The BEST Website Speed Test Tools

Speed is one of the most important components when it comes to the optimization of your website. Fast websites, with a superb, modern front-end website design, will greatly contribute to the success of online business or an online enterprise. 

Nowadays, the fast-paced environment of the internet demands that apps and tools function at ever-faster speeds, and it’s crucial to have optimal website performance. A website’s slow loading times and low functionality can also designate its quick end, and this is all the more dangerous if it means the end of a business! But, there is no alternative – visitors get frustrated if they wait too long for the page to load, and they’re very likely to go and search somewhere else.

If you’re a website owner who’s looking to improve the performance of a slow-loading website, then you must already know that speed is definitely something that sells! 

Super-fast loading speeds boost sales and amplify visitor engagement and retention. Also, website response that feels instantaneous will lead to higher conversion rates.

The Importance of Speed Testing a Website

But, in order to have a faster website, you first need to know how much of an improvement you need to make. This is where speed testing tools step in. Testing your site’s speed is one of the most important first steps you need to do when setting out to improve its loading times. What speed testing does is it enables you to set a benchmark which will help you measure the changes you intend to make to your site – basically, it gives you a solid starting point for the direction of any planned improvements. 

Ideally, you want your site to run under one second in the country where it’s being hosted. One second (maximum) is the time where the page load still feels instant. Although speed varies for of a number of factors – for example, marketing tools and other types of tracking software – you can still aim for about 1.5 seconds of loading time which is well within the margins of acceptable loading time. 

So, in order to make it a little bit easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best and most well-known speed testing tools you can find and use on the internet right now. 

Note to have in mind: When testing your site’s speed, it’s always a good idea to do a couple of speed tests and average them out – since results can vary from test to test. This has mainly to do with DNS caching, CDN caching, and WordPress caching, but lit can also be a result of external calls to third-party resources and APIs impact. So, once again, don’t shy away from doing multiple tests in order to get the most truthful result!

How to Read Basic Speed Test Parameters 

Before we begin with the actual list of speed testing tools, we’d like to briefly mention the most important parameters that are present in a good chunk of speed testing tools out there. What follows are the most important elements of any speed test that you need to pay attention to: 

URL (or your website’s address) – when it comes your site’s URL, it’s important to remember to always use the site’s primary web address, which means always put the www in front of it. A lot of the times, people simply drop the www mark, which can add a 1 to 2-second delay to the speed you’re running. The reason for this is that the website is, in fact, loading by default, aka with the www in front of its address.

Test From – also a very important detail to remember. The ‘Test From’ part designates the place/country where the speed test is being run from. Always opt for using the country from which you get most of your visitors. This means that you should expect around 0.5 to 1 seconds of slower loading times in places outside the country your website is being hosted in. 

Load Time – this one is probably the most important metric. The aim is the under-1-second loading time when the page load is beginning to feel instant. That being said, a 1.5 loading time is not bad at all either.

Page Size – this section marks the total size of the page tested. Of course, the smaller the page, the better the loading speed time – usually, a site that’s heavy with images will weigh from 1 to 2mb. It’s not uncommon to see pages ranging from 5, 10 and even 15mb, which can render them pretty slow on a standard internet connection. 

Requests – here, much like the page size, lower is also better. Most of the sites considered fast will have from 50 to 100 requests. Once you cross the 200 requests mark, though, you’ll notice how the site begins to feel really slow, and this is especially noticeable on mobile devices which have less CPU power able to process all those requests. 

Our Top Recommended Speed Testing Tools

SiteSpeedBot

First things first, let’s introduce you to our own new speed testing tool -it’s fresh out of the oven and ready to take its place among the best speed testing tools on the internet. 

We recently realized that all the other tools we’ve been using so far for our WordPress optimization agency WPSpeedFix, weren’t doing it for us anymore. We’ve been using Pingdom for over a year, and although it’s a great speed testing tool on its own, we wanted something more and a little bit better. So we decided to build our own! 

We highly encourage you to try out our tool for the site you want to test. SiteSpeedBot will provide you with detailed recommendations when it comes to improving the speed of your website, including a lot of stuff that you won’t find in other speed testing tools out there. These are probings and testings of a lot of things that really matter on the modern, 2019 web. 

If you opt for using SiteSpeedBot, you’ll see how it provides you with more details and recommendations on HTTP2 support, as well as HTTP2 push support, which is something that many other test tools around simply don’t do. SiteSpeedBot also measures a number of speed metrics that are important on the modern web, such as DNS hosting speed and TTFB.

Our tool gives you these initial first four sections or parameters to consider: Page Size, Total Load Time, Number of Requests, and TTFB (time to first byte). You can, of course, go into more detail about your page with the more elaborate sections which are:

  • Improve page performance – here’s where we inform you about the site’s overall performance and give you suggestions on what you need and can improve on it. 
  • Summary – here you can find the first four initial sections we mentioned above, along with the DNS Resolution Time (or DNS speed), SSL negotiation time, Connection Time, Wait time, and Receive time.
  • Other metrics section – here you can find information about whether the server supports HTTP2 protocol, as well as HTTPS; the number of CSS files, whether your site supports Next-gen images, as well as whether you’re on a slow or a fast hosting provider, and the detection of lazy loading, among other info. 
  • Response codes
  • Hosting provider details 
  • Image compression test – here we analyze the images on your site, their weight, as well as the potential weight-saving you can achieve by image compression
  • Waterfall view
  • Content size by content type and by domain with requests by content type and by domain

You can take our speed test from four different locations: 

Columbus/USA

London/UK

Singapore

Sydney/Australia

Pingdom 

Pingdom is one of the most well-known speed testing tools on the internet. A Swedish-based company, Pingdom actually offers several different services, but it’s arguably most famous for their free speed testing tool. This was our favorite speed testing tool for over a year until we decided to build our own because we figured we weren’t entirely content with it and some figures were lacking – for example, the performance grade doesn’t really correlate with performance; many other recommendations they have are also out of date. But, don’t get us wrong, Pingdom is still a great speed testing tool to use. 

Its popularity is due, in part, to the fact it’s so easy to use. Since not all WordPress users are also web performance or web optimization experts, oftentimes other such tools on the internet can be rather overwhelming. 

Like most speed testing tools, here you will also need to enter your site’s web address (or URL), as well as the location you want the test to be done from. It’s best to choose the location which is closest to where your site is being hosted. 

Their speed test reports are split initially into four sections: performance grade, total load time, total page size, and also the number of file requests which can be further elaborated into what’s called the waterfall analysis (or the waterfall chart). 

Additional and more detailed information is provided below the initial four sections. This means you’ve got a nice overview of what you need to pay attention to in order to improve page performance, and also sections on content size by type and domain, as well as requests by type and domain. Thus you can effortlessly compare the CDN asset size of your website with the one of your domains, you can also compare the number of requests by domain, as well as the type of content on your website which has had the most requests. 

The Pingdom speed test tool provides you with several locations you can use to test your website’s speed: 

Asia – Japan – Tokyo 

Europe – Germany – Frankfurt

Europe – the United Kingdom – London 

North America – USA – Washington D.C. 

North America – USA – San Francisco 

Pacific – Australia – Sydney 

South America – Brazil – Sao Paolo 

One of the current downsides of this speed testing tool is that it was updated sometime in the past 12 months and now its recommendations have lost their quality. Also, it doesn’t go into much detail on them either.

GTmetrix

GTmetrix is another well-known speed testing tool and, alongside Pingdom, is also one of the most frequently used ones on the internet. Similarly to Pingdom, GTmetrix is a tool that’s fairly easy to use by people that aren’t that versed in the technicalities and intricacies of WordPress websites. 

GTmetrix combines results from Google PageSpeed Insights and YSlow in order to generate a score, as well as recommendations for your website. It assigns your site a grade that goes from A to F. The reports that it generates are split into five different sections: PageSpeed, YSlow, Waterfall chart, Page Load Timings, Page Load Video and Filmstrip, and Report History (page timings, page sizes and request counts, and Google PageSpeed and YSlow Scores). For a more detailed insight into most of these sections and additional options, you will have to go through free registration (there’s also a GTmetrix Pro version for larger and more complex websites). 

With the free registration, you can do the test from seven different locations (otherwise it only gives you the one in Vancouver, Canada): 

Dallas, USA

Hong Kong, China

London, UK

Mumbai, India

Sydney, Australia

São Paulo, Brazil

Vancouver, Canada

You can also choose the browser you want to do the test with, Chrome or Firefox (both Desktop versions – the mobile ones are only available in the premium plans). And, you can also make tests and compare website performance against different connection types (such as dial-up vs. cable) and see the effect it has on your page loads. Some other more advanced features are the video playback, with which you can analyze where, in fact, does your bottleneck occur; you can also run Adblock plus. By disabling the ads you can see to which extent they affect your site’s page loading. 

This tool, however, is starting to show its age a little bit. Many of the recommendations are out of date for the 2019 modern web, and it seems as if their servers are often overloaded, which makes the speed tests seem slower than they should be. 

Google PageSpeed Insights

Granted, Google PageSpeed Insights isn’t, in fact, a website speed testing tool in the sense that the other above mentioned tools are. This means that it’s not really going to provide you with lots of data and suggestions you can use to fix your site’s slow loading times. There are, however, still some relevant reasons why it’s a good idea to check out this tool from Google. 

Google’s results matter because Google is the one that’s actually creating the search rankings whose top you’re trying to reach. So, when Google find some issue in the website performance, it’s definitely worth taking it seriously. 

PageSpeed Insights is also one of those tools that’s easy to use. Like the other speed testing tools listed here, it also only requires your site’s URL (web address), and after a very short time, it generates both mobile and desktop versions of your site’s performance. 

This tool grades your website on a scale from 1 to 100. And so, the higher the number is, the better your site has been optimized. A good benchmark is a score of 85 – this means that your website is performing quite well. Some recommendations for making improvements to your site (not as many as in the other testing tools, as we said before) are advice on image optimization and minifying CSS, for example. 

This is what Google PageSpeed Insights measures about your site and what you need to pay attention to if you want to improve its performance:

  • time to above-the-fold load: this is the time that has elapsed from the moment a new page is requested by a user, and to the moment the browser renders the above-the-fold content.
  • time to full page load: the time that has elapsed time from the moment a new page is requested by a user to the moment the browser fully renders the page.

The mobile report has an additional category called “User Experience”, which is included in your site’s scoring. Included here is the size of your tap targets (buttons and links), your viewport configuration, as well as the eligible font sizes.

Google PageSpeed Insights test provides you with lab and field data. Lab data has to do with issues concerning performance, whereas field data consists of performance data in real-time which your visitors experience.

This speed testing tool is most favored and used by small and middle-range businesses, but also independent website owners who are looking for a straightforward and easy way to keep up with optimal website performance.

A small note on Google PageSpeed Insights: a lot of marketers and techs are often obsessed by the PageSpeed score. However, in reality, this score doesn’t really have much to do with actual speed. While PageSpeed Insights is still a pretty useful tool, you have to have in mind that it only measures speed partially. 

A large part of the score generated comes from the comparison that has been made by putting your site against a technical checklist. What’s problematic about this? In a lot of cases, it doesn’t consider certain practical limitations of the site’s coding and design. Another problem is that one of its speed testing components also completely ignores the site’s geographic location, which means you’ll probably encounter scores that vary quite a lot. This will depend on where the test was being made from, the geographic location of your hosting provider, and also how busy the internet is at the time of the testing. 

A Few Final Notes

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, a well-optimized website can make all the difference for the users that visit your site and interact with it. Having a fast website is one of the most important things you have to consider as a website owner, especially if you’re managing an online enterprise. And one of the first steps you need to take when it comes to your site’s optimization is making a speed test. 

A fast website is better for SEO, period. Speed can impact Google rankings, and Google itself likes faster websites. Slow sites don’t rank as high as fast(er) ones, and they also get a ranking penalty. 

And perhaps even more important than traffic and rankings is the conversion rate. Interacting with websites nowadays has become lightning-fast and people get more and more frustrated and dissatisfied with slow websites, making them click away to go somewhere else pretty quickly if the website they’re trying to access is not almost immediately responsive. 

This, in turn, has a rather heavy impact on the conversion rate and the number of enquiries in sales and calls, or whatever it is the website’s generating. Summarized, it goes like this: traffic and conversions both are highly affected by speed, which is why speed is so important in the end. 

If you want a thorough, detailed and professional speed optimization service with lots of experience behind it, make sure to check out what we have to offer at WPSpeedFix.com. We’ve worked on over 2000 sites so far, optimizing them for speed. You don’t have to let your slow website hurt your Google rankings and make you lose customers by the minute anymore. We’re able to transform a frustratingly slow website to one that will load in under 2 seconds – potentially even faster on a high-quality hosting provider.

You can also check out some of our articles that deal with the optimization of WordPress sites, listed below: 


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