Using Real User Monitoring to Improve Your Response Time

By Posted in Tech Topics 27 May 2011

We shipped Real User Monitoring recently and the response has been overwhelming. Our beta users loved it and provided great feedback, but nothing prepared us for such a loud and clear positive response from new and old customers alike. Thank you!

Now that your seeing your end user experience metrics for the first time, I’ll bet you’d like to find ways to improve those times. Let’s get to it!

1. Have workers at the ready

Request queuing: The wait time between the web server and the application code.
Most customers will be lucky enough to not see this in their graphs. If you do see time being spent here, it’s time to provision some more servers to handle the load. Speeding up your app will also help here. The faster your app, the faster it can pick the next request off the queue.

2. Speed up the back-end

Web application: The time spent in the application code.
If only there was an app performance tool that could let you find out how to optimize your web application! That would be sweet.

3. Improve the speed of light

Network: The time it takes for a request to make a round-trip over the internet.
Improve the speed of light and BAM! Faster internet. Until you get that sorted out, you might consider moving static assets closer to your customers. User your real-user data to see which countries are having the worst experience and make sure your new CDN provider has sufficient service in those locations.

4. Trim down that DOM

DOM Processing: Time spent in the browser parsing and interpreting the HTML.
This just in: Huge pages take a long time to parse! Taking a look at your pages and see if there might be some belt tightening to do.

5. Do less work

Page Rendering: Time spent in the browser displaying the HTML, running in-line JavaScript and loading images.
Downloading large assets and running in-line JavaScript can take a significant amount of time for many apps. Check to see which browsers spend the most time here, too. You may find some significant differences in performance that can be improved by using different JavaScript techniques.

Every app is different


Our first example has an average response time of 3.2 seconds. DOM processing and Page Rendering are fast, as is the backend application. The network tier, however, is another story. This customer is digging into the geographic data provided by New Relic Real User Monitoring in order to select a CDN provider to improve their overall response time.


This customer has an average response time of 7.5 seconds! App performance, network time and page rendering are all reasonable, but DOM processing is taking up to 4 seconds alone. This customer is exploring ways to reduce their page size to speed up their site.

About the author

brian@emphaticsolutions.com'Marketing at Github

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