In the previous posts we discussed PageSpeed from Google development team and YSlow from Yahoo development team. Both these add-ons surprisingly don't work on Internet Explorer. Though IE has just been overthrown from its position as the worlds most used Internet browser by Google Chrome, IE deserves credit for being the browser that was used the most and for several years reigned as the Internet Brower champion. So for IE users we are discussing a useful tool today that will evaluate your wesite's speed. This tool is called Webpagetest and is available at www.webpagetest.org
There are of course others but they tend to be too finicky to download and install plugins and add-ons but Wepagetest puts all those worries aside. Why? Because to use Webpagetest all you need is a web browser. Webpagetest runs directly from their website online and you are not prompted to download or install any software.
To use Webpagetest go to its site, www.webpagetest.org, and you'll see the following page as shown below:
In the empty field where it reads Enter the Website URL, enter the URL of either the home page of your website or a specific page on your website and click START TEST. You can even decide from where in the world you want Webpage test to do a test - you can change the test location by clicking the Select from Map button or using the dropdown field.
Webpagetest actually simulates access by a user who is trying to view your site or page (that you input into the URL field) from the location you indicate in the Test Location field. Incredible isn't it? This means you can test as if a user where trying to access your site (located in servers in the U.S) from Sydney, Japan or India or the Gulf region.
You can also choose your browser which will override the default browser setting. Currently Webpage test is available for different flavors of Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome (which is great too because the website will generally perform differently based on the browser too!).
If you are a Power User you may want to check advanced settings by clicking the Advanced Settings link. A drop-down dialog opens with various tabs. For now we'll stick to the basic test and see what analysis Webpagetest can do for your site. Ready?
Webpagetest does take a while as it does an exhaustive reporting of test results. It first comes up with a brief set of results. Do not refresh the page because in 30 seconds it refreshes to produce the complete report. What come out is nothing short of a beauty! Take a look at the image below.
By default the Summary tab is displayed. Click the other tabs, Summary, Details, Perfomance Review and of course our most wanted, Page Speed tab to find out speed of the site or page you wanted to check.
On the Page Speed Optimization Check you will find several parameters. A green check indicates that everything's ok. But an amber colored triangle is an indicator of something amiss. Click the button to expand the node and find the errors that are causing the amber triangle to be flagged and that which need correction.
Note that it pays to look into the results of the other tabs too. They are very informative, throwing additional information about your site's or page's access.
Honestly, we think Webpagetest is one hell of a free tool to test the speed and performance of your site. :)
A final note
Don't forget the following upcoming online, on demand and in-person training courses:
- Joomla Hands On series - started on 8th June however you can still register to access the on-demand training. FREE for our existing customers.
- Google Analytics Hands On series - two Friday sessions on the why, what, where, when, how of your website - find out why your website is not generating leads or sales! Starts Friday 20 July.
- Introduction to Social Media - a comprehensive, instructor led, online 5 week course for businesses to learn about social media and implement practical steps. Starts 14 August 2012.
- Online Business Marketing with Facebook - an extension on the introduction to social media course where we cover in-depth implementation of Facebook for business marketing over 5 weeks with an experienced instructor. Starts 15 August 2012.
- ON DEMAND: Search Engine Optimisation for Small Business - learn the top 15 steps you can take to improve your search engine rankings. A quick 90 minute online course you can take anytime.