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Firefox Plugin To Analyze Web Page Speed And Page Speed Activity

Earlier today I was looking around Google’s Webmaster Tools site which allows you to add various web sites and analyze data obtained via the Googlebot search engine spider. If you are not familiar with the Google Webmaster Tool site then click here to explore all of the data that is available to you for each of your web sites. Anyhow in the process of looking around the Webmaster Tools site I noticed a Firefox plugin called Page Speed in the Labs portion of the Webmaster Tools site. This plugin provides similar functionality to Safari’s Web Inspector when combined with the required Firebug Firefox plugin. Below is information on installing the Google Page Speed Firefox plugin as well as basic usage information including some screenshots of the plugin in action.

Install & Use The Google Page Speed Firefox Plugin:

  1. Install Firefox Firebug Plugin: If you do not already have the Firebug plugin installed in Firefox click here and follow the instructions to install it. The Firebug plugin by itself with provide valuable details about how your site is rendered in Firefox. The Firebug plugin is required for the Google Firefox Page Speed plugin to function.
  2. Visit Firefox Page Speed Plugin Page: Now visit the Google Page Speed plugin page located here in your Firefox browser and displayed in the image below.

    Google Firefox Page Speed Plugin

  3. Begin Firefox Page Speed Plugin Install: Now on the Google Page Speed Firefox plugin page click the Install Page Speed button to begin the Page Speed plugin installation. Once you click the button a pop up bar will appear at the top of the page with an Allow button to the far top right corner as displayed below. Click the Allow button to begin the installation.

    Allow Google Page Speed Firefox Plugin Installation

  4. Install Firefox Page Speed Plugin: Once you click the the Allow button a window will appear with details about the Page Speed plugin as displayed in the below image. Wait a couple seconds and then click the Install Now button to install the Google Page Speed Firefox plugin.

    Page Speed Plugin Install Now

  5. Restart Firefox To Complete Install: With the install complete a bar will display across the top of the pop up window that has a Restart Firefox button as shown below in the image. You must restart Firefox for the installation to complete.

    Restart Firefox After Page Speed Plugin Install

  6. Verify Page Speed Plugin Install: Once Firefox restarts visit a web site and then click the Firebug button located in the bottom right corner of the page. This will open a Firebug window that covers about half of the browser display. Verify the far right tabs of this pop over window are Page Speed and Page Speed Activity which will verify that the Page Speed plugin installed properly.
  7. Test Page Speed Using Firefox: Click on the Page Speed tab which will display a blank page in the pop over window with a Analyze Performance button. Click this button to analyze the performance of the web site that is open in the background. This will display a bunch of different statistics and information about the site as shown in the below image.

    Use Firefox Page Speed Plugin To Analyze Site Performance

    As you can see there will be all sorts of feedback displayed in a performance summary. Some of the items include suggestions such as Leverage Browser Cache, Minify CSS, Optimize Images, Enable Gzip Compression, Remove Unused CSS, and much more. Play around with the results of different pages and compare them to your own site to see how your site compares to others.

  8. View Page Speed Activity With Firefox: The other addition with the Page Speed plugin is the Page Speed Activity tab which is displayed below. It will show the length of time numerous transactions with the server hosting the site you are viewing take.

    View Page Speed Activity With Firefox Plugin

    As you can see this information can be very valuable to pinpoint any slow downs that a specific site may have. The details include time it takes for DNS lookups, time to parse JavaScript, time to execute JavaScript, connection times, data sent, data received, and more.

This plugin is an amazing tool that extends the functionality of the Firebug Firefox plugin. There will probably be a bunch of suggestions and you will notice site improvements when solutions to those suggestions are put in place. Leave it to Google to once again provide an amazing tool to webmasters.

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