|How Fast Does Your Website Load?|
Here's something that happens to every web site owner from time to time:
You visit your own site and it comes up really S L O W. Or... someone emails you to say your site is really S L O W.
The thing is... how fast your web site loads from any one location may not be a good measure of how fast your web site loads from most other locations.
First... make sure your OWN internet connection is working properly by testing the following:
1. The raw speed of your internet connection. Shaw.ca has a nice Flash Speed Test.
2. The speed / accuracy of your domain name server (or DNS). What's that? When you connect to the internet part of your connection is to a domain name server that takes the domain names you put in your browser (http://somedomain.com) and translates them into the numeric addresses that your browser needs to actually find them. If the domain name server you are connected to is overloaded or flakey, you may find that some sites (especially lesser known sites) do not resolve quickly. Testing involves finding out the address of the domain name server you are connecting with and using one of the many available tools to test it. Easy if you're a nerd. Hard if you're not. Or... you could just switch to using Google's Publicly Available Domain Name Server and see if that speeds up load times.
If the above tests show slowness or problems... then your web site may only be loading slowly for YOU. But in any case, you might like to continue to test the following:
3. Load times from different locations. There are lots of tools online to help you test your web site's load speed from various locations. Here's a simple one that seems to work: iWebTools
4. The route between your location and the web site. This can be tested by using a Trace Route Tool. If you enter the domain name and the resulting information shows lines that end with "timed out." The server hosting the site is unreachable. Consult your web master. However, if the info shows a line that says "timed out" but then continues to show lines of data concluding with the name of your web server... then your site is reachable, but there is some network congestion (not an unusual occurence). If this happens a lot you may want to ask your webmaster about it.
5. The web site's domain name records. It is best if the domain name records for a web site, which are likely stored in multiple locations, are consistent. To find out if they are, go to the following page and use the free test called DNS Traversal.
If all the above tests show no problems a web page can STILL load slowly if it is too darned big. Here's a tool that will give a good idea if this is the problem: WebSiteOptimization.com. (This tool will scold you if the home page loads a little slowly for those using a 56K modem.)
Hopefully the above tests (and/or the many others you will find on the net) will help avoid panic, and narrow down the cause of the problem when your web site is (or seems to be) S L O W.