There are loads of online speed testers that allow you to measure the loading time of other websites, but which is the best? All of the tools in this top 10 are really useful, some offer features that others can’t. The real question is, how fast is your website?
Don’t be put off by this sites simple look, it easily tests the loading time of your website. What it can also do, that none of the others can, is recur the test at a set interval. This feature is neat as it allows you to tweak settings and see the effects in real-time.
This tool doesn’t offer advanced features like some of the other sites, what it does do is directly compare loading times between sites. The example used above is Microsoft and Apple’s websites, sadly Apple won by quite a margin. A more serious use for this site would be to test your website against a competitors, especially if the loading time is important to the type of site you run, for instance news sites.
This tool is very simple, it shows the loading time of each element of your site. This can highlight if your images need optimizing to a higher level or if your database is too slow.
This is a really neat tool, although the design is not going to win any beauty contests, the functionality is awesome. Simply enter the URL of the site you would like to check and select the location of the server that’s going to do the work and off it goes. What’s nice about being able to select the location of the server is that it means you can get an idea of what global users of your site are experiencing. Another neat feature is the emulation of mobile devices. This is the only site to offer this, well worth checking in this mobile age.
Neustar tests sites from four locations, San Francisco, Singapore, Dublin and Washington DC. That’s great to get a good idea of how the site is behaving on a global scale. A handy infograhpic shows all elements and their loading time and size, very useful for identifying a rogue file.
This is definitely the best looking of all the offerings. Once again, location and web browser can be specified, it also shows the rendering of the site at different points in time, handy to examine what a new visitor might experience. Errors are also displayed clearly making tracing them easy.
This site has been around forever and is one of my personal favourites. The simple interface and fast loading times make it easy to use and less of a task. Locations can be specified although there aren’t as many as some of the other offerings. If you test your site multiple times, Pingdom is capable of graphing the long-term success (or failure) of your optimisation quest.
Unlike the other sites, Loadimpact is all about testing a site when under heavy use. Rather than just running tests from one source it emulates many users at once. This is very useful as it’s unlikely that simply one person will be browsing your site at any given time. The results are graphed in a clear fashion, the number of simulated users is plotted against the average load time. Typically the more users browsing a site the slower the load time becomes. Loadimpact offers a free version that limits the number of connections to 50, a paid version is available but is extremely expensive, were talking thousands of dollars a month, who exactly buys this is beyond me.
The number one spot goes to a website that provides the most complete experience, offering individual element analysis and helpful tips for improving the speed of your website. On a successful analysis GTmetrix displays two scores from F to A. The first is a ‘page speed grade’, this isn’t simply how fast the site loads (this will vary depending on the amount of images) but is how efficient the site works. The second grade is ‘YSlow Grade’, this is another method of collating all the data that the site collects. Both of these grades are useful in discovering issues with your site. GTmetrix also displays a timeline of elements, similar to Pingdom and loads.in, very helpful. Like Pingdom, it also shows a history graph.
I hope that you found some (if not all) of these tools useful for your web design and development activities. If you know of any more or disagree with the order here then leave a comment.