One of the many issues that confront the average Webmaster is how to boost site speed and performance. This is a very important issue because Internet speed varies across the globe and Web users are not always very patient when surfing the Web. Not everyone can afford to wait for 5 minutes in order to view a simple Web page. A slow Website is therefore a turn off and could potentially lead to loosing some of the few visitors you already have.
Although there are many expensive software programs out there that can assist a site owner with analysing and managing Web pages, there are also some very good and free tools that can be used to evaluate the speed of your Website. This post will take a look at some of these free speed tools to help you make up your mind depending on your preferences.
Page speed is an open source Firefox/Firebug add-on that evaluates the performance of Web pages and gives suggestions on how improvements can be made. It is affiliated to Google and performs several tests on a site’s server configuration and front-end code to increase the general speed of your Website and save some extra bandwidth and hosting costs.
Google Webmaster Tools shows the speed of your Website as experienced by users, in comparison with other Websites across the globe. I recommend using this tool if you have not yet done so because it provides accurate results that could well be the motivation you need to actually try and improve your site speed. To access the tool, log on to your Google Webmaster site, click on the Labs tab and proceed to Site performance.
The Yahoo! YSlow is a Firefox add-on integrated with the Firebug Web development tool. It analyses Web pages and suggests ways to improve their performance based on a set of rules for high performance Web pages. It also summarises the pages components, display their statistics and provide tools for performance analysis such as Sumsh.it and JSLint.
Zoompf is one of the least known site performance tools on the Internet. It provides a free scan and tells you how to make your website faster by crawling your Website in search of over 300 specific problems associated with slow performing sites.
WebPageTest conducts test on submitted Web sites from the Internet and provides a waterfall of your page load performance as well as a comparison against an optimisation check-list. There is also a desktop version of the PageTest tool which could be beneficial for those who want to test a Web page inside a firewall.
Do you know of any other free speed tools?