Homepage hall of shame – July 2011

Introduction

This is the latest installment of the “Home page hall of Shame” which is an independent audit of the state of Web Page Optimisation in New Zealand. This test takes the top 160 New Zealand based websites from Alexa rankings and compares a number of different metrics – Page Size, Download time, optimisation scores and Javascript optimisation.

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Summary

  • The homepages for 160 of the top NZ based websites was measured using  webpagetest.org.nz on 1.5Mb DSL and 20Mb connection Thanks to aptimize.com.
  • The average page size of homepages was 661.8K Up from (554.6K in Dec 2010 359.6K in May 2009 & 305.1K in 2008)
  • Fastest home pages load < 2 sec. Top site loads in 1.1 secs !
    • The average download time for office broadband – 5.98 secs(3.97 secs for page reload)
    • The average download time for home broadband connection – 12.43 secs (5.21 secs for page reload)
  • 66% of websites use  WEB COMPRESSION
  • Only 35% of sites load in under 4 seconds.
  • The largest pages were over 4000K. The largest site was 4Mb and with one image over 3Mb.
  • A lot Advertising javascript still is not being compressed
  • Some sites have dozens of Javascript and CSS files, worst offender had 54 javascript files.
  • The fastest sites have less total requests. There seems to be a strong co-relation to lower total requests to speed.

Percent of sites that got a passing grade for the basic optimization checks:

Optimization Percent of pages with a passing grade (2011)
Keep-alive Enabled 89.4%
Compress Text 61.55%
Cache Static 31.4%
Compress Images 66.4%

Download time distribution – Office Broad band (20Mb)


Table 1 – Shows the distribution of download times of the top 160 home pages using office broadband speed.

Time Frequency
<1 0 (0%)
1 – 2 12 (7.55%)
2 – 3 24 (15.09%)
3 – 4 19 (11.95%)
4 – 5 27 (16.98%)
5 – 6 22 (13.84%)
6 – 7 13 (8.18%)
7 – 8 12 (7.55%)
8 – 9 6 (3.77%)
9 – 10 4 (2.52%)
10-12.5 3 (1.89%)
12.5-15 9 (5.66%)
15+ 8 (5.03%)

Download time distribution – Home Broad band (1.5Mb)


Table 1 – Shows the distribution of download times of the top 160 home pages using home broadband speed.

Time Frequency
<1 0 (0%)
1 – 2 2 (1.26%)
2 – 3 8 (5.03%)
3 – 4 6 (3.77%)
4 – 5 17 (10.69%)
5 – 6 16 (10.06%)
6 – 7 21 (13.71%)
7 – 8 16 (10.06%)
8 – 9 9 (5.66%)
9 – 10 16 (10.06%)
10-12.5 22 (13.84%)
12.5-15 10 (6.29%)
15+ 6 (3.77%)

What should we do to improve

The Data

Optimisation

What? This table shows the top ranking home pages with highest optimisation scores as ranked by performance ranking tools YSlow and Pagespeed.

How? We used the website www.showslow.com to record the score for the test.

Why is this important? This result shows which sites are best optimised for web performance. The sites  are optimised sites for fastest downloading and reloading of pages.

Top 10 most optimised sites

Site YSlow Rating Page speed Combined Score
geekzone.co.nz 95 98 193
dashtickets.co.nz 87 95 182
snipesoft.net.nz 91 90 181
www.mightyape.co.nz 84 96 180
zenbu.co.nz 92 86 178
realestate.co.nz 88 89 177
xero.com 84 92 176
zoomin.co.nz 87 88 175
holidayhouses.co.nz 83 92 175
slingshot.co.nz 76 93 173

Top 10 worst optimised sites

Site YSlow Rating Page speed Combined Score
Courier Post 75 15 90
smilecity.co.nz 73 17 90
yellowlocal.co.nz 50 45 90
metservice.co.nz 63 38 101
rcnz.co.nz 80 25 105
webjet.co.nz 66 41 107
ezibuy.co.nz 71 37 108
tvnz.co.nz 71 37 108
genesisenergy.co.nz 68 61 109
flightcentre.co.nz 42 57 109

Download time

What? This table shows the top ranking home pages with fastest and slowest download times .

How? We used the website webpagetest.org website on 1.5Mb DSL connection Broadband and 20Mb Office network connection in Wellington NZ to simulate a fair test of all the webpages. The test took page over the week of the 2nd to 11th of July.

Why is this important? This result shows which sites are fastest to load for users. The faster the website, the more pages that a user can visit in the allotted time.

Top 10 fastest home page download speed using Office broadband

Site Size (K) Total requests Webpagetest.org first load time
- Broadband (secs)
telecom.co.nz 274.4K 32 1.171s
dol.govt.nz 121K 21 1.234s
snipesoft.co.nz 124K 17 1.489s
auckland.ac.nz 170K 32 1.58s
massey.ac.nz 401K 37 1.596s
xenbu.co.nz 31K 13 1.623s
geonet.org.nz 105K 21 1.729s
school.nz 52K 7 1.731s
maxx.co.nz 431K 41 1.786s
westpac.co.nz 385K 20 1.874s

Top 10 slowest home page download speed using Office Broadband

Site Size (K) Total requests Webpagetest.org time first load time
- Broadband (secs)
skykiwi.com 991K 116 26.88s
thestandard.org.nz 4076K 92 20.917s
istars.co.nz 3293K 186 20.092s
whaleoil.gotcha.co.nz 1765K 151 17.199s
nz.yahoo.com 828.1K 105 16.491s
interest.co.nz 410K 55 16.381s
3news.co.nz 900K 142 16.287s
thebigidea.co.nz 1195K 179 15.081s
readersdigest.co.nz 1541K 202 14.6s
stuff.co.nz 1052K 160 14.353s

Size

What? This table shows the largest and smallest home pages by total download size .

How? We used YSlow to provide the tool download size of the home page including all the HTML , Javascript, CSS, image and Flash files.

Why is this important? This highlights the total size of some of the home page. Some of these webpages sizes are out of control and webmaster need to think about the time that it takes to load their sites.

Top 10 largest home pages by size

Site Size (K) Total requests
thestandard.org.nz 4076K 92
istars.co.nz 3293K 186
stoppress.co.nz 2141K 140
wahleoil.gotcha.co.nz 1765K 151
yazoom.co.nz 1762K 216
thewarehouse.co.nz 1642K 89
barfoot.co.nz 1610K 68
readersdigest.co.nz 1541K 202
nzherald.co.nz 1429K 7.938
eventcinemas.co.nz 1396K 110

Top 10 smallest home pages by size

Site Size (K) Total requests
zenbu.co.nz 31K 13
school.nz 52K 7
elgar.govt.nz 76K 19
oldfriends.co.nz 83K 28
geonet.org.nz 105K 21
dol.govt.nz 121K 21
snipesoft.co.nz 124K 17
radionz.co.nz 130K 23
psis.co.nz 133K 15
builderscrack.co.nz 169K 26

Cacheability

What? This table shows which sites have the fastest reload time. ie. this is the 2nd loading of a site after an initial load.  This is an indication of effective are the cacheability of the webpage.

How? We used the website webpagetest.org website on 20Mb Office connection Broadband in Wellington NZ to simulate a fair test of all the webpages. The test took page over the week of 2nd to 11th of July.

Why is this important? This test shows which sites will load fastest for regular users. A cacheable site will load quickly as the browser does not have to reload all the content that hasn’t change (static content)

Note: There seems to be some problems with the reload calculation as geonet.org.nz and westpac.co.nz should be at the top of this table but for some reason they are not.

Top 10 fastest cached pages – 2nd reload of a page

Site Size (K) Total requests Webpagetest.org time first load – Broadband (secs) Cached load – Broadband (secs)
oldfriends.co.nz 83K 28 1.971s 0.822s
farmers.co.nz 743K 26 3.3s 0.842s
zenbu.co.nz 31K 13 1.623s 0.844s
snipesoft.net.nz 124K 17 1.489s 0.866s
elgar.govt.nz 76K 19 4.838s 0.929s
dol.govt.nz 121K 21 1.234s 0.939s
aucklandcity.govt.nz 176K 28 5.355s 1.018s
school.nz 52K 7 1.731s 1.054s
nzqa.govt.nz 604K 32 2.108s 1.1078s
dashtickets.co.nz 502K 31 2.51s 1.103s

Javascript

What? This table shows which sites have most javascript files on the home page.

How? We used YSlow to provide the number of the javascript files used on the web page.

Why is this important? Javascript files can be bad for your website if they are not properly optimised and loaded in the correct way. The scripts can be block the downloading of any other content on the webpage.  The more javascript files on the site can make the page very slow while the user has to wait until the browsers loads all the javascript then continues to render the page.

Top 10 home pages with most javascript files

Site Size (K) Total requests # of Javascript Files Webpagetest.org time first load- Broadband (secs)
whaleoil.gotcha.co.nz 1765K 151 54 17.199s
flightcentre.co.nz 917K 156 47 5.7s
readersdigest.co.nz 1541K 202 35 14.698s
thebigidea.co.nz 1195K 179 33 15.081s
vodafone.co.nz 824K 130 33 4.912s
yazoom.co.nz 1762 216 32 7.931s
kiwblog.co.nz 528K 72 32 13.622s
tickettek.co.nz 1022K 146 30 13.267s
tvnz.co.nz 832K 72 32 5.929s
aatravel.co.nz 870K 114 29 5.892s

5 Responses to “Homepage hall of shame – July 2011”

  1. Rob Holmes Says:

    John – I’m interested in why a site would rank a lot better for the 20Mb test than for the 1.5Mb test. I think we rank about 27th for first load at 20Mb, but dramatically worse for the 1.5Mb test.
    cheers,
    Rob

  2. john Says:

    The answer lies in the speed of the network and effects of network latency. In your case there seems to be a problem with the webserver serving some of the requests very slow for the 1.5Mb test. Even if this didn’t happen you would rank mid-50′s.

    Every request has a latency time from the time which the browser requests it and the time that the webserver starts to the serve the first byte. For 1.5Mb connection on average a latency of 100-120ms. There are cases your server waited upto 360ms to deliver 0.6K image (which took 0ms to deliver.

    From what I can see your site can be twice at least fast with some optimisations!

  3. davis dimalen Says:

    I am interested on how you did your evaluation? I also use the same API as webpagetest.org and believe me the results varies with time. For example, you evaluated nz.yahoo.com as one of the slowest when most of the time, on a daily basis they get the fastest loading times.

    I think it is unfair to judge these websites as slowest and not knowing what time of day they were evaluated. You see their are alot of factors that has to be consider when evaluating these websites and that includes the time of day they were evaluated. Considering on a particular period of time, some websites are overloaded on while at the sime period of time some website are not busy.

    My question is did you measure these websites at the same time? Are they all tested on the same environment and of the same technical conditions?

  4. john Says:

    Majority of the tests were run on the weekend using webpagetest.org. All of the test results in the Google have a URL with the full test details of every test.

    I understand there are number of factors that can affect slow performance. In nz.yahoo.com case, the tests were run on a sunday. I was surprised that the result , so re-ran them several times. And the same result at different times of the day. (http://www.webpagetest.org/testlog.php?days=30&filter=nz.yahoo.com) There were poorly optimised advertising running that day contributed to the slowness.(http://www.webpagetest.org/result/110710_ZG_110R5/1/details/)

  5. john Says:

    As for your “day job”. You got hammered by poor perforamnce by your ad partners.Put pressure on your ad partners to improve their performance.