On the fence about testing your website’s speed?
Well, the speed of your site determines the success and growth of your site. A slow loading site or a slow page load will result in severe consequences. From bad SEO rankings to losing potential leads, everything depends on the speed of your site.
GTmetrix is a robust speed test tool that allows you to test your site’s speed, gives you recommendations, and provides analytics tools to improve its performance.
However, testing speed can be challenging. Whether you have a business website or a personal blog, GTmetrix is an excellent tool for conducting a site speed test.
In this article, we will walk you through the entire process and give you detailed insights into how you can use GTmetrix effectively and improve your website’s speed.
So, let’s dive into the details.
What is GTmetrix?
GTmetrix is one of the most popular and reliable speed testing tools. Since speed tests are crucial, GTmetrix provides accurate results by testing your site’s speed.
Once you start the GTmetrix speed test, it analyzes your WordPress site performance, reveals any concerning issues, and provides tips to make sure that your website runs efficiently.
This speed testing tool is fully loaded with all the necessary tools you need and breaks down your total page size to give a summarized report.
GTmetrix displays results from YSlow and Google PageSpeed Insights and give tips for faster website performance.
Furthermore, GTmetrix enables you to set up alerts by which you can get notified immediately if your site is performing slow, along with a detailed report of the issue.
Additionally, the tool is free to use. However, you can take advantage of GTmetrix Pro starting at $10 per year.
The free version comes with little restriction, but the premium version gives you additional features such as global monitoring, top-notch performance monitoring, testing for mobile, premium test locations, more on-demand tests, and more.
Once you get the test results, you can ensure a lightning fast-performing WordPress site. Furthermore, GTmetrix provides a 30-day money-back guarantee on the premium plans.
If you are unsatisfied with the site load times test results or other issues, you can reach out to the team, and they will refund your money. Sounds as pleasing as it looks, doesn’t it?
Factors to Consider While Measuring Your Website Speed
Before you start using Gtmetrix and run a site speed performance test, you need to make sure that you get accurate results.
The primary purpose of testing is to get precise information about your site’s performance. An accurate result will further help you in decision-making about what needs to change.
Therefore, let’s look at the parameters you need to consider while running your website speed test.
- Multiple tests: Making changes based on the results of one test does not make sense because the results can vary due to various factors, including traffic. Therefore, we recommend conducting multiple tests at different intervals for better accuracy.
- Location of the test: Location plays a vital role in the test results. Therefore, if your website has a local audience, you should set the nearest location for conducting the GTmetrix speed test. However, if you have a global audience, you must perform the test with various regions around the world near your visitors. This will ensure that you get accurate results.
- Test subjects: Undoubtedly, testing your entire site is excellent. However, you must test multiple pages and posts for the greatest accuracy. Testing individual posts and product pages will give you an in-depth analysis of which pages or posts need to be optimized.
All the factors mentioned above are crucial to get accurate data. However, your primary purpose should be to improve your site’s performance rather than focusing on the test’s score. To make a positive impact, consider the above factors.
How to Easily Run a Speed Test With GTmetrix
Using the GTmetrix tool is no rocket science. The easiest and quickest way to run a GTmetrix speed test is by visiting the GTmetrix homepage and pasting in the URL of your site.
Once you have pasted the URL, click on the Test your site option.
However, we would suggest that you register for a free GTmetrix account before doing the test. Doing this will allow you to configure settings.
If you run a test using the public version, your speed test will use different configuration settings such as from different tests from various test locations, for example from Vancouver, Canada using a desktop Chrome browser and an unthrottled connection.
Therefore, we recommend signing up for an account, or else you won’t be able to change the location. Once you sign in to the account, you get the option to choose between six various test locations, which are:
- Dallas, USA
- Mumbai, India
- London, UK
- Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Hong Kong, China
- Sydney, Australia
Besides changing the location, you also get the option to change the connection speed and mobile test device. Additionally, you can explore the analysis options to understand the functionalities of your GTmetrix speed test.
GTmetrix also gives you the chance to present a video of your homepage loads and options to avoid ads on the testing pages.
When you are done changing the configurations, you can run the test by clicking on Analyze. Once the test is done, you will see the results on your screen for page loading time and a performance score.
Below the score and page load time, you will see a detailed result with six different tabs that we will learn about in the next section.
A Detailed Guide to the Advanced Analysis Options of GTmetrix
Getting a basic snapshot of your site’s performance is excellent. However, the six tabs give in-depth insights into your website.
All six tabs contain crucial information about your site’s performance. Additionally, each of these tabs comes with multiple suggestions to improve performance. Let’s have a look at these six tabs.
PageSpeed is a default tab after the GTmetrix speed test. The tab offers suggestions using Google’s PageSpeed rules including image dimensions, leverage browser caching, and minifying HTML. For each of the 26 rules, your score ranges from 0-100.
These individual scores are then added up to generate an overall score for your site. You can click on the arrow to provide additional details about the element causing trouble to your website’s performance.
Remember, some of the suggestions are more crucial than others, which you can assess quickly using the priority column.
One of the most vital things to remember is not to chase the percentage. Sometimes they can be misleading. Instead, you need to focus on the load speed given in seconds.
Your main goal is to reduce the seconds rather than going after the percentage. Another critical point to remember is that you can have a blazing-fast website speed without getting the perfect score.
YSlow is similar to PageSpeed as it provides various recommendations to improve the website’s speed. However, the suggestions provided by the YSlow tabs are different than for PageSpeed. The set of rules is shorter and different.
YSlow tab uses 19 sets of rules, and similar to PageSpeed, you get scored based on each role. These scores are then weighed out on the average of each score. Similarly, you can click on the arrow to learn the details of each rule.
Remember, once again, your website can provide 100% faster loading times yet face low scores. This should not be a concern for you; therefore, we highly recommend focusing on the page loading time seconds.
The Waterfall is one of the most useful tools that can help you understand your website’s speed. The waterfall chart gives you insights on how long every resource on your website took to load and on every HTTP request.
When you examine this tab, you can better understand which resource needs to be optimized.
Consider this example: if your image file is taking a little longer to load, you can optimize your images using an image optimizer tool to reduce the size and improve loading time.
Additionally, if the test summary box says 25 requests, you will have 25 different waterfall entries, and it needs to load 25 different assets.
Every bar on the website displays how long each asset took and all the steps involved. The possible steps each asset goes through are DNS lookup, connecting, blocking, sending, waiting, and receiving.
Depending on this information, you can make assumptions about the workings of your website. Although the waterfall chart is the most technical aspect of the test section, it is one of the most helpful ones.
The timing tab is another crucial tab that gives you detailed insights into how and when your page loads. The timing tab makes it easier to visualize compared to the waterfall tab.
While most users think of page load time as a single metric, there are various definitions for when you can determine your page ‘fully-loaded’.
With this tab, you can investigate various performance metrics such as First Paint, DOM interactive, onload, TTFB, First Contentful Paint, and DOM loaded.
Additionally, the tab also gives you detailed information for each metric, which is exceptionally helpful. However, you won’t be able to get this report if you do not register for the free GTmetrix account.
The video tab is another essential tab that enables you to understand how your site loads for your users. With the video tab’s help, you will be able to see the entire page loading process.
This enables you to understand which page is taking more loading time visually.
You can slow down the video speed to ¼ to quickly see how the content shifts. You can also see if there are glitches when the page loads.
To take the video recording of the process, all you need to do is register for the free GTmetrix account and enable the Create Video setting when running the test.
This feature is useful to optimize the performance of your website. Additionally, the video feature allows you to immediately catch various issues that won’t be possible if you do not visually see the process.
Moreover, GTmetrix also gives you the option to download the video.
As we mentioned previously, you need to test your site multiple times rather than relying on just one test. Therefore, the history tab comes in handy to see previous results so you can analyze how your site’s performance has changed over the tests.
The tests are stored for 30 days and deleted after that. For example, if you are making any changes to optimize your website’s performance, you can easily view it.
Additionally, you can see the history in a graphical representation. The history tab shows the YSlow score, PageSpeed score, size, change in page load times, and more.
Another excellent feature is that it lets you add notes. If you switch to a new host, you can add notes to GTmetrix to see how it has affected your website’s performance.
The history tab is essential to analyze the improvements your site has made over time.
Why Should You Consider Using GTmetrix Paid Plans?
Running tests through the free version is easy and quick. Everything that we have learned until now can be done with the free version, so you might be wondering why you should opt for the paid plans of GTmetrix? Well, here are some of the reasons why.
- The paid plan comes with more options for automatic monitoring.
- It comes with a white-label PDF reports feature that allows you to deliver reports to your clients professionally.
- You can test your website on an android device.
- It lets you choose between various premium locations for speed testing.
- While the free version only gives you 10 daily on-demand tests, the premium version allows up to 50 daily on-demand tests depending on the plan you pick.
- The free version of GTmetrix allows 10 daily API credits, whereas the premium version gives up to 100 daily credits (depending on the plan).
- With the core tool, you can only monitor your site in Vancouver, Canada, whereas the premium version lets you monitor your site in other regions.
These reasons are enough to get your hands on the premium plan of GTmetrix. The premium plans range from $10 per year to $40 per year.
Is the GTmetrix Score Accurate & Reliable?
Undoubtedly, the GTmetrix score is accurate and reliable when you apply various factors accurately, such as considering the number of tests you run, test location, time, subjects, etc.
When you put the test location nearest to your visitors, you get the most accurate results. GTmetrix uses a combination of YSlow and PageSpeed and provides a reliable speed test.
As we covered in the beginning, some factors need to be considered for better accuracy.
Additionally, you do not want to be stuck with the percentage or score; instead, the recommendations you get along with the score provide a better scope to further enhance your website’s speed.
You can easily understand the areas where you are lacking and work on them. Furthermore, cache plugins, a top-notch hosting provider, and enabling GZIP compression can also help to boost your site’s performance.
All in all, GTmetrix provides an accurate and reliable speed score using various excellent features and tools.
Conclusion: How to Use GTmetrix to Test Your Websites Speed
It comes as no surprise that testing your websites speed is one of the primary needs for your site’s success and stability on the internet. GTmetrix lets you do that with maximum ease of use.
The tool does an excellent job at running your WordPress site’s speed tests and provides a reliable score with various suggestions that can be taken into consideration.
However, you can improve the accuracy of the test by various factors. We would recommend testing each page of your website from multiple locations for a better result.
Additionally, we suggest keeping the focus on reducing page loading time than the scores of PageSpeed and YSlow.
With these things in your mind, you will be able to achieve a lightning-fast and fully loaded website, giving your visitors a faster user experience!
Moreover, there are multiple ways to further increase your site’s speed such as enabling GZIP compression, using cache plugins, and more.
We hope you found our article helpful and you were able to understand the workings of GTmetrix. If you have any questions for us, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.
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