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Free Tools to Make Sure Your Website is Fast and Reliable (Speed and Uptime Tests)

Recently I was working on some web design related projects for some friends and clients. There were two websites that were starkly different. to make a long story short, one site, created by me was loading fast and the other was super slow….. yikes!

How did I know? I used a simple website speed test tool. One that you should use too. It’s simple to use, but if you need advice, or you would like some help please let me know.

By the way if you are curious, my site loaded in about 1 second and my friend’s site loaded in 10 seconds. That’s super slow. Google will penalize your site in search results if it is slow.

Let’s get started with these tests. Here’s a brief outline of the services I recommend.


This blog by Tdot.com is hosted on a reliable hosting service called Namecheap (use my affiliate link if you need domains or web hosting). We recommend their hosting wholeheartedly. I have used a range of hosts and discovered many were very unreliable. My website would not be online consistently (this is called “uptime” and “downtime”), and it didn’t always perform well.

Some of this can be managed by choosing a good host, and some can be remedied by implementing best practices such as keeping images small. Two things any website owner wants to keep on top of are uptime and page speed. You want to know that your website is online at the 99.9% of the time your host claims, and that pages are loaded quickly for visitors.

Without getting into the nitty gritty, here are two simple tools that you can use for free to find out how your website and hosting is performing.

Test Your Site Reliability with Uptime Robot

Is your website online? Is it online when you need it, or when visitors are on your important sales and contact pages? It is likely your site sometimes goes offline – but do you have any idea how often that happens?

It may be difficult to know whether your site is available, and consistently available, unless you monitor it. Many small businesses use “shared hosting” and some hosts like GoDaddy and Bluehost may not be as reliable as you might thinkj.

You must use this free software – see if your host is really providing 99.9% uptime! Maybe your site is offline for hours a month and you have no idea. Get on top of monitoring your site’s uptime.

To set it up, just create an account and set up what is called a “monitor.” I use the default setting which is labelled “http(s)” in the dropdown menu. Enter a “name” and “url” and make sure to check the notification box for your preferred email contact and that’s it. You can ignore the promo that pops up asking you to pay for the service and just click the free option. It’s really fast to get going with this tool.

Visit uptimerobot.com and sign up for a free plan. You get 50 monitors that will check your sites every 5 minutes to see if they are online. They can alert you by email when your site goes offline and when it comes back online.

Test Your Site Speed with GT Metrix

Want to find out how fast your website is? Try this amazing tool. Testing is free and creating an account to track your tests is free.

Getting a score immediately and straight-forward advice can help you and your web designer create a fast reliable site. Results tell you if you have a site bloated with large images or excess code or slow responses from your web server.

As I just mentioned, one of the more obvious slowdowns comes from using too many large images. While optimizing images is not simple, as you experiment with reducing content size, you can revisit GTMetrix to continually evaluate your progress. Most of my images are loaded from my own folder outside of WordPress and I keep them small at less than 200 kb.

Sample result for a speed test at GTmetrix

At left/above is a screenshot from a speed test performed in early January 2023. The site has no issues and seems to load in less than 1 second which is pretty quick. When I survey colleagues’ sites I see load times from 2-3 seconds to as many as 6-7 seconds which are too slow.

Most users expect pages to load within the first second or two. If sites are slow they may abandon them. It is said that Google also penalizes slow sites in SERP (search engine results pages).

Check out gtmetrix.com and sign up for a free plan to keep track of your speed tests.

Do these tests today – they are free!

There’s no reason to delay these tests, and if you need assistance just reach out. Within 5-10 minutes you can run these tests and sign up for these free services. Of course while GTMetrix gives instant satisfaction (or dissatisfaction, depending on the result), Uptime Robot will require time to tell whether your hosting is reliable. Over some weeks or months you’ll get to know if your hosting has dependable uptime.

When you do, you’ll have a better sense of your website’s reliability, whether that is speed or uptime. And if you need more than the basics, both tools allow you to upgrade, expanding the frequency or scope of your tests and alerts.

What do you think? Are you using uptime and speed testing tools? Let me know how you manage your sites.

Mike Simpson

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