The loading time of an Internet site is a key factor (if not the key factor) to optimize its conversion rate and online performances. On the occasion of Bargento 2014, the show dedicated to Magento, Guillaume Thibaux, co-founder of Quanta Computing, presented the speed statistics of the main sites using Magento in France. In addition to the relative “average” observed, what draws our attention today is the phenomenon of slowdown in browsing speed, once logged on a site.

What is the loading time of a website?

The loading time must be divided into two parts:

  • Server time: the time spent in the internal machinery that includes the CMS, database, etc. The page is built and then sent back to the user’s browser during this “server” time. During this phase, it is impossible for the user to see elements on the screen. The page is blank.
  • Browser time: the web browser used receives the skeleton of the page to be built (HTML). Its display begins, and images, as well as other small elements, are then loaded. Even if the page is not entirely loaded, it can sometimes be used.


Page load time explained

The average server time observed by Quanta Computing in the 25 most important sites using Magento is of 398 ms. “Apart from two or three exceptions, all the values that we measured are around 250/300 ms, this result can be described as average. As experts in performance, we say that a maximum of 100 ms is recommended. This is not so difficult to achieve if you have good practices and if you perform several optimizations”, explains Guillaume Thibaux.

The loading time for a client is slower

The server time of 398 ms was obtained by passing probes on the different pages of the sites: Homepage, category page, product page, shopping cart. Several types of pages were analyzed to come up with this statistic. The same operation was conducted in tandem, by adding an additional step: logging. What happens if a user requests the exact same pages, but being connected with a customer account? The loading time is slower…


Average page load time when users are logged

The average time observed by Quanta Computing is of 602 ms. Loading time increases by 51% in a logged context. “This can be understood as technical from an outside perspective. A connected user requires more information; it is necessary to load his account with its history. The problem is that in going from 398 to 602 ms, 2% of conversion goes up in smoke” explains Guillaume Thibaux.

The client, however, already a buyer, is therefore being “penalized” with a slower browsing time. This finding is not a fatality. In fact, within the 25 most important sites under Magento in France, the worst one has an average loading time of 1.81 s / page in logged-in mode (1.53 s / page while being logged-off)… but the best one is that one at 53 ms / page (51 ms / page logged-off). Conclusion? With Magento, it is possible to go fast, very fast. That is, provided that one implements a policy of performance intelligence.