Web page load times: what you need to know

by Dave Blakey on Tips and Tricks • October 11, 2018

Snapt's Web Accelerator is in the business of making sure web pages load quickly. Your average user understands wanting a web page to load in 3 seconds and not 10 seconds; but not the impact of loading in 2.5 seconds vs 3.

Fast facts:

  1. 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  2. 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.
  3. 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
  4. 77% of websites take more than 10 seconds to load on mobile.
  5. As page time goes from 1s-5s probability of bounce increases by 90%.
  6. Page speed has a direct impact on your AdWords campaigns, Quality Score and SEO performance.

Simply put, web page speed is a big deal!

What is the average load time?

Consider the average perceived load time,  more specifically the ‘speed index’, which measures how long until most  of what you can see within your browser screen is loaded (source).

Country United States United Kingdom Germany Japan
Automotive 9.5 sec 12.3 sec 11.0 sec 10.3 sec
Business & Industrial Markets 8.7 sec 8.3 sec 8.2 sec 8.1 sec
Classifieds & Local 7.9 sec 8.3 sec 7.0 sec 8.3 sec
Finance 8.3 sec 8.0 sec 8.6 sec 7.6 sec
Media & Entertainment 9 sec 8.8 sec 7.6 sec 8.4 sec
Retail 9.8 sec 10.3 sec 10.3 sec 8.3 sec
Technology 11.3 sec 10.6 sec 8.8 sec 10 sec
Travel 10.1 sec 10.9 sec 7.1 sec 8.2 sec


You can see how a faster website will immediately give you an advantage in your industry, given the fast facts above.

brown tortoise on brown sand
Don't be the tortoise - slow and steady does not win the website race!

The Primary Problems

Slow webpages are usually caused by two things.

Download Size:

The most commonly understood problem. Lots of large images, big stylesheets and loads of JavaScript includes cause the user to have to download a lot of content to view the page.

Users have to download all of the content for your web page, and it can take time on slower or congested internet connections, especially mobile.

Object Count:

The lessor known enemy, this is the total number of objects (not their size) required to show your web page. To explain this looks like at a European user browsing a west coast website.

They will have around 150ms of delay communicating to your server. Then your server may have a 1000ms delay on loading it's first page, and a 50ms delay on replying to requests for objects.

The client sends a request for your webpage, and then gets a reply 1150ms later. That reply instructs them to fetch 5 JavaScript files, 10 images, and 5 CSS files. That takes another 200ms to retrieve and parse. The CSS files require 5 more images, which the client then downloads for another 200ms.

By this stage (and assuming they have plenty of bandwidth) you have a delay of at least 1.5 seconds, and that's in an ideal situation.

Incorrect Headers:

it's very likely that you are using a CDN, or the client is going through a proxy, etc along the way to you. Ensuring that you set the correct headers (expiry time for example) on your static content can accelerate page load times significantly, especially 2nd and 3rd visits.



The Solution

You can spend a huge amount of time reducing the objects, byte size, and delivery time of your content. Alternatively, you could consider deploying an ADC or application delivery controller, such as Snapt's.

Snapt will automatically and transparently optimize traffic that flows through it - accelerating that content to your users or your CDN, while monitoring your servers, performance and helping you scale.

Learn more about Snapt today.

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