How to check your websites speed - True Design

Updated 6th July 2017

How To Check Your Websites Speed

When someone lands on your site, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention and convince them to hang around and not bounce. Having quality content and a great looking site are important, but if your page is too slow to load, then you risk loosing your visitors before they even had a chance to view your content.

According to Kissmetrics, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in two seconds or less, and they tend to abandon sites that don’t load within three seconds.

While site speed is one of more than 200 signals Google uses to determine search rankings, and fewer than 1 per cent of search queries are affected by the site speed signal, it’s conversions that you need to worry about. A fast site will give your visitors confidence in your product or service and convince them to hand over their cash.

Were going to run through the top 3 sites you can freely use to test your site speed.

Google PageSpeed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights is a very handy tool to test your websites front end speed. You simply enter the URL of your site and it will give you back an overall score between 1 / 100 of how fast your site loads both on mobile and desktop. Testing your site with Google PageSpeed Insights can be a real eye opener for people who haven’t bothered optimising their site, and can also be a great starting point for those looking to improve site performance.

Google PageSpeed Insights

Google Mobile Speed Test

Google has just released their new Mobile Speed Test site which can be viewed here. According to Google the majority of websites loose over half there visitors due to slow load times. Is your site optimised for speed? If you need help, feel free to contact us and we can give you some valuable tips.

Google Mobile Speed Test - True Design

Pingdom Tools

Like Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom Tools goes a little bit more in-depth and also allows you to choose from 6 different test centers around the world to see the difference in your page load speed.

Pingdom Tools

GTmetrix

GTmetrix is one of the most popular speed testing sites, especially for developers as it displays a more detailed list of problems and what you need to do fix the issues.

GTmetrix

So now that you know how to test your sites speed, how do you go about solving some of the issues?

Choose A Fast Web Host

There are so many web hosting companies to choose from, who offer cheap as chips web hosting with unlimited storage and bandwidth for as little as €1.23 a month which is fantastic, but the trade off is usually slow site speeds and frequent down time during high traffic periods.

Use A Good Caching Plugin

Caching your content can dramatically improve your site’s load times. W3 Total Cache is by far the most popular caching plugin available with almost 3.5 million downloads. It offers browser, page, object, database, minify and content deliver network caching support. Its easy enough to setup, if your a total beginner, we would recommend testing it on a test site, cause if setup incorrectly, it can break your site. WP Beginner has a great guide on how to configure the plugin.

Optimise Your Images

High resolution images take much longer to load than optimized images, and unnecessarily large files can drastically slow down page speed.

WPMU DEV offers a fantastic (free!) plugin called WP-Smush.it. When you bulk smush images with this plugin, you’ll find the size of your images will be hugely reduced without compromising visual quality.

Enable gZip Compression

Having gZip compression enabled can load your pages faster and reduce the size of your files by up to 70 per cent.

W3 Cache includes this option. Go to Performance > Browser Cache > General.

You can also edit your .htaccess file and add the following :

## ENABLE GZIP COMPRESSION ##
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript
## ENABLE GZIP COMPRESSION ##

Leverage Browser Caching

This one pops up quite a bit when running site speed tests. Leveraging the browser caching means that you can specify for how long your visitors’ browsers should cache your images, CSS, JS and flash files.

To enable this, add the following to your .htaccess file:

## LEVERAGE BROWSER CACHING ##
<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/png "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType text/css "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/pdf "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-javascript "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/javascript "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access 1 year"
ExpiresDefault "access 2 days"
</IfModule>
## LEVERAGE BROWSER CACHING ##

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