How to Properly Run a Website Speed Test

Every website owner should be aware of the fact that website speed matters. Not only does a fast-loading website play a significant role in Google’s algorithm, but it also has a positive effect on user experience. A fast-loading website is more likely to convert because visitors are more likely to stick around. So what’s so surprising at the end of the day is realizing that a lot of people don’t know how to properly run a website speed test. What will come out of an improper website speed test? You guessed it – false results. It might appear that your website is either faster or slower than it really is, so you won’t be able to make any improvements.

Today, we aren’t here to tell you how to improve the loading speed of your website and make it faster. Our job today is to give you different tools that will help you do a proper speed test of your website. This simple process will bring many valuable insights, so without further ado, let’s get started.

An illustration of loading speed.
Learn how to run a website speed test and you will get a chance to improve user experience.

The best tools you can use if you want to properly run a website speed test

The good thing is that you have both free and paid website speed test tools at your disposal and you are entirely free to choose which one you want. And you don’t even have to commit yourself to only one of these performance testing tools – you can combine a couple of them. However, our WordPress experts do suggest that you only use the tools we are going to list in a couple of seconds. They have been proven to bring the best and most accurate results.

  • IsItWP Website Speed Test Tool – a beginner-friendly tool that’s free to use. You also get improvement suggestions and server uptime monitoring – quite handy, you must admit.
  • Pingdom – one of the most popular website speed testing tools that’s also very easy to use.
  • Google Pagespeed Insights – created by Google, this tool gives you insights for both mobile and desktop views.
  • WebPageTest – another free but slightly more advanced website speed testing tool. It runs three website speed tests by default, providing you with the most accurate results.

Picking our favorite would be like choosing a favorite child – impossible to do. We believe that all of these tools do their job just fine – actually, they do it more than fine. It is for that reason that we know that you can choose pretty much any tool on the list and still get accurate results.

How to correctly run a WordPress website speed test

With so many factors involved that can affect the quality and accuracy of your results, we know that it can be very difficult to get a proper reading. That’s why we have composed a guide that will make it easy to get the real picture of how fast or slow your website loading speed is.

A man trying to properly run a website speed test.
Learn the four steps that will lead to accurate results.

1. You will have to run multiple tests

As previously mentioned, depending on the moment that you are running a test, you can have many outside factors that will impact its accuracy. You can rest assured that each test will show you slightly different results – at best. That’s why we suggest that you run at least three different tests and rely on the average result for the most accurate picture. Then you can assess whether you need to make any improvements to your website speed, which will improve user experience.

2. You should test by using different geographic locations

Do you know where most of your website visitors are coming from? If you don’t, then the first thing you need to do is use Google Analytics to help you out. If you find out that most of your visitors are coming from the USA, then you need to choose a test server from San Francisco, for example. In case your visitors are coming from all over the world, then you can run multiple tests with multiple locations.

3. Ensure that website caching is on

If you want to correctly run a website speed test, you first need to ensure that your website caching is turned on. By doing that, you would also be able to test website caching and see how effective it is when it comes to improving the performance. And by now, you are only one step away from assessing the speed of your website.

4. Turning on website firewall/CDN service

If you are hoping to get significantly improved results, we suggest you turn on your CDN service and the firewall. First and foremost, a CDN service will serve files like images and scripts across a network of servers, many of which are spread around the globe. As you can imagine, a CDN service will reduce the server load on your website, which will have great results for your website speed. Since a fast-loading website affects your website visitors in a positive way, you will find yourself amid a win-win situation.

A red padlock on a keyboard.
Tuning on CDN service and the firewall is recommended before running a speed test.

Interpreting the speed test results

Have you gotten the results? If you have properly run a website speed test, then all you have to do now is interpret the results. The parameter that really affects your visitors the most is the time it takes your website to load. If it takes your website more than two to three seconds to load, you need to look into the reports in order to find out which resources are taking longer to load. We have already established that people will hit that back button in case your website takes more than three seconds to load. And the last thing you want and need is to be losing potential customers. So if you are not seeing satisfactory results, work on improving the situation, and loading speed.