How to Test Your Website Speed8 min read
A user might find slow websites highly frustrating as images and pages take forever to load. In recent times, even a slight delay might send users back to the search page to look for another website that can provide the required information in less time. Website speed is crucial while trying to retain customers. If your website is lagging, it’s time to test your website speed and take measures to improve it. In this blog, you’ll learn how to test your website speed and different ways to increase the speed.
What is Website Speed?
Website is the time taken for your website to load for the visitors. It typically includes the time taken for the elements like images and text on a website page to load completely. These days, website speed matters a lot as visitors are likely to switch to a different website if it takes more than a blink of an eye for your website to load.
Why does Website Speed Matter?
As we already discussed, website speed plays an important role in determining whether a user would stick to your website or not. Apart from this, there are other reasons why you should test your website speed. Search engines like Google give more importance to high-speed websites by placing them at the top of the search engine results page.
If your website is slow, there is no way you can become number one on Google search results. Speed optimization plays an important role in increasing search engine optimization or SEO. Test your website speed regularly to rank better in search results.
Tools to Test Your Website Speed
Pingdom is an excellent tool if you are a beginner and you wish to test your website speed. This tool is easier to navigate and better for first-timers. Pingdom ranks your website speed from 0 to 100, 0 being the slowest and 100 being the fastest.
You can test your website based on location, and it will tell you your score, page load time, page size, and total requests. Pingdom also offers suggestions to further improve your website speed. Detailed analysis by Pingdom can help anyone, from novice to expert, to troubleshoot problems and make improvements quickly.
GTMetrix is another popular speed analysis tool for beginners. It is arguably the best-known of all the Pingdom alternatives as it is easy to use and beginners can pick it up quite fast. It is effectively your one-stop shop for all your speed optimization needs.
If you use a free account to test your website speed, it allows you to save the last 20 tests, compare historical data, perform multiple tests across several browsers, locations, and connections, etc. GTMetrix tools also display a list of your requests in a waterfall chart, which can be downloaded to identify problem areas and bottlenecks.
Uptrends lets you test your website speed for free across various locations, browsers, and devices. All you have to do is type your domain and choose one of the 11 locations. Check website speed by switching from mobile, desktop, laptop, and various browsers. It is the ultimate monitoring tool to stay in control of the uptime, performance, and functionality of your websites, APIs, and servers.
Uptrends provide a 30-day free trial to test the monitoring platform. It will show you your Google PageSpeed score, load time, and requests as well as provide suggestions for improving website speed and performance.
Sematext is a unique DevOps tool that combines all aspects of performance monitoring. Along with providing support for all major frameworks, it provides end-to-end visibility, observability, real-time alerts, and debugging solutions. Another important feature Sematext synthetics helps you test your website speed across multiple locations and different devices.
You can also benchmark your site’s performance amongst the competitors by tracking core metrics. The logs, metrics, synthetic and real user monitoring help in detecting and troubleshooting production and performance issues. It pulls all the performance monitoring tools together and helps organizations troubleshoot performance issues faster.
Yslow is Yahoo!’s performance tool and is completely free to use. The team at Yahoo! Has identified 24 factors that can impact a website’s speed. Out of these 24, only 23 can be tested quantitatively. The tool focuses its analysis on these 23 areas by listing down these 23 rules with extended details. YSlow will grade your website in each of these areas – scores ranging from A to F.
Once you understand your weak areas, you can try fixing or improving these areas to enhance website performance. The major drawback of Yslow is that it is no longer maintained. However, there is still some essential information that the tool provides, we recommend using a newer tool to test your website speed.
The user-friendly design of DareBoost is ideal for providing easy-to-digest reports. The tool has the capability of recognizing close to 80 different types of data, making it easier to identify weak spots and improvement areas. DareBoost is primarily a premium service, you can use it to test your website speed for 5 free reports every month. The free reports are pretty impressive and help you understand where you are struggling.
A few advanced features are reserved for paid customers exclusively. Their report design is pretty good for presentation purposes in front of your boss or your client.
7. New Relic
New Relic offers a variety of services including server mentoring, mobile monitoring, application performance monitoring, and real-time user insights. It is a premium tool that provides additional data with a paid membership plan. WordPress plugins section is an important feature that instantly shows plugins and themes with the longest response time.
If your website starts to go slow, New Relic detects this and notifies you to take immediate action and fix the underlying issues. New relic is a great tool for WordPress customers as it shows external services or ad networks that might be the reason behind slow website speed.
8. Google Mobile Website Speed Testing Tool
Google’s mobile website speed testing tool helps in analyzing mobile site speed. If you use it to test your website speed, it quickly notifies about the time taken to load the website and suggests measures to increase the mobile site speed. It is extremely useful in ensuring that you have a mobile-compatible, highly responsive, and fast website.
Simply, type in your domain so that Google can calculate your site speed within seconds. For more information and details, try changing your location and connection. Google offers several tips to optimize website speed and improve conversion rates.
9. Google PageSpeed Insights
Google emphasizes that having good website speed plays an important role in ranking your website on the search result pages. To help websites maintain a good speed, Google has its own speed testing tool, Google PageSpeed Insights. It scores your site in the range of 0-100 – the higher the score, the better.
Google PageSpeed Insights will generate speed tests for both mobile and desktop followed by suggestions to help you improve your website speed further. The report page gives a breakdown of steps that can be taken to improve website performance. Elevate your website to the top of the SERPs by listening to Google recommendations.
10. Load Impact
Load Impact is one of the best tools to test website scalability. With a free website performance test you can get – 5 reports per month, the impact of 25 concurrent users on website speed, analyzing the consequence of this modest traffic. Load Impact also displays top-level statistics such as bandwidth usage, requests made, and the total number of requests per second.
With premium plans, users can get more actionable data and insights to improve website performance. It also allows testing speed with more than 25 concurrent users and its impact. The premium plans are available from $89/month.
How to Properly Run a Website Speed Test
Now that we know the different tools that can be used to test your website speed, let us understand how to properly run a website speed test. Here are two tips that we suggest you keep in mind before beginning with a website speed test,
1. Speed test location matters
Almost every good website speed testing tool allows you to choose from different testing locations across the globe. It’s important to run your speed test from both locations, one that is near to your data center and one that is far away. Be consistent with the location you choose every time you conduct a website speed test.
2. Test multiple times
Remember, caching makes your WordPress site load super fast. The major problem arises when users run the speed test only once, the content is not yet cached on the WordPress host or CDN yet, and the website speed may appear to be slower than it actually is. Same can happen if you clear your cache from a WordPress site or CDN. To properly speed test, everything needs to load from the cache. It usually requires running the website speed test multiple times. Two or three times is usually the magic number and gets the best results.