The speed of a website is a very critical factor in its success.
Faster loading websites are in for higher SEO rankings, lower bounce rates, higher conversion rates, longer visitor duration on-site, as well as offer better overall user experience and engagement.
So, it is in your interest to take advantage of the best website speed test tools and achieve optimal performance.
Today we share with you the 10 Best Website Speed Test Tools to analyze your website performance and take corrective measures for optimizing your website speed.
It is important for you to know that the average amount of time that most Internet users can tolerate concerning slow loading websites is only 2 seconds. This itself spells the importance of website speed.
So, your website needs to be reliable and fast loading.
Google has incorporated website speed as a ranking factor. It wants that your site should load fast for your visitors.
Table of Contents
What is Page Speed?
Page speed determines how fast the content of your page loads.
In fact, it is described as “page load time” – the total time is taken for displaying the content of a specific page or “time to the first byte” – the time taken by the browser for receiving the first byte of information from the specific website server.
Irrespective of how you go on to measure page speed, having a faster page speed is in your own interest. It is found that the faster pages load, the better on SERPs as well as convert better.
So, you should be focusing on page speed (and, as a result, website speed) if you want to make your online venture as profitable as possible.
Why is page load speed so important?
It is in your interest to enhance your page load speed as much as possible. In fact, it is very frustrating for online users to find that it takes ages for pages to load.
They get disillusioned to see a slow loading page and decide immediately to shut down that site. It means a lost opportunity for you.
Moreover, slow loading pages are a key reason for high exit rates.
Internet users expect that a website should load within 2-4 seconds. If it takes longer than that, they get frustrated and prefer to click away from that site, looking for a better page load performance.
Moreover, more than three-quarters of web users would not return to a website that takes more than four seconds to load.
So, if you want that you do not lose out on your visitors, it is important for you to ensure that all of the pages of your website load within a maximum of two to four seconds.
SEO Best Practices for Increasing your Page Speed
According to Google, site speed (as well as page speed) is used by its algorithm for ranking pages on SERPs. Moreover, Google measures time to the first byte when it considers page speed.
In addition to this, a slow page speed makes search engines crawl fewer pages with their allocated crawl budget.
This could lead to a negative impact on your indexation.
Plus, page speed is closely related to user experience.
Pages that have a longer load time tend to suffer from high bounce rates and have a low average time on page.
It also has a negative effect on conversions.
How to Speed Up Your Website
Here, we list out some of the ways by which you can increase your page speed:
You can use GZIP Compression to reduce the size of the files on your website by almost 70%.
However, for compressing image files, you should be using a program like Photoshop. It helps to retain control over the quality of the image.
When you go on to optimize your code (remove commas, spaces, and other unnecessary characters), you get to increase your page speed.
In case of a page redirect, your visitor has to wait for the HTTP request-response cycle to complete.
For instance, if your mobile redirects pattern takes the following form: “example.com -> www.example.com -> m.example.com -> m.example.com/home,” then these two additional redirects cause your page to load slowly.
Use Browser Caching
You can use one such tool as Yslow to make out if there is an expiration date set for your cache.
Then you set your “expires” header for knowing how long that information can be cached. In most cases, a year is a reasonable time period unless your site design changes quite often.
So, when you use browser caching, your website can make use of the cached version instead.
Improve server response time
Your server response time depends on the amount of traffic you receive, the software used by the server, the resources each page uses, as well as on the hosting solution.
For improving server response time, you should check for performance bottlenecks such as slow database queries, slow routing, lack of enough memory, and go on to fix them. The optimum server response time is well under 200ms.
Using a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), also known as content distribution networks, are networks of servers employed to distribute the load of delivering content.
They go on to store the copies of your site at multiple, geographically distant data centers so that users can get faster and more reliable access to your website.
Make sure that the images you use on your website are optimized. The images shouldn’t be larger than they need to be.
They should be in the right file format. PNGs are generally suited for graphics that have less than 16 colors. JPEGs are good for photographs.
The images should be compressed for the web. You can use CSS sprites for creating a template for images that can frequently be used on your site.
CSS sprites go on to combine your images into one large image, which can load all at once. It means fewer HTTP requests are thereby saving load time. Users don’t have to wait for multiple images to load.
You also need to compress images used on a web page. One can use image compression software to compress the image size without losing the image quality. One can also use software like Photoshop to compress image file size.
How is a Website Speed Test Helpful to You?
Website Speed Test Tools are helpful in more than one way.
Here, we list out some of the common ways in which website speed test tools are used:
- They go on to pinpoint scripts, fonts, and plugins that cause load time issues.
- They help in checking out the minification of your scripts.
- They find out large images that result in bottlenecks.
- Testing Time to First Byte.
- They analyze total load times, page sizes, as well as # of requests.
- They check performance from different geographical locations.
- They check rendering speed in different browsers.
- Analyze HTTP Headers.
- They measure the performance of your CDN (Content Delivery Network).
- They go on to verify whether the assets are loading correctly from your CDN.
Here, it should be noted that making your website load faster can offer you lots of advantages.
With a fast-loading website, you can certainly get high rankings on SERPs. It leads you to achieve consistent conversion rates for sales.
It goes on to minimize bounce rates and can help in maximizing the amount of time that your visitors spend on your website.
Moreover, the website speed test tools that we have listed are the best way to optimize the performance and speed of your website.
These tools go on to pinpoint stuff like custom plugins, fonts, code, scripts that lead to load time issues.
They can help you in locating large files and images that result in loading bottlenecks. Plus, these tools can analyze page sizes, load times, and various other performance-related tests.
Some Website Speed Concepts
Here, we put across to you some of the concepts behind website speed test tools so that you are in a better position to analyze the data and can go on to optimize your site accordingly.
It will not only help you to test the speed of your web host, but you can also go on to measure your CDN performance.
Time to First Byte (TTFB)
It is the measurement of the responsiveness of a web server. Specifically speaking, it is the time taken by your web browser to start receiving information once it has requested it from the server.
When you use a CDN, you can immensely reduce the impact of the load on your server, which in turn helps to reduce your TTFB.
Minification of Resources
These include the following:
- Whitespace characters
- New line characters
- Block delimiters
A browser goes on to fetch data from the server using HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). This can be termed a request or response between a client and a host.
As a rule, the more the number of HTTP requests that your web page makes, the slower it will load.
However, you can reduce the number of requests by adopting the following ways such as:
- Using CSS Sprites
- Reduce the use of 3rd party plugins that make many external requests.
How fast your pages should load?
It is important to note that the negative impact on conversion rates is minimum (less than 5%) when page load time is less than a second.
When pages have a load time of less than a second, any exit rates that do happen for these pages result from factors other than page load speed.
So, to meet your visitors’ expectations, you should try and achieve a page load speed of 2 seconds or less.
It will help you in getting high conversion rates.
List of Best Website Speed Test Tools
Now that we have illustrated the basic concepts of web performance, it’s time to check out the 10 Best Website Speed Test Tools.
Each of these website speed test tools comes with unique features, reporting and go on to offer different ways to dissect your results.
Let’s explore these website speed test tools.
10 Free Website Speed Test Tools
Pingdom is a market leader in website monitoring services.
It is widely known for its free website speed testing tool.
Pingdom Website Speed Test Tool has become very popular over the years as it is super easy to use.
Pingdom can be a fantastic way to start website monitoring, especially for beginners.
Pingdom displays all your site’s requests in a waterfall view.
It allows you to filter by load order, file size, and load time.
Pingdom goes on to list total requests, load time, and page size.
So, you get different perspectives on improving your website performance.
Pingdom offers a speed performance rating, scored out of 100.
This rating has been broken down into twelve criteria, and each gives an individual score. It helps you to target those aspects that can provide tangible improvements to your site’s speed.
Plus, Pingdom stores the results of all the tests that are performed on your website. So, you can track speed improvements over time.
Pingdom allows you to choose a test from the following location:
- New York
- San Jose
The test results are put in a summarized manner and include performance grade, insights, response codes, and content size.
However, Pingdom does not yet support HTTP/2 when you perform a speed test.
Google Page Speed Insights is one of the best tools for analyzing and grading the performance and speed of your website.
The tool shows the analysis results based on a 1-100 scale. The higher the analysis score on the scale, the better your website optimization is. If you get a grade around or above 80, then the website performance is really good.
The tool was developed and published by Google.
It gives detailed analysis and reports for your desktop as well as mobile versions of your website.
The tool can also serve as improvement recommendations on speeding up the performance of your website. It can also offer tips for minifying CSS as well as image optimizations.
The tool works in different ways.
The first one is known as the time to above the fold. It measures the time taken when a user requests a new page and the moment when the browser shows up above the fold content.
The second one is known as the time to full-page load, and it measures the time taken when a user requests a new page and the moment when the browser fully renders the entire page.
The tool also has an additional category for reports of mobile websites. It has been named as the “User Experience” category. It serves information about your viewport configuration, eligible font sizes, and the size of click targets such as buttons, hyperlinks, and others.
Reports generated are truly beautiful and can be shared and sent to clients and others.
Google Page Speed Insights is surely one of the best speed test tools for analyzing web performance.
GTmetrix is another very popular website speed testing and analysis tool. It is immensely easy to use and perfect for beginners who can quickly pick it up.
The tool goes on to provide a comprehensive analysis as it combines the performance and recommendations offered by Google Page Speed Insights and Yslow. So, GTmetrix comes out as a perfect solution for all your speed optimization needs.
GTmetrix offers top-level data in speed analysis which is easy to digest. It shows up a summary at the top of the page, giving out information such as total page load time, page size, and a number of requests.
The tool also shows up a list of your requests in a waterfall chart, wherein you can easily go on to identify problem areas and bottlenecks. You can even download a waterfall chart to perform further analysis.
You can create a free account that allows you to save the last 20 tests. You can also compare historical data and can have pre-configured settings for testing locations, browsers, connection speeds, and much more.
GTmetrix even supports HTTP/2 speed testing.
WebPageTest is a brainchild of Patrick Meenan, who is a Chrome engineer at Google. WebPageTest is an open-source project.
With WebPageTest, you can perform a free website speed test from multiple locations around the globe by using real browsers such as IE, Chrome, etc.
WebPageTest is a very handy tool for advanced users who need additional data from speed tests.
WebPageTest comes with advanced testing capabilities such as multi-step transactions, content blocking, capturing video, comparing the first view versus repeat view, changing the connection speed, and more.
WebPageTest comes with waterfall charts and resource loading reports that provide additional information for making improvements to your site.
Another big benefit of WebPageTest is that it supports HTTP/2. So, you can test the true performance of your WordPress website over SSL with multiplexing, parallelism, etc. HTTP/2 support was included in Chrome 41.
Dotcom-Monitor offers lots of free and useful tools. One of its very useful tools is the Dotcom-Monitor Website Speed Test Tool. It allows you to quickly test the speed of your website from 25 locations around the globe.
You can choose from different browsers such as IE, Firefox, Chrome, Android, Blackberry, iOS, and Windows Phone.
The tool provides a web performance report that includes:
- Summary by location
- 10% of fastest elements
- 10% of slowest elements
- Comprehensive waterfall chart
- Comprehensive waterfall chart
- Error check and diagnostics
- Breakdown by host element that includes DNS, SSL, Request, Connection, First packet, and Download.
KeyCDN offers a free website speed testing tool that provides a fast and easy way for ascertaining the overall speed of your WordPress site.
The simple page speed test offers a waterfall breakdown and a website preview.
The tool provides 14 different test locations which are strategically located across the globe to give the total download time of your assets from that physical location.
You can run a private as well as a public test which can be shared or bookmarked for future reference.
The breakdown report gives you an overview of the request methods (GET/POST), HTTP status codes, content size, file types, total download time, as well as the overall number of HTTP requests that are generated on your site.
The KeyCDN website speed test tool also supports HTTP/2.
Yslow is Yahoo!’s page performance tool.
It is a commendable and comprehensive website speed testing tool.
The tool needs to be installed as an add-on for your browser.
However, Yslow is completely free to use and supports all the popular web browsers.
In fact, the Yahoo! Team has gone on to list 34 factors that impact the speed of a website. However, only 23 of these can be tested quantitatively.
So, Yslow goes on to focus its analysis around these 23 factors. Moreover, the Yslow website has listed these 23 “rules” with extended details, which can well be checked out.
Yslow offers an extensive analysis based on these factors.
It will grade for each of these areas that are scored from A to F. So, it becomes easy for you to spot your weaker areas which can then be targeted for unleashing website speed.
As per Google, people are five times more likely to abandon a website if it is not mobile-friendly.
This is the reason they have come out with their Mobile Website Speed Testing Tool.
In fact, this tool has been powered by Google Page Speed Insights.
It has been aimed at marketers and agencies.
It goes on to deliver easy-to-understand optimization reports.
You can have the reports sent right to your email or have them forwarded to your webmaster or developer.
However, getting a 100/100 score is not feasible in all scenarios. In fact, it depends a lot on how your WordPress website is set up.
Moreover, with lots of multipurpose themes and sites having many external scripts, it almost becomes nearly impossible to notch a perfect score.
Varvy Page Speed Optimization is a website speed testing tool that has been developed and maintained by Patrick Sexton. He is also credited with creating GetListed.org, which is now known as Moz Local.
The tool makes use of graphical representation that could be fixed on your site, such as for render-blocking.
Sucuri Load Time Tester is another very handy tool for website speed testing.
Sucuri Load Time Tester allows you to test the performance of any of your sites from across the globe.
The Sucuri Load Time Tester can check your website from more than 15 locations and shows you time taken from each location, performance grade, and average response.
The tool is straightforward to use and helps you to know the time it takes to connect to your website and for one page to load fully.
It also shows up the TTFB (“time to first byte”) value. So, you come to know the time it took for the content to be sent back to the browser and start processing the page.
Thus, there’s a lot of information on web performance with Sucuri Load Time Tester.
With this, we come to the end of this presentation on the 10 Best Website Speed Test Tools. We hope that it proves a valuable resource for you. If you found the post useful, please do share it with your friends and colleagues. We welcome your comments and suggestions.