Tag Archives: load test

Sharing widgets harm your website’s performance

[UPDATE: I reworked lyteShare into a standalone javascript-thingie]

Doing Web Performance can be so easy, really! I was asked to do a performance analysis of a new website and one of the things I didn’t like was the fact that the footer contained social media sharing buttons using the ShareThis widget. I’m not a fan of sharing widgets in general, as they tend to slow webpage loading and rendering down and as they almost invariably come with “3rd party tracking” for behavioral marketing purposes.

So why not do a quick comparison between a simple page with ShareThis, AddThis, AddToAny/ Lockerz share and one which uses inline javascript to render the buttons? For that purpose I quickly created lyteShare, an inline JavaScript thingie that dynamically adds the Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus sharing buttons after the load event has been fired. I’m not going to bother you with code (but you can look at the page’s source here if you want)  it’s probably far from perfect and it sure isn’t pretty, but it works and the webpagetest.org-results tell it all.

ShareThis AddThis Lockerz/ AddToAny inline JS (“lyteShare”)
Document Complete 0.677s 0.487s 1.352s 0.283s
Start Render 0.715s 0.279s 0.304s 0.298s
Fully Loaded 1.507s 3.718s 1.407s 0.500s
Full Download size 70 KB 384 KB  111 KB 7 KB
Test Report sharethis result addthis result  lockerz/ addtoany result lyteshare result
3rd party tracking? yes  yes  yes no

So yep, ShareThis, AddThis  and AddToAny/ Lockerz (and all sharing widgets really) are performance-hogs that also track your visitors’ every move while offering little or no added value to what anyone could do with some simple JavaScript (or server-side code, for that matter).

Conclusion: if performance is of any importance for your website (and it should be), you really have to avoid using 3rd party widgetery!