Performance of social networking sites — Index from Keynote Systems for July 2013

By Robert Castley

On the whole, the social media site homepages performed better in July than they did in June. Load times for the site homepages were quicker on average by 0.1 seconds and they were more reliable, as successful load rates increased from 99.34 percent in June to 99.47 percent in July. In addition to this, an impressive ten out of 11 sites this month achieved availability – the chances of a site loading correctly when visited – above 99 percent, with seven of the 11 crossing the 99.9 percent threshold.

Two sites that improved considerably in July compared to June were YouTube UK and Wayn. The YouTube UK homepage reduced its average load time to under a second (0.92s) in July from 1.32 seconds in June, and its availability rate also improved from 99.47 percent to 99.9 percent. This is most likely due to the reduction in its page size, from 1.08 MB in June to 0.3 MB in July.

For Wayn, while not as quick to load or reliable as YouTube UK, it did show substantial improvements in response time from June to July. Load time for the homepage was reduced in July by nearly a whole second (0.99s) to 2.42 seconds, although its availability rate only marginally improved from 96.06 percent in June to 96.77 percent in July, still well below the optimal level. The faster load time was most likely due to the reduction in the number of objects on the site – from 81 to 65, and in page size – from 1.26 MB to 0.87 MB.

Poorer performers in July included Flickr and Bebo. Flickr, which has varied over the months with its performance, was fairly consistent in its time to load, slowing by only 0.07 seconds when compared to last month, but its load success rate fell to 99.03 percent in July, compared to 99.78 percent in June. The Bebo homepage, which often struggles in the social media index, took an additional 1.2 seconds to load in July, mostly likely due to the number of objects making up the page rising from 210 to 229 and its page size increasing from 1.8 MB to 2.41 MB. In terms of its success rate, Bebo dropped from 99.2 percent in June to 99.03 percent in July.

Overall, the social media site homepages performed impressively this month. With both load time and success rate increasing on average, the sites are certainly moving in the right direction. The fact that almost all of the sites have now crossed the 99 percent successful load rate threshold is a great indication of the service being offered to users. The impressive results are also indicative of the competition being felt online. It is not enough to simply have an online presence, the online service also needs to be top notch, and increasingly this service needs to be expanded across multiple operating systems and devices if it’s to hit the mark.


About the author

Robert Castley has been a solutions consultant at internet testing and monitoring specialist Keynote, for over three years. Prior to working at Keynote, Robert worked as a Professional Services Consultant at a document management company, Macro 4, where he worked on developing custom web interfaces. He regularly engages with customers and has an in-depth technical knowledge in web development. One of his proudest achievements is developing one of the world’s most popular Open Source Content Management Systems to the masses – Mambo, which now lives on as Joomla!

Robert is an authoritative spokesperson on web performance and regularly participates in industry events on the topic. Robert is passionate about the need to provide the optimum experience for internet users, irrelevant of the device they are using. He advocates a ‘three screen approach’ that provides a consistent experience whether a website is being accessed via mobile, tablet or desktop computer.

About the company

Keynote Systems is the global leader in Internet and mobile cloud monitoring. It provides companies with solutions for continuously improving the online experience. Founded in 1995, Keynote provides testing, monitoring and measurement products and services for any enterprise including online portals, e-commerce sites, B2B sites, mobile operators and mobile infrastructure providers. Keynote products and services help companies improve customer experience in four areas: Web performance, mobile quality, streaming and real user experience testing.

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