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Torbit Insight – Real User Measurement of Web Performance

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Over a decade ago, the big bottlenecks for web performance were server load and network bandwidth. Lots of companies sprung up in the Web 1.0 era to help resolve these problems. The most well known and most successful one of course being Akamai. With the creation of CDNs and the use of edge caching, and today with the cloud and especially the ability to scale the number of servers on demand, we solved these two big issues. Companies like Keynote and Gomez built out tools and networks that allowed sites to monitor the performance of their servers from all over the world. Web performance was a solved problem.

Or so we thought. The Web has changed. Performance is no longer a server side issue. It’s a client side issue! As our sites become richer, and especially as they become applications rather than pages, the time it takes for the code to parse, render, and execute the code in the browser has today become the dominant factor in web performance. The time it takes to lookup the domain, connect, transfer the data is now only a small fraction of the overall time it takes for a page to finish loading and be ready for the user to view and interact with.

  Till today this was just a theory. It was a theory because all we had available were spot checks of client side performance with browser add-ons like YSlow. Today, that theory now has real data to support it because Torbit has launched Insight. Torbit Insight lets you identify if you have a performance problem on your site and it also lets you pinpoint where that problem may be coming from.

  Check out this 1-minute video about Torbit Insight:


The best part is, Torbit does all of this without slowing down your site! A little javascript embed on your site collects the data on the client side. It is simple to install and you see the results come in in real-time. Make a change to your website and boom, you can see what impact that had on the load time for the visitors to your site right away.

  If that wasn’t enough Torbit lets you tie in your site’s conversion rate to show what impact speed has on the bottom-line.

  For most sites, getting their site completed and launched on time is hard enough. For the site developers (I use that word loosely, since site performance pervades different aspects of site development, including the graphics, CSS, HTML, Javascript and server side components) to focus on performance is generally an afterthought. It’s usually a case of functionality first, performance later — and ‘later’ may never happen. Add to that the problem that site performance optimization needs to take into account the client (i.e. device, OS, and browser) that the optimization is being performed for. If your site is being viewed on a phone, tablet or desktop, you may need different types of optimizations. There is a fanning effect as a result of the proliferation of different devices, OSs, and browsers. The Torbit team realized that optimizing web-performance is becoming a client side problem. And they recognized that optimizing sites for different clients is a hard problem that can take a lot of time and effort and cost a lot for an organization to undertake. Additionally, the people who are developing a site may not be experts at optimizing performance. So Torbit also created the Site Optimizer. The Site Optimizer will optimize your site on the fly, without any significant effort by the developers of the site. With Insight and Site Optimizer, Torbit is providing the next generation of tools for both measuring, analyzing, and optimizing web performance. Kudos to the Torbit team and especially to founders Josh Fraser (@joshfraser) and Jon Fox (@jfox85) on identifying a real problem and building a suite of products to solve the performance problems of modern web sites. Speed on. You can follow me on Twitter at @ManuKumar or @K9Ventures for just the K9 Ventures related tweets. K9 Ventures is also on Facebook and Google+.