Thursday, April 20, 2006

How Long Does It Take To Load A Webpage?

There is no shortage of good web browsers. On Windows systems, Internet Explorer is the most widely used browser. However, more and more web users are switching over to alternative browsers, such as Firebox and Opera. There is a growing dispute about which browser is the fastest. In addition, there are several articles offering tips and tweaks to optimize browser performance. Question # 1, how do you test the speed at which a browser renders a webpage? Question #2, how can you quantify if tweaks to your browser have indeed optimize the browser? Well, there is an easy way to find out. In the following paragraphs, I am going to describe how to measure the time it takes to render a webpage. The latter will give us a way to compare quantitatively the speeds of the various browsers and the effectiveness of tweaks.

First, start up your preferred web browser. Second, clear the browser’s cache. In Internet Explorer, go to Tools > Internet Options > General tab > under “Temporary Internet Files” click [Delete Files]. In Firefox, go to Tools > Options > Privacy > Cache tab > click [Clear Cache Now]. In Opera, go to Tools > Preferences > History > under “Disk Cache” click [Empty Now]. Once you have finished clearing the cache, go to http://www.numion.com/stopwatch/. Under “Enter the URL to be measured,” type in a convenient web address, such as www.lifehacker.com or www.pcworld.com. The key is to enter in a web address which has both text and images. Once you have typed in an address, click [Start Stopwatch]. Your browser will load the web address you entered previously. What Stopwatch does is to display the time it takes for your browser to go from its [Stopwatch] homepage to the web addressed you entered. Write down the time displayed. Next, go to your next web browser and repeat the above steps. Afterwards, compare the times for each web browser. Viola, you now have a quantitative measure of a browser’s speed to render a webpage.

This procedure can also be used to calculate if a particular tweak(s) to a web browser has indeed improve its speed to render a webpage. Just remember to always clear the cache before starting the stopwatch.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very useful. I was using the Fasterfox plugin to measure, but could not find one for IE. This one does the trick! Thanks.

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