The speed of a website is a crucial factor for its success. Fast loading websites have many benefits such as high conversion rates, low bounce rates, and improves overall user experience.
Website speed optimization matters, so how do you find out where you are at? i.e. is your site slow? is it average? or is it already lightning-fast?
The only way to know this is by utilizing free website speed test tools.
In this article, we will explore more about the best website speed test tools and how you can effectively use them. Let’s dive in.
GTmerix is a free online application that offers free insights into the performance of a page without registration. All you have to do is just copy the URL of the page you wish to test to see the results and suggestions on how to improve speed. If you are looking for detailed monitoring, you can create a free account.
- Test from locations such as Dallas, USA; Hong Kong, China; London, UK; Mumbai, India; Sydney, Australia; São Paulo, Brazil; and Vancouver, Canada
- Performance report includes your PageSpeed score, YSlow Score, fully loaded time, total page size, and the number of requests
- Assigns grade from F to A
- Option to select the browser from which you want to test – Chrome (desktop) and Firefox (desktop)
- Change connection speed to check how it affects your load time
- Check how 3rd party ads (eg – Google AdSense) affects the speed
- Stop the test on load
- Send a cookie along with your request
- Use HTTP authentication
- Whitelist or blacklist URLs
WebPageTest is a free tool that allows you to run speed tests from various locations. It runs the first view and repeat view test and helps to diagnose if there may be a DNS lookup delay. The tool also gives you important information that will help to improve your page speed.
- Option to test page from over 40+ test locations and 25 browsers including mobile
- Reports are divided into six sections which include a summary, details, performance review, content breakdown, and screenshots
- Grades are based from F to A
Pingdom is one of the best speed test tools which gives in-depth analysis into page speed. It allows you to select different geographical locations to run the test. The results and detailed report of the test are easy to understand. Plus, you also get performance improvement suggestions.
- Test from locations such as Dallas, Texas, USA; Melbourne, Australia; San Jose, California, USA; and Stockholm, Sweden
- Results are broken down by content type, page size by domain, requests by content type, and requests by domain
- Report sections include waterfall breakdown, performance grade, page analysis, and history
Page Speed Insights is a tool created by the search giant Google. The tool gives you a report for desktop as well as mobile views. Apart from this, they provide detailed recommendations on what can be done to improve page speed. Plus, you should note that test regions for this tool are unknown
- Grades are given based on a scale of 1-100
- Gives insights on how the page can be improved on time to above-the-fold load and time to full page load
- The mobile report includes user experience. It gives you an idea of attributes such as viewport configuration, the size of your buttons and links, and also eligible font sizes
How to Properly Do a Website Speed Test?
Here are some steps you can follow to properly run a website speed test using the above tools.
- Run the test at least 3 times to get an accurate view of things
- Select a geographical location based on where most of the users are coming from
- Turn on your website caching as you can figure out how effectively it improves your performance
- If you are using a CDN service and firewall, turn it on. It will help to improve your test results significantly
- Use the full site link for testing to avoid redirects and for displaying ratings and speed more accurately.
Which Speed Test Tool is the Best?
In this section, we will discuss some points that will put you in the right direction to choose the right speed test tool.
|Scores and recommendations||27 PageSpeed recommendations and 18 YSlow recommendations||Approximately 11 recommendations||6 recommendations||20 Audits/Opportunities|
|On Load vs Fully Load||Fully load time (default) and on load time (optional)||Onload time (only option)||Switch between fully loaded and on load time||First Contentful Paint and DOM Content Loaded (FCP and DCL)|
|Browsers||Firefox (default) and Chrome||Uses real browser||Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Edge||Emulated browser|
From the above comparison chart, we can understand that each test tool has a different sort of data or results. So, it is important to understand how each tool works before relying on them.
We have used these speed test tools for some of our A/B testing work. You can take a look at these articles to learn more.
- Does Adding Extra Elements to a Page Affect Page Speed?
- WP Speed Rocket Analysis
- Phlox vs Hello Elementor Theme Speed Analysis
So, based on our personal view, here are the best tools based on certain use cases.
- Quick checks: GTmetrix, Pingdom Tools, and PageSpeed Insights
- In-depth analysis: GTmetrix and WebPageTest
- SEO check: PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, and Pingdom Tools
- Mobile devices: WebPageTest, GTmetrix, and PageSpeed Insights
- Advanced options: WebPageTest and GTmetrix
We are using GTMetrix as a base for speed improvements. GTMetrix and other tools like Pingdom and WebPageTest are also developed from Google’s original open-source PageSpeed library with certain customization and modifications. Instead of using all the metrics, GTMetrix has used the rules which are important.
Google PageSpeed Insights seems to be using a few other rules apart from the open-source PageSpeed library which is not a part of the open-source library.
Also, Google PageSpeed Insights & Lighthouse should have the same results. But as per this reference, results seem to be different and the issue is still open.
On the whole, we conclude that GTmetrix is the best speed test tool because it checks all the important use cases that we consider.
We will update this article, so you will always be aware of a better option arises or if the existing ones don’t meet our standards. We hope that the above information has provided you with the clarity you require.