A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article explaining the poor performance that I had noted on the Dryathlon website. After I wrote the article, I decided to drill down into the problem and see if I could work out what was going wrong. I noticed that the site was particularly slow when updating JustGiving pages, suggesting that it might be the JustGiving site that is experiencing problems.
I recorded a sample request to the Dryathlon site and noted that it took 14 seconds to fully download. A significant proportion of the overall page download time was spent waiting for data from third party sites such as FaceBook, Twitter and Google. Much of this time was spent conducting SSL negotiation.
Obviously this type of performance problem is difficult to diagnose from “the outside”, but it It seems that their links to third party sites may be the cause of their poor performance. I were working at JustGiving.com, I’d be giving this some serious thought.
This is a common problem, not just restricted to the JustGiving site. This excellent article from Strangeloop shows how the same problem affects some of the web's biggest names, including Amazon, Apple, Staples and Dell. When adding third party content to a site you need to be sure that it won't slow you down, particularly on that all important front page.