There are many speed test tools to use to measure your website speed. Many of the tools now reference the Google Page Speed Insights, and some tools give great explanations as to how you can improve your website speed based on the results.
My personal experience is using Pingdom tools and Google Page Speed Insights.
Why Your Website Speed is Really Important?
As we may know that we really hate slow loading website. If our site is slow, person that access our site can leave us anytime they like. Just imagine if you have e-commerce site and you really depend on your site to make sales, it will become big issue.
Testing your website speed can also suggest other improvements such as image optimization, the need for a Worldwide CDN, or the need to remove problematic scripts or plugins. We will cover these in a related series at a later date.
Here are some of the most common reasons to use speed test tools on your website:
- Investigating load time issues, including checking scripts, fonts, and plugins.
- Checking minification of your scripts
- Analyzing images to find large non-optimized images causing load time issues
- Testing Time to First Byte (TTFB)
- Analyzing total load times, page sizes, and number of server requests
- Checking load times from different locations around the world
- Checking for issues in different browsers
- Analyzing HTTP Headers (for example to check caching is working, whether cache is public or private etc.)
- Checking your Content Delivery Network is configured correctly.
Understand Speed Concepts
Page Load Time
Page Rendering Time
Unlike the Page Load Time, Page Rendering Time measures the time it takes for the webpage to be ready for the user to interact with. Some webpage assets, such as images, or scripts (such as social share scripts, Google Analytics scripts, etc.) will load after the page has begun to render. However, the user is still able to interact with the website while these are loading.
Example of Page Rendering Time
If you take our homepage here, the total load time reported by Pingdom Tools shows 1.9 seconds. However, our page starts rendering after just 0.2 — 0.3 seconds. You can see when the page starts rendering with the red box below:
That’s only 1 example, well, this will be not too accurate, so we need to check other important factors. Keep reading!
Minification of Resources
- White spaces
- New lines
- Comments (comments embedded within the code)
- Block delimiters
This reduces the size of the files that need to be loaded from the server, thus saving bandwidth and causing the files to load faster.
When your browser fetches data from a server, it does so using HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol). For each file that requires to be loaded, a request to the server needs to be made. Unfortunately, browsers can only handle so many requests simultaneously. The limits on number of simultaneous requests a browser are as follows:
How many concurrent requests can a browser send to different domains at a time? What has this got to do with parallelization of request/downloads? — Quora
- Opera 9+ and Safari 3+ — 4 downloads per hostname
- internet Explorer 8, Firefox 3, and Chrome 1+ — six downloads per hostname
There are many ways you can reduce the number of requests such as:
- Using CSS Sprites
- Reducing assets such as 3rd party plugins that make a large number of external requests
Also, by using a CDN you can increase the number of simultaneous requests as the restrictions are per Hostname. By spreading the downloads over multiple hostnames allows for faster page load times.
Also, HTTP/2 is now starting to be rolled out which do not have these restrictions. You can read more about HTTP/2 here (coming soon).
5 Website Speed Tools that You Can Use
The following is recommended tools to check your website speed:
1. Google PageSpeed Insights
Google PageSpeed Insights](https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/) is a service free by Google that measures the speed of your website for both desktop and mobile versions of your website. The score gives a range between 0 and 100, with the higher score being better. Google indicates that a score of 85 or more means the page is performing well. The report produced shows detailed recommendations and insights on how you can improve your PageSpeed score, along with an indication of importance.
PageSpeed Insights measures performance on two things:
- The time until the page begins to render
- The time until the page is fully loaded
Pingdom is probably one of the most popular website speed test tools, and the one we use the most ourselves. To use Pingdom Tools you just enter in your website address, and then it will summarize your webpage performance at the top with four metrics:
- Performance grade.
- Load time.
- Page size.
Below the summary you will find further information divided into four different sections:
- Waterfall breakdown
- Performance grade
- Page analysis
The page analysis offers an excellent overview of additional information such as a size analysis, size per domain (you can easily compare your CDN assets size vs. your domain), the number of requests per domain, and what type of content had the most requests.
GTmetrix is a little more detailed than Pingdom Tools, and for that reason, many people prefer it over other tools. GTmetrix provides the following information:
- PageSpeed and YSlow scores — The GTmetrix score is an average of the PageSpeed and YSlow scores. The arrow next to the score indicates whether you are faster than other websites analyzed by them.
- Recommendations — You will receive a full list of actionable recommendations, prioritized by importance \ potential gains.
- Page Load Details (time, size, the number of requests) — These give a great overview of your page speed. Also, the results are color coded so you can see how you compare with other websites.
- Waterfall, Video, and Report History — This allows you to see \ determine how your page assets load and troubleshoot any delays. The history allows you to see how any changes you make have affected the website speed.
To get the most out of GTmetrix, we highly recommend you register with them for free. By doing so, you will get access to more features, including testing using different browsers, connection types (i.e. see how your website loads with a slower connection).
One feature we particularly like is the video playback option. This allows you to playback your page load, at your chosen speed, so you can see precisely where any bottlenecks occur.
WebPageTest was a first created as an internal tool for AOL, and subsequently made open source in 2008. As such the interface is a little more dated, and the speed of the test is a bit sluggish, especially if you get stuck in a queue behind other users.
That being said, it does have some great features such as being able to choose from over 40 locations around the world, over 25 browser types. It also tests the page speed twice, so you can see what effects (if any) a DNS lookup will have on your initial page load. On completion of the test you will be assigned a grade from A to F based on the following:
- First Byte Time
- Keep-alive Enabled
- Compress Transfer
- Compress Images
- Cache Static Content
- Effective Use of CDN
The things they test for is somewhat limited, and not as comprehensive as some of the above tests mentioned.
DareBoost is one of the newer tools on the market, and having tested it for the first time while writing this article is now one of our favorites. You will need to register for free to make full use of the tool.
Dareboost makes various checks (over 100 in total) in each of the following areas:
- Cache Policy — Checks for Expire Headers, inline script lengths, query strings on static resources, etc.
- Compliance — Checks for correct Font formats, Silverlight plugin usage, flash resources, etc.
- Data Amount — Checks for things like optimized images, minification, page size, etc.
- Quality — Looks at HTML code quality
- SEO — Checks for basic SEO matters, such as H1 tags, number of links on page, meta description, etc.
- Security — Checks whether you are protected against popular malicious web attacks, such as XXS attacks. It also checks SSL issues.
Each test is given a score between 0 and 100 so you can get an indication of how well your website is doing.
Web Hosting Recommendation for Fast Website Speed
If you’ve landed on this page, you’re probably looking for a new. But you’re not looking for just any – you’re researching on the most reliable, fastest you can get because you know how crucial it can be for online businesses. Here we go!
We’ve made it clear before that we absolutely LOVE. In fact, we made the switch from Godaddy Hosting to ASPHostPortal few years ago and we never looked back! They’re officially ASP.NET endorsed (it’s kind of a big deal, guys!), and that kind of recognition is only given out to web hosts that meet ASP.NET’s lofty criteria.
Our preferred package is their entry level Host Two Plan; super affordable at around $8.00 per month but comes packed with benefits and features. You get to enjoy priority support, SuperCacher, Automatic Daily Backups and Free restores.
We have tested our site to host with them. Speed wise, ASPHostPortal is ranked A+ with a worldwide average of 108 ms. Very fast!
If you want to host your site in European data center, then you best pay attention cause you’re gonna want to read about HostForLIFE.eu.
At their price point, you don’t really expect quality ASP.NET hosting, but they are surprisingly fast! We’ve got 3 test sites with them hosted in various data centers so you can see how well they perform in each continent. Here are the results taken from our server speed test.
Their European server performed exceptionally well in Europe and America, they scored an excellent worldwide average of 103 ms.
Aside from speed, HostForLIFE.eu has an excellent support team, which serves over 20 countries in their native language! With the inclusion of 1 free domain, unlimited SSD Storage, Emails and bandwidth, HostForLIFE.eu really packs a full punch with their plans, especially for those that are just starting out.
Those in the know are aware that UKWindowsHostASP.NET takes their speed very seriously. They’ve invested a lot to make their servers speedy and fast, and they’ve got response time to show it.
If you’ve never heard of their PremiumServers, they’re specially tweaked to give us massive speed boosts. When combined with their Premium Cache, the servers can load sites up to 10 times quicker than standard servers.
To handle client requests all over the globe, UKWindowsHostASP.NET Hosting has set up 5– London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Milan, Paris so that we can pick the best server location to suit our needs.
We tried their London data center and the results were great with a wholesome worldwide average of 122.3 ms, with the slowest being Bangalore at a 314 ms.
We have discussed above that it is very important to have fast loading speed, with faster loading site, your site will rank higher on Google and visitors will love to stay on your site. We have also give several recommendations that you can choose for web hosting providers. All the brands featured in this article are awesome, with top tier service and tech, but ASPHostPortal takes the cake with the fastesthosting we’ve seen, comparable to other brands’ ASP.NET hosting speeds!
Paired with one of the best customer service teams we’ve had the pleasure of dealing with, ASPHostPortal just blows the competition away. Just check their official site directly!
To learn more about their hosting services, we also recommend you to read our depth analysis below