Website Load Time Statistics: Why Speed Matters

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We’d all rather have a fast website than slow website load times. But loading time is not just a matter of preference – it has a huge impact on a site’s success, too. 82%* of consumers say slow page speeds impact their purchasing decisions. So when you’re choosing a website builder or what content to add to a page, thinking about the impact on speed is critical.

The longer a webpage takes to load, the more its bounce rate will skyrocket. A high bounce rate tells search engines that users don’t find the page content useful, so its rankings will slip. And ecommerce sites will inevitably lose customers if their checkout page is even a little bit slower than those of the competition.

web speed fast facts
Sources: LoadStorm, Econsultancy

In short, website speed is super important, and we’ve put together this guide that will help explain why. We’ll also identify the usual factors that contribute to slow sites, and give some tips on how you can speed up your own site.

“Website speed” refers to the speed at which each webpage is downloaded from its hosting server and displayed in a user’s web browser. “Page load time”, meanwhile, is the time it takes to display all of a webpage’s content in a user’s browser after they’ve clicked onto the site.
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Key Website Load Time Statistics

  • The chance of a bounce increases by 32% when a page load time goes from one to three seconds.
  • On the first page of Google search results, the average page speed is 1.65 seconds.
  • One in four visitors would abandon a website if it takes more than four seconds to load.
  • Pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages that load in five seconds see their bounce rates skyrocket to 38%.
  • The two-to-three second mark is the turning point where bounce rates skyrocket 40% of consumers will wait no more than three seconds before abandoning a site.
  • For the top 100 web pages, it only takes an average of 2.5 seconds on desktop and 8.6 seconds on mobile to fully load.
  • 53% of mobile users will abandon a website page if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
  • 82% of consumers say slow page speeds impact their purchasing decisions.
  • 74% of mobile users in the US would leave a mobile site if it didn’t load within five seconds.

Why Website Load Time is Important

You can think of site speed as a sliding scale, where the faster sites reap the most benefits, and every second makes a difference. For example, pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages that load in five seconds see their bounce rates skyrocket to 38%.

Even a one-second difference in loading time can have a huge impact on performance:

bounce rate statistics timeline
Source: Pingdom

A one-second page load time makes users feel stress-free and in-control. But after 10 seconds, their attention is barely kept, and they are unlikely to visit the webpage again. As the seconds increase, so does the bounce rate. What decreases is the user’s patience!

Even big names aren’t immune to the effects of website speed. The BBC loses an additional 10% of users for every extra second it takes for its site to load. And when Yahoo! reduced its page load time by just 0.4 seconds, traffic increased by 9%.

How Fast Should a Website Load?

Ideally, you’ll want your website to load within three seconds, or two seconds if it’s an ecommerce site. On the first page of Google search results, the typical page speed is 1.65 seconds. The two-to-three second mark is the turning point where bounce rates skyrocket – in fact, 40% of consumers will wait no more than three seconds before abandoning a site.

More Information

  • Website Builders and Core Web Vitals: Speed and performance play a huge role in Google’s search engine rankings – especially with the Core Web Vitals update. We look at the impact of this update on website builders, and what you can do to test and optimize your site!
  • How To Increase Conversions: Discover what other issues may be hampering your sales rates.

Mobile vs Desktop: Average Page Load Times

One analysis of 5 million desktop and mobile pages found that the average time it takes to fully load a webpage is 10.3 seconds on desktop, and 27.3 seconds on mobile.

In contrast, research shows that the top 100 web pages only take an average of 2.5 seconds on desktop and 8.6 seconds on mobile to fully load. This is a significant reduction from the average load times of desktop and mobile pages, meaning visitors to the top web pages benefit from a smoother user experience.

But it’s important to optimize your mobile page speeds as much as possible, because it’s still the preferred method of browsing. As of August 2020, in the United States, mobile minutes accounted for 79% of online time.

mobile browsing facts
Sources: Statista, Pew Research Center

How Does Mobile Compare To Desktop Browsing?

In a 2018 study of US web traffic, mobile devices accounted for 58% of site visits and 42.3% of total time spent online. More people browse on smartphones than on desktops, even though the user experience is still better on the latter:

mobile vs desktop stats
Source: Perficient

In fact, 46% of people say waiting for pages to load is what they dislike most about browsing the web on mobile, while 73% of mobile users have encountered websites that take too long to load. Google Consumer Insights carried out research into mobile website visitors and found that over half (53%) will abandon a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load.

How Do User Expectations Differ On Mobile vs Desktop?

When it comes to waiting for pages to load, most consumers think they’re more patient than they actually are.

85% of mobile users expect pages to load as fast or faster than they do on desktop, while one study of UK consumers even found that 14% of shoppers expect pages to load instantly on mobile.

If you’re looking for an easier goal: 64% of smartphone users expect pages to load in under four seconds, while 74% of mobile users in the US would abandon mobile sites that don’t load within five seconds. Keeping your website load time down is essential in this day and age, since every one second delay reduces user satisfaction by 16%!

What Are the Most Common Problems On Mobile?

60% of mobile internet users say they’ve encountered at least one problem while browsing within the last 12 months. Of those mobile users, how many have encountered a website that…

  • Was too slow to load? 73%.
  • Crashed, froze, or received an error? 51%.
  • Had formatting that was difficult to read? 48%.
  • Didn’t function as expected? 45%.
  • Simply wasn’t available? 38%.

So, what can be done about these issues? Some site owners turn to Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP. AMP is a project rolled out by Google and Twitter, and it’s basically a stripped-down version of HTML that allows mobile pages to load much faster.

AMP pages are meant to be “so fast they appear to load instantly,” which could help manage those pesky customer expectations we talked about earlier. That said, 32% of marketers have shied away from AMP because they don’t have the developer capacity to implement it.

What Industries Are the Most Mobile?

55% of all time spent on retail websites takes place on a mobile device. But some industries are more phone-forward than others:

site visits from mobile devices by industry
Source: Perficient

For all 17 industries above, bounce rates were lower on desktop than on mobile:

bounce rate statistics by industry
Source: Perficient

Every industry also had a longer average time on site for desktop over mobile, except for Books and Literature – an outlier that’s best explained by mobile reading devices.

How Web Speed Impacts Business

Website speed can impact everything from sales to search engine performance, meaning ecommerce sites will literally pay the price for delays. If you’re running an ecommerce site that makes $100,000 per day, a one second page delay could cost you $2.5 million per year in lost sales.

how web speed impacts business
Sources: Neil Patel, Radware, Think with Google

How Web Speed Impacts Sales

Any slow website load times, ecommerce or otherwise, will see an increase in bounce rate and a decrease in time on site. Even just a one second delay will reduce conversions by 4.42% for each second.

If you’re trying to make sales online, then the revenue losses resulting from slow speeds will be pretty destructive. But check out how much improvement you can make by increasing site speed by just 0.1 seconds:

mobile site speed effects
Source: Deloitte

How Web Speed Impacts Customer Loyalty

Speed also impacts how your business will fare against the competition. 79% of online shoppers who have a dissatisfying experience are less likely to buy from the same site again, while 64% would simply purchase from a different online store.

customer loyalty statistics
Sources: Akamai, Radware

How Web Speed Impacts SEO

Content and relevance still reign supreme if you want to rise up the SERPs, but website load time is also a confirmed ranking signal by Google, so it’s important to speed up your pages for a better shot at SEO success.

But why is site speed a ranking signal?

Because to Google, the user comes first – and as we’ve seen, slow load times mean dissatisfied users. Google’s research showed that the chance of a bounce increased by 32% when a page load time went from one to three seconds, and by 90% when the page load time went from one to five seconds. If a site takes up to 10 seconds to load, then the chance of a bounce increases to 123%.

Users spend more time on a website when its pages load faster. In fact, users visit 8.9 pages when load time is two seconds, versus just 3.3 pages when load time is 8 seconds.

Ecommerce Case Studies

No business is immune to the effects of slow loading times. In fact, only one percent of e-retailers in the UK had mobile page load speeds that received an excellent Google rating in 2018 – and that’s a two percent drop from 2017. And it’s not just small-to-midsize businesses that are vulnerable:

ecommerce web speed statistics
Sources: Fast Company, Staples, Website Magazine, Akamai,
Good question! While load time is the time it takes for a webpage to download into a user’s browser, render time is the time it takes to fully process the page’s content, so that visitors can interact with the end-result. In other words, load time is how long it takes for a page to become visible, and render time is how long it takes for a page to become usable.

What Factors Affect Website Load Time?

Some variables, like a user’s internet connection, are out of your control as a website owner. But the majority of issues affecting load time are factors that can be fixed on your end. what factors affect website speed

Web Hosting

A web hosting company provides the server that your website will be hosted on, and you can choose between different types of servers. Shared, VPS, and dedicated servers are the most common options.

Web Hosting and Uptime

Different hosting companies have different uptime guarantees, which represent the amount of time the web server is available with no issues. And downtime is a real web hosting problem to tackle when deciding on your provider. You’ll want to choose a provider with a guarantee of at least 99.90% uptime. Tenths of a percentage may seem trivial, but the difference between 99.90% uptime and 99.95% uptime comes out to 4 hours and 23 minutes less downtime per year.

Web Hosting and Server Types

Once you have your hosting company picked out, you’ll need to choose the right plan. Shared servers are the cheapest option, but your website will then have to “share” resources with other sites on the same server. This is fine for small-to-medium-sized sites, but larger websites will have a difficult time maintaining satisfactory speed.

VPS and dedicated servers are the more advanced options, and massive companies and ecommerce retailers actually need multiple dedicated servers to ensure that their websites run as quickly as possible.

VPS and dedicated servers offer more resources, including bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of data that your website can transfer to your visitors in a certain amount of time. If your website has high traffic volume, then you’ll need more bandwidth to accommodate it.

It’s possible for websites to start on a shared server, and then run out of storage space for their growing number of files, or start receiving more traffic volume than the shared server can accommodate. When that happens, you can easily upgrade from a shared to a VPS or dedicated server. Matt Tomkin of Tao Digital Marketing calls server upgrades the “easiest, quickest, and normally the most cost-effective way to reduce load time.”

Images, Videos, and Files

The larger your file sizes are, and the more files you have on a page, the longer it will take for the page to load – which means it’s important to optimize your images as much as you can.

A surprising number of sites aren’t doing this. Tom Bourlet, Marketing Manager at The Stag Company, shared his experience with us:

“The amount of times I find full size images that haven’t been compressed or sized properly on a website is incredible. Even big brands often make this mistake, especially if they have a huge amount of pages and multiple people uploading imagery. It is important to train a team about compressing images and the importance of getting the right size uploaded. This is normally the best quick win for instant results.”


WordPress plugins are great for adding advanced functionality to a website. However, it pays to be selective about the number of plugins you use, because too many at once will overwhelm your server. It may be easier than you think to part with a few plugins, as Tom has seen firsthand:

“Each plugin you have in place might add some time to the page load, but how many do you really need? Often when I go onto WordPress websites and list all the plugins, the website managers can’t explain what half of them are doing, or whether they’ve been set up right. Cut back to the basics and you should see a heavy improvement.”

If you’re not sure which plugins to discard and which to keep, it’s worth looking into plugins that are built to help improve average page load times. Lerato Bambo of  Leratob had this to share:

In most cases, people upload large images without compressing them. My tip is to always edit your pictures, compress on then upload on your website. Alternatively, if you have a WordPress site, download a plug-in like Shortpixel or Smush which automatically compresses every image you upload.
One of the most common causes of a slow website is not using a Content Delivery Network (CDN). A CDN is a distributed system of servers located around the world that each host cached copies of your website. You can store copies of your website on them so its pages can be quickly loaded by users who are located far away from your main server.

There are many free and paid options for CDN’s. I personally use Cloudflare on all my websites. Lastly, installing too many plugins can slow down your website. I highly recommend that you only install plugins you need.


The browser you use can also affect average page load times, because older versions of browsers may be incompatible with newer assets and code on your pages. The quick fix for this is to check that you’re using the most recent version of your chosen browser. You can also set your browser to update automatically to ensure that you’re always up to speed.

Cache Clearance

The cache on your computer stores information from the websites you visit to your hard drive, so that you can access things more quickly. When you revisit a website, its data is already stored, which allows it to load faster.

This means that if you clear your cache, you’ll probably notice your frequently visited websites loading more slowly.

How to Improve Average Page Load Time

It’s time to learn how you can improve the average page load time on your website. Follow our expert tips below:

Test Your Website Speed

There are tools you can use from your own computer to learn more about your website’s loading speed. Tom cites GTmetrix and Pingdom as options that can help you learn what exactly goes on when your site loads:

“You’ll be able to see how many files are loaded, and how much time they took to load. This way you can see if a particular plugin is hogging up resources, and look for another option to accomplish the same function.”

You can also use Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool. It won’t explicitly measure speed, but it will offer tips on how to improve your website’s load time – and all you have to do is enter your URL.

Know What Users Expect

You’re almost ready to start making some speed-savvy tweaks to your website. But first, it’s important to keep in mind the kind of experience your users will be expecting.

website user expectations
Source: Kinsta

These elements are key to providing a great user experience on your site, which will in turn impact conversions and customer loyalty.

Take Action

Finally, there are a few actions you can take to start improving your site speed right away. Remember to be picky with plugins and hosting providers, too!

Optimize Images

On average, images make up 21% of a total webpage’s weight, so it’s important to make sure that they’re not getting in the way of page speed. Optimizing images is a balancing act of finding the lowest file size with the most acceptable quality, but it’s not as complicated as it sounds.

Seth, CEO of Colerado home buying company Seth Buys Houses, gave us a case study of image optimization on a client’s new website:

I use for load speed testing. It is incredibly insightful and rates your website. It will also go into detail with suggested updates with direct links to what part of your site is slowing down the load speed.

I use their suggestions and replace what’s needed. For example, I had a number of photos that were sized incorrectly. It gave me the link of that photo and also told me what percentage of improvement changing that photo would make to make the load speed quicker. Doing just that changed my load speed by 33% and a “C” rating to an “A” rating.

To list a few of the 23 categories it has for speed change recommendations:- Serve Scaled Images, Leverage Browser Caching, Optimize Images, Specify Cache validator, Minify JavaScript, Specify Image Dimensions, Minify CSS-Defer Parsing of Java Script, Enable Compression, Avoid Bad Requests, and Avoid Landing Page Redirects.

There’s a lot to learn, but there are plenty of great resources for making your page load speed much more efficient.

Optimize Code

Minifying your code, or compressing it to the smallest size without affecting its operation, can massively impact page speed. Google recommends a few different tools to help you do this:

  1. To minify HTML, try HTMLMinifier.
  2. To minify CSS, try CSSNano and csso.
  3. To minify JavaScript, try UglifyJS.

When we spoke to Amy Fiske, a web development manager at InMotion Hosting, she recommended using Object Oriented Programming to reduce code quantity. She also stressed that outdated code “can cause fatal errors and performance bottlenecks, and it can also present holes in security.”

If you’re looking for a place to start, simply removing unnecessary spaces and commas from your code will help, too.

Optimize Databases

If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, then all of your site’s textual and encrypted data (like posts, comments, and pages) is stored in one database. But over time, this database can get crowded with some data that you don’t need, like:

  • Unapproved or spam comments
  • Post drafts and revisions
  • Trashed posts and pages

Clearing your database of these items will make it smaller, and make it easier for web hosting servers to fetch requested content quickly.

Use a CDN

A content delivery network, or a CDN, is a geographically distributed network of servers that work together to deliver your content faster, so you don’t have to rely on a single server to deliver your content to users all over the world.

CDNs help site speed by distributing bandwidth across multiple servers, rather than leaving one server to handle all of a site’s traffic. Cloudflare is one popular CDN option, but you’ll be spoilt for choice if you decide to look into other platforms.

A combination of some or all of these options will massively help to improve your website load time. Ilir, owner of the digital marketing blog FreedomRep talked to us about his struggle with slow load speeds:

We launched a new website several months ago that suffered from slow page load speed. We were having trouble getting our content to rank, and believe that much of our high bounce rate was due to the fact that the site was so slow.

We decided to upgrade our hosting plan, setup a Content Delivery Network (CDN), and added a couple plugins, for caching and image optimization.

While we’re still improving the technical SEO of the website, we’ve already started noticing improvements in performance. Our dwell time has increased and we’re seeing improved visibility in the SERPS.

Website Load Time Statistics: Summary

In short, speed is very important to a website’s success! Even the slightest improvements in page load time will help you slash bounce rates, boost conversion rates, and climb the search engine rankings.

But it’s not enough just to know how important website speed is. Now, you’re armed with actionable tips that will help you see results on your own pages. Be sure to leave us a comment and tell us how your own experience goes!

Sources: 82%*

Written by:
emma ryan author bio
Emma’s been a Senior Writer at Website Builder Expert since 2022, having first-hand experience with website builders, such as Wix and Shopify, through hands-on testing and research analysis. Her work and expertise have been featured in Digiday, TechRound, Industry Today, and Digital Information World. Specializing in writing about website builders, ecommerce platforms, and hosting providers, Emma stays in the loop of industry updates by attending conferences such as eCommerce Expo and managing Website Builder Expert’s news articles.


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