I’ve rounded up 15 website performance testing tools to help you make your web site blazing fast.
At the time of testing, all of these tools were free and did not require any web site testing software to be installed. You simply supply your URL and your website performance test is underway.
Some tools, like Webpagetest and LoadImpact, are very robust, while others like Redbot and Alertra just provide simple checks. I use many of these tools every week when optimizing servers to give the best website performance.
WebPageTest is my favorite website performance tool for quickly testing what is wrong with a slow loading site. The tool includes waterfall charts, compression and caching testing. Best of all you can run both initial and repeat views as well as run multiple tests to average out results.
Waterfall charts break down each individual component so you can spot what’s slowing down your site.
This is another excellent tool similar to the one above. Many people like it because you get your Google PageSpeed Grade and your Yslow Grades. This can make it easy to show improvements to clients. I recommend this tool if you are mainly looking to improve front-end performance.
Pingdom provides excellent monitoring services but they also include a free full page performance testing tool. The main report is a waterfall view your sites load times. They also include some scoring. This performance tool runs very quickly, so you don’t wait long for the results.
Also, I find the report layout easy to use. They make it very easy to grab response headers on a per HTTP request basis. This can be beneficial if you are fine tuning HTTP response headers to improve performance.
This tool has been around for ages, but is very useful if you need to test from multiple locations. There’s probably more than 100 locations available to choose from.
They link each poor test result to an explanation about why it is important. This is great when you have to explain an issue to someone not familiar with web site performance optimization.
Google Page Speed Insights
They provide both mobile and desktop testing. Interestingly, they default to the mobile view. More and more people consume content on mobile devices, so make sure your site is mobile ready.
Test your site’s performance from 20 locations with just one click. I like this tool because it does full browser testing – not just a HTTP get request like some other tools. They include waterfall charts from all 20 locations! This is great if you have customer complaining about slow site speeds but you cannot replicate the issue. Sometimes network issues can wreck a site’s performance but make it difficult for you to detect without monitoring from multiple locations.
Alertra’s SpotCheck tool is great to get a quick up or down response from multiple locations. I often use this to quickly test sites when clients report issues. Generally if Alertra’s test show no issues the problem is highly isolated to a specific region or something specific to the customer’s actions.
This is a fun little tool to simply see which site loads faster. Put two URLs into their form and press go. May be useful in doing quick tests between sites or showing a client how much faster a site could be with different hosting.
Load Impact provides load testing and monitoring. You can get a free basic test or sign up for more in-depth testing. They will test from multiple locations and then deliver a report about your site’s performance. The metrics are very details and from multiple locations. This is probably one of the better free, mulitple-location web performance testing tools.
This is a great little tool to check HTTP headers. You would be surprised at how many websites have poorly formed headers. Bad headers can ruin caching, CDN effectiveness and even cause the wrong pages to show to mobile browsers. I use this tool to easily show customers what headers are being sent by their site. If the headers are being set by the application, they can then forward this to their developers to get the issue resolved.
This basically provides a quick check of your sites download time from 30+ locations. Will not allow you to dig into deeper web performance issues but can certainly help spot network issues that are impacting page load times.
OctaGate Site Time
This is not a general performance tool but a tool we use. You can manage multiple WP sites from a single location. This is vital if security and performance are important to you. So instead of logging into dozens of WP dashboards, you have all of your info in one place.