Website Speed Optimization and Free Website Speed Test Tools of 2018

List of Website Speed Test Tools

Now that you have a basic understanding of the web performance concepts above, check out these 15 free tools below for testing your website’s speed. Each of them offers their own unique features, reporting, and different ways to dissect your results.

Note: It is also important to realize when running tools like these that a 1st time DNS lookup will usually be slower. If you are comparing total load times it is sometimes better to run tests multiple times and take an average of the results.

In a nutshell, having a slow website will negatively impact the following:

  • Traffic and page views
  • Conversions
  • Sales
  • Brand image and perception in the mind of your visitors

1. KeyCDN Website Speed Test

KeyCDN built a fast and lightweight website speed test tool which you can use to get detailed insights on how your website performs. If offers 14 locations to choose from around the globe, and you have the option of making your test results private or public. The test includes a waterfall breakdown and a visual website preview at the bottom. You can quickly see how many HTTP requests were made, the full size of the page requested, and the load time.

It is also one of the only tools besides PageSpeed that is responsive and works great on mobile devices.

2. Google PageSpeed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights is a website speed test tool that grades your website on a scale of 1 – 100. The higher the number the better optimized your site is. Anything above an 85 indicates that your website is performing well. PageSpeed gives you reports for both the desktop and mobile versions of your site. You can view recommendations for improvements such as you need to minify CSS or optimize your images.

PageSpeed Insights measures how the page can improve its performance on:

time to above-the-fold load: Elapsed time from the moment a user requests a new page and to the moment the above-the-fold content is rendered by the browser.
time to full page load: Elapsed time from the moment a user requests a new page to the moment the page is fully rendered by the browser.

A mobile report includes an extra category called “User Experience” that is included in the scoring of your site. This includes checking your viewport configuration, size of your tap targets (buttons and links), and also eligible font sizes.

The PageSpeed Insights team also recently launched a new website speed test tool on “think with Google” which you might want to check out. One nice feature is the beautiful reports that it generates. Can be great for sending to clients.

3. Pingdom Speed Test

Pingdom is probably one of the more well-known website speed test tools. Their reports are divided into four different sections which include a waterfall breakdown, performance grade, page analysis, and history.

The page analysis offers a great overview with additional information such as a size analysis, size per domain (you can easily compare your CDN assets size vs your domain), the number of requests per domain, and what type of content had the most requests.

Pingdom’s speed test tool also allows you to test your website’s speed from four main locations including:

  • Dallas, Texas, USA,
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • San Jose, California, USA
  • Stockholm, Sweden

The results of a Pingdom speed test provide you with performance insights, similar to Google PagesSpeed Insights, which outline where can you make improvements. The results also break down the page size by content type, page size by domain, requests by content type, and requests by domain.

4. GTmetrix

GTmetrix goes into great detail as it checks both PageSpeed and YSlow metrics, assigning your site a grade from F to A. It’s reports are divided into five different sections including PageSpeed, YSlow, waterfall breakdown, video, and history.

With a free registration, you can test from seven different locations. They also let you choose the browser, Chrome vs Firefox. You can test and compare website performance against various connection types (like Cable vs dial-up) to see how it affects your page loads. Other advanced features include a video playback to analyze where your bottleneck is occurring and also the ability to run Adblock plus. With ads disabled you can see how they affect the loading of your site.

Note: It is recommended to make a free account as you will get additional options, such as those mentioned above.

5. WebPageTest

WebPageTest is very similar to some of the previous tools mentioned but has over 40 locations to choose from and over 25 browsers (including mobile). It assigns you a grade from F to A based on different performance tests such as FTTB, compression, caching, effective use of a CDN, etc. It’s report is divided into six sections which include a summary, details, performance review, content breakdown, and screen shots.

It also offers a unique approach on the test. It runs what they call a first view and a repeat view. This helps to diagnose what maybe be a 1st time DNS lookup delay as mentioned earlier. WebPageTest has more advanced features as well such as video capture, disabling Javascript, ignoring SSL certificates, and spoofing user agent strings.

6. Varvy Pagespeed Optimization

Varvy Pagespeed Optimization is a tool developed and maintained by Patrick Sexton, who also created, which is now known as Moz Local.

The reports are broken into 5 different sections including a resource diagram, css delivery, javascript usage, page speed issues found, and services used. This tool uses more of a graphical representation of what could be fixed on your site, such as render blocking.

Patrick does a great job of also including documentation on how to further optimize your site with tutorials on critical render path, leveraging browser caching, defer loading javascript, and much more.

7. Uptrends

Uptrends is pretty basic but they do offer over 35 locations to choose from when running your speed test. Their report is broken up into two sections, a waterfall breakdown and domain groups. The domain groups offers a unique perspective as it categorizes the resources into different sources: 1st party, statistics, CDN, social, ads, first party overall, and third party overall.

8. dotcom-monitor

dotcom-monitor offers 23 different locations and seven different browsers in which you can run your website speed test. Their unique feature is that you can run all geographical tests simultaneously. This can save you a lot of time, as every other tool you have to run them individually per location. You can then click into each individual report and or waterfall breakdown.

Their reports are divided into five different sections which include a summary, performance, waterfall chart (breakdown), host, and errors.

9. PageScoring

PageScoring is all about offering a simple and easy to understand performance report with a minimalist design. They show your overall load time and then the following pieces of information:

  • Domain lookups
  • Connection Time
  • Redirection Time
  • Page Size
  • Download Time

You can then see your assets and how long it took for each to load. If you are looking for a quick and easy website speed test tool, this works pretty good.

10. Yellow Lab Tools

Yellow Lab Tools is a newer web performance and front-end quality testing tool developed by Gaël Métais. This tool gives you a lot of information and some unique features not seen in other tools such as a view of when JavaScript interactions with the DOM during the loading of the page and other code validation issues. Get a global score based on the following qualifiers.

  • Page weight
  • Requests
  • DOM
  • Bad Javascript
  • Bad CSS
  • Server Config

The JavaScript timeline shows you exactly how the DOM interacts during the loading of the page.

yellow lab tools javascript timeline.

11. Google Chrome DevTools

And of course we can’t forget Google Chrome DevTools. It is a very easy to use tool (with advanced features) and you can quickly launch it at anytime in your Chrome broswer using the following shortcut keys.

Windows: F12 or also Ctrl + Shift + I
Mac: Cmd + Opt + I

With the latest developer tools update, they have added an aggregated details panel into the waterfall timeline. This allows you to more easily see what is costing you the most time, and you can then break it down by domains, sub-domains, etc. To run this click into the “Timeline” panel and press Ctrl + R (Cmd + R) to refresh the page. You can then click into the “Summary” panel and “Aggregated” details panel.

We also have a great post on what is blocking the DOM and how to fix it. In the developer tools, you can see exactly the DOMContentLoaded time and the total load time. To run this click into the “Network” panel, click on the “Show Overview” option and press Ctrl + R (Cmd + R) to refresh the page. A blue line will show up for DOMContentLoaded and a red line for total load time. Normally everything that is left of or touching the blue line are assets that are blocking the DOM, or also referred to as render blocking resources.

12. Sucuri Load Time Tester

The Sucuri Load Time Tester provides a quick and easy way to test the performance of your sites from around the globe. It will give you a global performance grade, from an A to F. The test measures how long it takes to connect to your site and for one page to fully load. A very important value to pay attention to is the “time to first byte”, which gives you how long it took for the content to be sent back to the browser to start processing the page.

13. Pagelocity

The Pagelocity tool offers another unique approach when it comes to a website speed test. It gives you a total score out of 100, consisting of factors such as social, SEO, resources, and code. The tool also offers the ability to track your competitors. You can signup for a free account to benefit from the additional features. The code view is especially unique as it will show you if your site is running over HTTPS, what your TTFB is, and a graphical interface of your DOM elements with a bar chart.

The resources view is also quite interesting as you can quickly see which assets are making up your total page weight. As you can see in our test images are more than 4x that of our external scripts.

14. YSlow

YSlow is an open source project and tool that analyzes web pages and helps you figure out why they are slow based on Yahoo!’s rules for high performance websites. It is currently maintained by Marcel Duran, who is also involved in the WebPageTest project. YSlow operates in three steps to get its performance test results:

  • YSlow crawls the DOM to find all components (image, scripts, etc.).
  • YSlow gets information about each component size (gzip, expire headers, etc.)
  • YSlow takes the data and generates a grade for each rule, which in turn gives you an overall grade.

YSlow has 23 different rules that it runs your website against to grade it, as seen in the example test below. You can use the free YSlow chrome extension or get the YSlow results from GTMetrix. Make sure to check out our in-depth tutorial on how to improve your YSlow score.

yslow score test results

15. PerfTool

PerfTool is an open source client side performance tool project, hosted on Github. It collects various information about your website and displays it in an easy-to-digest manner on a reports page. It combines three data sources in one, PageSpeed Insights, devperf, and W3CJS. In total it gives you over 200 different performance indicators.

One big advantage with the PerfTool is that you can run multiple pages tests at the same time for Google PageSpeed Insights report. Then, compare website performance results from previous tests, set score threshold and get detailed report about your tests. This can actually save you a lot of time if you are benchmarking your entire site’s web performance, as you don’t have to test your pages one by one.

16. Webpage Analyzer

This tool gives you information on your page size and website download time, and it offers suggestions on how to improve your site load time.

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