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Why You Cannot Always Rely On Web Based Speed Tests
Why You Cannot Always Rely On Web Based Speed Tests

The limitations and risks of relying on browser-based speed tests for website performance evaluation.

Jamie G. avatar
Written by Jamie G.
Updated over a week ago

When it comes to measuring website performance, website speed test tools such as GTMetrix.com have become increasingly popular. These tools promise to give website owners an accurate report on how fast their website loads, but the truth is, these browser-based tests are not always reliable.

GTMetrix

Why Browser-Based Speed Tests Are Not Always Reliable

One of the main reasons why browser-based speed tests can be inaccurate is due to the way they render and load the target site. The test site is loaded from the server, just like a normal web page would be, but it is displayed in an iframe within the test tool. This means that the site is being loaded within a constrained environment, which is not always representative of how the site would load in a real-world scenario.

Furthermore, these types of speed test websites cause high resource spikes that can trigger security measures such as our advanced web application firewall and DDoS protection. This is because the testing bots behave in a way that is similar to a DDoS attack, which can lead to false positives and block the traffic.

Additionally, these tests may not account for the user's geographic location or device type, which can significantly impact website loading times. For example, a website may load quickly for someone in North America but could be very slow for someone in Australia or Africa.

How You Should Test The Actual Speed Of Your Website

To get a more accurate picture of your website's speed, there are several methods you can use. One effective way is to use the LiteSpeed Cache plugin for WordPress, which is designed to improve website performance by caching pages and optimizing the server.

LiteSpeed Cache has a "Page Load Time" widget right on the plugin Dashboard, which provides a real-time snapshot of your website's loading speed. This makes it easy to identify any areas that need improvement and track your progress over time.

LiteSpeed Cache plugin Load Time

Another way to test the speed of your website is to use the developer tools built into your browser. This method is especially useful for identifying specific issues that may be slowing down your website.

To test your website's speed using Chrome or Firefox, press F12 to open the developer tools, then reload the page with the Network tab open. You will see a list of all the resources that were loaded when the page loaded, along with their size and load time. The bottom bar on the Network tab provides a summary of the page's loading speed, including the total time taken to load the page, the size of the page, and the number of requests made.

browser test

In conclusion, while browser-based speed tests like GTMetrix.com can be a useful starting point for assessing your website's performance, they should not be relied upon exclusively. For a more accurate picture of your website's speed, it's best to use a combination of tools as mentioned above. By using these tools, you can identify specific areas for improvement and make changes that will help your website load faster for all users, regardless of their location or device type.

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