GTmetrix Performance Blog

News, updates and guides on GTmetrix and general web performance

Basic Analysis with GTmetrix

An in-depth introduction to basic options with GTmetrix.

There’s more to GTmetrix than just inputting your URL and clicking analyze. The results you get from our default test options are a good start, but they might not best represent your visitor’s experience.

In this article, we’ll show you how to make the best use the Analysis Options offered in our Basic (Free) account – be sure to register for one to get started!

 


 
 

The Basic GTmetrix Options

First, let’s go through the major Analysis Options you have access to on a Basic GTmetrix account.
 
 

Where to Find Analysis Options

When you log in, you’ll be taken to the Dashboard. Under the URL input field, you’ll see a button titled “Analysis Options”. Click to expand.

You’ll see a rich set of analysis options – even for free users!

Click “Analysis Options” to get access to a variety of features.

 

Each option is categorized in a major section – let’s break them down below.
 
 

Test Format

These options have the most impact on your page timings and can drastically affect your report.

Test Region, Browser Option and Connection Speeds make up the Test Format.

 

1) Test Region

Test Region – where you want to analyze your site from.

 

This is the location of server where you wish to test your site from.

  • You can choose from 7 global test regions to analyze with.
  • Be sure to select the region that most of your users are visiting from.

 
Why it’s so impactful: The geographic distance between your server and a visitor significantly affects network latency. The further apart each are, the longer distance data has to travel. This is why CDNs are important with regards to an optimal performing website.

 

2) Browser Option

Test your site with Firefox, Chrome or Chrome Android (mobile).

 

The type of browser to use to load your site.

  • You can choose from three different browsers: Chrome, Firefox, and Chrome Android (Mobile)
  • We analyze your page with real browsers – as opposed to emulated browsers. More on this here.
  • As with the test location, be sure to select the browser that your visitors are using.

 
Why it’s so impactful: Chrome and Firefox use different engines to render pages, which may result in different page load performances. Our Chrome Android browser is running on a real Android device, which provides a real-world experience of how your page loads on a mid-tier mobile device.

It’s best to use the browser that most of your visitors are loading your site with so you can accurately reflect their experience.

 

3) Connection Speed

Connection Speed – The type of connection to test your site with.

 

The type of connection – or in other words – speed at which to test your site with. This is also known as throttling.

  • You can choose from eight different connection speeds, including 3G, LTE, and various Broadband speeds.
  • The GTmetrix default connection speed is Unthrottled – a very fast speed that is likely unrepresentative of your visitors.
  • As with the above options, be sure to select the connection speed that most of your visitors are using.

 
Why it’s so impactful: It’s important not to assume everybody has a super fast connection to the Internet.

It’s better to err on the side of caution and pick a conservative connection speed so you can ensure performance is acceptable for visitors who may not have the luxury of fast internet.

For advanced testing, you can can add Custom Connection speeds (only with our Developer Toolkit).

 


 
 

The Other Options

For more specific testing and special cases, GTmetrix provides a few more options that can provide further insight.

You get all these options available to you as a Basic user – free!

 

Here’s a brief description:
 

  • Create Video
    • Capture video playback of your page loading to see how a visitor experiences your site.
       
  • Adblock Plus
    • Block ads from the GTmetrix test – Useful for troubleshooting.
    • Note that this may ironically increase various timings however, due to Adblock Plus’ high resource usage.
    • As an alternative, our URL Blacklist feature is also an option to block ads without affecting timings.
       
  • Stop Test Onload

Advanced Options are also available:
 

  • Developer Toolkit
  • HTTP Authentication
    • Analyze your HTTP password protected page by providing a username and password.
    • Note: This is not for pages with a general user login, but for pages with an .htpasswd set.
    • For pages requiring a user login, read below about Cookie sessions.
       
  • Cookies
    • Analyze a page requiring user logins by entering logged-in cookie session data
    • Learn more about Cookie sessions here.
       
  • URL Blacklist/Whitelist

 


 

Making the Best Use of Basic Options

Reports should best represent the majority of your users.

Adjusting the Test Region, Browser Option and Connection Speed to what closely represents your visitors is the best way to benchmark for performance.

Here are some quick suggestions on how to get started:
 
 

Check your Analytics

Using data from your analytics, you can find out where the majority of your users come from, and what browsers they’re using.

Your analytics should show basic segmentation of your visitors, including where they’re visiting from.

 

Use this information to adjust the Test Region and Browser Option. We’ll discuss Connection Speed below.
 
 

Test in Multiple Scenarios

You’ll likely see a segmentation in your visitors. People will visit your site from all sorts of different locations, devices, and connections.

It’s a good idea to test your site in a the most common of scenarios, for example:
 

Different Regions

  • Vancouver, BC – Chrome – Broadband
  • Dallas, USA – Chrome – Broadband
  • London, UK – Chrome – Broadband

Different Connection Speeds

  • Vancouver, BC – Chrome – Unthrottled
  • Vancouver, BC – Chrome – Broadband
  • Vancouver, BC – Chrome – LTE

Different Browsers

  • Vancouver, BC – Chrome – Broadband
  • Vancouver, BC – Firefox – Broadband
  • Vancouver, BC – Chrome (Android, Galaxy Nexus) – Broadband

…And any other combinations of options

Ensure you have a “whole-picture” view of your performance for the most common pages and scenarios your visitors may experience.

 
 

Monitor and Set Up Alerts

Performance monitoring is critical to ensure your site loads as you’d expect it to. Even large retailers are susceptible to performance blips and blunders.

You can monitor up to 3 URLs with a Basic GTmetrix account.

 

For the pages that matter most, be sure to monitor their performance and set up alerts to notify you of any issues that arise.

These pages include highly trafficked or most-converting pages like:

  • Home Page
  • Popular Landing pages
  • Checkout/Purchase/Conversion pages
  • …any page you deem important.

 

You can monitor and set up alerts for up to 3 URLs on a Basic (Free) plan!

 

The Basic GTmetrix account allows you to monitor and set up alerts for up to 3 URLs – for free! If you need more, upgrade to one of our PRO plans or set up a Custom plan that suits your level of usage.

 


 

Further Reading

Now that you have a grasp of basic analysis with GTmetrix, here are a few more resources that can help you with your page optimization:

 

Be sure to follow the GTmetrix blog or follow us on Twitter (@gtmetrix)for more news and updates!
 
 


 

Keep your site’s performance at the top of mind

PRO Monitoring Splash

Get more monitoring slots and advanced options along with hourly testing with a GTmetrix PRO plan.

Available in Bronze, Silver or Gold levels – or create a Custom plan to suit your needs!

Other features include: Priority access in the queue, the Developer Toolkit bundle, Remote location monitoring, and much more!


Upgrade to PRO today!