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I have been asked to investigate a way of record how long it a full page request is on our website.

i.e. how long it takes from when a user clicks on a link till the page has finished loading.

Now I've had a look at Google Analytics and this appears to have the ability to provide us with how long it takes a page to be fully displayed in a users browser but this only starts counting at the time that the page has already been sent to the user. What I'm looking for is a way to record the time for processing time of all page requests so we can work out what the average time is etc.

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And +1 for whoever asked you to do this - it's a practice that needs to be strongly encouraged. – Helvick Feb 4 '10 at 11:29
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Do you have access to the log files for your site? If so, you can enable the TIME-TAKEN field in the IIS logs. That counts (in milliseconds) how long it took IIS to process the request.

That, added to the data you get from Google Analytics, should give you a good idea of the total time to process a request from initial click to full page load.

The only thing missing is the time it takes from somebody clicking on the link to the request hitting the webserver. (Which should be negligible unless you have major networking/dns issues)

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You can use:

  • yslow addon for firefox
  • Pagespeed plugin for chrome
  • Fiddler as a generic proxy to measure it

Do not forget to clean your cache before each test if you want to get performance for fisrt user

yslow will provide guidance on how to increase performance (adding compression, oversized images, too many css...)

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In addition to those listed by Mathieu, HttpWatch is another option. It works as an extension to IE as well as an add-on to Firefox (requires FireBug). PageSpeed (which I quite like) is also available for Firefox; again requiring FireBug.

Carrying out some initial analysis using one of the browser tools mentioned will provide a starting point.

When you look at website performance, particularly dynamic/transactional sites, it's important to also consider the geographic location of the 'user', general network utilisation and the website load. Then you start to head into performance testing territory and potentially using richer platforms like JMeter, Grinder, LoadRunner/PerformanceCenter etc.

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