While browsing your site you might see some pages take significantly longer to load and want to investigate the cause of this. We gather data to identify this through webpage tests and user journeys, if you already have these configured you will have the data in your account. If you don’t have them configured we would highly recommend setting up at least a webpage test on the page to investigate which will monitor for issues whether that be a consistent cause such as a large image or something intermittent such as a third party interacting with your site.
If you are investigating slow load times using the webpage test, navigate to the test either through the page or through the wallboards.
The overview dashboard provides an overview of the monitor, in particular we are interested in DOM/Render, total load and potentially even the size. The load brake down also provides a snapshot of how each process has loaded.
If the test you have selected didn’t have the slow load times you were expecting you will likely need to change the test by clicking the ‘CHANGE TEST’ button at the top of the dashboard. Here you will get a brief overview of the time, location and total load time of the test. This allows you to easily identify potentially problematic events.
Once you have selected a test you want to investigate, click the ‘Waterfall’ tab which will display a waterfall of all the elements that have loaded and how they have loaded. This screen is extremely useful for quickly identifying sticking points and we will flag any element errors such as a 404 clearly.
If you want further information the next tab to look at is the ‘Elements List’ which also provides the method, type, size and location. You can filter this by type and URL as well as search for specific elements.
If you want to investigate an element in more details within either the waterfall or the elements list you can, by clicking the magnifying glass at the left hand side of any element.
Here you have all the resources and information you need to know including headers, load time, size and locations.
Another potential cause of slow page load times are third parties interacting with your site. If you click through to the ‘Third Parties’ tab you will see a list of all third parties on the page, their size and whether we have identified them as very slow, slow, average, fast or very fast. This can be combined with the next tab of the map which provides a visual representation of where the elements and third parties are loading from
Now you have identified the slow elements or third parties you might want to track them. This is particularly useful if the issue is intermittent and you want to be alerted when the issue occurs. To track an element, click the magnifying glass at the left hand side of any element in the waterfall or elements list.
At the top of this window you can track the element and even add alerting.
Finally go to the ‘Tracked Elements’ tab and you will see the element you are looking to track.