- GTmetrix is a web performance analysis and monitoring tool that helps you test your website speed and discover optimization opportunities
- It is a very easy to use tool that not only gives you a diagnosis of the loading speed of your website, but also indicates how to solve the elements that slow it down
- It gives you a very detailled reports about the performance indicators to do the appropriate corrections or to share with technical team.
- Here are some of the biggest factors to consider.
1. NUMBER OF TESTS
- To get a really good comprehensive set of data, you need to do a whole lot of speed tests, preferably at different times throughout the day. The ideal would be to schedule an hourly test and leave it running for about a week or so.
- The reason for this is your website’s performance will change throughout the day, depending on your visitor count or even the usage of your server box if you’re on a shared host.
- The actual load speed given in seconds may change over the course of a day (or even week), some of the things GTmetrix can reveal — such as many of the recommendations it will yield on how to speed up your website won’t change with time at all.
2. TEST LOCATIONS
- The proximity of your site to the test location (or a real human visitor) plays a big role in your test results.
- Because of that, the location you test your site from makes a big difference.
- In general, you want to pick a test location that’s as close as possible to your target visitors (which should also be close to the physical location of your hosting server).
- If your website only targets one location, all you really need to care about is the test results for that location.
- To be able to choose the location from which to test your site using GTMetrix, you’ll need to register for a free account.
3.TEST DEVICES/CONNECTION SPEEDS
- GTmetrix will let you test different connection speeds for free, but you’ll need to pay for a premium account if you want to test using a mobile device.
- Connection speed is another important consideration. Not all of your visitors will be using ultra-fast wired connections. For example, they could be browsing from their phone on 4G — that will also lead to slower page load times.
- If you want to get an accurate picture of how these visitors experience your site, it’s useful to experiment with different devices and connection speeds.
How to Use and Understand the Basic GTmetrix Speed Test?
When you register for a free GTmetrix account, you open up a ton of new configuration options that’ll help you to address the considerations we discussed above.
- Locations — Dallas (USA), Hong Kong (China), London (UK), Mumbai (India), Sydney (Australia), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Vancouver (Canada).
- Test devices — Chrome (Desktop) and Firefox (Desktop) for free. With a paid plan, you can also test Chrome on a Galaxy Nexus Android device.
- Connection speeds — various options from Broadband down to 56k (dial-up — remember those days?).
The free account also gives you access to more analysis tools — more on those later.
Once you’ve created your free account, you can:
- Enter your site’s URL in the box.
- Click the Analysis Options accordion button to expand the extra options.
To get an accurate picture of your site’s load times, you should make at least two choices:
- Select the location nearest to your target audience using the Test URL in drop-down.
- Select Broadband (Fast) in the connection drop-down. This will use a connection speed that’s around the average for the USA as a whole — you can choose a different connection speed if that fits your needs.
The summary box contains five pieces of information:
- Fully Loaded Time — how long it takes your site to fully load (this is the most important number).
- Total Page Size — how large your site is. Smaller is better.
- Requests — how many HTTP requests your site requires. Fewer is better.
- PageSpeed Score — a quick approximation of how optimized your front-end site is based on Google PageSpeed.
- YSlow Score — a quick approximation of how optimized your front-end site is based on a different set of metrics from YSlow.