How Performance Impacts the User Experience

Today’s consumers have little patience for slow loading web pages. The world has become a fast-paced environment and end users expect fast page performance. In a 2006, Akamai did a study and found clients expected a page to load in less than 4 seconds. According to a study done in 2009 by Akamai, 47% of customers expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less. Customers doubled their expectations in 3 years. It’s clear that these expectations are increasing over time.

In today’s web page environment, ad revenue can help the bottom-line, but if your web page is rich in JavaScript, it may slow your load time considerably. When website performance does not meet the customer’s expectations, it is easy enough for them to go to your competitor’s site isntead. By using external JavaScript and CSS the browser only has to load the resources once and then they are held in the browser’s cache. QuBit did a study in 2012 and found that out of 60,000 customers, 8% of them said that they abandoned a purchase due to pages loading to slowly. Many never return.

Analytics applications are a great way for you to analyze data and tell you about traffic your website is getting and locations hits are coming from. This is a great tool to measure your sites traffic; however, some web sites use more than one analytics application and the result is slower loading times. Some search engines have been tracking site speed as part of their ranking for the last two years.  They’v found that when they slowed search results down by between 100 and 400 milliseconds, it also slowed the number of searches per user. The results were -.02% to -.06% over a four to six week period.

Bloated HTML is another source of slow website speed. This means too much code for the browser to read quickly. Tables are a source of bloated HTML. WYSIWYG editors can also contribute to bloated code. If you are building the code using the visual view, it can create a lot of extra code. Use the code view to do your editing and avoid unnecessary code. Following this rule, you will avoid adding garbage code to your page that will slow it down. Importing Microsoft Word documents converted to HTML can also add bloated HTML by adding extra lines that a browser has to read when it loads a page.

Another performance killer is a page that is image heavy and has images that have not been compressed or resized. It is better to resize the image in an image-editing program than to use HTML code to size it using width and height attributes within the HTML code. There have been many studies done that prove that site performance affects the user experience. When it comes down to the revenue you could be losing if your site doesn’t perform well – you should make it your goal to improve your sites performance.

Testing Your Web Applications for Speed and Performance

The internet is a powerful tool many of us use for both personal and professional reasons. Because of this, you always want your computer and website speed to be up to par for optimum usage. Many internet users encounter performance issues that can cause your internet to slow down and become unresponsive. Fortunately there are different sites you can use in order to test your speed and trouble shoot technical problems.

Some ways of running a speed test may be offered  by your internet service provider (ISP), while others are available through third party web sites. One thing you want to make a note of is what the speed test actually measures. Internet speed tests can test the bandwidth on different connections such as broadband, cable, and DSL modems. This is tested by analyzing the ping, download speed and upload speed. As you conduct a speed test, make sure you look for error messages and codes that may appear due to computer security settings such as firewalls or website blocks.

As you conduct your speed test, be aware of the device in which packets of data are submitted through. You must also consider the technology used to transmit the data. As stated earlier pay attention to what the speed test is assessing. A few terms to take note of are QOS, RTT, and Max Pause. QOS refers to the consistent download capacity provided by your internet service provider. The more capacity you have or the higher your QOS, and the better your internet connection is. A high QOS score will allow you to access high traffic applications such as Citrix. A score of >=80 or higher is good. RTT refers to round trip time. This reports time in milliseconds it takes to submit small data packets into the speed test. In other words, this shows how long it takes for a signal to be sent and the time it takes for an acknowledgment of that signal being received. The less round trip time results in higher broadband speeds. Max Pause refers to the longest pause that occurred during the speed test data download. This only implicates minor delays and speed congestion’s that may occur due to your connection.

Get started by simply searching for speed testing websites in a search query. Just by browsing, you will notice different sites are designed to test certain devices. Always go with the site your device is compatible with. In addition try using a free website to test your PC rather than paying for services. Search for reviews associated with that particular web site. There are dozens of sites available. Also, attempt to do basic cleaning of your PC. This means deleting browsing history and disabling unused applications. Now, on the other hand, if you’re looking to measure the performance of a web application, you’ll need to do that using a more specialized tool that’s made exclusively to handle web application monitoring. Dot-Com Monitor has a good little suite of tools for that. Their tool has a wide range of options including flash-based monitoring. If you’re looking for a more limited tool that’s a bit less robust but may have a shorter learning curve and is a bet more inexpensive, then Website Pulse has a good alternative.

In conclusion, in order to assess your PC’s performance, conduct a website speed test. Always do your research to determine the measurement basis for the test because every seed test is not the same. The results from the test should specify the tactics used to conduct the test, otherwise the results have no purpose. The testing tactic must align to the application profile for the results to have purpose when testing the performance expectation of an application. Always check for connectivity issues and schedule routing PC maintenance to get the best results.

Common Reasons Why Your Website is Running Slow

There are many reasons as to why your website may be running slow. This article will outline some of the most common causes. Some reasons are more easily resolved than others, but knowing how to identify the most likely causes of poor website performance can help in resolving them faster.

One major cause of poor performance of a website is subpar server performance. If the host of your website doesn’t have quality server equipment, your website’s performance may lack because of it. Many hosts, especially those that offer free or inexpensive hosting, place more clients on their individual servers than their servers can actually handle. This is known as “overselling” and often causes a bog-down of speeds for all websites hosted on that particular server. Web hosting companies tend to do this to save money, even though their level of service suffers because of it.

On top of poor server performance, your website may run slowly because of pages that haven’t been optimized. Poorly written HTML and CSS code can cause bottlenecks when a browser attempts to generate your pages. Be sure to read over your code and remove any unnecessary elements. There are tools you can utilize to make sure your code is compliant with the most recent W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) standards. Running a website speed test is one way to check for those bottlenecks.

A speed test also examines file size, which may cause performance issues. Large images and other files, that haven’t been optimized for the web, can slow down your website. If you were to display a 5MB image on one of your pages, and a visitor’s internet connection maxed out at 1Mb/s, keeping in mind that there are 8Mb in 1MB, it would take that visitor a minimum of 40 seconds to load the image alone. If the image were to be optimized for the web, the same visitor could load the image in a fraction of a second. Take a look at this article for more information on scaling down embedded images.

Along with images, externally embedded media on your website may also cause performance issues. Embedded audio, video and flash files are the most common types of media that can be embedded on your website. If the server the media is stored on suffers from performance issues, your website’s performance may be compromised because of it. Embedded flash files are notoriously slow to load, due to file size and poor handling on the part of the user’s browser. If a user has a version of flash installed on their computer that isn’t supported by the flash media you have embedded, your website may not resolve or errors may occur.

All in all, most performance issues that can occur on your website are generally easy to resolve. Using the tools available to you from around the web can help in minimizing their effect.

SLA Agreements: Guarantees of Performance

Obviously Joomla users care about performance, and one often times people are so fixated on page load speed and other performance issues that they forget about basic uptime altogether. Think about that for a minute; if your site isn’t online, then it doesn’t really matter how fast the page loads, does it? Exactly. And if you’re not hosting your own website and are paying a web host, then it’s likely that your agreements are bound by a Service Level Agreement, also known as an SLA. What an SLA does is specify the relationship between you and the web host, and lays out specific terms that both parties are bound to in terms of the business relationship. Generally though, an SLA is something that mainly stipulates at what frequency the web host must be online, and what will happen if they aren’t.

For example, many SLAs stipulate that the web hosting provider must offer 99.9& uptime or more. If they don’t they are bound by whatever the terms of the SLA are. For some people, this might be a credit on their bill, or something similar. One of the main things to think about here is that in order to make a claim against the SLA, you might want to have some third party data. If you don’t, you might be at the mercy of whatever your web host is willing to give you in terms of a credit. A third party monitoring solution can help you determine how long your site was up or down be querying your server at specified intervals and recording whether the site is up or down. After a specific amount of time (such as a month), you an generate a report that charts out the statistics of your site. Employing an SLA Management solution like this can be extremely valuable in situations where your web host doesn’t agree with your assessment of the situation.

There are a number of different vendors that offer services like this, including Pingdom and Site24x7, as well as many others. And like anything else, pricing and other factors vary between various vendors. Obviously, one of the best ways to find out which service works the best for you is to try difference providers, and vet them against each other, until you’ve arrived at a solution that works best for you and your specific needs. Again, although it’s not something that people commonly think about, managing the terms of your SLA can be crucial to running a reliable website that exceeds the expectations of users.