The Impact of Scripts on Website Performance

Discover the third-party scripts that could be slowing down your website. Thanks to an open-source "Third Party Web" project by Patrick Hulce, a former Google Employee, we know how different scripts affect performance. The report covers popular services in a number of categories, from social features, through ads and analytics, all the way to marketing solutions.

The Impact of Scripts on Website Performance
Article by Dawid Zimny
I am particularly interested in web analytics. Knowing the way your visitors browse your website will help you improve their browsing experience and is crucial for converting them into clients.

Third-party scripts are responsible for most of the modern web usage. The “Third Party Web” report analyses over a million websites. Patrick Hulce‘s open-source project provides valuable insight into the impact of scripts on website performance.

The report was created with developers in mind. However, we have found the knowledge is valuable to website owners. Here’s our selection of script categories for you to consider when choosing third-party applications for your business site.

Advertising services

Some of the third-party advertising services can single-handedly account for over half a second of your loading time. WordAds deserves an honourable mention here. Their scripts were initially averaging over 2 seconds and have now dropped to just 212ms.

One thing to keep in mind here is the role of these scripts. They are parts of advertising networks and the functionality might vary. Some might serve ads while other will serve and measure traffic at the same time.

Analytics scripts

The impact of analytic applications will vary depending on what’s being tracked. At the same time, the functionality of these services varies and in some cases it’s not an apples to apples comparison.

A summary of usage and average impact of analytics scripts.

Social features

Average usage and impact of social media scripts.

It’s hard to come by a website without social media features these days. We are positively surprised by the performance of social integration services. Their scripts are faster than the sum of the individual social media features.

Marketing solutions

Most of the marketing solutions are well-optimised and have a similar average impact. Our favourite, HubSpot, seems to be slightly ahead of the pack at 91ms, while other services average 128-146ms.

The usage and average impact of third-party marketing scripts.

Customer service applications

79% of customers say live chat is their preferred communication channel but only 9% of companies use it. If you’re planning to integrate a live chat service with your website, this list can help you narrow down the choices to providers of the best performing scripts.

The usage and average impact of customer service scripts.

The key takeaways

As mentioned on a couple of occasions, these numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt. The best-performing marketing service might not be worth the gain if it doesn’t offer the features you need.

However, with page speed being one of the Google ranking factors, it’s worth to be familiar with the impact of third-party services.

If you wish to keep track of the project, here’s the GitHub page of “Third Party Web”.

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