Page Load Time Testing

This is a short post about testing page load times. Which is probably a good thing so you can quickly get to testing those pages on your site and tweaking them to get those load times shortened.

If you already have a caching plugin activated on your site you won’t be able to do accurate testing.

Resources for testing page load are pretty easy to come by. How accurate or useful is another issue. But a standard when compared against itself should still provide some information we can use.

One More Thing:   “Don’t have your blog open in admin mode while running page load time tests on another tab.”

So lets get to it. For those wanting a quick easy first place to start copy this code into the footer of your blog.

<!– <?php echo get_num_queries(); ?> queries. <?php timer_stop(1); ?> seconds. –>

Put this code in the footer just before the </body> tag.

Now open the page and “View Page Source” or “View Source” depending on your browser.   Scroll to the bottom and you should see something like:
<“ 125 queries. 1.431 seconds. >

On Line Analyzer

Google “Page Load Analysis” or “Page Load Analyzer” and you will find several sites where you can enter your ULR and it will tell you how long it took to load the page.   Here is one I use that give me 5 free queries an hour.

This is usually enough to tell me what I want to know.

I suggest you run this tool (or whatever one you chose) and screen capture the results before you start making any changes to your site as a baseline for page speed.

Maybe This is All You Need to Do

Globe Arizona Holiday Train

Ready for Speed

There is a good chance you won’t need to go any further than this.   If your site is small, 300 posts or fewer and you aren’t running a lot of plugins you could already have good page load speeds.   I think anything under 2 seconds is fast.   Anything between 2 and 3 (without caching) is very good.   You probably don’t need to do anything to your site.

The Lab for example has 85 plugins installed, and over 300 posts, over 3000 comments.   But it loads in about 1.7 seconds and that is for the homepage.   I haven’t done anything to speed up the site.   No caching plugins, no special tweaking of the code.   The only thing I did was enable gzip from the php.ini and add the compression code to the header.   That got the lab load time under 2 seconds.   I’m a happy camper.

The Tucson blog is another matter.   It had a page load time of 7 to 9 seconds when I started this series of lab experiments.   I’ve got it down to between 2.5 and 3.5 seconds most of the time.   I would like to get it down closer to the 2 second point.   But it has a lot going on and over 800 active posts.   I may have to settle on those load times.   But I’m still trying to squeeze out more time.   And it is a long painful process.

Therefore, if you have a pretty good page load time already.   Breath a sigh of relief and enjoy the pain that will be brought out in this series of posts.   There may come a day when you have so much content on your site, you will need to implement some of these tools and plugins.


  1. Just caught your RSS notice–neat trick!
    .-= Brandon Green´s last blog ..Mystery solved =-.

  2. Brandon,

    It seems everyday I find a new site that is scrapping the Lab’s content. Of course they are all sites setup with Adword ads.

    Trying to keep it as non-intrusive as possible while letting scrappers know there are easier pickings out there.


  3. I didn’t know such things could be checked. I know I won’t hang at sites that take too long to load.
    Thanks for the heads up.
    .-= Keahi Pelayo´s last blog ..Four Honolulu Houses and Three Condos For Sale =-.

  4. Hi Dave,

    With all the buzz about speed lately I’m glad to find these tools to check my site. I’ve been avoiding lots of plugins because of worries about slowing down my site – though reading how many you’re using is making my worries seem pointless! Thanks for the info.

    .-= Liz Bolton´s last blog ..Concrete Buildings In Cambridge =-.

  5. Just wanted to say thanks for all your great posts. I subscribe to your blog through Google reader. Keep up the fight regarding intellectual property on the web. Images are a sore spot for me. I have discovered several people harvesting images off my site, that that was just through casual browsing. Who know what else?

  6. Nice blog post and there are plenty of tools out there to help test load time. Can’t over-egg enough the importance of speed testing – not only from an SEO perspective but from a user experience.

    Google’s own tool and Pingdom’s are well know, but nice alternative is’s tool which allows you to simply enter the URL and then chose the location you want the website to be tested from. Quick, easy-to-use and free! 🙂