I'm curious if anyone that has either done a comparison between the two or simply knows why one would be more efficient than the other. Stash set vs. set_list in storing multiple individual field variables for a single entry.


A template group index that generates "pages" on the basis of entries that includes, for example, the following fields:

  • title (obviously)
  • alt menu title
  • body (RTE field)
  • promo image
  • extended body (RTE field)
  • Meta Title
  • Meta Description
  • Meta Keywords

So to create a variable out of each one of these fields distinctly, I could either wrap each with a simple stash:set tag pair or I could wrap the whole thing with a stash:set_list tag pair and wrap each variable with the tag pair to set each as list elements.

Then in the wrapper template, in the set_list scenario, when I have several of these elements that actually need to appear together (like title, body, extended body and promo image, for example), I can use a single get_list tag pair to retrieve the several of them I need whereas with the simple set scenario, I would need a get for each variable separately, even if four of them follow one another sequentially in the markup.

What are the performance issues I should be worries about? Or should I be worries about it? To me, they seem to run about the same speed, but I wonder if the database and stash experts out there can speak to how/if there would be differences, particularly as the number of fields in a given field group climbs.

I have thought about the fact that the stashed body of the page could in fact combine several of the fields in the field group into a single stashed set (whether list or not). But for the purposes of this example/question, I thought I'd keep them separate.

1 Answer 1


A stash list is simply a serialized variable. Setting and getting a list is the same process as setting/getting a single variable, except the list has some additional processing to separate out the elements, serialize/unserialize, sort and paginate. In practice if you are not saving the variables with save="yes" then there is little appreciable difference in speed or memory use. However, if you are saving your variables then a list is more efficient than multiple individual variables because it requires only a single query to retrieve, regardless of how many times the list is iterated over in your template.

Another option for saving multiple variables as a single cached item (especially where individual parameters are required per variable, e.g. match / against) is the {exp:stash:bundle} tag pair.

  • Cool! Thanks so much Mark. Exactly the kind of information I was looking for - and who would know better than you!?! Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 22:03

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