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I am looking for a simple tool or service to track the server-side performance of a website over time.

It would be nice to have the possibility to register a set of URLs for different page types and see graphs how response/download time goes up or down over time.

This might either be a tool to install on a server of our own, our a service. Of course, free of cost would be preferred, commercial solutions should be a lot cheaper than what I saw so far (50$/month is definitely far too much to spend for something like this)

I know that the G-Webmaster tools offer a graph for average download time, but the problem lies in "average". If a single page type is slowed down for some reason, it does not hit the average enough that the issue can be quickly detected.

Thanks a lot for your suggestions, Peter

EDIT: currently I am running linux servers, but I might be able to set up a windows machine for this, too. So software for both OSs would be interesting. (OS independency would be appreciated, though :)

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It'd help to know which operating system you're using to make recommendations on benchmarking and performance monitoring tools. –  danlefree Oct 22 '10 at 9:51
    
Thanks for the hint, you are right - I have updated the question. –  Peter P Oct 22 '10 at 10:25
    
You should probably make this community wiki. –  Lèse majesté Oct 22 '10 at 15:17

5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You could always do it manually. Just save the current time in your boostrap and then log the difference at the end of page output. From there, you'll be able to plot live graphs to visualize the performance of pages you're interested in.

Or if you want an online service, here's a free one I just found called mon.itor.us. Offsite solutions like this will take network conditions into account as well.

If you want a comparison with popular websites, this page lists the rendering times of a bunch of major sites. However, I find their figures a little suspect, since they display a lower time to load a full page on some sites than just to load the HTML.

Along with that site, Pingdom also offers a paid uptime/response time monitoring service. Additionally, Pingdom has a free plan that only lets you monitor one site (I think they mean page) and have up to 20 sms alerts per month.

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I'd rather have this external querying at a fixed internal than internal logging every request. mon.itor.us is not the prettiest thing I've ever seen, but it seems to do what I want. Thanks a lot for this one. I've seen Pingdom before, but think their pricing is a little bit to high for what I want the tool to do. –  Peter P Oct 22 '10 at 15:18

This is not tracking tool. But you can analyze performance at a moment.

http://www.websiteoptimization.com/services/analyze/

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Yes, I have seen that and some similar services - but unfortunately it is not what I am looking for. Thanks for your suggestion anyway :) –  Peter P Oct 22 '10 at 10:27

If you are running Apache you can use Apache Benchmark to do some performance testing. It's specialty is determining how many pages your web server can serve per second.

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Unfortunately, that is not what I am looking for either. I do not want to stress-test or benchmark a server, but rather monitor response time of a productive website over time. Similar to pingdom - but (in my book) pingdome is too expensive if one wants to monitor more than 5 URLs. –  Peter P Oct 22 '10 at 13:44
    
After all, I do not want anything more than a tool pinging a URL at some interval, storing the time it took to download the page and offering a graphical analysis of the data. –  Peter P Oct 22 '10 at 13:45

AlertFox offers a free tool for global load time testing.

monitor response time of a productive website over time. . Similar to pingdom - but (in my book) pingdome is too expensive if one wants to monitor more than 5 URLs.

The AlertFox free plan offers up to 3 URLS plus one transaction sensor (= run tests in a real Firefox browser!): www.alertfox.com/free-website-monitoring/

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WebPageTest.org offers an online service that currently lets you test your site for free from 25+ locations across the world. It even lets you configure browser, connection & band-width type & also choose from other test settings.

When you submit a URL to test, it generates a comprehensive report that includes load time & recommendations for optimizing the webpage.

The WebPageTest tool is available for download if you would like to run your own instance.

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