How Can You Test the Speed of a Web Host?

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There are few things more frustrating than using a site that takes forever to load. If you run a website, it’s important to remember that most visitors will only wait two or three seconds for a site to load. Anything beyond that, and they’ll hit the back button and look for something else.

Whether your site makes money from advertisements, selling products, or providing customers with information, having visitors leave because it’s too slow can be devastating. Testing a website’s speed will help you determine whether your page is slower than it should be. In addition, testing the speed of your site is an important first step in figuring out what you can do to make things go faster.

Key takeaways:

  • The website causes the majority of all speed-related problems rather than by the hosting provider.
  • Regarding your website’s speed, consider the overall speed the hosting company you use ― or are thinking about using ― offers. The other important factor is the speed of your specific site; if hosted on a fast server, it might load slowly if you don’t have it set up properly.
  • To ensure you find out immediately if your site starts responding slowly, you can ask visitors to report, run scheduled speed tests, and visit your site daily.
  • When investigating your specific site’s response times, determine when problems started and run a free speed test from multiple locations.

What Should You Consider Before Checking Your Site’s Speed?

  • Does your site have speed issues?
  • Does your internet service provider (ISP) have issues?

If your website is responding slowly, your first thought may be to blame the hosting company. But the issue is often on the user’s side. For example, if you are using an older computer or one that has some type of problem, it will result in the website loading slowly. In addition, the problem could be from your ISP.

Eliminate your site and internet service provider issues first

Remove issues on your side and handle the ISP issues before going through the often-complex task of troubleshooting issues on your website or with the web hosting company.

The easiest way to rule out problems on your computer and your ISP is to check how other websites respond. Visit a variety of other sites and see if they load quickly. If they do, you can be confident the problem is not on your side (or the ISP). Once you have ruled these things out, you can test your website (or web hosting) as the cause of the slowness.

How To Check Your Web Host Speed

There is a fairly simple process of considering two things related to your website’s speed:

  • Overall speed: The speed that the hosting company you use ― or are thinking about using ― offers. This is essential for sites that value factors like user experience (UX), as fast loading speeds will keep visitors on your site longer.
  • Specific site speed: This is the speed of your specific site. Even if your site is hosted on a fast server, it might load slowly if it isn’t set up properly. For example, if you place ads from a low-quality ad servicing company on your site, that will slow things down dramatically. If your site is infected with a virus or malware, that can also affect the speed.

Checking the speed of a hosting company

There are a few things you can do to test the speeds of your actual web hosting company. The following are some of the simplest things you can do to test this.

Visit the host’s page

Start by visiting the hosting provider’s page. All hosting companies host their websites on their servers. If you find that its main page is running slowly, the problem is likely on the company’s side.

You can also run a free online website speed test on the provider’s page to get more precise results, which you can compare to the same test on your site.

Find another site on the same host

Determine what other websites operate on the same hosting provider or server. This can often be done with a quick browser search, especially if you’re using one of the more popular web hosting companies. Once you find one, run the speed tests on your site and another on the same host and compare the results.

Read reviews of the company

While less precise, reading reviews of the hosting company can let you know if other people have complained about their speeds. Seek recently-written reviews. A hosting company that was once good can go downhill fast if it doesn’t work hard to keep its systems up to date.

Time to first-byte test

The best test to run is the time to first-byte test, which measures the time it takes from when you send a request to your website to when you get the first byte of information back.

If receiving that first byte takes a long time, the issue is with the hosting company. And if the first byte comes back quickly, but the full site takes a long time to load, the problem is with the site. It is generally best to see results from this test between .1 and .5 of a second.

Consider These When Checking the Speed of Your Website

Here are some things to do when investigating your specific site’s response times:

  • When did the problems start?
  • Did you run a free speed test?
  • Did you test from multiple locations?

When did the problems start?

Did your site start responding slowly in the last few days or weeks? If so, what changes have you made to the site? Consider backing changes out to see if there is any improvement.

Did you run a free speed test?

There are several free website speed tests available online. Find one with an interface you like and start running periodic tests on your site. Ensure your site is fully loaded within two seconds (sooner is better).

Did you test from multiple locations?

Try to visit your site ― and run speed tests on it ― from multiple physical locations. Visit it from your home, office, and phone, for example. This action will help you rule out a problem with your internet connection.

If you don’t find problems with your hosting company, check the response times on your specific site. Remember the website causes most speed-related website problems, not the hosting provider.

How Do You Know if Your Speed Is Too Slow?

Take these actions to find out right away if your site starts responding slowly:

Ask visitors to report

One of the simplest ways to find out if your site is slower than normal is to ask visitors. Place a button or form on your site asking visitors if they experienced any issues or complaints. If they do, they can report them right away.

Run scheduled speed tests

Look for a website speed test that will allow you to run scheduled tests regularly. Some of these services will charge a small fee for this type of advanced reporting, but it’s often worth the investment. In addition to running these tests, they can notify you of problems through text, email, and other means.

Visit your site daily

Perhaps the most obvious option is to visit your site each day. If you’re used to browsing your site, you’ll notice quickly if things aren’t working properly. It’s best to clear your cache or use incognito mode on your browser when visiting so that your site has to fully load.

If your site is having problems, it is best to know about it as quickly as possible to take action to fix it. Unfortunately, many website owners don’t find out about a slow-loading site for months after a problem begins, which could mean many visitors leave the site and never return.

How Do You Improve Your Website’s Speed?

Some things to look at include the following:

Advertisements

Advertisements are notorious for causing sites to load slowly, especially if you have many of them. Check with your ad provider to see if its services could reduce the speed. Consider disabling ads and testing your site to see if speeds improve.

Plug-ins

Plug-ins can provide great functionality to your site, but if they are poorly coded or do several tasks, they can also slow things down. Consider disabling all your plug-ins and running some tests to see if that’s the problem.

Images and videos

Make sure your site’s images and videos are optimized and compressed properly so they can load quickly.

Offsite content

If you pull any content from somewhere other than your web servers, try removing it to see if that fixes the problem. Everything on your page needs to load smoothly, including third-party content, to give users a good experience.

You can do several things if your website loads slower than it should. For situations where the problem is with your front-end site, you’ll need to figure out what it’s about your page that’s slowing things down.

Will Upgrading to Better Hosting Improve Your Site’s Speed?

In many cases, moving from a shared hosting package to a good quality virtual private server (VPS) or upgrading to a dedicated server will get you the response times you need. Just because your web hosting server isn’t responding as fast as it should doesn’t mean your company is doing a bad job; your site may overload the server you’re on.

Will Changing Web Hosting Companies Speed Up Your Site?

You may transfer to another provider if the issue is with the actual web hosting company. It isn’t difficult to change hosting companies. But it must be planned out and executed properly to avoid downtime and ensure everything goes smoothly.

Find a hosting provider with a great reputation and opt for hosting that uses solid-state drives (SSDs) since those can do much to speed things up.

Take Action Right Away if Your Website Is Slow

Having a slow website is a huge problem. Whether you are an individual, an online business, or a physical company with a web presence, making sure your site loads fast is essential.

In some ways, having a slow-loading website is worse than having no website. If your site isn’t performing as it should, figure out what is wrong and take action to get it fixed as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions About Testing a Web Host’s Speed

What web speed hosting tools can I use?

Some websites for testing speed include PingdomGTmetrix, and Google PageSpeed Insights.

Why do speeds differ between my mobile phone and computer?

If your results are noticeably different, ensure you are testing the same server and connection (not all devices may be on Wi-Fi, for example). Also, Wi-Fi and cellular radio quality can vary significantly.

What are the best speeds for big downloads or streaming?

For general streaming, you’ll need about 10 Mbps, but 25 Mbps is recommended if you’re streaming 4K or need large downloads.

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