Cool Tool Tuesday: the Pingdom and the Power

The phrase “what a slow website” has never been used as a compliment. In fact, you could be losing customers for every 0.1 seconds extra your website takes to load.

But what can you do to speed up your more sluggish sections? Instead of asking our blog rhetorical questions, you can find the answers with Pingdom’s free speed test tool.

Faster than a speeding browser

It really couldn’t be any easier – just plug in your website’s URL and Pingdom will perform a quick test of everything from initial server response speed to page load completion.

Your easy-to-understand test results includes:

  • Total page size, in megabytes
  • Total load time, in (hopefully) seconds
  • Number of server requests made
  • A Pingdrom performance score

This is a great overview that can immediately let you know how “normal” any site’s loading speed is, as well as objective measurements of how it stacks up against the rest of the web.

An avalanche of data

The results are in… but what if you already knew that your domain was dragging? You want to know why. That’s where the page load waterfall comes in. This exceedingly detailed section breaks down exactly how long every microstep of your site’s loading took.

Server chatter, scripts, images, and other elements are all color-coded and plotted out in chronological order so you can see exactly what’s taking so long. You may discover you forgot to compress a particularly large product image, or that some of your Java is fizzing out. Or maybe it’s not your fault at all – and that your hosting service owes you an explanation for their terrible response times.

Click through to the advanced tabs and you’ll get even more information. The Performance Grade section gives you some hints on where you can streamline site processes for consistently fast browsing. The Page Analysis section provides a summary of the types of content on your site, as well as a list of errors encountered while loading them. And the History section lays out graphs of how your page’s performance has changed between tests.

Leaving the lights on

This page load tool is great for checking your site, but you can’t sit in front of the PC 24 hours a day with a finger on the refresh button. That’s where Pingdom’s performance monitoring service comes in.

Set up the service with the URLs of your choice and Pingdom will test them once a minute, every minute, every day. You’ll be instantly notified if something goes wrong (your choice of what constitutes “wrong”) via text, email, or tweet. And while this service can get a bit pricey, the starter subscription –good for one domain– is completely free.

A good start

There are much more powerful performance analysis tools out there, but few are as affordable as Pingdom’s zero-dollar offering. Give it a shot and get your site’s vitals now.


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