A Full Guide to GTMetrix

SiteGround

First, a bit of context.

Today, I completed my switch to a new hosting company called SiteGround. I chose them because they have hosting locations that are nearer to me so that my website can be faster. Before, I was using a company called Hostinger but they only had servers in the US which made it tricky to get high speeds elsewhere, even with high quality servers.

That is why you might’ve noticed that my website was down yesterday from 5.00 to about midnight!🤪

Since I started using this new platform, I noticed a significant increase in speed on my website by using a tool called GT-Metrix, which I’d like to talk about today.

By the way, if you would like to check out SiteGround hosting, click here to buy a plan now.

GTMetrix

To summarise, GTMetrix is a free online tool which allows you to measure the performance of your website, whether its WordPress or not, from different locations and different browsers.

You can use GTMetrix without an account but I recommend getting an account since that unlocks being able to test your website from servers in different countries. To create an account visit https://gtmetrix.com and then click the button in the top right corner that says “Sign Up”. Then type in your First Name, Last Name, Email, and a password. Then, follow the on-screen instructions.

Once you’re logged in, instead of typing in your URL first, click “Analysis Options”. Then, you’ll be presented with an extra section on the page. If you go to the section “Test Format”, you can control from which country you want to test your webpage from (be aware that not all countries are available in the free version).

To see at what speed you and most of my users will get when visting your website, I recommend choosing the country that you’re in. After that, type in the URL of the web page you would like to test and click ‘Analyze’.

Then give it a minute to generate a report.

Now, if it all succeeded you should have a full report on the speed and performance of your website!

A Guide to the different measurements in GTMetrix

In GTMetrix, there are a lot of measurements of speed and you might not know what they all mean. This is a guide to the important ones and what they mean:

Grade: An overall summary of your website’s performance.

Performance Score: The score of how well your website performs.

Structure Score: The score of how well your website is optimized for speed.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): The amount of time it takes to load the largest element on your site (aim for 1.2 seconds or less).

TBT: How much time is blocked by scripts on your page (aim for 150ms or less).

CLS: An indication of how much layout shift is experienced by visitors as your page loads (aim for 0.1 or less).

TTFB: How long it takes your web server to respond (aim for 200ms or less).

First Contentful Paint (FCP): The first sign of any content being printed on your site (aim for 1..8s or less).

Time to Interactive: How much time it takes until people are able to click buttons and icons and interact with the page in other ways.

Fully Loaded Time: The amount of time it takes to fully load your page (aim for 2s or less).

NOTE: If something on GTMetrix is not mentioned here, it is because it is not important and you don’t need it to optimize the performance of your website.

Graphs from Google Web Vitals

Here are some graphs from Google Web Vitals that give you a more in-depth look at what you are aiming for with some of the statistics.

If you have any questions or requests for future blog posts, please comment below.

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