, text and images:
Then I ran a test with GTmetrix again to compare the 2 templates. I ran the test 5 times for each template so that I smoothened out any spikes. All 5 runs were pretty comparable with minimal bandwidth, so this seems a pretty reliable test. You see the results in the table here:
Gantry 5 performance results
|Template||Size (kB)||HTTP Requests||Pagespeed||Y-Slow||Time (s)|
The Protostar template performs slightly better, which is not strange, because it was among the fastests in the original test as well, outperformed only by a few. This is not strange, as this is a pretty basic template of course. The Gantry template performs a bit less, with some more HTTP-requests and kB's, but it is a nice improvement compared to the Rockettheme template in the original test. The time needed to load the site is only a fraction slower, so it seems the claim for speed is valid.
The RokBooster plugin
The RokBooster plugin is similar to JCH-Optimize, but is specifically meant for Gantry-templates. It can perform a number of optimizations like combining and compressing CSS and JS files, data-URI's, etcetera. This can dramatically reduce the number of HTTP-request, boosting performance. RokBooster is compatible with both Gantry 4 and 5.
I tried whether the RokBooster plugin could fix this (which is designed for this purpose), but while the number of requests was indeed reduced, it broke the styling of the site, unless I disabled CSS combination. Not sure why this happens, Rockettheme confirmed RokBooster should be compatible with Gantry 5, so it may be a specific issue for this installation.
Other improvements can be achieved by switching on production mode and tweaking stuff like timestamp settings. By the way, keep in mind that this test was done with an otherwise untuned site: no Gzip, no caching, etcetera, so you can easily make it faster.
The Gantry 5 framework indeed seems to be a nice base to build sites that perform well. I did not repeat the original test, but it seems to be comparable to well-performing templates like the ones from Joomart and Joostrap. If you like Rockettheme's designs, please go ahead in using them. Make sure you first try the free Gantry framework, you may have to get used to the new configuration options in the template, as it works quite different from Gantry 4.
You can checkout Rockettheme's templates here, of which the latest few already run on Gantry 5.