Networking

How to speed up page load times with Google's PageSpeed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights is a helpful tool for web developers to speed up page load times. Here's how to make that tool more efficient with a simple Chrome extension.

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Image: Jack Wallen

If you're looking to improve the page speed of the many websites you manage, where do you turn for insight? You can certainly view the logs of your web server, but mostly those are just going to fill you in when there's a problem with the underlying server software. If you want to get tips on how to speed up the loading of your web pages (not your server), you'll have to turn to a third-party piece of software. One such tool is Google's PageSpeed Insights. Google's take on the web page analysis software makes it very easy to find out what you can do to improve the speed of your sites.

But what if you could make this process a bit more efficient? Question this no further, because you can; with the help of a simple to use Google Chrome extension.

Let's install the Google PageSpeed Insight Extension and see just how quickly you can get a peek under the hood of your web pages to see how they can be rendered faster.

Installation

The installation is quite simple (and will work with Chrome on any platform). Here's how you install this handy extension:

  1. Point Chrome to the browser extension page
  2. Click on ADD TO CHROME
  3. When prompted, click Add Extension
  4. Allow the installation to complete

When the installation finishes, you will see a new button added to your toolbar, which enables quick access to the PageSpeed Insights (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

The PageSpeed Insights tool bar button on Chrome.

Usage

Using this Chrome extension is incredibly simple. Instead of having to go to Google's PageSpeed Insights page and entering the URL for the page to be analyzed, you simply go to the page in Chrome and click the PageSpeed Insights toolbar button. The site will be checked and, after a few seconds, a popup will appear with the site score and a See more button (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

This PageSpeed Insights score needs improvement.

Once the analysis has completed, click the See more button to get a glimpse at what exactly needs improving on your site. The insights are offered for both the mobile and desktop versions of your site and each issue will offer a suggestion on how to gain improvement (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C

The suggestions offered are generally spot on.

Do note that the scores for mobile and desktop will differ. Where I received a "Needs Work" score on the desktop for a site I'm working on, the mobile iteration received a "Poor" score. Clearly, I have a lot of work to do on this site.

And that's pretty much all there is to the PageSpeed Insights extension for Chrome.

It just works

I have yet to find a better (free) tool that will quickly analyze web sites and offer up extensive insight into how to improve the page loading speed. Google PageSpeed Insights just works. With the addition of this simple-to-use extension, those insights are but a click away, making this a no-brainer for anyone who uses Google's tool with regularity. Web developers, looking to improve the page load times of their work, should be taking advantage of this Google service and Chrome extension.

Also see

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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