Strategy Centre

IRP Procedure for Testing Site Speed

 
  
25 May 2016 12:34
  

The following diagnostic guide will help you pinpoint the cause of your slow loading speed. It proceeds through several, sequential steps; starting with the fundamentals and escalating, when necessary, to more technical analysis. Only once you have exhausted the first four steps should you contact your Systems Integrator.

Step 1 - Test your Internet Connection for capacity

This step will need to be repeated multiple times, at different points in the day. The speed and stability of your internet connection has the biggest impact on the quality of your user experience. http://www.speedtest.net/ reports download/upload speed and your ping.



You need to check these speeds against what your Internet Service Provider has advertised. You can do this by logging into your service provider’s account or contacting them. If your speed-test result is less than the speed you are paying for, this is a problem with your service provider and you will need to contact them directly to resolve it.

Whilst there is no real minimum requirement for speed, below is a graph of the UK average broadband speed (Ofcom, 2016).


 
You want to make sure that bandwidth is not being used on unnecessary things like background downloads, music streaming, or any other non-work related internet usage.

Step 2 - Check your PC hardware and software

Alongside internet connection, your computer is equally important in affecting your user experience. If you don’t know which browser you use, or if it’s up to date, please check here: https://whatbrowser.org/

Our minimum system requirements are:

CPU:            Intel Core i5-2300 2.8 GHz/AMD Phenom II X4 945 3.0 GHz or equivalent

RAM:            8 GB

OS:              Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit OS required)

GPU:            NVIDIA GTX 550 Ti 2GB/AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB or equivalent

Step 3 - Check your Google Analytics

Your Google Analytics account generates site speed information. To see the Site Speed reports you need to sign in to your Analytics account and navigate to your view. Select the Reporting tab and select Behaviour > Site Speed. Google Analytics uses data from a sample of all the devices that access your site, sometimes the speeds will appear longer than they actually are. Certain scripts will continue to load in the background without affecting user experience, but will affect the load time metric.

Step 4 - Optimisation

Slow load times can be caused by bloated file sizes. http://www.webpagetest.org/ is an excellent tool that audits the contents of a website and provides a performance review and content breakdown. It will show you what percentage of your images are compressed and progressive. If this is not nearly 100%, there is some room for improvement. Banners and background images, in particular, are often quite big files.
https://developers.google.com/speed/ tells you clearly and specifically which images to compress, and which type of compression to use. https://kraken.io/ is an image optimiser with an option between lossless and lossy compression.


Step 5 - Ask your SI to check Pingdom for Measured 3rd party performance

If the previous steps have not resolved the problem, we are able to check the site via our monitoring service Pingdom. Pingdom monitors the uptime and performance of all our client sites, and displays the same information in real-time.

Step 6 - IRP Application Issues

The configuration of the site itself is key to ensuring performance is optimised. Too many common tasks running at once, particularly at peak times, can have a negative impact on your site’s performance. In general, you shouldn’t need to change any settings in the admin for your common tasks. This can be discussed with your Account Manager.

Site scripts can, if misconfigured, cause a slowdown on the site. Using unauthorised site scripts is not recommended and may impact performance. Make sure that you contact your your Account Manager if you are wanting to add a script to your site.

Insights are only intended to be used in short bursts as they are resource intensive. If too many insights are left running at the same time, particularly at peak times, this can cause performance degradation.

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