What is exceptional performance? With web sites it's being faster than a user expects. Up to four seconds is acceptable for loading a web site, but it varies. Back in 2006 it was four seconds. By 2009 it was two seconds, so you can see the trend. However user expectations are based on experience with other websites and if a site loads at least twenty percent faster it will be seen as exceptional.
The web site operator seeking this faster speed must first find out the current values for the chain of elements that connect users to a site. Only about one second is under the operator's control. The rest is taken by servers, third parties and two trips - time to make a request and time for the response to arrive. The resulting information can then be compared with that of a site's competitors.
Good news is that a user's perception of speed is based on when a site begins to load, not the entire process. Even if a site is or becomes an exceptional performer, the owner must be mindful of changing conditions. Competitors and the web are dynamic. Changes in both affect speed of all the elements, so periodic checks must be made to re-evaluate your performance.
Alois Reitbauer works as Technology Strategist for dynaTrace software
and heads the dynaTrace Center of Excellence. As a major contributor to
dynaTrace Labs technology he influences the companies future
technological direction. Besides his engineering work he supports
Fortune 500 companies in implementing successful performance management.
In his former life Alois has been working for a number of high tech
companies as an architect and developer of innovative enterprise
software. At Segue software (now Borland – a Microfocus Company) he was
part of the engineering teams of the company’s active and passive
monitoring products. He is a regular speaker at conferences like
TheServerSide Java Symposium Europe, QCon, Jazoon, DeVoxx or JAX. He was
the author of the Performance Series of the German Java magazine as well
as author of other online and print publication and contributor to
several books. At blog.dynatrace.com he regularly publishes on performance
and architecture topic to a regular audience of 100.000 visitors.
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