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Web Performance Awards – February 2016

by Lubos Kmetko on March 23, 2016
Published in Performance 2 Comments

How did Awwwards winning websites deal with performance optimization in February 2016?

We have tested 29 winners of the Awwwards Site of the Day. (Check the end of the article for How we test.)

Top 10

1. Exoskills – 83/100

Exoskills

  • PageSpeed Insights Mobile: 78
  • PageSpeed Insights Desktop: 89
  • WebPagetest: 83

2. Codeology – 79/100

Codeology

  • PageSpeed Insights Mobile: 89
  • PageSpeed Insights Desktop: 95
  • WebPagetest: 67

3. 2016 Make Me Pulse – 75/100

2016 Make Me Pulse

  • PageSpeed Insights Mobile: 83
  • PageSpeed Insights Desktop: 91
  • WebPagetest: 63

4th – 10th place

  1. Quiver73/100
  2. Red Collar73/100
  3. CLEVER°FRANKE72/100
  4. Publicis9069/100
  5. Petra in StreetView68/100
  6. Concrete LCDA65/100
  7. Centurion-Magazine65/100

Last 3

Without calling the names, the lowest 3 results in our test were:

  • 37/100
  • 23/100
  • 19/100

Google PageSpeed Insights

The following table shows how many sites passed Google PageSpeed Insights rules:

Mobile Desktop
Passed Consider Fixing Should Fix Passed Consider Fixing Should Fix
Avoid landing page redirects 90% 10% 0% 97% 3% 0%
Reduce server response time 76% 24% 0% 83% 17% 0%
Leverage browser caching 0% 45% 55% 0% 62% 38%
Enable compression 52% 14% 34% 55% 10% 34%
Minify HTML 48% 52% 0% 45% 55% 0%
Minify CSS 79% 21% 0% 79% 21% 0%
Minify JavaScript 38% 48% 14% 38% 52% 10%
Optimize images 17% 59% 24% 17% 62% 21%
Prioritize visible content 38% 59% 3% 48% 52% 0%
Eliminate render-blocking JS and CSS in above-the-fold content 3% 14% 83% 3% 38% 59%

Legend:

  • Passed – No significant issues found. Good job!
  • Consider Fixing – Consider fixing this if it is not a lot of work
  • Should Fx – Fixing this would have a measurable impact on page performance

WebPagetest

What optimization grades did websites get from WebPagetest?

A-B C-D F (X)
First Byte Time 86% 4% 10%
Keep-alive Enabled 100% 0% 0%
Compress Transfer 58% 21% 21%
Compress Images 38% 24% 38%
Cache static content 7% 10% 83%
Effective use of CDN 28% 72%

Commentary

  • Surprisingly, a large number of websites don’t have gzip compression enabled. This is just a matter of simple server configuration and definitely shouldn’t be omitted.
  • Many sites don’t set caching properly. Again, this is a configuration thing, and even though it’s a bit more complicated, it’s worth having a look at.
  • Most of the sites could have also done a better job at image optimization. Often they could save hundreds of kB or sometimes even a few MB if they properly resize and optimize their images better.
  • Usage of CDN is one of the most recommended performance optimization techniques, however only a small portion of websites use it effectively.
  • None of the websites defer JavaScript execution or inline critical CSS. Presumably, the complexity of this technique scares off most websites creators.

Fail of the month

A photo saved as PNG with size ~ 4MB. If it was properly resized and compressed, it could save 3.5MB (94% reduction). There were a few similar sized images making the site home page over 16MB.

Next month

Some websites did a good job on performance optimization but none of them really shined – we are waiting for a score of over 90, and also for a little bit more color in the first 3 places :)

How we test

Google PageSpeed Insights

We test each website home page with Google PageSpeed Insights and count the average score from the Mobile and Desktop results.

WebPagetest

We test each website home page with WebPagetest and calculate the score from the result grades as follows:

  • A – 100
  • B – 80
  • C – 60
  • D – 40
  • F – 0

Effective use of CDN criteria is either Yes (100) or X (No – 0).

Total Score

The total score is calculated as an average from the Google PageSpeed Insights score and the WebPagetest score. The maximum score any site can get is 100.

About the author

Lubos Kmetko

Lubos Kmetko started to work for Xfive (formerly XHTMLized) as a front-end developer in 2006. He currently helps with business operations and writes for the Xfive blog.

More articles from Lubos

Comments

Anon April 12, 2016

Quick note on this page's performance, I found that the Pingdom beacon took > 1.5s to load, meaning the whole page loaded in > 3s.

Lubos Kmetko April 12, 2016

@anon that's possible but that image is loaded from Pingdom JS which is loaded asynchronously so it shouldn't affect perceived performance, should it? Or was it blocking loading and rendering the whole page? Thanks for the report.

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