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Page load time vs Response time: Which is the more useful website speed metric?

Page load time vs Response time

As a site owner, you must have checked the speed of your website at some point. Tools like Page Speed Insights and GTMetrix enable users to check the speed of a website.

Typically, you will see a ton of metrics on a typical website speed report. There are two web speed metrics that often stand out in such reports; the page load time and response time.

Generally, website owners view both metrics with the same lens. Both metrics signal the speed of your website.

While converting your WordPress site to an app with AppMySite, the response time of your website directly affects the speed of your app. Your website might have a good load time, but a poor response time would mean a slow app.

At this point, it is important to understand the difference between load time and response time.

What is page load time?

The page load time refers to the time it takes to download and present a webpage in a browser. Page load time covers the time it takes to load all the elements on the page. This includes the time it takes to load HTML, CSS & JS scripts, and third-party resources.

The time it takes between a user requesting a web page URL and the browser loading it completely is essentially the page load time.

Let’s break down the time duration of a load cycle:

The time elapsed in this cycle is called the page load time.

What is page response time?

The page response time refers to the time it takes for a server to respond to a request. Unlike page load time, it doesn’t account for the time it takes to load all the elements on a webpage.

What does a typical response time cycle look like? The following points explain this in detail:

These five points illustrate a typical response time cycle.

Factors affecting page load time and response time

While both these speed metrics sound the same, page load time and response time are affected by a different set of factors. The table below shows the different factors affecting page load time and response time:

Factors affecting page load time and response time

Page load time

Response time

Page weight: A page which has a lot of high quality images along with a number of third-rpaty scripts and code will naturally have more page weight. Larger page weight naturally increases the time it takes to load a page in a browser. 

Slow servers: A slow server reduces response time as it’s not designed to resolve client requests quickly. It is thus important to make sure the website host you choose for your website is designed to respond to requests in the most expedited time possible.

JS and CSS elements: These elements are loaded dynamically and typically slow down your website . The number and type of elements impact your load time directly. 

Low uptime: Uptime refers to the fraction of time a server is fully operational. Low uptimes means a lower probability of your website server being functional, thus leading to a less optimal response time.

User location: If users are closer to the location of your website server, the load time will naturally be lower. 

Low bandwidth: Servers not able to handle a large volume of requests at one time have a low response time, caused by a lack of bandwidth. 

Browser: The browser you’re loading the webpage in also plays a role in affecting the load time. 

Inability to handle traffic fluctuations: Your website’s traffic may fluctuate from time to time. If your server cannot handle fluctuating traffic loads effectively, your speed will go down.

Which metric predicts your app speed more accurately?

If you’re building an app on AppMySite using our iOS and Android app maker, your website speed directly impacts your app.

We’ve discussed two metrics of website speed in this article. Which one predicts the speed of your app more accurately?

Page load time is basically a measure of how fast your website loads in a browser. It does not accurately predict how your app might perform.

This is because the app you build connects directly with the website’s APIs. Your website’s response time is thus a much more accurate metric to predict the speed of your app.

Even if your page load time is optimal and your website loads fast in a browser, it doesn’t automatically guarantee a fast app. The response time of your website server to a typical request better predicts your app speed.

Get fast response times to WP Engine

As a WordPress website owner, you must have heard of WP Engine at some point. It is easily the best hosting service for WordPress websites.

WP Engine is designed to provide seamless hosting services to WordPress websites across the board. Whether you’re looking at page load time or response time, WP Engine helps you get full points across every key website speed metric.

Trusted by 100K clients in over 140 countries, WP Engine has an impressive NPS score of 86. Every plan comes with a free CDN, SSL certificate, automatic backups, managed updates, DDoS mitigations, vulnerability scans, data encryption, and more.

The following points explain the offerings in more detail:

In conclusion

Page load time and response time are both crucial metrics that predict the speed of your website to a great degree. This article compares both these metrics in detail and which predicts the speed of your app more accurately.

You cannot build your own app without considering how you’re going to make it fast and seamless. On AppMySite, the response time of your website directly impacts your app speed. The best way to speed up your app is to thus make sure your website has an optimal load time.

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