My website loads lightning fast on my home computer, but this is probably due to the fact that I have a Verizon FIOS with a 100/100 data plan. Even if I try to use my cell phone, the site still loads exceptionally fast because I have four to five 4G LTE speed bands.
Unfortunately, when I check my site’s load time in Google Analytics, I see that the page does not load in 1 or 2 seconds, but in significantly higher values, for example 5, 7 or 10 seconds! Obviously, very few people are browsing my site over an ultra high speed broadband connection.
Since I didn’t have a clear picture of the actual load times of my site, I wanted to simulate a slow connection on my computer to see which components are loading the most. If you look online, you will find many sites offering proxies and other unusual debugging tools, some of which require payment.
However, there is a solution to this problem that is completely free and much easier to use. If you already have Google Chrome installed on your computer, you already have everything you need to simulate a slower network connection.
In this article, I’ll show you how to use Chrome to throttle your network connection to whatever speed you want.
Simulate a slow connection with Chrome
Go ahead and install Chrome if not already installed on your system. Once you’ve done that, open a new tab and press CTRL + SHIFT + I to open the developer tools window, or click on the hamburger icon, then More tools, and then Developer tools.
This will open a developer tools window, which will probably be docked to the right side of the screen. I prefer pinning it to the bottom of the screen as you can see more data. To do this, click on the three vertical dots and then click in the middle position of the dock.
Now go and go to the “Network” tab. On the right, you should see the label “No Regulation”.
Clicking on it will open a drop-down list of pre-configured speeds that you can use to simulate a slow connection.
The options are from Offline to WiFi, and the numbers are shown as Latency, Download, Upload. The slowest is GPRS, followed by Normal 2G, then Good 2G, then Normal 3G, Good 3G, Normal 4G, DSL and then WiFi. Select one of the options and then reload the page you are on or enter a different URL in the address bar. Just make sure you are in the same tab where developer tools are displayed. Throttling works only for the tab for which it is enabled.
If you want to use your own values, you can click the Add button in the Custom section. Click the Add Custom Profile button to add a new profile.
Using GPRS, loading www.google.com took 16 seconds! Overall, it’s a great tool built right into Chrome that you can use to test your site’s load times on slower connections. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to comment. Enjoy!