Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Sanjeev Sharma

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
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets...
Ixia develops amazing products so its customers can connect the world. Ixia helps its customers provide an always-on user experience through fast, secure delivery of dynamic connected technologies and services. Through actionable insights that accelerate and secure application and service delivery, Ixia's customers benefit from faster time to market, optimized application performance and higher-quality deployments.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratogent will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Stratogent is a custom managed services organization based in San Mateo, California. We design, implement, and support mission critical infrastructure 24x7 on premises, in datacenters and in the Cloud. Since 2005, we have acted as an extension of internal IT teams, achieving a customer reten...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Harbinger Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Harbinger Systems is a global company providing software technology services. Since 1990, Harbinger has developed a strong customer base worldwide. Its customers include software product companies ranging from hi-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley to leading product companies in the US a...
SYS-CON Events announces a new pavilion on the Cloud Expo floor where WebRTC converges with the Internet of Things. Pavilion will showcase WebRTC and the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices--computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will con...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to bui...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual C...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP’s Printing a...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, will discuss how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP ...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform...
SYS-CON Events announced today that AIC, a leading provider of OEM/ODM server and storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AIC is a leading provider of both standard OTS, off-the-shelf, and OEM/ODM server and storage solutions. With expert in-house design capabilities, validation, manufacturing and production, AIC's broad selection of products are highly flexible and are conf...
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...
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurri...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue bu...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace. ...
Seagate has a strong track record of collaborating with others to develop better cloud solutions. The Seagate Cloud Builder Alliance program, for example, leverages the company’s knowledge of storage and cloud-optimized solutions to give cloud service providers the customized, flexible and scalable server and storage solutions to meet the high levels of service their customers demand. Seagate also is a member of the OpenStack Foundation and Open Compute Project to help define and promote open-so...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce t...
What process has your provider undertaken to ensure that the cloud tenant will receive predictable performance and service? What was involved in the planning? Who owns and operates the data center? What technology is being used? How is it being supported? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Dave Weisbrot, Cloud Business Manager for QTS, will provide the attendees a look into what it takes to stand up and stand behind a highly available certified cloud IaaS.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gigaom Research has been named "Media Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, will also lead a Power Panel on the topic "Choosing the Right Cloud Option." Gigaom Research provides timely, in-depth analysis of emerging technologies for individual and corporate subscribers. Gigaom Research'...