June 2023 Newsletter

**** The 4specs Perspective

Improving Your Website Speed

How does your website compare to your competitor's speed? This month's newsletter focuses on a simple way to evaluate your website speed and provides input you can give your website developers. This will encourage them to enable your website to be faster.

I used webpagetest.org as the test platform. They have made many changes over the past few years and now require a free registration to use. The registration provides 300 free test runs a month which should be enough to evaluate where you are and where you want to move towards.

I picked 8 large companies from 4specs as the test subjects and ran the tests on a Saturday using the desktop mode. You can also evaluate using a mobile phone mode, although most architects and specifiers will be using a desktop when visiting your website.

URL 1st Byte Speed Index Bytes
4specs Home Page .242 .455 153
4specs Hand Rails .229 .400 139
Bobrick .396 11.763 7,727
C.R. Laurence Co. .364 11,031 11,383
Certainteed .208 7.031 6,412
GAF .530 14.321 10,248
Kawneer North America 1.405 6.060 5,182
Sherwin-Williams .483 4.928 4,594
Shaw Industries (contract) .943 33.303 46,361
Tarkett North America .199 .966 1,027


The url used is the one used in 4specs in the 4specs directory.

1st Byte shows how quickly the server responds. Faster times indicate the use of a SSD drive and slower times may indicate the use of a rotating hard disk. Also the server load will affect the 1st byte time. Moving your server to a SSD and a lighter loaded server will improve these times.

Speed index represents how soon the page looked usable in seconds

Bytes represents the number of kilobytes downloaded.

Check that your website uses gzip (think zipping the files being sent to the user's browser). This is typically easy to set up and will speed things up. We have been gzipping the 4specs site for many years. Also consider adding minify to reduce the file size in addition to gziping.

Go into the webpagetest.org site and look for the waterfall. This will show how many files were downloaded and will show problem files that should be reviewed.

Look to compress the images. The 4specs home page currently has a relatively large image that was saved for the web using Photoshop Elements 15 with a quality of 49. This generally provides a good appearance while reducing the file size and download time.

Some of these websites were developed using WordPress, which can be slow. Frequently Wordpress files have 20+ CSS files and 20+ javascript files that need to be downloaded. There are several ways to combine all these files and speed up downloading. Here are several examples to help understand what can be done and why: RecuWeb, GreekGeeks and Autopimize

Contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.



Colin Gilboy
Publisher - 4specs
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