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Speed test with dotcom-monitor.com

dotcom-monitor.com - a great tool to test loading speed of your website

How to get started

Dotcom-monitor.com is a real global player when it comes to website monitoring. Through regular, automated tests their services make sure that your website is up and running and nothing’s wrong. Should they detect any problems they’ll inform you and you can fix problems before they cause too many troubles. We haven’t used their paid services yet, but based on what tools they offer for free their monitoring services are definitely worth a look.

Under the domain Dotcom-tools.com, the company offers a range of free services to test websites, email and servers. One of the tools offered is the Website Speed Test. At the time of writing, there are 24 locations on offer, 2 of which are in Mainland China. Beijing seems to be down at the moment, but one is enough and Shanghai works like a charm. So let’s get started.

Step 1: URL, browser and human test

To get started, go to the Website Speed Test, either by clicking on the link or going to their main site, scrolling down to the footer and then clicking on “Website Speed Test”. At the time of writing you would first see the following section:

dotcom-tools-website-speed-test-step-1

Enter your website’s URL, choose a browser (Chrome should be fine) and enter the human check text field on the right bottom. Before you start the test, make sure you scroll down.

Step 2: Pick the right locations

For the next step, scroll down to pick the location:

dotcom-tools-website-speed-test-step-2

America and Europe you can tick off right away. For Asia, it might be good to pick Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. The additional Options on the bottom you can simply leave as they are. When all that is set, scroll back to the top and click “Start Test”.

Step 3: Result dialog

After clicking “Start Test”, a dialog will pop up with the status of the test. It will take a little bit for all tests to be finished, so give it some time. In the end you’ll end up with something like this:

dotcom-tools-website-speed-test-step-3

Two parts are very important here. On the lower left corner you see 4 blocks that represent the status of the server responses. You want to have only green ones here, otherwise there’s something wrong. So “check” on this one for China Website Audit.

On the right top part the column “Load Time” indicates how long it took to load the site. Hong Kong is outside the Great Firewall, so the site is doing fine there. Shanghai is a different picture and looks very bad with 49 seconds load time. To find out more, click on the “View Waterfall” link which takes you to the detailed results for this location.

Step 4: The waterfall chart

In the new page with the detailed results you’ll have all sorts of metrics and summaries. The most important one you can find in the tab “Waterfall Chart”:

dotcom-tools-website-speed-test-step-4

And here we see why the site takes 49 seconds to load in Shanghai, Google Analytics is the trouble maker. Now from a user experience standpoint, that is alright, as the script would load in the background and the site would actually be visible to the user within a little over 5 seconds. However, we will still switch to another analytics tool in the near future as we do of course also want detailed analytics from our Chinese visitors. More on Google Analytics and China in a later post.

This quick test can already give you a whole lot of insight into your site’s performance in China and if you’re a web developer, you can directly see what parts of the website need further optimization. To keep the report, simply click on “Send” on the right top and you can let Dotcom-monitor.com send you the results for this location as PDF or CSV.

Conclusion

The Website Speed Test on Dotcom-monitor.com is a great first step to get some initial insight into your website’s performance in China. It is also a great tool to keep up to date with the website’s performance. The rules on what can be loaded in China and what not change on an ongoing basis, so if China is one of your target markets and you want to make sure that your site is accessible, maybe think about one of the monitoring plans offered on the platform. For others, go to the website and play through the 4 steps outlined above, we use Dotcom-monitor.com constantly for our own websites and reports.

by | Aug 17, 2016 | Website Speed

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