|By Tim Hinds||
|April 21, 2014 09:25 AM EDT||
Poorly performing websites, like Twitter's recent fiasco with Ellen's selfie, are a constant source of irritation for users. At first you think it's your computer, or maybe someone on your block is downloading the entire "Game of Thrones" series. But, when nothing changes after refreshing the page once or twice, you give up, mutter under your breath, and move on.
Whatever the reason for a website crashing or slowing down, it's bad for business and for your online reputation. According to a survey conducted by Consumer Affairs, a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. And, if your website can't load fast enough (in 400 milliseconds), then most of your customers will search for another website.
Understanding how your website performs under pressure is extremely important for any company. But, it can be daunting trying to figure out what website performance indicators you should monitor.
We have compiled a list of the top seven website performance indicators we believe to be important. Make sure to track each of these to guarantee a great customer experience.
Top Seven Website Performance Indicators
Monitoring the availability of your website is without a doubt the single most important part of website monitoring. Ideally, you should constantly check the uptime of your key pages from different locations around the world. Measure how many minutes your site is down over a period of two weeks or a month, and then express that as a percentage.
2. Initial Page Speed
Consumers' behavior and tolerance thresholds have changed. Now, people who browse a website expect it to load in a blink of an eye. If it doesn't load quickly, they will leave and turn to a competitor's site. You can check your website's speed using Ping requests (measuring the time it takes from your location until the website starts loading) and loading time measurements, for example, measuring the time it takes to download the source code of a web page. Note that this measurement reflects the time it takes for the raw page to load, but that isn't the complete user experience. For that, you must measure...
3. Full Page Load Time including images, videos, etc.
This performance indicator is usually called End User Experience testing. It's the amount of time it takes for all the images, videos, dynamically-loaded (AJAX) content, and everything else seen by the user to pop up on the their screen. This is different than the time it takes for the raw file to download to the device it's going to display on (as indicated above).
Both full page load time and page speed are important to measure because you can employ different strategies to optimize for both of them. Images, videos, and other static content can be cached on separate, dedicated systems or content delivery networks (CDNs), while dynamic content might need dedicated servers and fast databases. Knowing how your website behaves as it scales will help you put the right infrastructure in place.
4. Geographic Performance
If you are a globally active company or if you have consumers from different parts of the world, understanding your geographical performance - which is your website's speed and availability in different locations - is extremely important. Your ultimate goal is to make sure your website is easily accessible to all visitors regardless of their location to give them an excellent customer experience.
Many companies ignore this factor, only testing performance in familiar geographies. At a minimum, use your website analytics as a guide to put testing in place that shadows the locations from which your visitors are accessing your site.
5. Website Load Tolerance
Do you know how many visitors it takes to considerably slow down your website? It's an important indicator to understand because if you are running aggressive marketing campaigns or are picked up by the press you might be in a situation where your website is flooded with visitors in a matter of minutes.
Regularly run stress tests and compare the results to your visitor numbers at peak times. Once you understand how much load your website can handle then you can adjust your infrastructure to meet the demand. Look for those "tipping points" so you won't be caught by surprised when traffic spikes.
6. Web Server CPU Load
CPU usage is a common culprit in website failures. Too much processing bogs down absolutely everything on the server without much indication as to where the problem lies. You can prevent web server failures by monitoring CPU usage regularly. If you cannot install monitoring software on your web servers due to hosting arrangements or other constraints, consider running a script that publishes the values from available disk space and CPU load to a very simple html page.
7. Website Database Performance
Your database can be one of the most problematic parts of your website. A poorly optimized query, for example, can be the difference between a zippy site and an unusable one. It's important to monitor your database logs closely. Create alerts if the results contain certain error messages, or deliver results outside of expected norms. Use the built-in capabilities of the database to see which queries are taking the most time, and identify ways to optimize those through indices and other techniques. Most importantly, monitor the overall performance of the database to make sure it's not a bottleneck.
No Downtime = Happy Customers
If you can monitor all seven of these metrics, you should have a good idea of how your website performs and what needs to change when it doesn't perform well. Minimizing website downtime will keep your customers happy. If you have any questions on these metrics or load testing let me know.
Many private cloud projects were built to deliver self-service access to development and test resources. While those clouds delivered faster access to resources, they lacked visibility, control and security needed for production deployments. In their session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steve Anderson, Product Manager at BMC Software, and Rick Lefort, Principal Technical Marketing Consultant at BMC Software, will discuss how a cloud designed for production operations not only helps accelerate developer...
May. 4, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,267
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
May. 4, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,420
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, will show how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningfu...
May. 4, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,069
In the world of DevOps there are ‘known good practices’ – aka ‘patterns’ – and ‘known bad practices’ – aka ‘anti-patterns.' Many of these patterns and anti-patterns have been developed from real world experience, especially by the early adopters of DevOps theory; but many are more feasible in theory than in practice, especially for more recent entrants to the DevOps scene. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists will dis...
May. 4, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,039
Wow, if you ever wanted to learn about Rugged DevOps (some call it DevSecOps), sit down for a spell with Shannon Lietz, Ian Allison and Scott Kennedy from Intuit. We discussed a number of important topics including internal war games, culture hacking, gamification of Rugged DevOps and starting as a small team. There are 100 gold nuggets in this conversation for novices and experts alike.
May. 4, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 965
The notion of customer journeys, of course, are central to the digital marketer’s playbook. Clearly, enterprises should focus their digital efforts on such journeys, as they represent customer interactions over time. But making customer journeys the centerpiece of the enterprise architecture, however, leaves more questions than answers. The challenge arises when EAs consider the context of the customer journey in the overall architecture as well as the architectural elements that make up each...
May. 4, 2016 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,045
In a crowded world of popular computer languages, platforms and ecosystems, Node.js is one of the hottest. According to w3techs.com, Node.js usage has gone up 241 percent in the last year alone. Retailers have taken notice and are implementing it on many levels. I am going to share the basics of Node.js, and discuss why retailers are using it to reduce page load times and improve server efficiency. I’ll talk about similar developments such as Docker and microservices, and look at several compani...
May. 4, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 690
From the conception of Docker containers to the unfolding microservices revolution we see today, here is a brief history of what I like to call 'containerology'. In 2013, we were solidly in the monolithic application era. I had noticed that a growing amount of effort was going into deploying and configuring applications. As applications had grown in complexity and interdependency over the years, the effort to install and configure them was becoming significant. But the road did not end with a ...
May. 4, 2016 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 590
In 2006, Martin Fowler posted his now famous essay on Continuous Integration. Looking back, what seemed revolutionary, radical or just plain crazy is now common, pedestrian and "just what you do." I love it. Back then, building and releasing software was a real pain. Integration was something you did at the end, after code complete, and we didn't know how long it would take. Some people may recall how we, as an industry, spent a massive amount of time integrating code from one team with another...
May. 4, 2016 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,109
Admittedly, two years ago I was a bulk contributor to the DevOps noise with conversations rooted in the movement around culture, principles, and goals. And while all of these elements of DevOps environments are important, I’ve found that the biggest challenge now is a lack of understanding as to why DevOps is beneficial. It’s getting the wheels going, or just taking the next step. The best way to start on the road to change is to take a look at the companies that have already made great headway ...
May. 4, 2016 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 413
Struggling to keep up with increasing application demand? Learn how Platform as a Service (PaaS) can streamline application development processes and make resource management easy.
May. 3, 2016 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,219
As the software delivery industry continues to evolve and mature, the challenge of managing the growing list of the tools and processes becomes more daunting every day. Today, Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) platforms are proving most valuable by providing the governance, management and coordination for every stage of development, deployment and release. Recently, I spoke with Madison Moore at SD Times about the changing market and where ALM is headed.
May. 3, 2016 08:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,586
If there is anything we have learned by now, is that every business paves their own unique path for releasing software- every pipeline, implementation and practices are a bit different, and DevOps comes in all shapes and sizes. Software delivery practices are often comprised of set of several complementing (or even competing) methodologies – such as leveraging Agile, DevOps and even a mix of ITIL, to create the combination that’s most suitable for your organization and that maximize your busines...
May. 3, 2016 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,939
The goal of any tech business worth its salt is to provide the best product or service to its clients in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. This is just as true in the development of software products as it is in other product design services. Microservices, an app architecture style that leans mostly on independent, self-contained programs, are quickly becoming the new norm, so to speak. With this change comes a declining reliance on older SOAs like COBRA, a push toward more s...
May. 3, 2016 05:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,647
I have an article in the recently released “DZone Guide to Building and Deploying Applications on the Cloud” entitled “Fullstack Engineering in the Age of Hybrid Cloud”. In this article I discuss the need and skills of a Fullstack Engineer with relation to troubleshooting and repairing complex, distributed hybrid cloud applications. My recent experiences with troubleshooting issues with my Docker WordPress container only reinforce the details I wrote about in this piece. Without my comprehensive...
May. 3, 2016 04:45 PM EDT Reads: 953
Digital means customer preferences and behavior are driving enterprise technology decisions to be sure, but let’s not forget our employees. After all, when we say customer, we mean customer writ large, including partners, supply chain participants, and yes, those salaried denizens whose daily labor forms the cornerstone of the enterprise. While your customers bask in the warm rays of your digital efforts, are your employees toiling away in the dark recesses of your enterprise, pecking data into...
May. 3, 2016 04:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,148
Small teams are more effective. The general agreement is that anything from 5 to 12 is the 'right' small. But of course small teams will also have 'small' throughput - relatively speaking. So if your demand is X and the throughput of a small team is X/10, you probably need 10 teams to meet that demand. But more teams also mean more effort to coordinate and align their efforts in the same direction. So, the challenge is how to harness the power of small teams and yet orchestrate multiples of them...
May. 3, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 430
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
May. 3, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,614
With DevOps becoming more well-known and established practice in nearly every industry that delivers software, it is important to continually reassess its efficacy. This week’s top 10 includes a discussion on how the quick uptake of DevOps adoption in the enterprise has posed some serious challenges. Additionally, organizations who have taken the DevOps plunge must find ways to find, hire and keep their DevOps talent in order to keep the machine running smoothly.
May. 3, 2016 06:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,512
Much of the discussion around cloud DevOps focuses on the speed with which companies need to get new code into production. This focus is important – because in an increasingly digital marketplace, new code enables new value propositions. New code is also often essential for maintaining competitive parity with market innovators. But new code doesn’t just have to deliver the functionality the business requires. It also has to behave well because the behavior of code in the cloud affects performan...
May. 3, 2016 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,454