The speed of a website can be a critical factor in its success and for this reason, 9jatoday has listed the top 15 best website speed test tools and tips on how to speed up your website.
Faster loading websites can benefit from higher SEO rankings, higher conversion rates, lower bounce rates, longer site visitor duration, better overall user experience, and engagement. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of the many free speed test tools available so that you can get optimal performance.
Google wants your site to load in less than a second
How does a speed test tool help your website?
Here are just a few of the common ways website speed test tools are used:
- Checking the minification of your scripts
- Find large images that cause bottlenecks
- Test time for first byte (TTFB)
- Analysis of total load times, page sizes and # of requests
- Checking performance from different geographic locations
- Checking the rendering speed in different browsers
- Parsing HTTP headers
- Measuring the performance of your content delivery network
- Verify that assets are loading correctly from your CDN
Website speed concepts
Before running a website speed test, it’s important to understand a few concepts behind how these tools work so that you can better analyze the data and then optimize your site accordingly. Not only can you test the speed of your web server, but you can also measure the performance of your CDN.
Time to First Byte (TTFB)
Time to First Byte (TTFB) is a measure of the responsiveness of a web server. Basically, it is the time it takes for your browser to start receiving information after requesting it from the server. By using a CDN, you can dramatically reduce the impact of the load on your origin server, which in turn should help lower your TTFB.
You’ll also want to optimize your CSS delivery to avoid causing page load delays. Here are some ways to fix this:
- Call your CSS files correctly
- Decrease the number of CSS files
- Use less CSS overall
- Resource minification
- Blank characters
- New line characters
- Block delimiters
- HTTP requests
When your browser obtains data from a server, it does so via HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). It is a request/response between a client and a host. In general, the more HTTP requests your web page makes, the slower the load will be.
There are many ways to reduce the number of requests, such as:
- Using CSS Sprites
- Reducing assets like third-party plugins that make a large number of external requests
Read Also: The 10 Fastest Airplanes In The World
List of website speed test tools
Now that you have a basic understanding of the above web performance concepts, take a look at these 15 free tools below to test your website speed. Each of them offers its own unique features, reports, and different ways to dissect your results.
Note: It is also important to realize when running tools like these that a DNS lookup for the first time will generally be slower. If you are comparing total load times, sometimes it is better to run multiple tests.
1. KeyCDN Website Speed Test
KeyCDN created a fast and lightweight website speed test tool that you can use to get detailed information about your website performance. It offers 14 locations to choose from around the world, and you have the option of making your test results private or public. The test includes a waterfall breakdown and visual website preview at the bottom. You can quickly see how many HTTP requests were made, the full size of the requested page, and the load time.
It is also one of the only tools other than PageSpeed that is responsive and works very well on mobile devices.
2. Google PageSpeed Insights
Google PageSpeed Insights is a website speed test tool that rates your website on a scale of 1 to 100. The higher the number, the better your site will be. Anything above 85 indicates that your website is performing well. PageSpeed gives you reports for both the desktop and mobile versions of your site. You can see recommendations for improvements, such as the need to minimize CSS or optimize your images.
PageSpeed Insights measures how the page can improve its performance in:
- Time taken to load: time elapsed from the moment a user requests a new page until the moment the browser displays the content in the upper half of the page.
- Full-page load time: time elapsed from the moment a user requests a new page to the moment the browser fully displays it.
A mobile report includes an additional category called “User Experience” that is included in the rating of your site. This includes checking your viewport settings, the size of your touch targets (buttons and links), and also the eligible font size.
The PageSpeed Insights team also recently released a new website speed test tool on “ think with Google, ” which you may want to check out.
3. Pingdom speed test
Pingdom is probably one of the best-known website speed testing tools. Their reports are divided into four different sections that include a waterfall breakdown, performance grade, page analysis, and history.
The page analysis offers a great overview with additional information such as an analysis of the size, the size per domain (you can easily compare your CDN asset size versus your domain), the number of requests per domain, and what type of content that had the highest number of requests.
Pingdom’s speed test tool also allows you to test your website speed from four main locations, including:
- Dallas, Texas, USA,
- Melbourne, Australia
- San Jose, California, USA
- Stockholm, Switzerland
The results of a Pingdom speed test provide you with performance information, similar to Google PagesSpeed Insights, that describes where you can make improvements. The results also break down page size by content type, page size by domain, requests by content type, and requests by domain.
GTmetrix goes into great detail as it checks both PageSpeed and YSlow metrics, assigning your site a grade from F to A. Its reports are divided into five different sections, including Page Speed, YSlow, Cascade Fault, Video, and history.
With free registration, you can test from seven different locations. They also allow you to choose the browser, Chrome vs Firefox. You can test and compare the website performance with various connection types (such as Cable versus Dial-up) to see how it affects your page load. Other advanced features include a video playback to analyze where the bottleneck is occurring and also the ability to run Adblock plus. With ads disabled, you can see how they affect your site load.
Note: It is recommended to register a free account as you will get additional options such as those mentioned above.
WebPageTest is very similar to some of the above tools mentioned, but it has more than 40 locations to choose from and more than 25 browsers (including mobile). It is assigned a grade from F to A based on different performance tests such as FTTB, compression, caching, effective use of a CDN, etc. This report is divided into six sections that include a summary, information, performance evaluation, content break, and screenshots.
6. Varvy Pagespeed Optimization
Varvy Pagespeed Optimization is a tool developed and maintained by Patrick Sexton, who also created GetListed.org, which is now known as Moz Local.
Uptrends is pretty basic, but offer over 35 locations to choose from when running your speed test. Your report is divided into two sections, a waterfall breakdown and domain groups. Domain groups offer a unique perspective, as it classifies resources into different sources: 1st part, statistics, CDN, social media, ads, 1st part general, and 3rd party general.
dotcom-monitor offers 23 different locations and seven different browsers where you can run your website speed test. Its unique feature is that it can run all geographic tests simultaneously. This can save you a lot of time, like any other tool that you have to run individually by location. You can then click on each individual report or on the waterfall breakdown.
Its reports are divided into five different sections that include a summary, performance, waterfall chart (breakdown), host, and errors.
PageScoring is all about offering a simple and easy to understand performance report with a minimalist design. It shows the total charging time and then the following data:
- Domain searches
- Connection time
- Redirect time
- Page size
- Discharge time
You can then see your assets and how long it took to load. If you are looking for a quick and easy website speed test tool, this works quite well.
10. Yellow Lab Tools
- Page weight
- Bad CSS
- Server configuration
11. Google Chrome DevTools
And of course, we can’t forget Google Chrome DevTools. It is a very easy to use tool (with advanced features) and you can quickly launch it at any time in your Chrome tool using the following shortcut keys.
Ctrl + Shift + I
Cmd + Opt + I
With the latest developer tools update, they have added details panel in the waterfall timeline. This allows you to more easily see what is costing you most of the time, and then you can break it down by domains, subdomains, etc. To execute this click, click on the «Timeline» panel and press
Ctrl + R(
Cmd + R) to refresh the page. You can then click on the “Summary” panel and the “Aggregated” details panel.
In the developer tools, you can see the exact DOMContentLoaded time and the total load time. To execute this click in the «Network» panel, click the «All» option and press
Ctrl + R(
Cmd + R) to refresh the page. A blue line will appear for DOMContentLoaded and a red line for the total load time. Typically all that is left of or touches the blue line are assets that are blocking the DOM, or also called render blocking resources.
12. Sucuri Load Time Tester
The Sucuri Load Time Tester provides a quick and easy way to test the performance of your sites around the world. It will give you an overall performance rating, from A to F. The test measures how long it takes to connect to your site and for a page to fully load. A very important value to consider is the “time to first byte“, which tells you how long it took for the content to be sent to the browser to start rendering the page.
The Pagelocity speed test tool offers another unique approach when it comes to website speed test. It gives you a total score of 100, consisting of factors such as social, SEO, resources, and code. The tool also offers the ability to track your competitors. You can sign up for a free account to take advantage of the additional features. The code view is unique as it will show you if your site is running over HTTPS, what your TTFB is, and a graphical interface of your DOM elements with a bar chart.
The resource view is also quite interesting as you can quickly see which assets make up the total weight of your page.
YSlow is an open source project and tool that analyzes web pages and helps you find out why they are slow based on Yahoo! for high performance websites. It is currently maintained by Marcel Duran, who is also involved in the WebPageTest project. YSlow operates in three steps to get the performance test results:
- YSlow crawls the DOM to find all components (image, scripts, etc.).
- YSlow gets information about the size of each component (gzip, expire headers, etc.)
- YSlow takes the data and generates a grade for each rule, which in turn gives it an overall grade.
YSlow has 23 different rules that your website runs by to rate them, you can also use the free YSlow Chrome extension or get YSlow results from GTMetrix.
PerfTool is an open source client-side performance tool project hosted on Github. It collects various information about your website and displays it in an easy to digest way on a report page. It combines three data sources into one, PageSpeed Insights, devperf, and W3CJS. In total, it offers you more than 200 different performance indicators.
A big advantage of PerfTool is that you can run multiple test pages at the same time for the Google PageSpeed Insights report. Then compare website performance results from previous tests, set the score threshold, and get a detailed report on your tests. In fact, this can save you a lot of time if you compare the web performance of your entire site, since you don’t have to test your pages one by one.
Chrome extensions for website speed test
There are quite a few free Chrome extensions that you can use to analyze website speed. Here are a couple of them. You can easily start them from your browser.
- Page Load Time
- app.telemetry Page Speed Monitor
- LoadFocus Load Testing
Mobile website speed test
If you need to run a mobile website speed test, some of the tools we mentioned above include this:
Another way to simulate a speed test on a mobile device is to use Chrome’s developer tools in device mode. To enter device mode, click the small phone icon in Chrome DevTools or you can press
Ctrl + Shift + M(
Cmd + Shift + M). You can then choose which device you want to emulate, the orientation, and even the resolution. You can also change the network regulation to see how your website could represent, for example, a regular 2G or 4G connection.
You can then use the “Network” tab and the waterfall breakdown to run speed tests.
As you can see, there are several website speed testing tools that you can choose from. Each of them has its own unique characteristics, as highlighted above. It’s a good idea to test your site regularly and set a benchmark so that you can make improvements over time.
Once you know where the bottlenecks are, you can start to fix them. Some of the more common solutions include:
- Compress your images and files
- Choosing a fast web host
- Optimizing your code and scripts
- Using a content delivery network (CDN)
- Reducing the number of HTTP requests