Slow-loading websites can also lead some folks to the wrong conclusion, thinking that their computer is slow, when really, it’s the animation-laden slow website that’s at fault. For example, visit my website.
On a good day, with an average connection speed, its front page should load in under five seconds. That’s because there are no active animations or videos on my website. On the other hand, top-heavy websites such as Yahoo, CNN and MSN can take much longer to load.
Internet traffic also affects how quickly a website can load. If a million people are all trying to access the same Sandra Bullock news story at the same time, things can get very, very slow, or even come to a complete stop. The same holds true if every Cox customer in a neighborhood gets home from work and tries to check their email at the same time.
Wireless network speeds can also fluctuate wildly, and not all wireless hardware is created equal. “G” wifi is faster than “B,” and ‘N” is faster than G or B. The distance between a wirelessly-connected laptop and a wireless router can affect speed, as well. As I write this column, I am connected to an open wireless network located in a restaurant next door to my location.
Even though my computer says that the connection speed is 54 Mbps (pretty fast) and signal strength is “very good,” my website takes over 15 seconds to load. Yahoo and CNN take 30 seconds to load. Usable, but slow.
To test the speed of your Internet connection, visit www.speedtest.net and try out the various tests that are offered. Avoid clicking on the “speed up your PC” ads, and just run the tests. Be sure to try them at different times of day, too, and while other programs and applications are and are not running. The results can be very interesting.
Dave Moore has been performing computer consulting, repairs, security and networking in Oklahoma since 1984. He also teaches computer safety workshops for public and private organizations. He can be reached at 405-919-9901 or davemoorecomputers.com.