How important is a fast website?

27 Nov 2013

For every 0.1 seconds of delay, sales drop by 1%. A one second delay in load speed would cost us $1.6 billion each year.

Amazon, 2012

Amazon did their own research and found that for every 0.1 seconds of delay, sales drop by 1%. They said that “a one second delay in load speed would cost us $1.6 billion each year”.

Amazon know just how important speed is.

Walmart also did a study and found that as load speeds go above just one second, conversion rates drop dramatically.

Walmart load speed tests

Slow websites…

  • lower perceived credibility (Fogg et al. 2001)
  • lower perceived quality (Bouch, Kuchinsky, and Bhatti 2000)
  • increase user frustration (Ceaparu et al. 2004)
  • heighten user’s blood pressure (Scheirer et al. 2002)

Fast websites…

  • have higher conversion rates (Akamai 2007)
  • have lower bailout rates (Nielsen 2000)
  • are more interesting (Ramsay, Barbesi, and Preece 1998)
  • are more attractive (Skadberg and Kimmel 2004)

We compared Miribase with some of the other major ecommerce platforms. We identified the top 20 websites on each platform by popularity and measured 10,000+ page loads across category, product and checkout pages over a 2 week period.

miribase-competitors-load-times

Miribase’s average was just over half a second. This is nearly three times faster than the closest competitor, and nearly seven times faster than Magento.

So how did we do this? Well, that’s going to be the subject of a separate article as we have gone to extreme lengths to make Miribase the fastest ecommerce platform and want to provide much more detail on the advances we’ve made in ecommerce load speed.

When a user accesses a website, there are many links in the chain from the moment they connect to a URL, through to the moment the website displays on their screen. Their browser first translates a website’s domain name into an IP address before sending data along copper and fibre optic cables from their computer all the way to the data centre hosting the site. Then the website contents can be downloaded. Every piece of text, image, video and sound must be sent separately from the data centre. Inevitably, the richer a site is with content, the slower it will load.

Miribase combines a numerous performance optimisation techniques to make our customers’ websites blazingly fast. Every step in the data chain described earlier has been optimised to ensure no bottlenecks slow the whole process down. The ‘weakest link’ effect plays a role here. Even if the website is highly optimised and everything possible has been done to optimise the site’s performance, if a user’s internet connection is very slow then there is little hope of a fast experience.

Often the weakest link isn’t a user’s connection however. Often, the response time of the server hosting the website is to blame – it’s either too busy or too slow to respond quickly. Anything more than a 0.2 second response time and performance will be sluggish. Other than a slow server, the most common performance killer is unnecessary or overly large data requests being made. Miribase automatically minimises and consolidates data requests and ensures a user’s browser caches them where possible to avoid unnecessary requests. Images and other assets are processed with lossless compression techniques to reduce download times without compromising content quality.

The Miribase Performance team work for days at a time to reduce loading times by mere hundredths of a second in specific sections of the data chain. These incremental improvements, multiplied across the hundreds of millions of data requests our customers’ websites process each day make a huge difference. By fully controlling the networks, data centres, code and databases used to deliver an ecommerce website for our customers, we’re able to provide the fastest ecommerce platform available today.

Latest from the blog

View all news »