Groups Forums Performance

Groups Forums claims to be a powerful and yet light-weight forum system for WordPress sites. Ok, the plugin is rather innocent regarding these claims, it’s me who thinks it does quite well 馃槈

Let’s see how it performs compared to bbPress and Simple:Press. Just to be clear, this post and the results exposed are intended to shed some light on how much these plugins will actually slow down your site. Godaddy provides a nice tool called P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler), which allows to create performance reports for sites, and the following data has been obtained with it on three different test sites, each with the Twenty Twelve theme, running WordPress 3.5.1 and the absolute minimum of plugins and with no caching plugin installed. The tests have all been run on installations hosted on a HostGator shared hosting account. These are the plugins that were active on each test site when running the P3 performance scans:

  • Groups, Groups Forums and P3
  • bbPress and P3
  • Simple:Press and P3

The performance scans were done manually on pages relevant to forums – totaling 41 visits in each case. No other posts or pages were present and on the test sites for Groups Forums and bbPress, some widgets related to forums and topics and the default Meta widget were shown in the sidebar (Simple:Press doesn’t provide any widgets related to forums or topics OOTB, the only widget active on its test site was the Meta widget). In each case, three test forums were created, 100 test users, and the following test topics:

  • Groups Forums : 120 topics and 3152 replies
  • bbPress : 60 topics and 60 replies
  • Simple:Press : 9 topics and 5 replies

Have a good look at these numbers when comparing the results 馃槈

Plugin Impact

The Plugin Impact, defined as Percent of load time on your site dedicated to plugin code and indicated by P3 under these conditions for each is:

  • Groups Forums : 45.5%
  • bbPress : 68.4%
  • Simple:Press : 92.9%

Here’s the Detailed Breakdown for Groups Forums …

… and the Detailed Breakdown for bbPress …

… while the Detailed Breakdown for Simple:Press showed this

Now this is already interesting and the numbers speak for themselves and left me very satisfied with quite a grin on my face, I still wanted to see a relative comparison which would show the additional burden those plugins would add to the WordPress core. As a matter of fact, assuming that the testing conditions are similar, the ratio between the time spent on executing plugin code versus the time spent on executing WordPress’ core should give quite an idea about how the plugins compare in terms of performance/slowing down your site:

What really attracts one’s attention is that Simple:Press on an average needs more than 20 times the execution time of WordPress’ core, while bbPress and Groups Forums are way less resource-hungry. bbPress uses up around 3 times the execution time compared to the WordPress core, while Groups and Groups Forums together only take around 1.5 times the time that WordPress needs to execute. Given the obvious, let’s have a more detailed look at the better performing plugins:

Groups & Groups Forums


I’m thinking of that song that repeats “… with a satisfied mind”, only to wait to hear your voices shattering that satisfaction or adding to it 馃檪

If you’d like to now more details about the numbers or have questions, please do comment.

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20 Responses to Groups Forums Performance

  1. wine dine February 19, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

    Have not tried out Group Forums, but will take a look at them since looking for something that does not slow the site. Cheers!

    • kento February 20, 2014 at 11:25 am #

      Many thanks! 馃檪

  2. Terence December 14, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

    Hi Kento,

    Sorry to be so long in getting back to you. Not a very nice way to repay the speed in which you retrofitted and took the theme templates into your repository.

    I have been really busy of late and I only just got the chance to sit down and try it out.

    The first thing I noticed was to do with a plugin I run called Header and Footer, which injects scripts and content into the header and footer of pages and posts.

    Apparently it sees either as a post or a footer since its injecting a “read later” script into the header. on the other hand, it sees the topic at as neither, and then again actual forum post at as either a post or page and injects the script into the header again.

    I also notice the theme sees the forum post as either a post or a page and includes the author block.

    Any idea how to get round these?


    • kento December 18, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

      Hi Terence,

      No problem 馃檪 We all have our priorities. You also need some time to get used to using these tools, so it’s often normal for a bit of a delay.

      Regarding the plugin you mention, it seems that it doesn’t support custom post types. You would probably need someone to customize it, or ask the author if she/he would be willing to add that. Or use another plugin, it depends on what exactly it does …

      The forums are taxonomies, not a kind of post, that’s why it behaves differently.

      The pages you mentioned are protected for registered users so I couldn’t have a look, if you think it would be worth to have a look, feel free to create an account for support at itthinx dot com and let me know.


  3. Terence December 8, 2013 at 1:11 am #

    That’s great Kento. I should have enough time to try them out over the weekend. Many thanks.

  4. Terence December 5, 2013 at 2:02 am #


    Chris (one of the authors at MeanThemes) has come back to me and said to ping you a copy. Send me as there’s no privacy button here, if you email me I’ll send it to you.


    • kento December 5, 2013 at 11:36 am #

      Great, please send it to support at itthinx dot com.

    • kento December 5, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

      You now have the adjusted template files for the Designy theme in the Groups Forums Templates repository. See the notes there and the Themes section in the plugin’s documentation on how to deploy these.

  5. Terence December 4, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    Sounds great Kento. I have sent Chris a note telling him what we have discussed and asking if he is OK with me sending a copy of the actual theme I have here.

    • kento December 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

      Perfect, let me know if he gets in touch with you first. Otherwise I’ll post an update if I have news before.

  6. Terence December 3, 2013 at 1:23 am #

    No problem Kento. First impressions it looked good, but I have only had time to look at it quickly and it was having some ~ what looked like ~ theme related issues. So, as I know this particular theme []is a little tricky if I can’t resolve them I will jump over to the support forum, create a ticket, whatever.

    • kento December 4, 2013 at 11:18 am #

      Hi Terence,

      Thanks for giving it a try 馃檪 Regarding the theme, there’s a repository set up where theme-specific templates can be added. If we can have access to the theme, I’d be happy to review the templates and add them to the repo (we’ll need to ask the developer of theme if they would provide us a copy).


      • kento December 4, 2013 at 11:24 am #

        PS I’ve messaged meanthemes just now asking them if we can have access to their theme.

  7. Terence November 30, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

    Well, we’ll see, since I went ahead and bought it any way… 8^)

    • kento December 2, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

      Many thanks Terence, if you would like to share thoughts and suggestions on the plugin, these would be very welcome.

  8. Terence November 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    Hi Kento,

    Not a good comparison as you can only compete against your own best time and not be seen as a real competitor.

    Look, I get the “horses for courses” argument totally. I am with you there.

    What I am saying is that you’re measuring the wrong things if you want people to see the advantages and make a purchasing decision. And, I guess by implication, if those are the only advantages you’ve got, better get some more.

    If I am going to buy something, I want it to be “better” for me, not just “faster”. “Faster” is just a part of being a “better” decision for me.


    • kento December 2, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

      Hi Terence,

      I agree with you in that performance alone isn’t the only factor that one should take into account, when taking a decision whether to use one system or another. Please note that the results that have been presented here, are meant to give an idea on mainly that aspect. It doesn’t imply that you would take a decision based on that alone, yet it is a very important factor.

      I also think that having a variety of options is good. For some, certainly not for all, Groups Forums can be the right choice, I would assume because they feel comfortable within the environment that Groups itself already provides. They would take Groups Forums as a welcome addition which covers their requirements for a forum. That it performs nicely is a plus, but only one of the reasons why you would choose it.


  9. Terence November 26, 2013 at 3:23 pm #


    The problem with looking at this issue purely as one of resources and performance leaves out the most important issues, IMO, those of functionality, features, management and the BBPress eco-system.

    If people think its ugly, limited in what they can do with it, and doesn’t have the bells and whistles they expect, it doesn’t matter how fast it runs or what little memory it uses.

    I think if you want to take on BBPress head-to-head, you’re going to need to do a little more than just say “my forum runs faster”.


    • kento November 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

      Thanks for your feedback Terence. It really depends on what you’re looking for. The choice is motivated by desires and needs and who’s going to handle it. Personally I’m in favor of having different solutions around that can satisfy the requirements of some but not necessarily of every deployment.

      As with cars, you can bring a Prius to a race track if you’re not interested in speed 馃槢


  1. Groups Forums WordPress Plugin | Groups Forums - February 22, 2013

    […] Forums is pretty fast. A comparison with bbPress and Simple:Press is shown in Groups Forums Performance. This entry was posted in Groups and tagged forums, […]

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