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Web performance of the world’s top 100 blogs – a mixed bag

Web performance of the world's top 100 blogs

We often measure and analyze the web performance of sites here on the Royal Pingdom blog. Most recently we did a study of top ecommerce sites. Now, we’ll dig into the world’s top 100 blogs.

As you might expect, performance among these top 100 blogs is a rather mixed bag. There are sites that are small, fast, big, large, and everything in between. We have all the numbers and charts for you.

How we tested the web performance

You can read more about how we carried out this test at the end of the article. Briefly, we based our test on Technorati’s list of the top 100 blogs in the world and each site was put through our Pingdom Full Page Test.

By the way, we also have a public status page with all the top 100 blogs, where you can see the uptime of each one. The status of each site is continuously updated, and we sync the list with Technorati every 24 hours.

Page size ranged from 341 kB to 9.4 MB

Let’s start with the size of each site’s homepage. The average page size of the top 100 blogs was 2.1 MB. This is an increase from the average 934 KB homepage size we found when we studied the top 100 blogs in 2008.

The size of the homepages ranged from 341 kB (eurekalert.org) to 9.4 MB (laughingsquid.com). In other words, the largest site was around 27 times bigger than the smallest one!

It’s worth noting that 67 out of the 100 blogs placed in the 1 – 2.5 MB range.

In the following chart you can see the top and bottom 10 blogs in terms of homepage size:

Fastest site loads in just over one second

Since eurekalert.org was the smallest among the 100 blogs, did you also expect it to be the fastest? If you did, unfortunately you’d be wrong. Eurekalert.org wasn’t too far off making it onto the bottom 10 blogs in terms of loading time.

Here’s the distribution of loading times in the top 100 blogs:

 

A majority of the sites (71 of the 100) fell into the 2-6 second range with an average, across all 100, loading time of 4.8 s.

In our test, googleblog.blogspot.com was the fastest blog, averaging just over 1 s in loading time, followed by thisisnthappiness.com at just under 1.2 s.

The other extreme was reason.com/blog which finished to load, on average, in over 12 s.

Let’s put that in another way: the fastest site could load almost 12 times in the same amount of time that the slowest site loaded just once. Here are the 10 fastest and the 10 slowest sites:

One site made almost 500 requests

Finally, let’s address the number of elements that a site requests when a user is loading it in their browser. This would include JavaScript files, CSS files, images, etc.

The average number of elements loaded by the top 100 blogs was 216. Here’s the distribution of the number of requests per blog. As you can see, the bulk of the sites (68) fall into the range of 100-250 requests.

The second fastest site in this test, thisisnthappiness.com, was the site that loaded the fewest elements with only 39 requests. And on the bottom 10 list in terms of speed we find latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow, which is the site with the most requests: on average 489.

To put that difference in perspective, take this in: the site with the most requests, loaded almost 13 times as many elements as the one with the fewest requests.

Room for optimization of web performance

Chances are you visit one or more of these sites on a regular basis. Does their speed affect which ones you return to more often than others? The speed of a site plays a major importance in ecommerce, where time really is money, that much we know.

We certainly find it interesting to dig into web performance data like this to get a sense of how these top sites function and what kind of experience you might have when you visit them. Even though the results are a mixed bag one thing seems for sure, that there is a lot of room for optimization in many of these popular blogs.

Why don’t you run your site through our Full Page Test and see how it compares with the top 100 blogs and other sites?

About the methodology: We based our test on Technorati’s list of the top 100 blogs in the world. This list is updated continuously, but included in our test are the blogs on the list on July 23, 2012. For each blog, we ran it through our Pingdom Full Page Test to collect data about how fast it loaded, how big the homepage was, and more. In all we did three tests per blog over three consecutive days, July 24-26, then calculated the average of the three tests. Blogs inherently have content that will change frequently, often on a daily basis. Therefore, there will be differences in the types and number of articles posted, whether they include pictures, videos, etc. All these factors, and many more, affect the performance of the site. You can view the complete list of all the 100 sites here.

Image (top) via Shutterstock.



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