It is a widely held belief that leading ecommerce sites must be getting faster, rather than slower, thanks to our increasingly souped-up browsers, devices, and networks. But is this actually the case? Our latest retail web performance survey indicates otherwise.
Since 2010, we've been measuring the performance of the top 2,000 retail websites (as ranked by Alexa.com). The purpose of this research has been to gain ongoing visibility into the real-world performance of leading ecommerce sites – to learn how these sites perform for visitors sitting at home using the internet under normal browsing conditions.
In December 2012, working with our soon-to-be parent company Radware, we tested the load times (in Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 17, and Chrome 23) and page composition of the Alexa Retail 2000, and then analyzed this data alongside our benchmark data.
The goal was to identify trends and find answers to questions such as:
The answers -- some of which may surprise you -- are in the report State of the Union for Ecommerce Page Speed & Web Performance [Spring 2013], which is now available for free download.
One-third of Europe's top retail websites aren't meeting the performance demands of online shoppers. This was the key finding of a new report released by our parent company, Radware, in conjunction with Level 3 Communications.
A survey of the top 400 ecommerce sites in Europe found that:
Radware VP application acceleration Joshua Bixby had this to say about this report:
"These findings are a wake-up call for online retailers in Europe. In today's hyper-competitive retail climate, site owners need to know that 7-second load times are simply much too slow, and they need to realize that shoppers are not oblivious to the issue of page speed. When fully three-quarters of sites are disappointing end users, that number can’t be ignored."
Download the report: State of the Union: European Page Speed and Web Performance
Former Googler Mike Belshe is the inventor of one of the most important protocol changes to improve the performance of the web over last ten years -- Google's SPDY protocol -- and it was an honour to welcome him to our virtual studio.
Among other things, SPDY makes pages faster by compressing some page resources, preloading select resources into the user's browser, and extending what the browser can do allowing multiple concurrent streams over a single connection (thereby reducing the number of server round trips).
Mike talked with podcast host Joshua Bixby about the fact that, even at Google, proposing a paradigm-shifting initiative like SPDY can meet with raised eyebrows:
I think the place that I really added value was in the start-up of nature of [SPDY]. Even though I was at Google when we started this project, and everybody wanted the web to go faster inside of Google, we kind of worked around it and said "Hey! We can do this with a better protocol." And people were, like, "A better protocol? You're never going to get that to work. Even if you got Google to do it, who else would do it? Nobody else would support it. It will fail for sure."
Mike and Joshua also talked about Twist, Mike's latest experiment that could change how we think about time, as well as the inner workings of the IETF.
Continuing the chain of performance industry pioneers that have visited the podcast so far, this week Joshua Bixby interviews another pioneer: Tim Morrow. Tim was an early evangelizer of the business value of performance and, more recently, he's a strong advocate for creating customer-facing performance promises.
Tim and Joshua sat down and talked about a wide range of topics, including how to take real-time action on customer measurement and why thinking about third-party content keeps Tim up at night.
Tools like Google's PageSpeed and mod_pagespeed are an integral part of most developers' web performance toolkit. This is why it was such an honour to get Joshua Marantz, one of the key movers and shakers behind these projects, inside our virtual studio.
In this week's podcast, he and host Joshua Bixby crack the hood and talk a bit about the inner workings of PageSpeed and mod_pagespeed -- their similarities and their differences.
They also discussed a number of other burning questions, such as how to handle concerns about front-end optimization (FEO) and site breakage, whether or not browsers and servers will ever take on FEO as an automatic function, and why the performance industry is inundated with people named Joshua.
The content delivery marketplace is a changing as quickly as it's growing, and in this week's podcast, Joshua was lucky to talk with one of the movers behind this change.
As co-founder of Turbobytes, Aaron Peters is a pioneer in bringing together two hot tech topics: content delivery and real user monitoring (RUM). His company closely monitors the real-world performance of six global CDNs, and then ensures that site owners' content is always delivered by the fastest one.
In this week's podcast, Aaron talks with Joshua about why all CDNs aren't equal all the time, why the upcoming new resource timings API is going to be awesome, and why so many web shops still need to get their performance basics right.
In this week's podcast, Joshua talks with Josh Fraser, CEO of Torbit, a provider of real user measurement (RUM) and dynamic content optimization (DCO) solutions. They talk about discovering the web performance path, how performance has changed from a technical metric to a business metric, advice for young entrepreneurs, and tech predictions for 2013.
We are very excited to announce an enormous milestone in our business: Strangeloop is now part of Radware.
For the past six years, we've put all our energies into building the very best web application acceleration technology on the market. This acquisition allows us to integrate our advanced front-end optimization (FEO) technology with Radware's best-in-class application delivery and network security solutions. Together, our technologies will meet application owners' increasingly urgent demand for highly secure, highly effective, end-to-end acceleration.
This move is a logical next step for our company and our technology, and we're excited to be moving forward with Radware. Both Strangeloop and Radware have their roots in innovation, and our combined track record will provide unique value to our customers.
It's business as usual for our team and for you.
You'll continue to receive full 24/7 technical support, and you'll continue to use Strangeloop solutions as standalone products in whatever form you currently use them: appliance, virtual appliance, or cloud.
In the future, you'll also have the option of enjoying our technology integrated as a software module with Radware’s industry-leading Alteon Application Delivery Controller (ADC).
And in the long term, you'll enjoy the benefits of ongoing investment in product development -- allowing you to continue to benefit from using the world's leading application acceleration solution.
You'll also have exciting new opportunities to leverage Radware solutions. Radware will be fully onboarding our A-list of partners, as well as offering online training and certification programs for Radware's suite of products.
We're extremely proud of the massive strides we've made in the development of our products over the past seven years. The sophistication -- and the effectiveness -- of our suite of acceleration treatments is second to none, and this will only continue to evolve. We've built an elite R&D team over the years, and these same great minds will continue to lead in FEO innovation, backed by Radware's market leadership and global presence.
Since 2006, everyone here at Strangeloop has made it our mission to put companies at the forefront of acceleration. As part of Radware, we're looking forward to continuing to push the innovation envelope to keep them there.
Our VP Marketing, Marie Clavel, will be happy to take your email questions.
Read more in this blog post from Nir Ilani, Director of Product Marketing at Radware.
Every month, we update our WPO Hub with the latest performance-related news, research, tips, and tutorials, and we bring the best links to you in our Web Performance Digest. This month, learn how to set a performance budget, get tips on how to promote a performance culture in your business, and find out which 10 web performance tuning tricks will make a big difference on your site.
Setting a performance budget
Sites are rapidly growing in size. In this post, Tim Kadlec discusses how to create a "performance budget" and why web performance needs to be brought up early on in a project.
Performance as design
There is an assumption that only developers need to concern themselves with performance. Brad Frost explains why it is important to treat web performance as an essential design feature, not just a technical feature.
How much CSS should you have?
Jonathan Klein talks about how much CSS should be on your website and some of the pitfalls when authoring CSS.
Ten web performance tuning tricks in 60 minutes
Strangeloop performance evangelist Richard Campbell walks you through his web performance tuning toolkit and explains different tecniques for making your web pages faster.
Study: Streaming video viewers lose patience after 2 seconds
A recent study by NPR reports that roughly half of high-speed internet users believe 5 seconds is too long to wait for streaming videos.
Creating a Performance Culture
Steve Souders gives great tips for creating a powerful in-house performance culture for companies that may be new to the world of high performance sites.
Moving beyond window.onload()
Another must-read post from Steve Souders. Here he discusses why window.onload isn't the best metric for measuring website speed and gets the ball rolling to find a suitable replacement.
Check out the Web Performance Hub for hundreds more great links.
In this week's Web Performance Today podcast, Strangeloop president Joshua Bixby talks with Mark Jennings, Technical Operations Manager at Lonely Planet Online.
Lonely Planet is an excellent online resource for travel information, and not surprisingly, they take web performance very seriously. Mark and Joshua talk about how to sell performance within a company, the phenomenal growth in Lonely Planet's mobile traffic, and how to not only make your pages fast, but keep them fast.