GTMetrix Speed Test: Any business that would like to remain competitive on the web and make a good impression on its customers needs a website with a fast-loading speed. Websites that load fast are able to perform better in the search engines like Google and attract more customers. In contrast, a slow website may be responsible for loss of traffic and lack of sales conversions for a business.
When it is about testing a website for page speed and performance, various tools and options are available for the users. GTmetrix speed test tool is one of the great options that can successfully measure a website’s performance. It helps you to get a full-blown analysis of the speed and performance of a website. GTmetrix scores your website based on different metrics and offers improvement recommendations.
If you are worried about the lack of speed and a decreasing page load time of your website, you might want to try a cloud-based speed optimizing tool like PageSpeedy.io. According to them, you will be getting a guaranteed page score of 95+ with Pagespeedy that is trusted by top websites all over the world. We are not an affiliate to PageSpeedy. We got a GTMetrix score of 98 after installing PageSpeedy. Our page speed score used to be 42 before using PageSpeedy.
What is GTmetrix?
GTmetrix is a popular performance analytics tool that can generate a full report on the speed of your website and offers recommendations for improvement. It is easy to use for beginners and has a free basic plan. If anyone wants to use its advanced features like the resource usage graphs, one needs to go to the GTmetrix paid plans.
The results of GTmetrix are consolidated from the Google PageSpeed Insights and YSlow to generate a performance-related report card and recommendations. GTmetrix covers a wide range of metrics, and therefore one may not need to turn towards any other tool for website performance testing.
Different factors to consider when conducting a GTmetrix speed test
It is never easy to perform a speed test because one cannot simply run a solitary test and expect an accurate result to have a helpful insight. The idea is to turn numerous tests and keep many factors in mind to get in-depth analysis. The following are a few factors that need to be considered.
- GTMetrix test locations
Your GTmetrix speed test location and the proximity to your site can play a big role in determining the speed of your website and how well it is performing. It is always advised to choose a location near your target audience and the physical location of the webserver. It will be ideal for you if these two locations are in proximity to each other in order to get a faster loading speed.
If all your target visitors come from a single location, this particular location will be ideal for you to test the website from that location. However, if the audience comes from different places and is spread across the globe, you need to choose four to five testing servers in important locations worldwide.
You can pick a server each from the US, Asia, Europe, and Australia because if your servers are more spread out, you will get more accurate test results. If there is a bad load time from some of the regions, this might indicate that you need to start using Content Delivery Network like PageSpeedy.io which has in-built CDN.
- Devices to test
Most people only test their site for them, and they don’t consider the mobile speed. Nowadays, any site needs to be optimized for mobile devices, as different search engines consider it to be an important ranking factor. It is worth noting that around 50% of the internet traffic is mobile users.
It is for you to test your website across different connection speeds and various devices in order to get the full picture. GTmetrix is able to test multiple connection speeds for free, but you will need to sign up for a premium account for mobile devices.
- Target site pages
If you only test the homepage of your website, it will not be able to reflect its performance fully. For beginners, it might be possible that the homepage doesn’t contain many heavy code scripts compared to the other pages, and therefore, it will make your site appear fast.
Often, there are product pages that tend to rank and attract maximum traffic, which means that the loading speed of the product pages gets more important than the homepage. Therefore, you need to test all the single pages on your website, apart from the homepage.
- Number of tests
The number of tests is the last important factor in the GTmetrix test, and you have to conduct it in a way that the test result gets closer to reality. The test must be completed at different times of the day because the intensity of the web traffic may vary, depending on the time and day. In the case of a shared host, the site speed will depend on the number of resources that the server allocates to the site.
If you want to get the best of the results, it is important to conduct the hourly tests for a minimum of a week. However, it is also possible to gain sufficient insights by running the 5-10 tests for an hour or two. During the course of the days or weeks, your load speed may change, but a number of GTmetrix recommendations may not change with time.
How to use the GTmetrix speed test?
- Basic User Test
The basic user plan is free, and one can visit the main page of the tool, then enter the website URL and quickly get a full analysis. However, it is worth noting that you will be getting little flexibility when you will use the tool as an anonymous guest.
You are forced to use the test location for the basic speed test, which uses an ultra-fast connection speed, and it is done for a desktop chrome browser. You may not be targeting your desired audience, and that is why a basic GTmetrix speed tool will not be able to reveal a clear and precise picture. Therefore, it is always advised to register as a free user and then conduct the test.
- Registered User Test
You are able to customize the following when you register as a free user.
- Test devices
You will be able to test for Chrome and Firefox for free and both for desktop devices. You also have the option of testing Chrome on a Galaxy Nexus Android Device if you have a paid plan.
- Speed of connection
You can get different broadband options down to 56K.
There are different sites from which you can conduct a test. The areas include Sydney, Sao Paulo, Vancouver, Dallas, London, Hong Kong, and Mumbai.
When your free account is created, then you have to enter the URL of your site in the bar/box. According to preferences and requirements, you can select the test format, including your connection speed, location, devices, etc.
Advanced analysis option
You will be shown six different tabs under the advanced analysis option.
With Google PageSpeed Insight, you are able to get a performance score from 0 to 100 for your website and nearly 25 different recommendations for improvement. In order to calculate the data, PageSpeed uses Google Lighthouse.
The data is collected on the basis of Lab data that estimates the performance of the website in a controlled environment based on a number of metrics. The real-world field data capture the actual-world bottlenecks in the performance of a website and the user experience that it offers in reality. Its data is also based on a few metrics.
This is also a website speed testing tool scoring the loading speed of your website and offers a maximum of 15 recommendations for improvement. YSLOW has almost the same factors or metrics as that of PageSpeed. Besides each recommendation, there is an aero, and the aero can be expanded to see the meaning of each recommendation for your website.
A few suggestions are graded to be more important as compared to others, and one can see this under the ‘priority tab. You don’t have to run after the score that every tool is giving to your website. It would help if you were stressing the recommendations displayed by these tools and analysis to understand which suggestions can improve the site’s performance.
- GTmetrix Waterfall chart
You are able to get a deeper insight with the Waterfall chart as you will expose the exact bottlenecks in the loading speed of your website. Although, this chart can be a little tough for beginners to understand. You should be able to understand that every asset of your web page has an HTTP request mode to the site server.
You also have to keep the ‘Request’ tab in mind as it indicates the different assets that your web page has and need to be loaded by the browsers. In order to load each and every asset on your website, a number of steps are involved. Each asset goes through DNS Lookup, connecting, sending, waiting, and receiving.
You will find Waterfall Chart to be the most technical aspect of the GTmetrix speed. But you will be relieved that GTmetrix offers a complete guide on how to read the Waterfall chart in a proper manner. This detailed guide can be found in the Waterfall graph section.
There is a single definition for the page load time, which means that a page gets fully loaded when all of the assets are processed and doesn’t need any more downloading. But in the real world, there might be many ways to help one consider a page to be loaded. Normally a visitor cares about the time that a side takes to display content on the web page.
The users perceive a website to be loaded as soon as something gets visible on the web page, even if it is half of the total assets of the page. This means that the website will be appearing to be loading faster than it actually does.
The video tab is helpful to understand the page loading structure for the visitors by video recording. The video speed can be slowed down by four times in order to identify any problems easily. It is also able to display a filmstrip view that offers a frame-by-frame view of the page load.
With this particular feature, it gets easy to figure out the time it may take for the first content to be visible or if there is any unstyled content like fonts and texts, etc.
This is a very important GTmetrix tab because it helps you to view the results for all of the speed tests that you have conducted. It is worth noting that there is a limit for the free accounts to the number of tests that can be saved. There is an option to compare the old tests with the new ones side-by-side, and this is surely an impressive feature.
Setting up GTmetrix plugin in WordPress
The primary step is to install and activate GTmetrix for your slow WordPress site. After activation, the plugin will be adding a new menu that will be labeled ‘GTmetrix’ in the admin sidebar of WordPress. In order to visit the settings of the plugin page, you will have to click it.
You can also have the option to create a free account to get the API keys, but there is a limited number of requests per day with this free account. However, if you are to use this one website, then you may never run out of credits. You need to sign up for the account by simply going to the GTmetrix test tool website.
In your WordPress dashboard, you can switch back to the GTmetrix plugin settings, enter your account’s email address and the copied API key. When you set up the plugin, you can then run the WordPress performance tests.
By going to the test page, you can quickly test the homepage of your website. You can also run a performance test for any of the pages of your WordPress Website by just entering the URL. For the GTmetrix for WordPress, you can provide your label and then choose your geographic location. It will be ideal if you focus on the locations that are closest to your target audience.
One can get a very comprehensive analysis of the performance of a website with a GTmetrix speed test. A great thing about GTmetrix is that it is an all-in-one solution, and therefore, it can save you from the hassle of testing the site on a number of different tools, compiling reports, and then analyzing what improvements can be made. After using GTmetrix, you will not be looking at any other test speed tools.