Patience is not the average web user’s strongest point. There is little to gain in being the first selected from a search result page if your site takes an agonizingly long time to load, resulting in the user clicking away.
Excessive load time does not create a user-friendly experience and encourage regular use. Methods such as load balancing, compression and caching can aid in efficient operation and taking steps to optimize your site are both beneficial and, in most cases, free.
Here is a list of 12 tools that can help you decrease your website’s load times.
YSlow is a Firefox extension which makes use of the popular web development tool, Firebug, to analyze and inform you why a particular page is slow based on guidelines for high performance sites and provides you with:
1. Performance report card
2. Summary of HTTP/HTML
3. List of page components
4. Tools including JSLint
5. Visit Yahoo! Exceptional performance on YDN
Yslow will analyze any web page and return a grade for each guideline as well as an overall score. YSlow will produce a list of any changes necessary if any improvements are available. YSlow will provide information on cookies in addition to calculating the size of a page in the instance of both primed and empty cache. All page components are listed inclusive of type, URL, expire date, loading time, ETag and HTTP response headers are also available for viewing for each component.
Fiddler 2 is a Web Debugging Proxy which is capable of logging all HTTP(S) traffic between the internet and your computer. It enables you to inspect, set breakpoints and ‘fiddle’ with both in and outbound data. Incorporating a powerful scripting subsystem, it can be extended using any .NET language and has the ability to debug traffic from almost any application.
Monitor.us is a free online service which provides tools to enable monitoring and reporting of site response times and outages as well as resource utilization and tracking of site visitors. You are able to set up automated alerts and compare the effects of changes you make to site efficiency.
Httperf is an open-source tool, the purpose of which is to measure HTTP server performance on Linux. It is an effective benchmarking tool and allows you to create workload simulations to judge whether your site is capable of coping with high-level traffic and whilst maintaining stability. Httperf can also be used it to calculate maximum server capacity, testing it’s limitations by incrementally increasing the quantity of requests made.
Pylot is an open-source performance and scalability testing tool which uses HTTP load testing to judge benchmarking, analyzing, system tuning and make capacity plans. To use Pylot, it is necessary to install Python on the server but it is possible to use XML to produce simulations.
Apache JMeter is a Java desktop tool created to load test and determine performance. It can be utilized to calculate sustainability under heavy load scenarios and judge performance under various load types. It features performance testing across many server types, complete portability and 100% Java purity. It’s multithreaded framework permits simultaneous sampling of various functions by individual thread grouping. JMeter’s well considered GUI design allows for faster operation and more accurate timing. It also provides caching/downtime analysis and is highly extensible.
Another open-source, performance and scalability testing application is PushToTest TestMaker. It has a host of analytical tools and more than capable GUI. Its resource monitor allows you to view CPU, memory and network usage and produce graphical data. Data can also be exported to a spreadsheet.
Wbox will make sequential request at predetermined intervals in order to judge load capability. It can use an HTTP compression command to enable you to analyze your server’s file compression data. It also has a testing tool complete with a command to verify the condition of a virtual domain you may have set up prior to putting it into full action. Wbox supports Windows, Linux and MacOS X.
DBMonster assists in determining how well a database will scale by utilizing auto-generated test data. It is open-source and helps to tune structure and table indexes and test performance capabilities under high load. It supports a wide range of databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle and MSSQL and almost any that support the JDBC driver.
Web Page Analyzer is an easy to use online facility to test site speed and help improve performance. Simply enter the URL and it will calculate page size, compilation and download time. It returns data based on various internet connections and generates recommendations and advice on how to improve load times. An ideal resource for beginners.
Another online resource is Site-Perf.com. It emulates natural browser behavior, downloading a page complete with CSS, JS and other files in order to estimate realistic loading times. It provides real-time data capture and aids in identifying issues such as bottlenecks, page errors etc without the need to register or install anything.
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