Speed is more important than ever and is considered to be a key component in the success or failure of any website. The majority of modern internet users won’t wait more than three seconds for a website to load. However, only 15 percent of all websites on the internet operate at web speeds that would be classified as acceptable. Optimizing the performance of your website and increasing load times can pay dividends in boosting brand loyalty and increasing conversions.
To determine how long it takes for your website to load, it’s important to conduct speed tests. A website speed test allows you to identify the load times of the pages on your website. The majority of speed test tools also provide additional tools that give you the ability to troubleshoot performance issues and identify the reasons why your page speeds may be lower than they should be.
When you’re searching for the right test to use with your website, it’s important that you choose one that offers usability testing. This form of testing allows study participants to perform various actions on a website, which makes it easier for the website owner to pinpoint the exact causes of site slowdown. The following article offers a comprehensive view of five of the top speed test tools that you can use to enhance the performance of your website.
Pingdom is a top tool for website speed testing that’s simple to use and can provide you with precise results. Along with identifying the load time of a page, Pingdom is able to analyze the results and identify any current bottlenecks that could be slowing down your website. Knowing what these bottlenecks are is key towards decreasing load times and improving site performance. The main benefits that come with using the Pingdom tool include:
- The results of testing are intuitive and easy to read since they are displayed as letter grades for various facets of site performance
- Pingdom allows users to test the performance and speed of their website from more than 100 locations, which gives you the ability to use the location that best corresponds with your website’s user base
- This tool uses an easy-to-read waterfall chart to display results
Pingdom is a well-organized tool that will provide you with enough results to start making the necessary changes to improve the performance of your website. The waterfall chart that’s used by Pingdom shows different colors for the various stages of a request. These stages include DNS, SSL, connect, send, wait, and receive.
GTmetrix is a premium speed test tool that can be used for free and offers numerous benefits that can’t be had with other tools. When using this tool, all that’s required of you is to input your URL before clicking the “Analyze” button. Because of the simplicity of this tool, it’s very user-friendly and can provide you with easy-to-read results. After signing up for an account, it’s possible to perform tests with different connection types, browsers, and locations. The main benefits that come with the GTmetrix speed test include:
- Page speed numbers are displayed with context, which means that your results will be compared with internet averages
- It’s possible to perform 50 weekly tests with the free version
Several premium plans are available if you would like to expand the feature-set of the GTmetrix tool. Along with increasing the weekly test numbers, API credits, and data retention options, the higher plans offer features like advanced analysis options, mobile device testing, access to more than a dozen premium test locations, and global monitoring.
UpTrends is a straightforward website monitoring tool that offers a sleek design. You can perform tests from one of 10 different locations to determine what kind of experience users will have when visiting your website. These tests can occur from a desktop device or mobile device. If you select the desktop option, it’s possible to choose the screen resolution for one of four browsers, which include Internet Explorer, PhantonJS, Firefox, and Chrome.
If you want to perform speed tests under different speed scenarios, you can perform bandwidth throttling to gain a better understanding of how your website will perform at all times. The main benefits of using UpTrends include detailed waterfall graphs, the ability to obtain an ample amount of data from your domain group, and the availability of a premium version of the tool. If you decide to use the advanced version of UpTrends for $12 per month, you’ll receive:
- 60 message credits
- 10 basic monitors
- Real user monitoring
- The ability to set alerts
- Email support
WebPageTest is a highly reliable speed testing tool that can help you measure the performance of your website. It’s an open-source tool that’s entirely free to use. While the results that are provided with this tool aren’t exactly user-friendly, the tool itself offers accurate data and advanced testing capabilities. Even though the tool isn’t the simplest one to use, it will provide you with a wealth of information that can be used to strengthen the performance of your website and lessen overall load times.
You can benchmark your site from one of 40 distinct locations. It’s also possible to perform tests from a slow network or a 4G network for comprehensive results. You’ll be given information on caching, TTFB, and compression. One notable feature of this tool is that you can run a test on your website three times, after which the results will be displayed side-by-side for immediate comparison.
When you use WebPageTest, it’s possible to customize the settings before each run of the tool. With extensive customization, you can test how your website runs on different browsers. There’s always a possibility that your website runs notably faster on Google Chrome when compared to Mozilla Firefox.
5. Google PageSpeed Insights
Google PageSpeed Insights is a simple yet powerful tool that doesn’t work like the other tools on this list. For instance, Google PageSpeed Insights won’t give you recommendations on how to properly fix poor load times. The main benefit that comes with using this specific tool is that it can provide you with insight on how Google effectively evaluates your site speed when ranking your website. With this knowledge, you should gain a better understanding of how to improve your ranking on Google, which can be very helpful towards increasing site traffic.
The results that Google provides you with are more important than the results that can be obtained with other tools. When Google detects an issue with the performance of your website, you can be certain that this particular issue will weigh down your ranking. The tool is also extremely simple to use in any web browser. After you type in your website and click enter, you’ll only need to wait for several seconds before results are displayed from the desktop and mobile versions of your site. These results are color-coded, which makes them easy to read.
Comprehending the Website Speed Test Results
No matter which speed test tool you decide to use, you’ll be provided with an array of different results that can assist you in identifying problem areas of your website. However, some results are more important than others. The most important result for you to search for is the total amount of time it takes for your site to load, which is usually displayed in milliseconds. If your website takes longer than 2-3 seconds to load, users may choose to go to an entirely different website. Even without entering your website, these users may have a bad impression of your company and believe that your website offers a poor user experience.
To reduce load times, it’s important to identify which aspects of your website are taking the longest to load. In many cases, long load times are caused by scripts and images that are loading in from third-party websites. It’s also possible that videos are the cause of your site slowdown. An easy way to lessen load times is by making sure that every image on your website is served by your CDN service or cache.
It’s possible that load times are higher than they should be because browser compression isn’t working properly. Also referred to as gzip compression, this form of compression reduces the size of your files between the server and the user’s browser. To effectively compress images, you might want to use a fully featured image-compression tool. These tools will automatically compress your images and make them easier to load.
When you take the right steps to improve the load times on your website, you should begin to notice improvements in site traffic and user retention almost immediately. Because of how important site performance is with search engines like Google, it’s essential that you work on enhancing the performance of your website.