You’ve heard having a fast website is important, but do you know exactly how important it really is? Google conducted a test where they made their search pages take just half a second longer to load.

The result: a 20% drop in traffic!

Furthermore, while the average web page load time is 7.25 seconds, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.

So, how fast does your website load? And if it isn’t fast enough, how can you improve it?

Below, I’ve highlighted 5 free tools you can use to not only test your website’s load speed, but even receive suggestions on how to make it faster.

1. Google PageSpeed Insights

Google has been making a big push for a faster web.

To aid in this endeavour, they’ve provided a number of free tools, including PageSpeed Insights. This tool analyzes your website’s load speed and provides suggestions on how to improve it, both for desktop and mobile browsers.

While PageSpeed Insights does not provide you with your website’s actual load time, it does provide you with a score based out of 100. It then shows you what parts of your site you absolutely need to fix to increase that score, what you should consider fixing, and what you are already doing correctly.

As an added bonus, it provides suggestions for improving your website’s user experience on mobile devices.

2. Pingdom Website Speed Test 

Unlike Google’s PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom’s Website Speed Test tool provides you with your website’s actual load time.

You can also select what location in the world you’d like to perform your test from.

After performing the speed test, Pingdom provides you with a waterfall chart showing every element that has loaded on your current page and how long each took to load. If you’d like to learn more about waterfalls, this Waterfalls 101 guide is an excellent resource.

In addition, Pingdom assigns your page a performance grade and makes suggestions on how to improve that grade. You can also see a history of all tests performed for your page on Pingdom.

3. GTmetrix

GTmetrix is a bit different than the other tools in this list. Instead of providing you with one load score and list of suggested improvements, it provides two.

It runs your website through both Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Yahoo’s YSlow tests. The combined information gives you a much fuller picture of what your website’s load speed is and gives you double the recommendations for improvement.

4. WebPagetest

WebPagetest is the most advanced load speed testing tool on this list.

First off, when setting up your test, you can choose from a large number of locations to perform the test. You can also choose what browser you want to test your site with, including some device-specific browsers such as Chrome on a Nexus 7 tablet.

The WebPagetest performs a test on your site twice: a first view and a repeat view. This is incredibly useful for websites with a caching system setup. The first view gives you the web page’s load time without caching, and the repeat view with caching.

In addition, you have a large number of advanced customization options to choose from, including multi-step transactions and content blocking.

But hands down, my favorite feature of WebPagetest is the video capture. During each test, it records your webpage so you can see exactly how your site loads.

5. Dotcom-Monitor

Dotcom-Monitor is an amazing tool for those who need to test a website that will be viewed around the world.

You can choose what browser you want to test your site in, as well as choose up to 22 locations to perform your test.

This tools then does a speed test in all selected locations and outputs a report showing you the load time in each location, along with a waterfall for each.

Final thoughts

Having a fast website is important, and it will become even more important as time goes on. So you need to start monitoring your website’s load time and find ways to improve its speed. These 5 tools are the best currently available for just that task.

If you have any tools you use for testing your website’s load speed, please share them in the comments below!

Brandon Yanofsky is a freelance WordPress developer and troubleshooter. He also shares WordPress tips, tricks, and tutorials at www.mywpexpert.com. You can email him at brandon@mywpexpert.com

The post How fast is your website? Here are 5 free tools to find out appeared first on Torque.

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