Use the Right Web Performance Tools for the Job
Here at Zoompf, our job is to help you do two things. First, we figure out what’s causing your web site to perform poorly, and, second, to fix it. We’re kind of like an electrician/plumber/HVAC guy for your website, except that we’re always there, and we have fantastic tools. Now, just like when you have to call an electrician, plumber, or HVAC guy, it’s usually because something’s really going wrong, and he always brings his own tools. If you had to call two or three different repairmen, you might notice that they each carry some of the same tools, but they’ll also have their favorite tools for each type of job. When you’re fixing someone’s bathroom sink, there are any number of different kinds of tools you can use to tighten that nut or loosen that valve.
But in the website performance business, it is very important that you use the right tools for the job. The term “performance tool” means different things to different people and solves different business problems. In general, there are three kinds of performance tools that we use to determine what’s causing your website to perform poorly: performance auditing tools, load testing tools, and performance monitoring tools. Here’s what each does.
- Performance Auditing Tools:
- Does root cause analysis so you know what is actually causing performance problems
- Tell you problems with your content, how its transmitted, so you can make your site faster
- Load Testing Tools:
- Determine how many users your infrastructure can support
- Are very helpful before launching a website/marketing push (avoid whale fails)
- Cannot tell you want to do to perform better
- Performance Monitoring Tools:
- Tell you how fast you site is loading from various locations around the world
- Send an alert if your production website goes down, or is having problems
- Tell you how fast your website is performing, but not how to make it perform faster
We’ve listed these types of tools in this order for a reason. This order is the priority in which we recommend you deploy the tools. First, web performance optimization tools identify and help resolve high-impact-low-effort issues to quickly improve your website’s performance. Then, load testing tools will show you how well your optimized website scales and demonstrate how many users you can currently support. Finally, performance monitoring tools excel at detecting when an already fast website has slowed down because a bug or configuration issue slipping into the production environment. Performance monitoring tools are best implemented last to help you to monitor and maintain the performance of an already-optimized, scalable site.
It’s one thing to have a lot of great tools, but it’s quite another thing to know how and when to utilize those tools. Each provides different types of information to different users within the organization. Only by using all three categories in the proper order can you find and fix performance issues in your application, understand how your application scales, and detect regressions in the performance of your deployed application. To learn more, check out our whitepaper A Guide to Modern Performance Tools.