ShowSlow: Monitor Your Site's Performance For Free

ShowSlow: Monitor Your Site's Performance For Free

Being a fast website is important both for SEO and for creating a pleasant experience for your website's visitors. While some of this is can be measured by how long it takes apache to respond, how fast a page renders in modern browsers is a more interesting and accurate way to measure results. There are several great tools out there for not only checking on a site's performance but also giving suggestions for making it load faster. These include Yahoo's YSlow, Google's Page Speed and webpagetest.org and they are all free! Every web admin should use these tools to keep your sites nice and speedy. YSlow was the first available and set the bar for website testing tools. It comes as a firefox (and just recently a chrome) extension and gives a letter grade for the front end performance of a site. It also makes dozens of suggestions for how to improve a site. Google Page Speed was next and tests slightly different items but has some overlap. It also is a firefox plugin and more recently was added to chrome. Page Speed also gives you a grade out of 100 and seems to make slightly better recommendations than YSlow for how to optimize the front end performance. Another great resource that is a bit different is webpagetest.org. It allows you to enter a url and run repetitive front end tests against a website to measure load speed metrics and take a screen shot. You can also run it against different parts of the country to see if there are differences in load times for different regions and browsers. While fundamentally different from YSlow and Page Speed, it fills a similar need for testing front end performance of your website. These tools are all great to use when developing and deploying a site to make sure things were done as optimally as possible. However, they don't provide a great way to continuously monitor and track the scores and suggestions. This is where my new favorite tool comes in. Showslow.com. I first found it while trying to store data from Page Speed and noticed that there were export and "Send to www.showslow.com" options. I had never heard of showslow and so looked it up. Showslow turned out to do what I wanted better than I could have imagined and was free and open source to boot! So what is Showslow.com? Show Slow is an open source tool that helps monitor various website performance metrics over time. It captures the results of YSlow, Page Speed and dynaTrace AJAX Edition (webpagetest.org) rankings and graphs them, to help you understand how various changes to your site affect its performance. All you have to do is go to their site and enter a url. If they haven't already, they will begin running performance metrics from YSlow and Page Speed against your site daily. If they have been running them already you will automatically see the metrics. They will then collect and chart the changes over time. This allows us to make changes to the performance of a site and see what effects it has over time without having to keep track of past scores ourselves. Simply make the changes and see the changes on the chart. Google.com on showslow This fits in nicely with LevelTen's performance optimizations that we are doing for customers. We have had quite a few people coming to us asking for help in making their sites run faster. Sometimes they have absolutely no optimizations turned on at all, even css and js aggregation. Having a tool like Showslow.com will help us show what the impact of our optimizations are. We plug in the site several days before we do any optimizations and then start to work. Once we are done there should be a major increase in scores and decrease in load times. Thus we can quantify what our clients have gotten in the performance improvements. No longer will it just "feel" faster. If you don't have showslow as part of your arsenal yet, I'd highly recommend that you start now. It costs nothing and is easy to use. If you need to keep the data private (although anyone can run the tests against your websites), you can download the source code and run it on your own server. Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nojhan/754257252/

Related Posts

The easiest things make the biggest difference in Drupal site performance

Dustin Currie
Read more

Improve Drupal Website Performance on Shared Hosting

Rachel
Read more

Tuning Drupal Performance on DigitalOcean

Kyle Taylor
Read more

Create a high performance Drupal server for just $30 a month

Randall Knutson
Read more

Easy On-Page SEO Tips That Will Increase Your Website's Rankings

Lauren Davenport
Read more

7 Fundamentals of On-Page SEO

Colin
Read more