Measuring Web Performance
Needless to say, top-notch web performance is crucial for any company, regardless of size.
When monitoring the real-time performance of a website or application, there are a number of measurable data points and operations that should be clearly understood in order to gain an accurate analysis of a site’s performance levels and reliability. It is important to stay on top of these numbers and understand how they affect your most critical business processes. These performance measures can vary depending upon the nature of the website, but the basic parameters remain the same.
Load testing and performance monitoring solutions provide crucial insight into the following measurements (among many others, of course).
What Data Points Should you be Monitoring?
Uptime measures the availability of a website over a period of time. This is the most important parameter to assess during monitoring. In an ideal situation, the availability/uptime of the website is checked continuously from different parts of the world. Uptime is measured as a percentage and is a critical component of SLAs.
Landing page speed
The average customer’s expectation is for your page to load in the blink of an eye. If this expectation isn’t met, they are likely to shift away quickly — often to a competitor’s site. Testing the load time of your landing pages is critical and increases your chances of making a good first impression.
Keep in mind that most landing pages feature some kind of form or call to action that may lead a visitor through a few steps (or even web pages) before that user has converted. Use an advanced scripting and testing tool like ZebraTester to record the necessary steps a user would take and thoroughly test the flow.
Full page load time
When measuring web performance, it is important to measure the load time of a complete page along with all of its integrated components. These components can be images, videos, third party plug-ins, dynamic content, etc. Full page load time is one of the most important operations to monitor, as it will help you take the appropriate strategy for your content distribution and delivery.
Global response times
As the name suggests, global response times determine your site’s performance from different locations around the world. Global response time is another crucial measure, especially if you see a lot of traffic from abroad.
Website traffic load
Measuring how your website responds to an increase in web traffic will help to define your maximum load capacity and general performance under stress. This measure should be monitored regularly and tested thoroughly before seasonal traffic spikes or a new launch. It will help you design the infrastructure components of your site and determine how best to move forward with a load balancing solution (if necessary).
Tip: Make sure you thoroughly test a website even after utilizing a load balancing service – just because load balancing is implemented, doesn’t mean it will function as anticipated.
CPU load (web server)
CPU usage is another important performance measure to monitor. Monitoring software should be used regularly to check the usage pattern.
Since your content may be distributed across different databases, monitoring their performance will help you understand their response, and how this factors into your overall web performance.