While working on improving the performance of my web sites, I have been using several tools in order to evaluate the performance of the site itself. Some are good, some are very good, some are overwhelmingly good.
- You cannot avoid mentioning the Google webmaster tools. They do a lot of things and contain a performance evaluation but it is very crude and updated at frequency that you cannot control (several days if not several weeks between updates).
- Pingdom: Full Page Test has the enormous advantage of being precise and not requiring anything more than your browser. Give it an URL and it will tell you what happens and how fast. Great.
- Using Firefox, there is a nice plugin to observe the load times and the detail of what is loaded: Firebug. It will produce the graphic display below.
- But if you want to go even one step further, you should complete Firebug with the Google Page Speed extension, which will provide precise recommendations about what you could do to improve your page load times.