Ridiculously slow results for Plone CMS sites

Newbie here… Sorry if this sort of question has been asked before.

I’m trying to do some tests on various sites that are developed using the Plone CMS. I know Plone is painfully slow, but I really am not understanding the results of webpagetest at all. They just seem unrealistically slower than real user experiences!

For example, I just ran a test on the main portal of the Brazilian government: http://www.brasil.gov.br. This is obviously quite a major site as it is supposed to be a front end to their entire web presence. However, I am getting a first view load of 50 seconds!! I just cannot understand that.

That is not anything close to the real user experience. (Yes… my cache is wiped clean, same browser, seriously slow internet connection and other end of the globe).

Can this result really be representative of reality?

Yes, the site really is that bad from looking at it. There are a couple of key things that are making it excruciating:

1 - Keep-alives are disabled. EVERY request on the page needs to make an extra round trip to set up a new connection and the further you get from the server the slower it is going to be (it will probably look a lot faster if you test from the Brazil agent). A simpler server configuration tweak will cut the load time in half. If I had to bet I would guess that they are using an old Apache config that disables keep-alives for IE so it might seem a lot faster in Firefox or Chrome.

2 - There a TON of resources all as separate files. It would be significantly faster if those tiny icons were in a sprite, the css files were merged and the javascript code was merged (probably cut in half again).

The site may feel faster in a more modern browser (IE8, Firefox, Chrome, Safari) because they will open more parallel requests to the server. IE7 will only open 2 connections at a time while the more modern browsers open 6 so they will be able to download 3x as many things at the same time.

If you’re using something other than IE it probably feels a lot faster than this because of the increased number of parallel connections and keep-alives working (those 2 alone would cut the load time down to ~1/5 or 1/6 of what IE7 is seeing).

And no, it’s not unusual to see really high profile sites perform like crap :frowning: