web page test.png

A few weeks ago I was browsing around looking for a website benchmark and optimization tool, and in doing so I stumbled across a real gem. WebPageTest.org is what I’ll safely call a powerful set of data that you can quickly pull up about any site. Even better is the fact that you can have it speed test the site from one of a dozen different locations from around the world.

Sounds like a pretty basic test, right? Not at all. If you start to drill into the data you can see all kinds of nitty gritty details. The waterfall will display load times of all the objects, and the optimization checklist tries to point out some areas you might be able to speed up the site (by combining JavaScript files, for example). The URL will process both of those reports twice: one request being made with a clean slate, and the second request makes use of images that are still cached. That way you can examine what the performance may be like for a repeat visitor.

From there you can drill into each of the reports. The waterfall is definitely my favorite because it will also provide details on how long the DNS lookup took for each item, how long the content actually took to download, and a lot more info you probably don’t care about. It even breaks down both the request and response headers for every single item on the page, which can be especially useful when troubleshooting issues.

Oh, and did I mention that you can choose to have screenshots rendered by IE 6, IE 7, IE 8, or IE 9 Beta? Just expand the advanced settings before starting a test, and you can select from one of those 4 browsers. As part of the results you’ll be given a screenshot of what the page looked like after it finished loading.

This is great stuff. 100% free, exportable data, performance review, content breakdown, and so much more. I can’t say enough about how awesome this is, and everyone I’ve shown it to feels the same way.

WebPageTest.org Homepage