How to Do a Website Speed Test

If you run a WordPress website – either for yourself or a client – it’s important to regularly run website speed tests.

Website speed is a significant ranking factor in Google’s algorithm which means that the faster your site is, the better it will rank in SERPs. This means that website speed is important for SEO. Aside from that, website speed also impacts the user experience your site delivers. People are more likely to stay on your website if the pages and blog posts on it load fast.

From a business standpoint, an unavailable, slow, or broken website can hurt your brand. This, in turn, negatively affects your conversion rates.

So, checking out your WordPress website’s speed is important because it helps you identify areas of improvement. This way, you can take steps to speed up your website for your visitors.

Of course, the easy way to have a speed-optimized website is by signing up with WordPress.com!

However, if you’d like to take the DIY approach, you can run website speed tests on your own. Because the testing tools available on the Internet measure website speed in different ways, you shouldn’t be concerned if you get different results from Pingdom than you do from GTmetrix or PageSpeed Insights.

What is important is that you pick one tool and stick with it. This will give you a clearer picture over time about your WordPress website’s speed and make it easier to compare results. As a result, you’ll know how different technologies (themes, plugins, add-ons, and integrations) affect your site’s speed.

GTmetrix

GTmetrix is one of the most popular website speed test tools that you can use for free. It’s easy to use and gives you a wealth of information in each speed test you run.

More specifically, GTmetrix combines the performance and recommendations provided by Google PageSpeed Insights and Yahoo! YSlow giving you a comprehensive analysis of your WordPress website’s speed and related metrics. In this way, GTmetrix is an all-in-one tool for measuring your website’s speed and taking steps for its optimization.

One of the best features of the GTmetrix website speed test tool is that it gives you a summary of the top-level data (data that is most useful for you) right at the top of the page. This includes website speed metrics like page load time, total page size, the number of requests, and performance score.

GTmetrix also displays a list of requests in a waterfall chart. This makes it easy to identify individual problem areas and take steps to correct them. You can also filter requests in the waterfall chart by HTML, CSS, JS, XHR, fonts, and images.

Monitoring

Monitoring your website’s performance is critical for ensuring your website is loading the way you expect it to. Even the best-performing sites experience occasional blips. So, it’s important to regularly monitor your website to make sure its performance is top-notch.

With GTmetrix, you can constantly monitor the most important pages on your website. Depending on the type of website you run, this could be the homepage and various landing pages. If you’re running an eCommerce site, this could also include your checkout page or conversion page. The tool also lets you set up alerts to notify you if any issues arise.

Visualizations

The GTmetrix tool provides different types of visualizations to help users better understand their website’s speed and performance.

For example, the Speed Visualization is an “intervaled capture of your page load”. This helps users gain deeper insight into their website visitors’ experience.

Similarly, the Waterfall Chart provides a request-by-request visualization of the page load.

When you re-test your website, you’ll be able to see even more graphs under the History tab. It provides graphs for page metrics, page sizes and request counts, and page scores.

Test across regions

The test region option in GTmetrix lets you pick the location of the server where you want to run the speed test from. The basic GTmetrix account lets users pick from 7 different regions whereas pro users get access to premium regions.

In addition to this, you can also run tests using different types of connection speeds. This is also called throttling. The eight different connection speeds you can use to run the speed test include dial-up, 2G mobile, 3G mobile, LTE mobile, and various Broadband speeds.

Analyze on mobile devices

GTmetrix gives users the option to select the device they’d like to use to run the website speed test. This is particularly important for websites and stores that get most of their traffic from mobile devices.

If you’re using GTmetrix as a basic user (or for free), you’ll only have the option to Chrome desktop option. However, pro users have the option to pick from over 20 different simulated devices and variants as well as Chrome Android testing that’s performed on a real mobile device.

Advanced options

The GTmetrix website speed test tool also provides a wide range of advanced options. For example, it lets you simulate devices, change screen resolutions, and create custom connection speeds. Its AdBlock option lets you block ads from GTmetrix speed tests.

The latest version of GTmetrix gives users the option to create a video to see how their page renders. The tool will automatically record a video for you that shows you exactly how your page loaded during each website speed test. This can help users debug visual issues with their website.

Pingdom

Pingdom is a premium website monitoring service that also offers a free website speed testing tool. To use it, you simply enter your website’s URL and choose a testing location (7 different options are available) using the dropdown.

Once the speed test is done, you can see a summary of your website’s performance which includes the performance grade, load time, page size, and the number of requests.

Pingdom also displays your website’s requests in a waterfall chart that you can filter by a variety of metrics including load times, load order, wait time, content type, and others. This way, it’s easy to analyze your website’s speed through different prisms and identify areas for improvement.

Synthetic Uptime Monitoring

Pingdom can simulate visitor interaction with your WordPress website to see if and when critical pages and flows stop working correctly. The website speed test tool provides uptime monitoring from over 100 locations worldwide.

In addition to this, its free website speed test tool lets you analyze page speed and provides suggestions on how to improve page performance. For each suggestion, Pingdom provides context and explains what you need to do to resolve the issue.

To set up page speed monitoring, you simply log into your Pingdom account and add a check. It’ll prompte you to enter the URL of the website or page you wish to monitor. You can give the check a custom title such as MyWebsite Pingdom Speed Test.

Once that’s done, you can choose a test location from five available regions. The check interval is set to check your website every 30 minutes.

The Pingdom website monitoring service also offers transaction monitoring for complex transactions that go beyond whether customers can make a purchase. This includes new user registrations, user login, search, shopping cart checkout, and more.

You can choose to receive alerts via email, push notification, SMS, or Slack the instance a step fails.

Real User Monitoring

Pingdom’s real user monitoring features helps you glean insights into how real users are interacting with and experiencing your website. It offers accurate client-side problem identification and resolution.

Real user monitoring can help you generate visual geographic hot spots with live mapping. You can also gain insights into user behaviors and platforms. It also provides a summary of your website’s key performance and usage metrics over time.

PageSpeed Insights

Google has already stated that website speed is important for SEO. PageSpeed Insights is Google software that’s used to report on the performance on website pages. More specifically, it measures the performance of a page on desktop and mobile devices allowing you to simulate different devices.

PageSpeed Insights performance scores are based on Lighthouse performance scoring and range from 0 to 100 (higher is better). The various metrics considered are weighted and include first contentful paint, speed index, largest contentful paint, and total blocking time, among others. Generally speaking, a PageSpeed Insights performance score over 85 means that your web page is performing well.

PageSpeed Insights gives you a breakdown of what you can do to improve your website’s page speed. For instance, you can view Opportunities which are suggestions that you can implement to help your page load faster. According PageSpeed Insights, these suggestions don’t affect your website’s performance score.

Similarly, you can also view Diagnostics and Passed audits. The tool also provides helpful user experience suggestions on how you can optimize your web pages for mobile devices.

Conclusion

Website speed test tools – like GTmetrix, Pingdom, and Google PageSpeed Insights – can help you measure your site’s speed and identify areas of improvement. By understanding how to properly measure your site’s speed, you’ll be able to gauge website performance effectively.

To recap:

  • If you’re looking for an all-in-one tool, we recommend going with GTmetrix. The free version lets you run up to 20 test, set up website monitoring, and view all sorts of visualizations. Plus, it combines recommendations from PageSpeed Insights and YSlow.
  • However, if you’re looking for a website speed test tool that also offers website monitoring features, we recommend going with Pingdom tools.
  • And, if you’re just getting started and need something that lets you view website performance on desktop and mobile devices for free then try Google PageSpeed Insights.

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