If you are not using performance analysis tools in your development process, I highly recommend it. Tools are what take something good and make it great (including you). The main thing these tools focus on is page load time and caching performance. Reducing bandwidth also results in cost savings. Often times the ‘problems’ these tools uncover are easy to fix.
The original innovator in this area was YSlow which started in 2007, backed by Yahoo!. YSlow is open source and operates as Chrome and Firefox plugins.
This site gets a B performance grade. I can live with that. Everything I’m getting an ‘F’ on is either out of my control or overkill for a personal blog. For example, gzip is now allowed with this hosting plan. The gravatar images don’t have an expires header set (that amazes me). Also, I’m not going to the trouble of setting up a CDN to serve images for my blog.
I was able to address the Etags and most of the Expires Header warnings by adding this to .htaccess:
Alternatives to YSlow:
Pingdom Site Tools:
What I love about this tool is it captures DNS lag time in addition to download and processing time from up to 3 different geographically distant servers. I’m a fan/customer of pingdom’s alert service. There is a checkbox to make the results private.
Other Site Analysis Tools:
- http://gtmetrix.com -> Very similar to YSlow and Pingtom Tools
http://www.webpagetest.org -> More of a network / file size analysis.
http://www.showslow.com/ – results are generally public but you can download and run this program on your own server if you want. Very useful if you have lots of websites to check and want to automate that process.
Going beyond just page load time:
- HTML validation should be a pre-commit step.
- I generally use the HTML Validator plugin in Firefox.
- An online version is here: http://validator.w3.org/
- Combines site speed test, ranking, SEO evaluation, social media evaluation, HTML validation. Woo is right, but you only get to run one site evaluation per week for free (bah)…
- I’m impressed, but it is spendy.
Other tools I have bookmarked or use on a regular basis:
- http://www.sslshopper.com/ssl-checker.html -> If you are getting an SSL warning or something is off with your SSL certificate, this SSL cert checker is very helpful.
- http://dnscheck.pingdom.com/ -> Another one by pingdom to check DNS health.
- http://www.alexa.com/ -> Website ranking site, can be fun / insightful to find out how highly ranked a given site is.
- Check out this free hosting monitoring service.