When it comes to website speed, every second matter.
Users have higher expectations than ever about the responsiveness of web pages, and nothing is more frustrating than waiting for a page to load.
Slow websites can cause visitors to abandon your site and head straight back to Google in frustration.
But how do you know if your site is fast enough? Where do you even start?
With this guide, you’ll discover:
Why website speed matters
What is a website speed test
The best website speed test tools for 2021
Let's dive right in!
Since 2010, website speed has been a ranking signal for desktop searches, and as of 2018, page speed is a ranking factor for mobile searches too.
In short, the need to optimize website speed has never been more important.
Here are a few reasons why:
User experience: it's a fact that slow websites frustrate visitors. As people's attention spans grow smaller every year, they're not afraid to leave a site if it doesn't load in a few seconds. Your site is slow so they'll go running to faster alternatives. Studies have found that 1 in 4 users will leave a website if it doesn't load in 4 seconds.
Customer experience: if your existing customers find it difficult to shop on your site, they'll simply leave your site and go elsewhere.
Revenue: even a small drop in page load time can cost a business thousands of dollars and decline rankings. For instance, pages that load in 2.4 seconds have a 1.9% conversion rate, while sites that load in 5.7+ seconds have a conversion rate of 0.6%.
Brand perception: your website performance is a reflection of a brand. If your site is often slow, if pages don't load quickly, or checkout processes don't move fast enough, users will negatively perceive your brand. And chances are they'll spread the word to their friends and family.
Website speed test tools are tools specifically designed to analyze the load speed of your website.
You'll see what has been slowing your website down, such as slow-loading elements, failed elements, and bottlenecks within your page.
In addition to analyzing your website speed, these tools also give you actionable tips on making it better.
|Product||Best for||Pricing||Website URL|
|DareBoost||Ease of use||yes (5 free reports per month)||Visit|
|Google PageSpeed Insights||Optimizing your site for Google||yes||Visit|
|GTmetrix||Great alternative to Pingdom||yes||Visit|
|Uptrends||Testing your site for different internet connection speeds||yes||Visit|
|dotcom-monitor||Error check and diagnostics||yes||Visit|
|KeyCDN Website Speed Test||Accurate real time report||yes||Visit|
Pingdom is one of the most popular uptime and website performance monitoring tools.
One of its best-known performance testing tools is the Pingdom Speed Test tool which you can use for free.
Apart from being free of charge, it's also a great tool to use by both novice and advanced users.
For instance, once you run your test, your results will be presented in an understandable and simple way.
The first thing you'll probably notice is your speed performance rating, scored out of 100. The score is based on twelve different criteria. This can help you know what's slowing down your website and quickly make improvements to your site's speed.
Apart from a website performance grade, you'll also see:
your site's total load time
the total page size
the number of requests you have on your website
For example, as you can see from the photo above, our site's overall website performance grade is 89, and our load time is 1.37 seconds. At the moment of the test, there were 71 requests on the site.
Another great feature is that the testing tool lets you see how fast your website is to users from different locations around the world. Meaning, you can check how fast or slow your site is to someone visiting your site from London all the way to Tokyo. This is a great plus, especially if you're running a global business.
DareBoost is another great website speed test tool on our list that is worth checking out. Although the company is a premium service, you can use the website speed test tool for five free reports per month.
Like Pingdom, DareBoost is also a top pick for inexperienced users looking for a simple tool to use. For example, once you run your test, your results will be nicely presented in a user-friendly graphical interface.
The PageSpeed insights website test tool is great for two reasons:
It's Google's official speed test tool. In other words, although it might not offer anything more advanced than other tools on this list, its results might matter more. Why is that? It's simple: ranking well on Google depends on metrics set forth by Google itself. If this tool gives you some suggestions for improvement, you may want to consider them seriously.
It's very easy to use. Simply copy/paste the URL in the text box, wait a few seconds, and your results will be ready. Everything will be nicely presented in different colors ranging from red to green so that you instantly know how your site is performing.
Google PageSpeed Insights analyzes your results and gives you a performance score that ranges from 0 to 100 points. If you score between 0 and 49 points, that means that there are plenty of things to improve on your site. Getting a score of 85 or above means that your page is performing exceptionally well.
Another great feature is that you can also see how your website performs on both desktop and mobile. As mobile traffic accounts for 50% of all online traffic, this is important if you want to improve your site's speed.
In addition to your website score, the testing tool outlines some steps you can take to boost your speed. Take them into consideration, especially if you care about getting your website to the top of the SERPs.
GTmetrix is a great alternative to Pingdom and is one of the most widely used website speed test tools globally.
Although you have to upgrade to a paid plan to get access to the more advanced features, the free website speed test tool is actually pretty good if you sign up for an account.
Using this tool is incredibly easy – all you have to do is enter your URL. In a few seconds, you'll be presented with a short summary, showing you your total page load time, page size, and a number of requests.
The tool also shows your requests in a waterfall chart, which can come in handy in identifying problem areas and bottlenecks.
In addition, you can choose the location in which you want to test your URL. Some of the currently available locations include Dallas, Hong Kong, London, and Mumbai.
Even better, you can test how fast your website loads on Chrome (Desktop) and Firefox (Desktop).
You can only see how fast your site loads on mobile if you upgrade to a paid plan.
WebPageTest is a website speed test tool created by a Chrome engineer at Google called Patrick Meenan.
The good news is that it's an open-source tool you can use for free. Even better, you can run a website speed test from multiple locations around the globe.
This is a great pick for advanced users who need detailed analysis as it provides very complex data, including video capture, content blocking, multi-step transactions, etc.
In short, not only does this tool show how you can improve the speed of your site, but it also tells you what effect the optimization measures will have on the loading time of your site.
The waterfall charts and resource loading reports contain additional information about what can be improved on your site.
Uptrends' free website speed test provides a quick overview of how your desktop or mobile users experience your webpage.
You can choose to test your webpage for mobile and desktop. The app supports different desktop screen sizes, including XGA, WXGA, WXGA Wide, and more. In addition, you can test how your webpage performs on different browsers, such as Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer.
Even better, you can check the user experience of your webpage on different devices, ranging from iPhones and Samsung Galaxy to Amazon Kindle and Google Nexus.
It's quick to set up, and it offers a wealth of data. The in-depth waterfall report gives you the load progression, the request and response heading, and the connection details for every single element. You can detect elements that are loading slow, failed elements, as well as bottlenecks within your page.
This performance testing tool is useful for website owners who want to get a feel for how their site will load on different internet connection speeds in the US, Asia, and Europe.
The platform has three paid plans that include reliable uptime checks and alerting.
Site24x7 is a free tool for testing your website speed and discovering what is slowing down your site.
This tool is free to use and only takes a few seconds to see your results.
It's another easy-to-use website speed test that helps you discover what is slowing down your page in a matter of a few seconds.
Using this tool, you can gain first-hand insight into whether your webpage is working optimally for users around the globe, including the US, Europe, and Asia.
You'll identify all the bottlenecks on your page and elements that are slowing down your load time, such as images, scripts, or third-party domains.
The tool will give you suggestions for making your web page more stable, scalable, and fast.
Dotcom-monitor is another website speed test tool on our list. It lets you quickly test your website’s speed from 20 locations worldwide.
For each website speed test, dotcom-monitor records how long it took to load the page and displays a graph of these loading times.
It's incredibly easy to use, with no installation required. You just enter your URL or upload a file from their server. It will then tell you how long it takes in seconds to load the page.
This tool is free to use, but they offer premium services if you want more data or need specific features.
You can test how fast your page loads on different browsers and devices, including Firefox, Chrome, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
What's more, this website speed test tool will also tell you the best plugins and scripts to use for your site.
Here are some of the information this tool provides:
Summary by location
10% of fastest elements
10% of slowest elements
Comprehensive waterfall chart
Breakdown by host element
Error check and diagnostics
Overall, this is a good place to start if you're looking for a more lightweight website speed test or just want some general information about how well your site performs.
KeyCDN offers a free website speed test that works incredibly fast and makes it amazingly easy to check the overall speed of your site.
It also provides valuable insight into the speed of individual pages, how much bandwidth is being used, and what operations take up the most time.
For instance, the KeyCDN website speed test tool will give you an estimate on how long it would take a user to download your site's content with different connection speeds. It will also tell you about any errors that are delaying your site.
Here are some of the benefits:
It's free and easy to use.
The test takes about 30 seconds to complete.
You get a detailed report with all speed information in one place.
It tells you how long it would take for your site's content to download on different connection speeds.
You can choose between 14 different test locations located around the world.
Before running the speed test, ensure caching is turned on.
Turning on your website cache will enable your server to recognize requests from repeating visitors, which will then allow them to get a faster loading site when they visit again.
Enabling your website's CDN is another great way to speed up load times.
This will deliver the content from a server location that is closer to the user.
So, you would want a server in New York for users who are accessing your site from New York and nearby.
This is an important step. Depending on the location of your server (the website that you are testing) and where the speed test will be run, it could affect the results significantly.
The good news is that almost every tool on this list lets you test from different locations around the globe.
A good rule of thumb is to test how fast your site loads from a location close to your data center and one that is far away.
Let's say you have customers located in Singapore and you're located in London. Testing using servers near London may not provide accurate results. Instead, to see how fast your site loads for your users in Singapore, you have to test from a nearby location. If you’re not physically in your test location, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to run the test.
You want to run the speed test multiple times.
Because you might get different results each time.
By running the test several times, you'll confirm there's an issue you must investigate further, and it's not just a false alarm.
What's more, if you're testing your site once, you're not checking the speed from a cached version of the site. It's recommended that you ensure both the cached and un-cached versions of your site have a fast loading speed.
It's also a good idea to run the speed test on multiple devices and in different browsers. This is important because your website may load differently depending on the device or browser your users are trying to access your site.
For instance, one user may be accessing your site from an iPhone through Safari and another from a Samsung Galaxy device using the Google Chrome browser.
In conclusion, the best website speed test for you depends on your needs and preferences.
For example, if you're a beginner, we recommend the Pingdom Website Speed Test as it's incredibly easy to use.
Google PageSpeed Insights will be your best bet if you want to test your site using Google's official website speed test tool. What's more, it has an easy-to-use interface that will help you identify your site's website performance issues and speed up load times quickly.
However, if you're an advanced user who needs detailed analysis, you may want to consider WebPageTest as it's geared towards more complex reports.
All in all, there's a wide range of options to choose from. Each tool comes with its own unique features, so it’s up to you to test them and figure out which one works best for you.
Finally, don't forget to invest in proper website maintenance services to ensure your site is running at full capacity.
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