Today I was reminded of a time that I found the worst website ever in terms of its performance.
About a year and a half ago at this point, I was contacted by a recruiter on LinkedIn for becoming a C++ engineer at this company1. I went to their website to read more about the company, and boy was I in for a surprise.
The website I landed on was a monstrosity. I had seen splash screens on websites before, but those were for heavy web applications, which can be understandable. In this case however, the splash screen was for the home page of the company. I think I sat waiting at the splash screen for about 15 seconds. Finally the page loaded. There was nothing special about the site. Just your run-of-the-mill homepage with generic information. I decided I had to investigate the performance of the website.
I disabled my cache and went to inspect the network requests on page load and what I found was even more alarming. There were ~50 requests over the wire fetching data which didn’t fully complete for 30 seconds, but worst of all 13 MB had been downloaded to my machine just to display the site. For reference, this site has 8 network requests with just under 200 KB transferred, and obviously it loads almost instantly.
We live in a time where website performance is extremely important to the success of a website. User engagement studies say that many users will skip going to your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Site performance is also a key characteristic in helping your websites reach the top of search engine results.
I urge everyone reading this to brush up on their profiling skills and find tools which can help diagnose issues on your site. For me, that tool is Google’s lighthouse, but there are many tools like it.
Let me know about any website performance stories you might have, good or bad.
Not providing the name out of respect. ↩︎