Having good content on your website is not enough for attracting more visitors. You have to make sure that web pages are also loading fast and meet speed expectations. To help with that you need to learn how to test a website speed.
Fortunately there are many online tools that will help you to test any website speed for free. Using multiple tools will help to conduct tests from different geographic locations, try different connection speeds and device types. All of these speed measurements will give you a better understanding of your current page speed. Along with factors on how each page element affects final page load time.
After knowing all bottlenecks and possible solutions you can start optimizing your website.
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How to test any website speed online?
There are many free tools that will help to test any website for speed. Some of those tools offer testing from different locations around the world, others offer mobile and desktop speed test options. There are also tools to test site speed with adjustable internet connection speed like 2G, 3G, 4G, broadband, fiberoptic etc.
On every speed test tool there is an input form for pasting web page URL and button to start a test. After a couple seconds you will see page load time and speed score for the tested URL.
Before listing all popular tools for website speed testing let’s mention what is speed test and why it matters.
What is a website speed test?
Website speed tests will show how well your website will perform on different devices for the average website user. It is an automated test tool that will record how fast the content of your website will load.
Main criteria in the page speed test is to show meaningful content to the user in the shortest possible time. Preferable within 1-2 seconds. All other assets that are not responsible for initial visible content should be delayed.
Website speed test will show how fast given page loads and what should be improved to load page faster.
Why is website speed important?
Website speed is important for site visitors because they expect certain service standards from their device, internet provider, web browser and web sites. All of them are responsible for website speed and they keep improving every year.
Visitors are used to faster websites and expect the same speed for all sites they visit. Speed is associated with the quality of the website. Fast websites help to complete user tasks faster. Be it shopping, learning, reading, watching, finding information etc. This will lead to completing their job in a short time and keep them motivated to complete more tasks.
Apart from user perspective, a fast website is one of ranking factors for search engines. What is good for users is also good for SEO. Google Search Console has a page experience report which monitors page speed for your website and marks them as “Good URLs” for user experience. Good user experience is also SEO ranking factor.
Good user experience makes users happy so google is more likely to send more visitors to your website to keep searchers happy.
When two different pages with the same ranking criteria except page speed are presented to google ranking algorithm it will rank faster pages higher than slower ones.
How to improve website speed?
Website speed depends on multiple factors. Some of them depend on your website hosting, others depend on your website software optimization. To find the exact reason for a slow website there are various online speed test tools.
Every speed measurement tool comes with suggestions on how to fix issues slowing down the tested web page. Read our tutorial for learning every possible speed optimization for WordPress websites.
Now let’s check which online tools are useful for testing page speed.
Best tools to test any website speed
PageSpeed insights by Google
PageSpeed insights uses chrome browser to test how page loads with all related content on it. It records screenshots and shows how much time was spent loading visible elements on the page. Also you will see if there are any content shifts while loading page content. Which is also important for good user experience.
Depending on all measured times PageSpeed tool by Google will score web pages for mobile devices and for desktops. Web page speed score is between 0-100. Where 0-49 score is poor (red colored), 50-89 acceptable (orange colored), 90-100 score good (green colored).
Apart from performance score PageSpeed Insights will measure “Accessibility”, “Best Practices” and on-page “SEO” score. Each score is followed by optimization opportunities and how much each step affects page load speed. It will help to pinpoint the exact reason for slow websites. When you fix those listed issues your page score will improve dramatically.
With PageSpeed insights you can see separate web page speed scores for mobiles and desktops. When your website scores around or above 80 is ok. Do not spend too much time and effort to hit all 100 points in a performance score. It is better to spend those resources creating good content for your website.
- Free tool by Google.
- Can test mobile and desktop views simultaneously.
- Calculates how long it takes to load a page with regular 3G internet connection.
- Shows general site speed using previous automated and manual measurements.
- Integrated to Google Search Console and regularly monitors and reports any website (including WordPress) speed status.
- Scores performance, accessibility, best practices and SEO separately.
- Test done using a single location which cannot be changed.
WebPageTest is another website speed testing tool with additional options. You can test page speed from different locations, different devices and different connections speeds like 3G, 4G, Cable etc. Apart from testing initial page load speed where all assets are loaded WebPageTest allows to test repeat views. For a well optimized website repeat view should load only html documents and all other assets should be used from browser cache.
To eliminate any miscalculations like occasional network problems or websites performing unusual calculations webpagetest performs multiple consecutive tests. So you can see all test results and decide if your web page loads similar across those measurements.
Webpagetest is free with all these features. They have also paid plans starting at 15$ per month for testing from additional locations, retaining test history for multiple months, experiments, API access, integrations with other services.
- Multiple test locations
- Selectable network speed
- Test using different browsers and devices
- Test first view and repeat view.
Depending on test results Gtmetrix will give suggestions regarding improving page speed. You will also see a timeline of page load with notation when each important event happens. Events are Time to First Byte (TTFB), Onload, First Contentful Paint, Largest Contentful Paint, Time to interactive and Fully loaded time.
If you have high TTFB then reduce it by removing some of the slowest plugins.
Aim for shortest Largest Contentful Time when optimizing your web pages.
They have paid subscription if you want to test websites for mobile devices and use different testing locations. Paid subscription also has features to regularly monitor and report website speed.
Tool is free with some minor limitations. Pro plans start from 13$ per month up to 530$ per month.
- Shows performance and structure score
- Web vitals measurements
- Suggestions regarding improving bad timings
- Has only desktop view from single location in free version
Pingdom also offers a website speed test tool for finding bottlenecks for your website. It will score your web page from 0 to 100, show total page size, time to load page and total number of requests. Depending on results, tool will suggest optimization tips with current score for specific measurement.
Pingdom offers multiple test locations.
Uptrends is a website speed test tool which measures website load time with core web vitals, total time to load, total page size with assets, number of all requests. You can choose test criteria like mobile or desktop device, internet connection speed, screen resolution, web browser, geographic test location.
Web page speed test tool takes screenshot when visible elements on page change so you can clearly see what users experience when they visit your website. After completing the test it provides speed optimization recommendation by prioritizing each step’s impact on total page speed.
What is good performance speed for a website?
Generally websites should load within 2 seconds on mobile devices. If it takes longer than 2 seconds site visitors may abandon the website. Nowadays slow websites are not acceptable. If your website takes longer than this time then find what is slowing down your website using speed test tools and fix listed issues.
What is a good Google Site speed score?
Good google site speed score is between 90-100 points. You do not need to do anything when it is a good score. Also pay attention web pages may have different speed scores for mobile and desktop devices. So make sure to check both scores and make website optimizations if the score is poor, in the range of 0-49 points.
How page speed affects SEO?
When page load time increases from 1 second to 3 seconds, the probability of bounce rate increases 32%. Users do not like to wait for slow page load times. Slow pages rank lower in search engine results. Because slow pages and high bounce rate means users are not happy with this website. Slow pages are one of the factors of bad user experience. Page speed is some sort of technical quality of the website. When your website has low technical quality it cannot rank high. This means a slow website is not optimized enough for search engines.
Research conducted by google shows how every additional second to page load time increases the probability of bounce rate.
How many page speed tests should I use?
There is no harm using multiple page speed tests from different services. Each of them provide meaningful metrics with actionable suggestions to improve page speed. Use Google PageSpeed Insights as your main tool for testing web page speed. Because Google PageSpeed Insights measure user experience and are used in SEO rankings. It is also integrated to Google Search Console so you can monitor all pages on your website with automatic user experience reports.
Using multiple reports from different page speed test providers gives the opportunity to check speed from different geographic locations, different network connections (2G,3G, 4G, broadband, fiberoptic etc.), different devices and browsers. Multiple tests can show additional optimization tips that are not visible in other page speed test services.
Testing a WordPress speed is regular task for making sure that your website provides good user experience. Website speed may change over time due to WordPress updates, external scripts (ads, analytics etc.), browser updates or user experience guideline changes.
There are many free online tools to check website and web page speed. We listed the best online tools to check any web page speed. All of them give valuable reports about tested web page with recommendations for optimization.
Also keep an eye on the user experience report in Google Search Console. Make sure to stay within green good status in those reports.
Some of the recommendations in speed checking tools are a bit technical and application varies for each platform. You can apply most speed optimizations for WordPress website easily following our detailed tutorial.
Need more free SEO tools? Check our best list.