Lighthouse vs PageSpeed Insights: Which is Better for You?
In today's online world, website performance is more important than ever. Not only does it impact your search engine rankings and user experience, but it can also affect your organization's bottom line. That's why it's essential to track your website’s performance data.
Monitoring your site’s performance allows you to identify issues and take steps to improve its speed, usability, and overall effectiveness. It can also help your organization troubleshoot technical problems and determine where to invest time and resources for your website. In short, tracking site performance data is essential for your organization to thrive in the digital space.
The Most Used Performance Tools
What tools should you use to track performance data and how are they different? The two most common ones are Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights. They’re easy to use and understand since they display a clear breakdown of the specific issues slowing down a page. Additionally, they offer valuable insights into how your site's performance stacks up against other sites by providing a simple audit comparing the results.
Lighthouse is an open-source auditing tool created by Google that you can run from the command line or a Chrome extension. It can be used to audit the performance, accessibility, and Progressive Web App (PWA) features of your website. Lighthouse was released in 2016 and has since become one of the most popular tools for auditing web pages. A Lighthouse audit can identify potential issues with your website and provide specific steps for how to improve its performance. Lighthouse is also frequently used by developers to test new website features or changes before they’re deployed. By auditing your website with Lighthouse, your developers can ensure that they’re providing a high-quality user experience and identify any trouble areas before new features are deployed.
PageSpeed Insights is a Google-owned online tool that provides both automated and manual analysis of web pages. It was created by Google to help webmasters improve the loading speed of their websites. The tool provides you with a page speed score, which is based on several factors, including page size, page load time, and the number of requests made to your website’s servers. Like Lighthouse, PageSpeed Insights provides you with insights you can use to help to optimize your website for faster loading speeds.
How Lighthouse and PageSpeed Are Insights Similar
You can use both Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights to audit your website’s performance. They both identify issues that are slowing down your pages and provide specific instructions on how you can fix them. Also, Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights can help you compare your site’s performance to the performance of other sites.
To summarize, Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights are both:
- Free to use
- Provide website performance data
- Identify areas of opportunity to improve site speed
How Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights Are Different
One key difference between Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights is that Lighthouse provides more detailed information about each item it measures. For instance, Lighthouse will tell you not only whether an image is optimized but also how much smaller the optimized version should be. This level of detail can be helpful in pinpointing specific areas that need optimization on your website.
PageSpeed Insights is only available as a web-based tool, whereas Lighthouse can be installed as a Chrome extension. Also, PageSpeed Insights only provides data for individual pages, while Lighthouse can audit the performance of your entire website. And lastly, PageSpeed Insights is focused on providing page-level performance metrics, while Lighthouse evaluates other factors such as SEO and accessibility.
To summarize their differences:
- Lighthouse runs from the command line or a Chrome extension while PageSpeed Insights is browser-based
- Lighthouse audits an entire website while PageSpeed insights focuses on a single page
- Lighthouse provides insight on other important performance factors beyond speed while PageSpeed Insights only focuses on page-level speed
- Lighthouse was released in 2016 while PageSpeed Insights was released well before it in 2010
Website Performance and SEO
Website performance is important for a variety of reasons, but from an SEO perspective, it's essential. Google has stated that page speed is a ranking factor, and image optimization is an important part of that. However, image optimization isn't always straightforward, and compliance with best practices can be difficult to maintain. That's where a tool like Lighthouse comes in handy. Lighthouse can automatically audit your website and provide recommendations on how to improve its performance. This includes things like image optimization and best practices. That’s why it's a valuable resource for any SEO specialist who wants to ensure their website is performing at its best.
By using best practices and following image compliance guidelines, your organization can ensure that images on your website are as small as possible without sacrificing quality. This not only enhances page speed but also reduces bandwidth usage and improves user experience. You should care about website performance and image optimization because it can directly impact how well your site competes in search results.
Provide Developers Clear Examples with Data
For developers, the most helpful aspect of Lighthouse is the data it provides. This data is reliable and specific, which makes it invaluable for finding and implementing fixes on your website. By identifying problem areas, your developers can target their efforts more efficiently and improve the overall quality of your site. Lighthouse provides them specific examples of how to fix each issue, making it even easier for them to get the job done right. For these reasons, Lighthouse is an essential tool if your organization wants to create a high-quality competitive site.
Should You Use Lighthouse or PageSpeed Insights?
Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights are both valuable tools for improving website performance, but Lighthouse is more flexible and provides more detailed information. Lighthouse can also audit an entire website while PageSpeed Insights focuses on a single page. And Lighthouse evaluates other factors such as accessibility and SEO best practices.
No matter what tool you use, both can be helpful to provide critical insights that help your teams work more effectively and get higher impact outcomes for your site's performance.
Need assistance monitoring your website’s performance? Contact us. We can set up regular monitoring to identify performance issues impacting your site and resolve them for you.