A lot of times we see WordPress users interpreting the data wrong in the Pingdom speed test tool, and this leads to sometimes configuring a website to a state even worse than before. Remember that all tools like this are to be used as guides, they are never 100% accurate. The important thing is to be consistent and use the same tool throughout all your tests.
Pingdom is a company based out of Sweden (now owned by SolarWinds) that offers a variety of different services, such as uptime monitoring, page speed monitoring, transaction monitoring, server monitoring, and visitor insights (RUM). Probably one of the things they are most well known for is their free website speed test tool. It is one of the most popular performance testing tools in the WordPress community.
Why is it so popular? Well, for one, it’s probably the easiest speed testing tool to use! Not everyone is a web performance expert, and so for the typical WordPress user, some of the other alternative tools out there can be quite overwhelming. Sometimes less is more as they say. After all, you just care about two things: how fast is your website and how can you make it faster.
Pingdom currently allows you to test the speed of any website from 7 different locations (5 continents) strategically placed around the globe:
Asia – Japan – Tokyo
Europe – Germany – Frankfurt
Europe – United Kingdom – London
North America – USA – Washington D.C.
North America – USA – San Fransisco
Pacific – Australia – Sydney
South America – Brazil – São Paulo
Note: We’ve noticed that occasionally not all the test locations will be available. This is most likely because it has gone down for maintenance or it got overloaded with too many people trying to run tests on it. If a test site location that you’ve been using is no longer there, check back in an hour or two. Most likely it will reappear.
The testing location you choose is actually very important as it relates to the physical location of where your website is actually hosted. This is where a little thing called network latency comes into play. But we’ll get into this in more detail below.
Waterfall Analysis with the Pingdom Speed Test Tool
Below we are going to break up each Pingdom section and explain in more detail what the information means as it pertains to the overall performance of your website and how to do a waterfall analysis.
When you run your WordPress website through Pingdom it generates a performance grade, a total load time, the total page size, and the number of requests you have on your website. In our example, we are using perfmatters.io, an ecommerce site running Easy Digital Downloads. It’s hosted on Kinsta’s blazing fast servers.
As you can see we ran our first test and we scored an 88/100 on Pingdom and the total load time is 541 ms. It lets us know the total size of our combined assets and the number of requests.
Want to get a better Pingdom score on your WordPress website? Depending on your site and configuration it might not always be possible to score a perfect 100/100, especially for those of you running ecommerce sites and marketing pixels. But simply spending some time on improving your score is a good place to start. The overall speed is really what’s important.
Sometimes the user experience might also trump some of the web performance tricks you read around the web. You can’t forget the user experience! But rest assured, we will be sharing with you some tips and tricks further below on how we got the above site to where it is, so keep reading.
Improve Page Performance
The performance insights section, now “Improve page performance” was updated in 2018 and they have removed some old items and added new ones. This is most likely because some of the suggestions they were reporting are no longer as relevant as they used to be. When it comes to web performance optimizations, things are always changing. And it can be sometimes troublesome if people are simply trying to chase after the perfect Pingdom score.