Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Greg Ness, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Mat Mathews, David Cauthron

Related Topics: SOA & WOA, Java, Wireless, .NET, AJAX & REA, Web 2.0

SOA & WOA: Article

Top Seven Website Performance Indicators to Monitor

Whatever the reason for a website crashing or slowing down, it’s bad for business and for your online reputation

Poorly performing websites, like Twitter's recent fiasco with Ellen's selfie, are a constant source of irritation for users. At first you think it's your computer, or maybe someone on your block is downloading the entire "Game of Thrones" series. But, when nothing changes after refreshing the page once or twice, you give up, mutter under your breath, and move on.

Whatever the reason for a website crashing or slowing down, it's bad for business and for your online reputation. According to a survey conducted by Consumer Affairs, a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. And, if your website can't load fast enough (in 400 milliseconds), then most of your customers will search for another website.

Understanding how your website performs under pressure is extremely important for any company. But, it can be daunting trying to figure out what website performance indicators you should monitor.

We have compiled a list of the top seven website performance indicators we believe to be important. Make sure to track each of these to guarantee a great customer experience.

Top Seven Website Performance Indicators

1. Uptime
Monitoring the availability of your website is without a doubt the single most important part of website monitoring. Ideally, you should constantly check the uptime of your key pages from different locations around the world. Measure how many minutes your site is down over a period of two weeks or a month, and then express that as a percentage.

2. Initial Page Speed
Consumers' behavior and tolerance thresholds have changed. Now, people who browse a website expect it to load in a blink of an eye. If it doesn't load quickly, they will leave and turn to a competitor's site. You can check your website's speed using Ping requests (measuring the time it takes from your location until the website starts loading) and loading time measurements, for example, measuring the time it takes to download the source code of a web page. Note that this measurement reflects the time it takes for the raw page to load, but that isn't the complete user experience. For that, you must measure...

3. Full Page Load Time including images, videos, etc.
This performance indicator is usually called End User Experience testing. It's the amount of time it takes for all the images, videos, dynamically-loaded (AJAX) content, and everything else seen by the user to pop up on the their screen. This is different than the time it takes for the raw file to download to the device it's going to display on (as indicated above).

Both full page load time and page speed are important to measure because you can employ different strategies to optimize for both of them. Images, videos, and other static content can be cached on separate, dedicated systems or content delivery networks (CDNs), while dynamic content might need dedicated servers and fast databases. Knowing how your website behaves as it scales will help you put the right infrastructure in place.

4. Geographic Performance
If you are a globally active company or if you have consumers from different parts of the world, understanding your geographical performance - which is your website's speed and availability in different locations - is extremely important. Your ultimate goal is to make sure your website is easily accessible to all visitors regardless of their location to give them an excellent customer experience.

Many companies ignore this factor, only testing performance in familiar geographies. At a minimum, use your website analytics as a guide to put testing in place that shadows the locations from which your visitors are accessing your site.

5. Website Load Tolerance
Do you know how many visitors it takes to considerably slow down your website? It's an important indicator to understand because if you are running aggressive marketing campaigns or are picked up by the press you might be in a situation where your website is flooded with visitors in a matter of minutes.

Regularly run stress tests and compare the results to your visitor numbers at peak times. Once you understand how much load your website can handle then you can adjust your infrastructure to meet the demand. Look for those "tipping points" so you won't be caught by surprised when traffic spikes.

6. Web Server CPU Load
CPU usage is a common culprit in website failures. Too much processing bogs down absolutely everything on the server without much indication as to where the problem lies. You can prevent web server failures by monitoring CPU usage regularly. If you cannot install monitoring software on your web servers due to hosting arrangements or other constraints, consider running a script that publishes the values from available disk space and CPU load to a very simple html page.

7. Website Database Performance
Your database can be one of the most problematic parts of your website. A poorly optimized query, for example, can be the difference between a zippy site and an unusable one. It's important to monitor your database logs closely. Create alerts if the results contain certain error messages, or deliver results outside of expected norms. Use the built-in capabilities of the database to see which queries are taking the most time, and identify ways to optimize those through indices and other techniques. Most importantly, monitor the overall performance of the database to make sure it's not a bottleneck.

No Downtime = Happy Customers
If you can monitor all seven of these metrics, you should have a good idea of how your website performs and what needs to change when it doesn't perform well. Minimizing website downtime will keep your customers happy. If you have any questions on these metrics or load testing let me know.

More Stories By Tim Hinds

Tim Hinds is the Product Marketing Manager for NeoLoad at Neotys. He has a background in Agile software development, Scrum, Kanban, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Testing practices.

Previously, Tim was Product Marketing Manager at AccuRev, a company acquired by Micro Focus, where he worked with software configuration management, issue tracking, Agile project management, continuous integration, workflow automation, and distributed version control systems.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
Verizon Enterprise Solutions is simplifying the cloud-purchasing experience for its clients, with the launch of Verizon Cloud Marketplace, a key foundational component of the company's robust ecosystem of enterprise-class technologies. The online storefront will initially feature pre-built cloud-based services from AppDynamics, Hitachi Data Systems, Juniper Networks, PfSense and Tervela. Available globally to enterprises using Verizon Cloud, Verizon Cloud Marketplace provides a one-stop shop fo...
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additional...
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com...
We are all here because we are sold on the transformative promise of The Cloud. But what good is all of this ephemeral, on-demand infrastructure if your usage doesn't actually improve the agility and speed of your business? How must Operations adapt in order to avoid stifling your Cloud initiative? In his session at DevOps Summit, Damon Edwards, co-founder and managing partner of the DTO Solutions, will highlight the successful organizational, process, and tooling patterns of high-performing c...
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from ha...
Software-driven innovation is becoming a primary approach to how businesses create and deliver new value to customers. A survey of 400 business and IT executives by the IBM Institute for Business Value showed businesses that are more effective at software delivery are also more profitable than their peers nearly 70 percent of the time (1). DevOps provides a way for businesses to remain competitive, applying lean and agile principles to software development to speed the delivery of software that ...
Docker offers a new, lightweight approach to application portability. Applications are shipped using a common container format and managed with a high-level API. Their processes run within isolated namespaces that abstract the operating environment independently of the distribution, versions, network setup, and other details of this environment. This "containerization" has often been nicknamed "the new virtualization." But containers are more than lightweight virtual machines. Beyond their small...
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's

An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Ar...
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
Infor has announced a new feature Infor CloudSuite™ Aerospace & Defense (A&D) to aid compliance with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The ITAR function will serve as a complementary function for new or existing Infor CloudSuite A&D customers, to facilitate compliance for Infor customers that are creating a US defense article or performing a US defense service and wish to benefit from cloud-services. The ITAR regulation serves to manage handling and access requirements for dat...
What do a firewall and a fortress have in common? They are no longer strong enough to protect the valuables housed inside. Like the walls of an old fortress, the cracks in the firewall are allowing the bad guys to slip in - unannounced and unnoticed. By the time these thieves get in, the damage is already done and the network is already compromised. Intellectual property is easily slipped out the back door leaving no trace of forced entry. If we want to reign in on these cybercriminals, it's hig...