We recently attended the Huntingdon Business Fair and were really pleased to see both the variety and strength of the business community inside Huntingdonshire and the surrounding area. Whilst we were there we were offering a free website performance audit to anyone who left us a business card which was well received. Some interesting results occurred from this. Generally speaking, connections to the internet are getting quicker, however, this doesn’t seem to have resulted in faster website/web services, just more and more being sent to users. However, there are things that developers (and clients) can relatively easily do to drastically improve their website performance, which we have been mentioning in our blog recently.

Item Manchester, UK Dulles, US Average
Load Time (Seconds) 4.72 4.49 4.605
First Byte (Seconds) 0.90 1.00 0.95
Start Render (Seconds) 2.48 2.40 2.44
Requests 61.49 57.41 59.45
Total Bytes (MB) 1.554 1.471 1.5125
  • this averages performance for the homepage of 41 different businesses across a range of sectors.

Speed Information

We have provided information from both a UK based and a US based source to illustrate a UK and international customer. The internet is always on and you never know where your next customer may be based.
The time to first byte is a good indication of how well the server is set up, for both the webserver and database server, and how well it can respond quickly. Normally you would see that Shared Hosting or servers that have not been optimized would perform poorly here.
Render start is when the page starts to show its elements, this is difficult to get right as you would like to start showing some things to users quickly, but you don’t want the user to think that the page is initially broken.
Load time is the total time that it takes to complete the page. This illustrates the amount of time that a user will have to wait for the page to load. There has been much research done to analyse how load time affects user experience, but generally speaking anything over 3 seconds can result in a massive increase in abandonment.
Page size/Total Bytes is directly related to load speed. This shows the amount of data that is being received by the browser in order to display the page. Ideally you should only load the smallest size and make sure that your images are compressed, your javascript and css are both compressed and minified and you are not loading anything that the user can’t interact with.
Requests show the amount of separate items that a user has to load to render the page. This can be linked to page speed as you can imagine it takes far longer to create 100 separate connections to load items, than 10 connections.

There are multiple ways of improving your site performance, including improving the site’s first byte, improving the server, moving away from shared hosting and reducing the amount of processing required for each page. You can look at reducing page size by compressing your css, javascript and image sizes and all of these should improve your load time.

Our Aims

Load Time: 1-2 seconds (globally)
First Byte: < 0.4 seconds
Start Render: < 1 seconds
Requests: 20-30
Page Size: < 500KB

So let us know if we can help you deliver faster, more performant sites to give greater user experience and make your site work better for you.