The internet is a place where people look for instant gratification and a fast page load speed is part of the expectation. Improving site performance is a critical way to keep visitors and encourage conversions. Page speed optimization tools can help you track performance metrics and spot ways to improve.
There are many page speed optimization tools available, but some are better than others. This curated list includes the nine best toolsets for improving page performance score based on different budgets and needs. You can reference the chart below to understand the basic features of each toolset.
|Server Location Choice||Browser Choice||Browser-Based||Paid Account Option||Mobile Performance|
|KeyCDN Website Speed Test||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Ahref’s Webmaster Tools||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Geekflare Website Audit||✅||✅||✅|
PageSpeed Insights is a Google developer tool. It analyzes web pages to spot problems that may be slowing them down. The tool allows you to test individual web pages, then generates suggestions about how to speed up the site and why the changes will help. You can use the results as immediately actionable tips for improving your site’s loading times.
Furthermore, Google uses page speed as one of its ranking factors, which means it can have a significant impact on your SERP rankings. By checking pages against the PageSpeed Insights metrics, you can understand how Google determines page speed and what it considers good and bad. Consequently, when you improve your PageSpeed scores, you know you’re working on the exact metrics Google cares about. That’s great for your SEO.
GTmetrixis another tool that lets you test your site and look for ways to improve its speed. It’s less in-depth than PageSpeed Insights, but that’s not a bad thing. GTmetrix is an overview, not a deep technical analysis. The site gives your URL a grade from A to F, depending on its performance and structure. It also summarizes the loading times according to requests and lists the top issues the site faces.
One great thing GTmetrix offers is the ability to test page speed with different servers around the world. While the internet is fast, it still takes time for servers on opposite sides of the globe to communicate. Switching servers lets you experiment with how everyone in your target audience will experience your site. You can also test sites with different browsers to make sure they load equally well in Chrome, Edge, and Firefox.
If you want an in-depth, online test of your site’s speed, WebPage Test is an excellent solution. The site allows you to examine your web pages in various ways, from using different server locations and browsers to changing whether the testing service uses Wi-Fi or cable internet.
This service also performs multiple test runs to get an average of your page’s performance, so a particularly fast or slow load time doesn’t throw off your understanding of the site. You can even choose a specific web vitals test or visual comparison between URLs.
A downside of the WebPage Test is that it runs analyses in the order received by the servers. Each page you test may take a minute or two to deliver results, so it’s not the fastest option. Still, if you want all the details for free, WebPage Test is a great option.
Not every webpage speed tool works from a browser. Some, like Lighthouse, are run as code through other means like your command line. Lighthouse is an open-source automated tool you can use to check any webpage, including those that require authentication.
The authentication element is crucial. Most browser-based webpage speed testers run into problems for pages that require logins or other authentication elements. The code of the Lighthouse allows you to include those elements. As a result, you can truly test your entire site, not just the publicly accessible portions.
Lighthouse is a little less user-friendly than browser-based testers, but it makes up for that with versatility. If you’re familiar with basic programming skills, Lighthouse can be your free way of getting more in-depth results on optimizing your site.
KeyCDN Website Speed Test
KeyCDN is another browser-based web speed test tool that covers all the basics and more. Like previously reviewed testers, it lets you choose your browser and server location and runs an analysis. It’s highly accurate, but what makes it stand out from others is something else.
When you perform a KeyCDN test, the service will also provide a complete waterfall explaining the timing and HTTP headers of every asset the page loads. A breakdown of every asset on the page tells you precisely where problems occur. The tester will also report HTTP status codes, so you understand what problems you may be facing.
Nevertheless, KeyCDN’s in-depth results aren’t free. While the site does offer a 14-day free trial, you’ll need to get a paid account to make the most of the service. If you want a user-friendly and robust option, however, the cost may be worth it.
Ahref’s Webmaster Tools
Ahref is known for the broad number of tools it offers administrators looking to improve their site. The Ahref Webmaster Tools suite gives you free access to two of the most popular services: Site Explorer and Site Audit. These two tool sets let you explore how your site loads, which pages are fastest, and where you can improve.
The Webmaster Tools service will help you explore your entire site at once and give you a breakdown of your best and worst pages. You don’t have to check each page individually; the service automatically examines them on your chosen timeline. You can also pay for an Ahref subscription to unlock additional features, such as technical SEO and more detailed explanations of the problems on the page.
Pingdom is one of the page speed optimization tools based on the browser and designed to be equally helpful to beginners and experts alike. You can use the free service to test individual site pages and get results on your loading time, performance, and ways to improve. However, you can also get a paid account to monitor your site’s performance proactively.
Pingdom’s paid service keeps an eye on your site in real-time. It immediately lets you know when pages go down, slow down, or need maintenance. A text notification on your page problems lets you fix them as quickly as possible. It also saves you time and effort by automating the entire speed test checking process.
Geekflare Website Audit
Geekflare Website Audit is a user-friendly browser-based speed tester that provides a breakdown of your site operations. It gives a complete analysis of how a website functions and whether it’s performing best practices. Geekflare is heavily focused on testing your visitors’ mobile experience, so it’s just as easy to check against mobile browsers as it is to try desktops.
The service captures images during the test to show what your audience sees as the page loads. This gives you a visual idea of which elements are loading slowly and whether that’s a problem. Geekflare also lists opportunities to improve your page’s loading speeds. You’ll even receive a complete breakdown of the HTTP request and how things loaded. Best of all, the site is entirely free to use, with no account required.
Stepping away from active page speed tests, Google Analytics is an excellent, free tool you can use to track your site overall. Google Analytics tracks how users interact with your website over time and records data about your site responses.
The Site Speed Page Timings feature is particularly valuable for speed optimization. It lets you track how quickly your site’s pages load over time and filter results based on different metrics, such as user behavior and location. You can later explore data and find trends based on updates you’ve made to your site, all for free.
There are also page speed optimization tools in your browser. Google Chrome includes two features that can help: the Inspect Element Tool and the Network Tab.
The Inspect Element Tool lets you check out individual parts of your site while loaded in Chrome. If you notice your page is loading slowly, you can use this tool to find what part of the site’s code is causing the problem.
Meanwhile, the Network Tab is part of Chrome DevTools. It records any network requests you make while in DevTools, helping you collect details about how your page loads. You can visit the network activity page to spot requests that take longer than necessary to process and fix them.
All of the tools we listed above have their pros and cons. Some offer more information but are better suited for people with basic programming skills. Others may provide less data but are perfect for complete beginners. You can choose the one that works best for you by considering your budget, your comfort with programming, and the information you need to improve your site.
What all these page speed optimization tools have in common is their purpose. They are all designed to improve your understanding of your site. No matter which one you choose, improving your website load speed will help you keep visitors longer and increase the number of conversions.