Speed can make or break your website. This is why web developers, marketers, and IT departments are paying attention to website speed test tools. Improving the loading speed of your website can have a dramatic effect on the overall success of your website.
Page speed influences your performance in almost every area, from user experience to search engine optimization. In fact, most website users only wait about four seconds for a page to load before moving on to something else.
And there is no denying the fact that a faster website will perform better. But knowing where to start can be tricky.
Sitting by your computer with a timer while the site loads is not a good way to determine if your computer is fast enough. That’s why most developers and marketers will take advantage of a wide variety of free website speed test tools.
These tools are always changing and updating. So the 7 best free website speed test tools will include some new favorites!
Top Free Website Speed Test Tools
Among the top free website speed test tools of 2021 is GTmetrix. This tester is incredibly simple. Just enter your URL and click “Analyze”. GTmetrix strengths include:
The general interface is incredibly easy to use. Its UX design is easy to navigate and attracts confidence. The page speed numbers are provided with context (full load time is compared to the general internet average of 6.7 seconds, for example). Sometimes it’s nice to know how you’re doing compared to the rest of the internet!
Verdict: GTMetrix offers a Pro level upgrade that grants access to page settings, monitoring, and alerts, among other benefits. But the trial itself is free and you can download the data easily. GTmetrix is also very easy to use, making it one of the best page speed tools of 2021.
Our next entry on the list is unlikely to win any web design awards anytime soon. WebPageTest, however, is one of the most reliable and trusted website speed testing tools available to users today. The main strengths of WebPageTest include:
Users can create custom settings for each WebPageTest run that they start. With all of these options, WebPageTest can be configured to use a wide variety of different web browser options and locations. Your site may be slow in Google Chrome, but faster in Firefox, and if that’s the case, WebPageTest will let you know.
Users can also request WebPageTest to perform multiple runs. This can give you an idea of whether your site’s page speed is running consistently.
Verdict: WebPageTest is open source and free. That means it is not flashy and the results and diagnostics are not very user-friendly. But the data is accurate. And if you know what you’re doing, WebPageTest can provide a wealth of information to consider.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Compared to the other 6 entries on this list, Google PageSpeed Insights won’t provide a lot of data or tips on how to troubleshoot. In fact, it is not really a real page speed testing tool. But there are a few reasons why this tool created by Google is worth checking out:
Google results may be more important than results from other tools. This is because Google actually creates the search rankings you are trying to gain traction on. If a Google tool is having trouble with your site’s performance, it’s a good idea to take this data seriously.
This tool is also incredibly easy to use. Just type in your web address, wait a few seconds, and you’ll see the results for both the mobile and desktop versions of your site. All results are well color-coded, so you tend to instantly know if your site is performing well or not.
Verdict: If it wasn’t Google’s official tool, PageSpeed Insights might not be on this list. It just doesn’t have all the features that the other tools on our list have. But you definitely want to check how Google ranks your page speed if you want to rank high on their search platform. In this case, the authority of the tool overshadows its usefulness.
For the most part, Pingdom offers users a good mix of options and simplicity. As such, Pingdom offers the following benefits:
In its current configuration, Pingdom allows users to test the speed of their web pages in any of four different test locations. In general, you’ll want to choose the test location that is closest to your site’s geographic user base.
The results are incredibly easy to read, with detailed notes from the performance information letters that also provide a specific list of problems that need to be solved.
Cascading is also one of the easiest to read web page speed test tools, and the data is divided in a way that makes it easy to drill down.
Verdict: Pingdom is a deceptively deep web page speed tester. Its interface is simple and easy to use. The data generated is well organized and easy to read or drill down into details. Pingdom is a great tool for providing a customer-facing report while providing the developer with enough specific information to resolve issues.
At first glance, the speed tester on the Dareboost website looks like all the others. In a way, that’s good. It’s easy to enter your web address, choose a test location, and start testing.
But Dareboost is also a bit tricky. If you have used the service once, you will need to sign up for a free account to continue using it. Usually, it’s worth it; But don’t be surprised if you go back to Dareboost and have to create a username. With that said, Dareboost definitely offers some cool features:
A large division of data into visual representations. Once you know what all the data means (Dareboost provides some generous, easy-to-read explanations), you can really see your progress.
Dareboost also features a video breakdown of its upload process. It may sound a bit silly, but it can be very useful to actually see what the user sees as the web page loads. You can slow down the video to actually see the loading order (or rendering order).
Verdict: Dareboost definitely brings some cool features to the table, and its data visualization is a great way to interpret its results. Having to sign up for a free account may put some people off, but the value of the service is hard to argue with.
Website Speed Test (Image Analysis Tool)
Modern websites have a lot of images. And with so many people using high-definition retinas and displays, it is very difficult to get low-resolution images. This is why image compression has become ubiquitous. And to test these images, I recommend Cloudinary’s website speed test image analysis tool. This tool:
It gives you a reading of each image on the revised page. This reading tells you how big the image is and how much space you could save by compressing it in a different way.
It provides data on how many images your web page correctly loads and how much general data is required. Provides suggestions on ways to further compress your images without sacrificing image quality.
Verdict: The website speed test image analysis tool is one of the only tools that focuses entirely on images. With a more visual web to come, this tester is an essential tool to have in your kit.
SEO Site Checkup
I mentioned before that page speed is an extremely important factor in how Google ranks your website. SEO Site Checkup is a great tool that allows you to address page speed while analyzing other search engine optimization factors. I like the SEO site review because:
SEO Site Checkup takes a holistic approach to the health of your website and looks at factors that can affect performance, as well as user experience and search rankings.
The report provided by SEO Site Checkup is easy to read and, most importantly, easy to follow. The tool will point you to easy-to-fix problems that you may have missed.
The holistic approach can help you see how important your page speed can be to the overall performance of a website, both with users and with search engine algorithms.
Verdict: SEO Site Checkup is a vital tool for any web marketer. After running this diagnostic, you can better determine where to allocate resources and time to improve the performance of your web page.
Increase your speed, win the race
Any of the Top 7 Free Website Speed Test Tools of 2021 can help you get started on the road to better performance. As you test each one, you and your development team can develop preferences for a particular feature set or reporting style.
In general, I recommend that you consult GTmetrix. It is by far my favorite testing tool and offers a stack of features, and even more when you create a free account.
The tools on this list can help guide you, track your success, and prove your worth. And they can do it all for free. The best way to honor these types of businesses is to simply start testing your site today.
If you are serious about speed, consider installing a caching plugin on your website or even switching to a new host, or learning more about managed WordPress hosting.