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Template Benchmark

This is a simple benchmark to test the memory usage and speed of rendering templates using Elefant's Template engine, Twig, and Smarty 3.

Machine specs

The tests were done on an iMac with the following specs:

Mac OS X 10.7.4
3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ 8 GB RAM
Apache 2.2.21
PHP 5.3.10

Running the tests

To run the tests yourself, started with a fresh copy of Elefant 1.3.1-beta. Add the following composer.json file to the root of the site:

	"require": {
		"twig/twig": "1.*"
	"config": {
		"vendor-dir": "lib/vendor"

Now run the following to install Twig:

cd /path/to/your/site
php composer.phar install

Note: Requires Composer.

Lastly, run these commands to install the tests:

cd apps
git clone

This adds the following new URLs to Elefant:

The first time each of these is run, it will generate the cached copy of the template. Subsequent runs will use the cached templates.

Rendering with compilation (uncached)

Engine Microtime Memory
Raw PHP 0.00012397766113281 7 KB
Elefant 0.00062322616577148 60 KB
Smarty 3 0.033155918121338 4.7 MB
Twig 0.051060914993286 2.9 MB

In the compilation step, which runs whenever a template file has changed, Elefant uses negligible memory compared to Twig's 2.9 MB and Smarty's 4.7 MB, and generates the cached template in a fraction of the time.

Rendering from cached template

Engine Microtime Memory
Raw PHP 0.00012397766113281 7 KB
Elefant 0.00019192695617676 54 KB
Smarty 3 0.00063490867614746 8 KB
Twig 0.0015380382537842 248 KB

Rendering from cached templates puts Elefant at 8x faster and using 1/5th of the memory as Twig does, and about 3x faster than Smarty. Interestingly, regenerating templates in Elefant uses only 6 KB more memory than rendering from cache, and is also faster than Twig is at rendering a template from cache, and equal in speed to Smarty's compiled performance.

Setup memory usage

I also wanted to see how much memory the setup for each library required. For this, I went outside of the Elefant framework in order to load each library independently of the framework surrounding it. Here are the results of how much memory each templating engine consumes during its setup:

Engine Memory
Raw PHP 0 KB
Elefant 375 KB
Smarty 3 1.7 MB
Twig 851 KB

The results clearly show Elefant leading in memory usage and speed, with Smarty 3 a close second on performance, and Twig trailing behind on rendering but still using less overall memory than Smarty 3.


The raw PHP test added a sanitizing function, since that is such an important consideration in data output. This function simply wraps htmlspecialchars() with the appropriate parameters.


Benchmark of Elefant's template engine against Twig templates






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