Top 5 Website Speed Test Tools

Close to two billion people worldwide access the Internet on their mobile phones. Several studies, including Statista, suggest that users expect a website to load within three seconds. The ideal page load time of a webpage is 1.5 seconds or less. If your webpage takes more than 1.5 seconds from the time a user lands on your webpage until the contents of the page are rendered and visible to the user, you need to start doing some digging and fix the issues.

Website Speed

The website speed or site speed usually means how quickly users are able to see the content of a website. This applies to all operating systems, all browsers, and all devices. Developers should pay attention to the mobile friendliness of a website. More than 60 percent of the population accesses websites using smartphones. Check out Top 3 Free Website Friendliness Test Tools to test a website to see if it qualifies as a mobile friendly website.

According to the Google Analytics tool Site Speed, it measures three aspects of latency:

Page-load time for a sample of page views on your site.

Execution speed or load time of any discrete hit, event, or user interaction such as image load, and the response time to button clicks.

How quickly the browser parses the document and makes it available for user interaction.

In this article, I will list the top five tools we use to test performance and speed of websites. These tools also provide recommendations on how to fix the issues and make your website faster.

Factors Affecting a Website's Speed

There are several factors that may affect a website's speed. Here is a list of the top factors:

  1. Hosting Environment: Obsolete server, network switches, low bandwidth, slow Internet, and server configurations
  2. Server: Not enough resources such as memory, space, disk/IO speed
  3. Database: Bad database architecture, slow queries, indexes
  4. Backend Services: APIs are not optimized
  5. Coding: Bad coding is one of the key reasons of a slow website
  6. Design: Poor design of a website, heavy use of graphics, browser and device compatibility, un-optimized CSS and images
  7. File types and content size: Large non-optimized content pages and slow content hosting services
  8. Third-party libraries: Slow third-party libraries
  9. Traffic: All of the above factors get worse as traffic increases on a website. You may have a great high-speed website when few users access the website but it may not respond at all when you have thousands of users using the website simultaneously. This usually is a result of a bad system and website architecture and design. 
TestMySite by Google

TestMySite lets you test your website for mobile friendliness, performance, and speed on desktop and mobile devices.

To go to TestMySite, click or copy URL.

On the home page of the above website, type the URL of a website you would like to test and click Test Now. You will see a screen with scores for mobile friendliness, mobile speed, and desktop speed.

Test

You can move below to get more details on these. The Mobile Speed screen looks like the following.

more detail

If you click on SEE WHAT TO FIX, you will get exact problems and recommendations from Google.
problems and recommendations

Yahoo YSlow

The YSlow web tool originally developed by Yahoo! analyzes your web pages and tells you why it’s slow. It grades web pages and offers suggestions for improving the page's performance.

Download and more details: http://yslow.org/

YSlow is available as a plugin to most of the browsers including Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari.

YSlow checks and runs the 34 following rules that affect web page performance.
  • Minimize HTTP Requests
  • Use a Content Delivery Network
  • Avoid empty src or href
  • Add an Expires or a Cache-Control Header
  • Gzip Components
  • Put StyleSheets at the Top
  • Put Scripts at the Bottom
  • Avoid CSS Expressions
  • Make JavaScript and CSS External
  • Reduce DNS Lookups
  • Minify JavaScript and CSS
  • Avoid Redirects
  • Remove Duplicate Scripts
  • Configure ETags
  • Make AJAX Cacheable
  • Use GET for AJAX Requests
  • Reduce the Number of DOM Elements
  • No 404s
  • Reduce Cookie Size
  • Use Cookie-Free Domains for Components
  • Avoid Filters
  • Do Not Scale Images in HTML
  • Make favicon.ico Small and Cacheable

Once you install and run the tool, it will grade each rule and give your website a grading from A to F.

grading

WebPageTest

Originally developed by AOL, WebPageTest is an open source project that is now being developed and supported by Google. It runs free website speed tests from multiple locations around the globe using real browsers (IE and Chrome) and at real consumer connection speeds.

http://www.webpagetest.org/

WebPageTest provides a detailed speed test and rates some of these categories as fail or pass. The tool also provides a waterfall and a connection view. Here are the results screens of C# Corner's home page.

WebPageTest

WebPageTest

WebPageTest

WebPageTest

GTMetrix

https://gtmetrix.com/

GTmetrix gives you a presentable insight on the speed of your website and provides recommendations on how to optimize it. It uses PageSpeed and YSlow.

GTMetrix

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most advanced tools for website analysis. It gives you analytics about almost everything about your website traffic, performance, location, and visitors.

URL: analytics.google.com

Google Analytics requires you to sign up with Google and open an account. Once the account is opened, you generate a script and place that script on every page of your website. You may want to use a common file (header or footer for example) to place the script.

Google Analytics

As you can see from the above image, Google Analytics gives you page load time, redirection, domain lookup, server connection time, response time and so on. You can also drill down these reports based on location, pages, browser and much more.