So you’ve replaced with Apache with Nginx, or put Varnish out in front of your main webserver. Or maybe you just spent time converting all your main site images to CSS Data URLs. Either way, you’re now ready to taste the fruits of your work via speed tests. Here are some of the best resources for doing that.
Google Page Speed Online | Google
This is a brand-new service from Google that replicates it’s Page Speed service in online form. It’s focus is not on displaying a visual of the response, but rather on giving recommendations on how to improve speed.
Site-perf.com | Site Performance
This site is very responsive and lets you test from a few different servers — two in the U.S. and two overseas.
Websiteoptimization.com | Website Optimization
This service (and it’s accompanying documentation and guidance around optimization) is one of the best at giving recommendations on what to fix.
Whichloadsfaster.com | Which Site Loads Faster?
This site allows you to compare your site against another to see which loads faster. It also lets you do multiple tests in a row to get a better baseline. Hint: if you load faster than Google’s front page then you’re doing well.
tools.pingdom.com/fpt/ | Pingdom Load Time Test
Pingdom’s test service is perhaps the cleanest in terms of presentation. I find myself using this one quite often.
Browser Load Time Stopwatch | LifeHacker
Google Chrome Page Speed | Extension
The Page Speed chrome extension is phenomenal for getting results that look like a local application in terms of detail and presentation.
Google Chrome Developer Tools | Built-in Tool
YSlow | Browser Extension
YSlow is like Google’s Page Speed, only not quite as advanced and available for more platforms. It’s now available for Chrome as well.
webpagetest.org | Web Page Test
This is another very solid web-based test that gives extremely detailed output with regard to what the request looked like from the browser.
Google Analytics | Google
It’s now possible to track load speed through Google Analytics. Simply get the latest version of the tracking script that has the functionality in it, and you’ll see it as an option within your metrics.
Google’s Webmaster Tools
Google’s Webmaster Tools has a Page Speed menu under Labs that shows you how fast your various pages have been loading. The options is very beta, however, as it gives you no control over what to test and not much information on what has been tested.
Pingdom’s Web Monitoring Service
This offering doesn’t test on demand like the others, but rather is an ongoing service that continuously tests pages that you define to let you know how their responsiveness changes over time. It’s very helpful for noticing how various techniques, like CloudFlare or Varnish, improve site load times. And since their servers are located all over the world, you get to see how fast your site loads from different countries as well.
Blitz.io. It is a real-deal traffic simulation platform.
If you know of any I should add to this list, let me know.
[ Jan 17, 2013 — Yes, I know I’m over ten options now…but it’s too late to change the title. :) ]