How to Measure Your Website Speed and Load Times

With your website, speed is everything. The latest research shows that you might only have four seconds before web users move on, which means there’s little time to make a good impression. Added to that, Google suggests that website creators adopt a mobile first approach to cater for the increasing number of people using mobile devices to browse the web. For Google, that means pages should load in less than a second. Slow sites are likely to pay the price in terms of lower search ranking, so it’s important to find out how fast your site loads and where the bottlenecks are. There are several tools you can use to do this. Here’s how to measure and troubleshoot website speed and load times.

 

10 Tools for Measuring Website Speed

How to Measure Website Speed with Google Page Speed Insights

A good starting point for measuring website load times is Google Page Speed Insights. To use it, type the URL you want to check into the on-screen box. Press the “analyze” button.
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You will get a a report assessing page speed and user experience along with suggestions for changes you can make to make your website even faster. Each recommendation is a clickable link taking you to more advice on solving page speed issues.

How to Use GTMetrix to Measure Website Page Load Times

GTMetrix also helps with measuring website page load times. It combines information from other online page speed tools. To use it, type your URL into the on-screen box, then press the “go” button.
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The resulting report highlights dozens of different aspects of website load times and grades each one from A to F. A traffic light grading system lets you see at a glance which areas of your site work well and which need attention. Each issue is a link which gives more detail when clicked. One useful aspect of this tool is that it ranks the critical issues in order of importance so you know where to start to make the biggest impact.

How to Identify Page Speed Issues with Pingdom

Pingdom has a website speed test tool which works in a similar way to the others listed above. Enter your URL in the on-screen box, press “test now” and you get a report divided into several sections. These include page analysis, a performance grade and a waterfall analysis), helping you identify the most important causes of website slowdown and how to fix them.
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How to Find Website Page Load Issues with Webpage Test

Webpage Test is similar to the other tools. However, you can also specify different locations around the globe for the test, as well as different browsers, including mobile browsers. This makes it very useful. The report shows you timings for when your site starts loading and when loading is complete. It also indicates how long it takes a page to load if it is loaded a second time by the same user. The final report include a pie chart breaking down the type of content by load time.
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How to Measure Web Page Speed with Load Impact

Load Impact allows you to run a free web speed test by putting the URL into the on-screen box. All tests are public, though you can keep them private by registering for an account. This test takes a bit longer than the others, but simulates real-world browsing scenarios and automatically shows data on content type and distribution.
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How to Troubleshoot Web Page Speed with Page Scoring

The website speed test from Page Scoring does not provide any fancy charts. However, it highlights different aspects of page speed such as domain lookups, connection time, redirection time and the loading time of individual assets needed to run your site.
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How to Assess Page Speed Scenarios with Internet Marketing Ninjas

The page speed tester from Internet Marketing Ninjas provides information on load times in different scenarios such as when using different Internet connections. It also shows you which parts of your site are largest and slowest. You can easily see whether the people who visit your site will be able to read the content while waiting for images and scripts to load.
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How to Find Website Speed Issues with Show Slow

Show Slow is another page speed aggregator, pulling in results from YSlow, Google Page Speed Insights and DynaTrace. It is an open source tool but you will need to sign up to use it. Alternatively, you can download the tool and install it on your server for private results. It provides a comprehensive list of the sources of site slowdown, with links to more information to help you to fix issues.
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How to Find Location-Based Speed Issues With Dotcom Monitor

Dotcom Monitor tests your website from a number of locations around the world and then gives you an aggregate score. It also provides a waterfall analysis for each location so you can see if there are any differences in how your site is loading for different locations.
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How to Find Site Speed Issues with Google Analytics

Google Analytics includes site speed in its reports. You can find it in the Behavior section. Click on the overview link to see a snapshot of page speed issues and use the Page Timings link to see how individual pages are loading. The Page Speed Suggestions link shows how individual pages could be improved, allowing you to target your most important pages first.
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How to Fix Website Page Speed Issues

It’s a good idea to test your site to establish a benchmark and re-test at regular intervals.

Once you have identified the bottlenecks on your site, the next step is to fix them. Most of the tools listed above make recommendations. Some of the most common fixes include reducing the size of images, improving your hosting, optimizing your code, using a content delivery network, compressing your site, using caching, optimizing scripts and reducing the number of external services you use.

Finally, if you have a WordPress site, check out our tutorial on speeding up your WordPress site for additional fixes you can make.

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