Chances are, you’ve visited a slow loading website. If it was too slow, there’s also a good chance you lost your patience and left.
You’re not alone.
According to a recent survey, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. The survey determined that a 1-second delay could result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
In 2012, the New York Times reported that a 400-millisecond wait could cause people to search less on Google. Imagine how much that window of patience has shortened since then.
Speed loading times for your website also affect Google’s search ranking algorithms. In 2010, Google announced that the speed of a website would be one of the signals they look for in a website.
Google wrote, “Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there.”
Suffice it to say, speed matters.
Let’s first discuss what page speed is, how to increase your speed time, and then we’ll dive into the 14 best website speed test tools for your website.
What is Page Speed?
You may be wondering what page speed actually means. In basic terms, it refers to the amount of time it takes for content or web pages to download from a hosting site to the requesting web browser.
Usually, this is broken down into two ways.
- The time it takes for the site page to become fully loaded
- The amount of time that it takes for a browser to receive the first byte of information.
How to Increase Speed Time
You may think that there is very little that you can do to fix a slow website, but there are actually a lot of things you can do. While the list is quite extensive, here are a few things you can do to improve the speed of your site.
- Minimize HTTP Requests – Check your website to see how many HTTP requests are being made. See if any of these files can be eliminated or combined.
- Optimize Images – If your images are very large in size, they can drastically slow down your speed. A couple of ways to decrease the size of your images is by cropping them before you load, or by compressing the original file.
- Reduce Redirects – When your site visitors are redirected to another page they have to wait for an HTTP request-response cycle to finish. This can really slow down their user experience. Therefore, try to keep redirects at a minimum when possible.
- Improve Server Response Time – One of the major components of having a speedy site is choosing a good domain name system (DNS). If your provider is slow, you may want to consider switching to a faster one.
- Choose the Right Web Hosting Option – Your hosting needs are determined by the amount of traffic your site receives. If you’re just beginning, you’re probably fine with a shared hosting plan. If you’re receiving a lot of traffic, and you need a lot of space for your site, you could look into getting a dedicated server.
14 Website Speed Test Tools For Your Website
While there are many more options available to help page speed, these things are a huge step in the right direction. However, before you can really start fixing the speed of your site, you’ll need to know how well it is performing. To do that, you’ll want to use a tool that checks the speed health of your site.
Here are just some of the many of the website speed test checkers available.
1. Google PageSpeed Insights
Google PageSpeed Insights, was once considered the best choice for seeking information on your website performance. Today, the tool is a bit outdated and simplistic, but it can still get the job done.
It breaks down results in mobile or desktop performance and gives you other helpful information to evaluate the overall speed of your site. For example, it shows you page speed, current optimizations, page load distributions, and page stats. It also gives you optimization suggestions to help increase your site’s speed.
Pingdom is a website monitoring company that also offers a free website speed test. It’s very easy to use and is a favorite among many in the web development community.
Simply input your website URL and select a location that you would like to test from. It allows you to choose from one of four locations including Melbourne, New York City, San Jose, and Stockholm.
So, for example, we put in Facebook.com and tested it in New York City.
Here were the results:
The results gave a list of things including a performance grade, load time, a comparable, and the size of the page. For this example, Facebook.com scores a C on performance. It has a 2.65 second load time, and it’s 58% faster than other websites.
In addition to these results, Pingdom also breaks down performance insights and response codes. It also gives you information about your content, domain, and file requests.
You have the option of sharing your results, or saving the HTTP archive file (HAR) for that particular result. Pingdom saves all of the results of tests performed on your website so you can track your speed decreases or advancements over time.
Because Pingdom is so easy to use, it is a very good choice for beginners. It can also be useful to even more advanced website developers because of the amount of information it gives.
Ironically, one downside for this speed checker is its popularity will sometimes force you to wait for your results. Your search will be put in a queue while you wait for the people in front of you to receive their results. If there are only a few people in line, the wait time is minimal.
It took about a minute of waiting in the queue to get the results of the first part of our search, and then an additional waiting time as it loaded the results of the other two sections.
This certainly isn’t the most simplistic test available, but it gives a LOT of refining options. It also allows you to see how an actual browser will work with your website which is very helpful when determining potential issues.
This is a very helpful tool, especially for a more advanced user.
GTMetrix allows you to search in seven regions with 28 test servers. It gives you the option of setting up three websites that can be checked daily, as well as a weekly email report.
It gives you results for performance scores, and page details including fully loaded time, total page size, and number of requests. The results also show you recommendations by category to increase your site’s speed, and a YSlow section that explains why your site is slower than you may want it to be.
Additional tabs include an interactive waterfall, timings, video, and history report of your site.
Dotcom-tools uses real browsers from 25 locations around the world. Unlike other website speed checkers, this one allows you to see all 25 locations at the same time. While it does take some time for them to go through each location, it is nice to be able to compare the test speeds around the world.
At the time that we took the test, Frankfurt was temporarily unavailable, so it showed us 24 results.
In addition to showing you multiple locations, it also shows you load time, download speed, and server responses. The load time and download speed can be selected for the first visitor repeat visit.
If you click on the “waterfall tab” it gives you five more tabs to review including, summary, performance, waterfall chart, host, and errors.
In addition, Dotcom-tools gives you the option of monitoring your website for a month. Should you select this, you could test as frequently as once per minute for 30 days. This option is free for the first 30 days only.
YSlow is a little different than some of the other options because it is a Chrome and Firefox extension.
When you’re on your website you can use the extension to check the speed of it. It gives you basic information and allows you to see if your website is experiencing any speed issues.
It checks 34 items that could affect the website’s speed. Only 23 of those items, or “rules” as YSlow refers to them, can be shown quantitatively. However, each of the 23 results will show you extended details that will help you increase your site speed.
This extension will give your site a graded report so it’s easy to tell at a glance if your site speed is healthy. If you have a green “A”, then you know that everything is working well. If you don’t, you can search the rules for more information on how to increase performance.
While this is a very handy extension, it is unfortunately not maintained as well as it once was. The last commit Yahoo made on this extension was two years ago. They also currently have over 100 open issues on GitHub.
Bytecheck is a quick and simple speed tester that shows you a handful of helpful items.
It allows you to see the Time to First Byte (TTFB) speed, total time, request size and more. It also gives a simple waterfall showing you six parts of the first byte received.
8. Site Relic
Site Relic is a relatively new tool you can use to check the speed of your website. It allows you to check multiple locations at once, but our search only allowed us to search for Oregon, US. Mumbai was listed, but it wasn’t connected at this time.
You can also select if you would like to check the speed for a desktop or for a mobile.
This tool works very quickly, but compared to some other tools, it does not give a significant amount of information. It does give you the TTFB speed and the speed of your page fully loaded.
9. Load Impact
Load Impact is a handy website that allows you to have five free performance tests a month. It does take a few moments to load your information, but it gives you a number of helpful results.
One test Load Impact allows you to perform is your website scalability — or in other words how well your website would work with an increasing workload.
The first graph in your results shows what happens when your website receives more visitors. A helpful aspect to Load Impact is that they will actually send virtual users to your website from different regions around the world.
Load Impact also gives you information like bandwidth usage, number of requests per second, and requests made. You can determine your own threshold information and receive a pass/fail if your site does not reach your specified criteria.
Keycdn is free and allows you to choose from one of 16 locations when performing a speed test on your site. Keycdn is best described as a lightweight tool, but its results are quick and simple. It gives you a waterfall breakdown of important aspects of your site like request methods, file types, and content size.
Keycdn lets you know how long it takes to connect with your web server, and it also provides additional tools like ping tester, HTTP verification, and IP location hookups. You also have the option to choose for your results to be public or private.
All tests created by Keycdn are performed using Mozilla Firefox.
Uptrends offers a free 30-day-trial, but it’s a premium service after that.
With Uptrends you’re able to check speed and performance from a stunning 184 locations, and it’s easy to use.
You can monitor multi-step transactions like shopping carts, login, search, and forms.
It gives you the option of using web performance monitoring that tracks issues with Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox. Your reports will include time alerts and errors that appear on waterfall reports.
You also have the option of using the application programming interface (API) monitoring, real user monitoring, and server monitoring. Monitoring information can be stored for up to two years depending on the premium plan you choose.
Pagelocity is quick and very easy to use. Andy Gongea began working on Pagelocity in 2013 as a way to check his own website’s speed and eventually made it available to the public.
A unique feature that Pagelocity offers is a comparison of your website against your competitor’s performance. It also gives you a Chrome extension that you can use anytime you’re on your page.
With the free version of Pagelocity, you will get information regarding on-page SEO, performance, and code insights. For each of these categories, you will get a score out of 100. It will also alert you to critical issues, minor issues, and items that passed their “rules.”
Scroll down and you will get in-depth information on each category. For example, we searched Google.com and in the on-page SEO category, it shows critical errors on non-defined headings and low TEXT/HTML ratios. For items that follow their “rules”, they said page title is below 65 characters and meta description is defined.
Items that pass the rules are featured in green, minor issues are in orange, and critical issues are in red. This color coding makes it easy to identify strengths and weaknesses in your website’s speed.
Dareboost offers website speed testing and website monitoring. This is a paid service and the costs range from $22 a month for a freelance plan to $160 a month for an enterprise plan. You can also pick up a business plan for $57 dollars or create a custom plan. You may also use 5 free scans a month without signing up for anything.
The freelance plan allows 50 analyses and comparisons a month, and the other plans are unlimited. The plans also include web performance monitoring on 1, 5, or 10 pages and data retention.
While many speed test sites don’t offer security monitoring, Dareboost does. They will keep track of things like vulnerability to clickjacking attacks and information on your SSL certificate.
Like Pagelocity, Dareboost allows you to check out how your competition compares to your website. When you input two websites, Dareboost will give a side by side comparison that rates things like loading time and quality of the site.
If you run a performance test on your site, Dareboost will tell you your overall score out of a 100 for an easy analysis. It will also show you “issues” (in red), the number of things that will need to be improved (in yellow), and the number of successes (in gray).
Dareboost reviews 80 data points to give you a report of your website’s speed. There are a number of categories covered including SEO, cache policy, number of requests, compliance and more. It shows you TTFB, start render, and fully loaded time.
A helpful feature included is Dareboost creates a filmstrip that gives you a visual of your site loading in real time. Once the site is loaded in the filmstrip it tells you the speed times for it. It also creates a timeline waterfall and shows additional metrics like DNS lookup and DOM loading.
14. Web Page Analyzer
Web Page Analyzer is a completely free service that offers analysis on your site’s size, download time, and composition. It breaks down the size of different items on your website like images and content to give you an idea of what takes the longest to load.
After it analyzes your website it also gives you advice on how to improve performance. It not only breaks down areas that need improvement, but also areas in which your website is already performing well.
One of the greatest components of this speed tester is that it allows you to check load time from different connection speeds. This is, of course, important since your viewers will be coming from a range of connection speeds.
Unfortunately, Web Page Analyzer hasn’t been updated since 2013, so it likely won’t include all of the most up to date information like HTTP/2 support.
Today, more than ever, the speed performance of your website is imperative. If you’re looking to run a business, or a niche site, or even if you want to produce a popular hobby site, you’re going to want your visitors to come and keep coming back.
Long wait times are a big deterrent for people and can make them feel like your website is dysfunctional. Nothing deters people from revisiting your site more than believing that it is an old unmaintained site.
Make sure that your site is running at top performance by checking your site’s speed time. Keep running reports and following the advice given by your site of choice. Even small improvements can make a big difference in the world of speed.