The SolarWinds® Pingdom® Website Speed Test is one of our most popular tools. It helps countless users understand how their websites are performing and what they can do to improve their site speed. The Website Speed Test can test websites from locations around the globe, and it produces many key results to give you in-depth insight into how quickly your webpages are loading.
In this article, we’ll discuss the different metrics analyzed by the Pingdom Website Speed Test and what the results tell you about your website. We’ll also discuss best practices for improving load times and other useful strategies.
Pingdom Website Speed Test: An Introduction
The Pingdom Website Speed Test tool will synthetically test your website’s speed and report on how it performs. Pingdom allows you to test your website from seven locations, including the following:
• Europe (Frankfurt, Germany)
• Europe (London, U.K.)
• Asia (Tokyo, Japan)
• Oceania (Sydney, Australia)
• North America (Washington D.C., U.S.)
• North America (San Francisco, U.S.)
• South America (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
This enables you to get a clear understanding of how your website’s performance differs depending on user location. If your target audience is based in a specific geographical area, it’s always best to analyze the data from the server closest to their location, as this will give you the most accurate analysis of their user experience.
The Pingdom Website Speed Test is easy to use but provides useful, in-depth results. These results show you not only how quickly your site is loading but why your site may be underperforming, enabling you to make strategic improvements.
Now, we’ll discuss some of the metrics analyzed by the Pingdom Website Speed Test and what these results can tell you about your website’s performance.
The Pingdom Website Speed Test will tell you exactly how fast your page loads as well as your page size and the number of HTTP requests made. It’ll also give you a performance grade and a list of recommendations to improve your site’s speed.
Google states the best webpage load speed is under three seconds. If your website is taking more than three seconds to load, consider these strategies:
- Implement Caching—Caching is a technique used to cut down server requests. By implementing caching on your website, static copies of your webpages will be stored (cached) as HTML files and served to your users instead of dynamic webpages. This can dramatically improve load times.
- Use a CDN—By signing up with a content delivery network (CDN), copies of your website’s files will be distributed to data centers around the globe. When a user tries to access your website, they’ll be served files from the data center closest to them. This reduces the distance files must travel, reduces requests to your origin server, and helps decrease bandwidth-related speed issues.
- Upgrade Your Hosting—Your server resources may not be sufficient for the size of your website and the amount of traffic it’s receiving. Talk to your hosting provider to see if your hosting package is adequate for your needs—it may be time to upgrade your plan.
These effective strategies are all easy to implement and can bring immediate improvements to your load times. However, there may be other issues on your site causing it to run slowly.
Pingdom also analyzes page size, giving you an exact figure for the size of the page you test. Google recommends all webpages should weigh less than 500KB. If your page is any larger, its size will significantly impact load times.
Pingdom also shows a breakdown of content size by content type. Pingdom lists each page element and gives you exact details on the size of each one. This can help you see which components are causing bloat on your page.
Oftentimes, the images on your webpages will cause large page sizes and slow loading times. Google states 25% of webpages could save more than 250KB by compressing images and text.
The Pingdom Website Speed Test also gives you information on HTTP requests—how many requests a page makes, how many requests are made by the different page elements, and how many are made by domains.
Google recommends there should be less than 50 HTTP requests per page load. If the results flag a high number of requests made, try to reduce the number of components on a page (as this will reduce the number of HTTP requests required to render the page).
Some methods to reduce the number of page elements and HTTP requests include:
- Deleting Unnecessary Files and Images—Keep your media library clean and delete any images you aren’t using. The same goes for plug-ins, modules, or extensions—these all cause unnecessary bloat and server requests—so delete anything not in service.
- Creating a CSS Image Sprite—By combining all your images into one CSS file, only one request will be made for images instead of one for every image on the page.
- Implementing Lazy Loading—By implementing lazy loading on your website, requests for images will only be sent as a user scrolls down the page. This reduces unnecessary requests for images users may not even see.
One of the most useful reports in Pingdom is the waterfall analysis of all individual requests on your website. The chart displays each request, the order of requests, how long each request took, and more. This gives you total insight into the page loading experience and what happens at each stage of the process.
The waterfall chart is particularly helpful for identifying problems or bottlenecks while a page loads. You can see which assets were blocked, which scripts you had to wait on, which components were slow to transfer, how the DNS and other connections featured, and more.
Final Thoughts on How to Analyze Website Speed Test Results
The Pingdom Website Speed Test is a thorough tool giving you a clear understanding of how your website is performing. By analyzing the data and gaining insight into the process your webpages are going through each time they load, you can make data-driven decisions about which strategies you should implement to further improve load times on your website.
Have you tried the Pingdom Website Speed Test yet? If you have any questions about the results your site receives, feel free to ask away in the comments below.