Best Website Performance Testing Tools In 2021
A slow loading website more often than not, results in irritated users who may simply use the back button never to return again, unless by accident. Web server response time is a crucial factor in determining the performance of your website, and inevitably your business.
Page load time and response time are key metrics to monitor, and both give an in-depth understanding of how your website is performing. The difference between page load time and response time isn’t always immediately obvious, nor are the benefits of tracking them independently. Let’s discuss what monitoring these metrics can teach you about your website, and talk about how to improve response and loading times so that your website is fully optimized for speed.
PAGE LOAD TIME
Simply put, page load time is the average amount of time it takes for a page to display on your screen. Calculated from when you click on a page link or type in a Web address (initiation) to when the page is fully loaded in the browser (completion), it is measured in seconds, and is made up of two different parts:
- Network and Server Time shows how speedy the internet connection is and how swiftly static assets like photos and other files are served up.
- Browser Time pinpoints how long it takes for the browser to parse and execute the document and render the page available to users.
The same Web page can have different page load times in different browsers (e.g. Google vs. Internet Explorer), on different platforms (e.g. mobile vs. desktop), and in different locations. If your site is served by one data center in the U.S. but your customers are in Europe, your international shoppers might experience delayed load times. If your site’s static assets are copied onto different data centers globally, the page will link to the data center closest to your shoppers, to speed up page load times.
Even different pages on the same site can also have different load times, because of developer decisions like richer design elements, heavier functionality, and more content.
Response time is the time it takes for an inquiry from a user to receive a response from a server. Response time can be broken down into five parts:
DNS Lookup—Time taken to resolve a hostname to its IP address. If the DNS lookup time is high, this indicates an issue with the DNS servers.
Connection Time—Time taken to connect to a server, these results are generally used to identify network latency. High connection times are often caused by network or routing issues.
Redirect Time— This includes any necessary HTTP redirects time frames, and any extra DNS lookups or connection time during this process.
First Byte— The time it takes for the first byte of data to transfer. Delayed first bytes signal issues with server load.
Last Byte—This refers to time it takes to download the final server response. Slow times here indicate a bandwidth issue, increased bandwidths will result in faster download speeds.
There are several online tools for determining average page load times, meaning it’s possible for your Web development team to focus on streamlining your slowest-loading pages first. We’ll try and give you the best information on some.
Checking website response time
Who here wants to spend precious minutes, no, make that precious seconds waiting for website to load? No one, of course not, so there’s no way that websites will be slowing down anytime soon.
Internet users expect faster website page load times, and with each newer generation of network connectivity the internet consumer expects much, much more in terms of website content and speed. 5G internet access will definitely bring about irreversible changes in our digital world.
Google’s registers a response time of 100–200ms as good. Google PageSpeed Insights recommends keeping your SRT under 200ms. 200ms – 1 second is acceptable, but anything over 1 second is problematic.
There are only some websites that reach this benchmark, most fail to recognize and adjust the on-page and backend elements that are actually slowing down their entire site.
It’s important to understand which elements boost and which hinder your website response time, but first determine if you know how to check your website response time.
Website Response Time Fluctuations
So we know that the website response time is how long it takes for your web server to connect and send data packets to an end-user browser. A common misconception regarding website response time is it that theoretically it defines only the amount of time it takes for a server to send a “response” or “acknowledgement” to a browser (or a testing tool). In actuality, it’s the entire duration it takes from the first byte of data to the last.
How Response Time Testing Tools Benefit Your Site
The benefits of a response time testing platform depends on the level of insights it offers. Ping tests inform you whether your site/server is available and how long it took for the server to return the ping request. While baseline ping tests are an important tool in your website arsenal, this shouldn’t be the only metric covered. Since there are many elements responsible for determining website response time, it’s vital you utilize a tool capable of providing you:
- Size of data packets
- Time taken for end-user browsers to begin analyzing received files
- Time taken for the first embedded image to be received and rendered
- DNS setting and connection duration (highlights data packet transportation efficiency)
- Flow charts/reports outlining the flow of data from server to end-user browser
Testing Website Response Time | Step-by-Step Guide
There are many website response time testing tools, so we’re going to provide a generalized guide on how to test your website.
- Step One – Input Website URL & Server Characteristics
Enter your website URL in the search field. Choose the appropriate type of server: HTTP or HTTPS followed by the Request Type from the dropdown menu. Request types include GET or POST. Generally, you should go with the default setting of GET.
- Step Two – Optional Parameters
Include login information to verify login response times, GET or POST parameters you wish to review, as well as Header Name and Header Value you would like to test.
- Step Three – Verify Information and Execute Response Time Test
After inputting all necessary and optional data, verify it and click “START TEST” to initiate the various testing protocols.
- Step Four – Analyze Results
Upon completion, you’ll receive a detailed analysis of multiple key performance indicators – KPIs. These include:
- Web Server Response Time and Health
- On-Page Element Response Time and Loading Quality
- Website Loading Speed (Duration)
- Total Time to Load Entire Website/Webpage
Google Speed test tool
Google has many aspects to how it ranks websites in its algorithms. Page experience measures how users enjoy interacting with a web page. Optimizing a site keeping this in mind, helps sites evolve towards business success on the web as users engagement grows.
Other variables looked at include mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and pop up ads (intrusive interstitials). How do you think time ties in with all of these, especially when users click off a page?
So if the outcome of your initial interaction with a user is negative, it will not help any other algorithm. Key points Google has expostulated several times that it wants to make the whole web fast. It wants websites to focus on the user and all else will follow.
Google has marked some “Core Web Vitals” as critical to all web experiences, including loading experience, interactivity, and visual stability of page content, as the combined “foundation of the 2020 Core Web Vitals.”
It explains Core Web Vitals into 2 specific site speeds measures, and the third is also related to site speed but not specifically as:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) — This measures perceived load speed and marks the point in the page load timeline when the page’s main content has likely loaded.
First Input Delay (FID) — This measures responsiveness and quantifies the experience users feel when trying to first interact with the page.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) — This measures visual stability and quantifies the amount of unexpected layout shift of visible page content.
Since they are an array of online tools to choose from kee the following criteria in min while choosing which one to go for.
The more boxes the check off, the better the tool.
A sound tool will let you check your site performance quickly and provide the following essential metrics.
- Load time
- Page size
- Requests made to load the page
- Improvement recommendation
- Request waterfall and breakdown
- servers in several locations worldwide to test from.