How to Test Mobile Page Speed
Before improving the speed of your mobile site, you need to measure its current performance. You need to assess the health of your website and the overall speed experienced by the mobile visitors.
We recommend that you use the Lighthouse technology to conduct an audit of your site’s performance. Lighthouse provides easy insights into your site’s performance for desktop and mobile devices. It should be noted that the metric thresholds for mobile and desktop devices are different.
There are a few tools available to measure performance on mobile devices. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Google PageSpeed Insight
PageSpeed Insights measures and analyzes the loading time of any URL.
Chrome Developer Tool
You can also generate your mobile performance report using the Chrome Dev Tool directly from the Chrome browser. Follow the steps below to launch the mobile report:
- Go to your website
- Open the “developer tools” from the top menu
- Select the “Lighthouse” tab
- Check the ”Mobile” box under the “Device” section
- Click on the “Generate Report” button.
GTmetrix tests your page’s performance on a desktop for free, but you need a PRO account to test mobile performance. Powered by Lighthouse, it gives you scores for your pages and offers recommendations on how to improve performance.
There are many devices available. Going PRO to check your website on different mobile devices may be useful.
Webpagetest can help you identify pages on your WordPress site that take a long time to load, and give you tips on how to speed up your site.
You can use WebPageTest to test your website from multiple mobile devices.
This tool allows you to test your WordPress site’s mobile performance in multiple locations, which is important for understanding how your mobile site is doing in different parts of the world.
To generate a report, select a region from the drop-down menu.
Why is Your WordPress Site Slow on Mobile?
- Mobile is different from desktop
Difference #1: Smartphone processor vs. Desktop processor
However, they can save power by lowering the voltage, and working on a smaller die, which means they are more efficient. Processors in mobile devices are designed to be efficient first and performance is a secondary concern. Mobile devices have a weaker CPU architecture than desktop computers meaning they can’t process information as quickly. However, they can save power by lowering the voltage and working on a smaller die, which makes them more efficient.
Difference #2: The networks speed (network latency)
The bandwidth of a network is the amount of data that can be transferred from one point to another in a given amount of time.
The higher the Mbps number, the more traffic that can flow through the connection without interruption. Network latency is the time it takes for the data to be sent to the network. Mobile networks typically have higher network latency than desktops.
- You are not serving images optimized for mobile
Images can cause your WordPress site to run slowly. To make content readable on small screens, images need to be sized down proportionally.
- You didn’t enable mobile caching
Caching can help speed up the loading of pages on websites by storing data that does not need to be reloaded each time the page is accessed. This can save time when viewing the page on a slower connection or mobile device.
- You use sliders, preloaders, or animations
A layout or design instability that causes a sudden layout shift can negatively affect mobile users, especially if they are not expecting it. Too many sliders and animations can slow down pages, and impact SEO and conversion rates. Google will penalize your site with a bad CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) score. This Core Web Vital will impact your final user experience score and affect your SEO visibility and traffic.
- You installed too many plugins
Installing new plugins can reduce the speed of your mobile site by making additional HTTP requests and adding to the number of database queries. Some plugins also require custom styling or scripts, which increases the number of JS and CSS files that need to be loaded.
- Other reasons why your mobile may be slow
Your website’s performance may suffer if you are reliant on third-party scripts, such as trackers, visitor sessions, and external services like Instagram feeds.
5 Tips on How to Improve Your Mobile Page Speed
If you want to keep:
- Mobile click-through rates in search results high
- Mobile website bounce rates low
- Mobile conversion rates always on the up and up…
Then, mobile page speed isn’t something to take lightly.
Here are the steps to take in order to improve page loading times on mobile:
- Choose fast web hosting
If you want your mobile page to improve speed-wise, it is important to have a dependable web hosting service.
Although it is not solely the web hosting company’s responsibility if its servers make your website slow to load for mobile visitors, it is still your duty to investigate the provider and its infrastructure before making a purchase to ensure that your website will load quickly.
Here are some things to think about:
Where are the web host’s servers located?
If there aren’t enough servers in your area or your target audience’s area, loading times will be slow.
If you’re unhappy with the location of your web hosting servers, you can improve your hosting by adding a CDN. Leading CDN providers can help reduce the physical distance between your website and its visitors.
If you have a website that will be accessed by people from all over the world, you should consider using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) in addition to your web hosting.
Does the web host offer niche hosting?
For instance, if you’re building a WordPress website, then it would be a good idea to research the best WordPress hosts. These WordPress hosts have servers that are optimized for the CMS. This makes your website faster and more reliable.
eCommerce websites will need more processing power as their inventories and traffic grow larger. Top eCommerce hosting solutions will ensure that mobile traffic and transactions can be processed quickly.
If you’re not using WordPress as your content management system, there are still hosting solutions available for Joomla and Drupal.
Did you purchase managed hosting?
Working with a provider that knows your content management system well can be beneficial, as they can help you with website maintenance.
It is important to maintain your website regularly to ensure fast loading times. You can outsource some of the maintenance to a web host.
Does the web host offer technology stacks that are optimized for mobile page speed?
It is also important to consider the technology stack being used by the host.
- Do they use NGINX?
- Are the servers equipped with caching?
- Are CDN upgrades available?
- Do servers run on the latest versions of software?
When you are looking for a server plan, it is important to find one that will run fast. There are a variety of ways to make servers run fast, so make sure to look for one that has these speed-ups before you sign up for the plan.
Is your hosting plan scalable?
When you are thinking about hosting for your website, you should also think about how scalable the hosting plan is.
If you can make a great impression on mobile visitors when they first visit your site, you can expect traffic to increase quickly. So it’s important to have a web host that can scale server resources along with that traffic.
These hosting companies have scalable plans: Kinsta, Cloudways, WP Engine, and InMotion Hosting.
- Update to the latest version of PHP
PHP is an open-source scripting language used to form the backbone of a WordPress website and its functions. Although you may not do any coding with PHP, it is always present at the server level and can impact mobile page speed if it is not updated.
The latest versions of PHP can handle more HTTP requests per second.
If you have a WordPress website, your web host should automatically select the latest version of PHP. However, unless you have managed PHP updates enabled, you will need to keep track of updates yourself.
It’s easy to update PHP on your own.
Log into your web hosting account
The organization of every host’s control panel is different, so what is shown here will not be the same as what you see.
To find the PHP manager, all you need to do is locate it.
Review the current PHP version
Look for the current PHP version used.
Although SiteGround automatically updates the server to the latest version, users are still notified of which version is being used.
If you need to make any changes, open the list of available PHP versions and select the one you want to use:
- Implement caching at all levels
We’re familiar with caching at the browser level when we can’t see updated content on a web page.
When users delete the stored copy of a site from their browser, the latest version of the site will appear the next time they visit it.
Caching pages on a website provides significant performance benefits by preventing outdated information from being displayed and reducing the number of times a server must process the same page.
Enabling caching and creating static copies of pages that are unchanged makes servers work more efficiently.
You can use two resources to enable caching.
Server caching can improve the speed of both your desktop and mobile pages.
You shouldn’t have to manage this yourself—a good web host will have server caching built into your hosting plan.
To make sure your server has all the caching it needs, look it up in your hosting control panel. Caching, like PHP, should be easy to find in your hosting control panel.
You can upgrade your caching if you feel like you need to.
Enable website, database, and object caching
If you want to activate other types of caching, you can do so by using a WordPress caching plugin.
With this plugin, you can quickly enable or disable a caching system:
This means that you don’t have to worry about which types of caching to enable (for example, website, browser, database, opcode, memcache, etc.).
In addition to giving you speed-up settings, caching plugins also usually give you other settings.
If you upgrade, you’ll get extra features that help improve performance, like image optimization, CDN configuration, and mobile caching.
- Optimize the way your code and resources are handled
Mobile page speed is not only determined by your website and the content on it, but also by the code and files behind it.
You should definitely take advantage of these performance optimizations and here’s why:
Developers often write code in a way that is easy for humans to read, with extra spaces, comments, and other formatting. However, this just adds extra characters for the server to process.
The HTTP Archive reports that the average server processes 69 HTTP requests for each mobile page. Improving efficiency can be done by combining files whenever possible.
The purpose of using a .zip file is to reduce the size of a file, or to compress a large number of files into one single file. Gzip compression works in a similar way, but is done at the server level.
Gzip compression reduces the size of your HTML and CSS files, making it easier for your server to handle.
Eliminate render-blocking resources
This is a premium feature in many caching plugins, which is important to use.
The most significant performance issue for mobile sites is resources that cause delays in rendering.
If you enable the performance optimization feature, less important code will load later and your content and data that is above the fold will appear more quickly.
- Clean up your database files
There are many ways your database can become full of old and unnecessary files and data.
You can search the database yourself, but it’s a time-consuming task that can be delegated to a database optimization plugin.
The WordPress Codex recommends the WP-Optimize plugin to streamline your database. This plugin also offers caching and image optimization features.
This plugin will tell you if there are any areas of your database that need to be cleaned up, such as “51 post-revisions in your database”. As long as you don’t need those older versions, you can go ahead and use the “Run optimization” feature.