I am using a bunch of testing tools on a daily basis. In the comming days I’ll publish several lists with my favorite test tools, starting today with my list of speed testing utilities.
Online Site Speed & Performance Test Tools:
These are “real-life” testing utilities. In general, you enter the URL, select among servers/locations, click a button and get the report (after some time of waiting for the actual test to be performed). The advantage of these tools is that you can check the load speed of your site from different locations (different servers in different countries).
Pingdom is very nice ping service that you can use to monitor your site’s up-time. But along with this they offer some very nice webmaster tools (online) that youo can use to test your page. At the time of this writing the page above will give you 3 tools: Load Time Checker, DNS Checker and Ping & Traceroute check service.
This is, in my opinion, one of the best speed / load time checkers available. In fact, most of the time I am using this and the above one (Pingdom load test) only. WebPageTest.org is slower (you must wait in the queue to test and for some servers waiting can be longer), but offers a lot of servers to choose from.
This is the online version of Google’s PageSpeed (free and opensource) test tool. As the previous tool, it will give you a lot of hints and suggestions on how to speed up your site. This is the third (and last) online site load speed tool I am using.
Browser-Based Page Speed Test Tools:
There are some nice browser extensions that can give you even more info than the online checkers listed above. The advantage is that you don’t need to wait in a queue and the reports and hints are (sometimes) better. The downside is that with these tools you are checking the load time only from your own internet connection. In my practice, I am starting with the online checking tools (like WebPageTest.org) to get an idea for the average speed of my site in different states and countries, then I am using the browser-based tools for faster testing when fixing the sites. (And at the end, I am re-checking with the online tools to see is there any improvement).
Yaho YSlow is a tool that will analyze the performance of your page and will try to suggest possible ways to fix the issues found. Just like the WebPageTest.org service listed above, the YSlow tool is something like “standard” for this kind of utilities. It is available as browser extension (I suggest to use it with WebKit browsers like Chrome or Safari) — just click the link above and you’ll find an “install” button on the YSlow home page.
This is the second among my favorites. The tool is available as Chrome and Firefox estension and will give you almost the same result as the online version (listed above)
Well, I am sure these 5 tools are not the complete list in this field, but they are the ones I am using most often. Feel free to add more in the comments.
PS: Yes, your site speed is vital factor for your online presence. Some researches are saying that anything over 4-5 seconds load time is bad. Still, do not forget that in most cases user will see the page before all the elements are loaded . Don’t panic if some of the tools above says your site is too slow. Try to read the hints and suggestions, check with other tools and do that from different servers in different states and countries. That will give you some better idea about the average load time.
PPS: I have my own page speed test tool listed here, at wonderwebware.com, but it serves more or less different purpose (it downloads many pages to simulate some load and gives no hints or suggestions), that’s why I didn’t list it here.