Website speed with Webiny

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Why speed matters?

Before we start I just want to point out several really important reasons why speed matters.
First of all, it affects the readers, users and buyers on your website. People don't like standing in queues and wait for something to happen. The same reflects when opening a website, they just get frustrated if it takes more than a couple of seconds. The graph below shows how speed affects conversions.

Image source: KISSmetrics: How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line

If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.

... makes you think twice, doesn't it?

How to test website performance?

You cannot start optimizing a website before you know what to optimize. So, I'll show a few tools that everybody can use to test the speed of their site. There are many tools, but I'll show my top 3 favorites. For the example test I'll use Webiny's blog page (http://www.webiny.com/blog/).

Pingdom Tools

Pingdom tools can test how fast a website loads, how big is it, and how many requests does it have per single page load (that includes images, css files, javascript and some other stuff like videos, banners, etc.).

All that is then taken into account and a performance grade is evaluated. One cool thing about Pingdom is that it can then compare the speed of your website to other tested websites in the world. 

 

As you can see Webiny scored 97/100 performance grade and the resulting speed test says that the website is faster than 97% of all tested websites

Below the speed test results you'll find several tabs with details about your website, some even come with an explanation what you can do to improve your score.

YSlow & PageSpeed Insights

These two tools are quite similar. YSlow is developed by Yahoo, and PageSpeed Insights by Google. They both work similar like Pingdom, but they have some better insights and come as a Firebug plugin for Firefox (link) or  Developer tools plugin for Chrome (link). 

Firebug - YSlow

Google Page Insights

You can see that websites that run on Webiny are optimized to the smallest detail when it comes to performance grades and page speed load time. It doesn't matter if you use a Webiny free theme, or if you make your own, the performance will always be very satisfying to you and your users.

Note that Page Insights (93%) has a lower score than Pingdom (97%) and YSlow (97%). The reason for that is that Google tries to compress images, css and JavaScript even more than they are compressed on the page itself. And it usually succeeds to get 2-3% better compression and then deducts points for that. 
Also several points are lost because plugins like Google Analytics, different share and like tools (Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter) because the way they integrate their JavaScript to the page, and the page owner cannot control that.

Handling peaks

A website might perform very good on a smaller number of visitors, but what happens when some major blog, or news portal places a link in some article to your website and you get 10.000 visitors in one hour?

For Webiny that's not a big problem, because Webiny uses several layers of caching mechanisms, including memcached  and static page caching. In plain speak, Webiny can easily handle over 100 req/sec. Of course this number depends on how heavy is your site with images, css, javascript and other files that go with your page request. Here is a small benchmark of one Webiny-powered website: http://bayer-lifenet.com/

The test was conducted using ApacheBenchmark tool with 500 requests and 20 concurrences. (ap -n 500 -c 20). Note that the test was issued from a different server that's not in the local network.

Latency & CDN

Latency is a measure of time delay experienced in a system, the precise definition of which depends on the system and the time being measured.

- Wikipedia

In simple terms, (network) latency is a time delay which tells us how much time is needed from the point when we ask for a domain/URL in our browser, until the moment when we get a reply from the server. So, the lower the latency is, the better.

A big factor for a low latency is the physical distance between the person that requested the website and the server that holds that website - the closer they are, the better. This is where CDN (Content Delivery Network) comes in. CDN is a large group of servers positioned on several locations in the world. It usually holds (caches) static files from your website, like images, css and JavaScript. These files are then supplied from the closest server directly to the user. This way the latency is minimized and the content is supplied from several different servers which reduce the load on the main sever. 

Have a look at this video for a in-depth explanation what, and how, does a CDN work.

Announcement

Webiny will offer CDN as a part of its paid packages in the near future. You'll get top notch performance, that usually cost several thousands of dollars and are only available to exclusive clients, for just a couple of dollars a month.

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