Shop Etsy

March 2012 Site Performance Report

Mar 23, 2012

by sethwalker handmade and vintage goods

We’re back with the first site performance report of the new year! This is the third edition of a regular series of site performance reports.

This time, I’ll first give you a quick update on the server-side measurements that have been the topic of the last few posts, and then I’d like to introduce another measure of site performance that will become a feature of this report.

Update on Server-Side Times

The average and 95th percentile times for core pages, Tuesday March 13, 2012:

You’ll note that most pages saw a slight increase in the time it takes to generate them, with listing pages most affected. This increase can likely be attributed to a shifting focus from holiday season optimization to building exciting new features. Search is still significantly higher than we would like, so we’re devoting resources to improving it. I must also mention that the November times are different than what we published in the last report, due to a measurement error. The previous post has been corrected as well.

Front-End Performance

Up until now in this series we’ve focused on the time spent on our servers assembling a response to the initial page request. Those measurements haven’t accounted for any of the time spent requesting, downloading and processing the images and additional scripts that make a complete page, a process which accounts for greater than 80% of the total page load time for most pages on the Internet.

To demonstrate, I tested a listing from the Etsy Store using WebPagetest, an excellent online performance measurement tool that displays detailed information about each step of a page download. In this test I used the default settings of Internet Explorer 8, simulating a DSL connection, from the test site in Virginia (see the full report here). Internet Explorer is the browser most commonly used by visitors to Etsy, narrowly edging out other browsers like Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. IE 8 is the most common version used by our visitors. Many of our visitors access the site with a broadband connection, and DSL represents a lower-speed broadband connection so we can focus on how a slower network speed has on impact on Etsy’s page load times.

This report highlights a few different numbers. One that is especially interesting is the time to “Start Render”, which is the time it takes for a visitor to see anything at all — before this time the browser will show a blank page or continue to show the previous page, such as in the first three frames in the filmstrip below. In this test, the time to Start Render was 1.182 seconds. Another common benchmark when comparing site performance is the “Load Time,” also called the time to “Document Complete.” This is the time it takes for the browser to download and process all the page components needed for the page to be fully displayed and interactive, which for this page required an additional 54 requests and took 2.197 seconds. You may recognize the time between start render and document complete as that point when you start to see parts of the page display in your browser, while additional images load and the spinner indicating activity in your browser is still active.

Loading a listing page:

In the graphic above, the blue bar corresponds to the server-side time we’ve been reporting, which we continue to monitor and optimize. The green bar corresponds to front-end time. In the next post we’ll start reporting on front-end times for our core pages in addition to server-side times. Our goal is to improve the front-end performance of these pages by reducing the size and number of additional requests.

Hungry for more? Check out these additional resources:


  • Stephaniemakesall

    Steph from OneStitchDesigns said 8 years ago

    goes pretty fast for me, (firefox, can't remember what version - slowest DSL)

  • OnceUponAGem

    Madi from OnceUponAGem said 8 years ago


  • TrashAndTrinkets

    Gypsy Trading Company from TrashAndTrinkets said 8 years ago

    So, basically everything takes longer now than in November? Or am I not understanding?

  • sethwalker Admin

    Seth Walker said 8 years ago

    @Gypsy Trading Company: Yes, these pages are taking slightly longer to generate now than in November, although most still take only a blink of an eye on average (around 400ms). We are continuing to monitor and improve performance on the server side.

  • SoapForYourSoul

    Emily from SoapForYourSoul said 8 years ago

    Thank you!

  • andrewsreclaimed

    Andrew and Melissa from andrewsreclaimed said 8 years ago

    Still quite fast, thank you Seth for keeping us informed!

  • riskybeads

    Lori from riskybeads said 8 years ago

    interesting! thanks!

  • AmpleGoddess

    Ample Goddess from AmpleGoddess said 8 years ago

    Interesting numbers. Thank you for sharing

  • JenniferCasady

    Jennifer Casady from JenniferCasady said 8 years ago

    Very interesting! Thanks for staying on top of server performance!

  • TheVintageFunkery

    VintageFunkery Gail P from TheVintageFunkery said 8 years ago

    I only remember a few times when my spinner just kept on spinning and the page took a while to load. Win 7 Google Chrome.

  • vendzi

    vendzi from vendzi said 8 years ago

    I think the performance is amazing when you take into account 1.3 billion page views per month and the graphic/script intensive nature of the pages. Great job! :D

  • sarantos

    sarantos from SARANTOS said 8 years ago

    I've noticed lately that the listing photo takes a long time to appear when I click on the listing pages.

  • OldLikeUs

    OldLikeUs from OldLikeUs said 8 years ago

    Everything loads fast for'er a problem :-) Firefox, latest edition.

  • jacarandadesigns

    Jane from JacarandaDesigns said 8 years ago

    I personally haven't noticed a degradation. Thanks for the updates and glad to hear you're on top of it.

  • pengworkshop

    pengworkshop from PengWorkshop said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the information!

  • FavreBijoux

    Mimi from FavreBijoux said 8 years ago

    --thanks for the update.

  • SusiesBoutiqueTLC

    SusiesBoutiqueTLC from SusiesBoutiqueTLC said 8 years ago

    Thank you.:)

  • amylburns

    Amy L Burns from AmyLBurns said 8 years ago


  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm from baconsquarefarm said 8 years ago

    I enjoy reading tidbits and snippets from behind the scenes on etsy, thanks for sharing, just happy there our folks like you that understand all of this puter stuff. :)

  • felicesereno

    Felice Sereno from FeliceSereno said 8 years ago

    i use firefox and so far everything is quite fast!!

  • CookOnStrike

    Laura from CookOnStrike said 8 years ago

    The only thing that takes annoying long to load is the additional photos in the listing..

  • BPyarns

    BPyarns from BPyarns said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the continuous improvements and keeping the Etsy community informed :)

  • KingdomKards

    Laurie Tiscione from KingdomKards said 8 years ago

    Thanks for keeping us informed. Much appreciated.

  • thehobotrain

    Renee from thehobotrain said 8 years ago

    Awesome, thanks! ♥

  • myfaunaflora

    Naama Brosh from myfaunaflora said 8 years ago

    ETSY is being very courageous to share this data! I love transparency. Thank you.

  • JoyInspiration

    Joy from JoyInspiration said 8 years ago

    thanks :) :)

  • GracefullyGirly

    Kimberlee from GracefullyGirly said 8 years ago

    I appreciate those behind the scenes doing the things I have NO clue about, to keep the site running as smoothly as possible! Thanks!

  • debbiesharpe1

    Debbie from UpcycledSwag said 8 years ago


  • dottywalker

    Dotty Walker from SewThoughtfulBlanket said 8 years ago

    Thanks for letting us know.

  • TheMillineryShop

    Marcia Lacher from TheMillineryShop said 8 years ago

    I did not understand one word of the Performance Report and thanks to you all, I don't have to! You all do an amazing job. I am working in my Etsy shop all the time and I can remember a tiny handful of times when things were down and THAT is unreal, that I can remember the 2 or 3 times Etsy was in a funk. I could not tell you how many times I had to call Verizon (a zillion?!) so you guys are seriously THE BEST. Thank you so much.

  • ThisCharmingCandy

    Susan Dziadosz from ThisCharmingCandy said 8 years ago

    It's good to hear that you're working on this. I just read this interesting article last week - Why the web needs to be fast "Research on U.S. Net habits suggests that if this sentence takes longer than a second to load, many citizens will have clicked elsewhere already..."

  • crochetgal

    crochetgal from crochetgal said 8 years ago

    Interesting stats, but I'm still finding Etsy to be slower and slower in loading than ever before. There are days when, if I didn't have an Etsy shop to look after, that I would be shopping elsewhere because of the speed.

  • jennikajaye

    Jennika from MissMacie said 8 years ago

    Really appreciate the information. I haven't run into the problems most posters are bringing forward.

  • FriedGreenTomato

    FriedGreenTomato from FriedGreenTomato said 8 years ago

    I'm happy

  • DairyFarmAntiques

    Mary Ellen from DairyFarmAntiques said 8 years ago

    I find pages load quickly on my iMac and my iPhone, but they really hang up on my iPad. iPad and iMac use At&T wireless DSL, though the iPad can also be used with AT&T cellular network. iPhone is always on 3G, though it can be switched to my DSL. Just don't understand the iPad loading so slowly. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does it's really frustrating. Thanks for keeping everything going, though. I love selling on Etsy!

  • cakeschennaiindia

    cakeschennai india said 8 years ago

    Cake and crunch, and that’s perhaps what defines best. Celebrations, whatever may the pattern be, cakes are simply indispensibles, and the shopper will get huge varieties of them while checking out here. It’s the page at everyone will love to mark.

  • silke5763

    Silke Jordan from howcroftjordanwork said 8 years ago

    Many thanks for the report: One of the best I have read since having started my shop at Etsy. Please keep us informed in this 'serious' way !!

  • btaylorquilts

    Briana Taylor from btaylorquilts said 8 years ago

    Obviously it's running fast enough for those who are spamming the comments :) Super fast for me too. Safari 5.2.1 on my Mac. Thanks for your hard work and reporting :)

  • frecklesoriginals

    Pamela from Frecklesoriginals said 8 years ago

    I'm just glad you all seem to know what you're doing and are also upfront with the info. I'm not a nerd so all the info I can get is good. I live way up a mountain and if I get a signal thats cool if it goes fast it's a flippin miracle.

  • LilyThings

    Elizabeth Lagasse from LillyThings said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the info!

  • cecrafts

    Cindy Ely from cecrafts said 8 years ago

    Is this one of the reasons why etsy has limited comments to 100???

  • VintageChichibean

    Carolann from VintageChichibean said 8 years ago

    today is Monday April 2nd. 12:25 pm & I am unable to List a new item. Etsy page is "Stuck". Yesturday was the first Visa Payment I have received from a customer. The Payment to my etsy account takes 5 days to post. Another custmer swears she paid by Visa, but her receipt says Not Paid. Not sure I'm liking this. new Etsy. I will be patient. I don't like CHANGE. I suppose this is for the best. Whatever. ~ !

  • ArtsyFlair

    Michaela Bowles from ArtsyFlair said 8 years ago

    It's been working perfect for me!

  • ilarian

    diane starling from ilarian said 8 years ago

    I am in Zimbabwe. I can connect with other sites fine but Etsy is a massive problem. Most days it takes me upwrd of 30 tries to connect once and this can be over 4 hours. Hope after this it will get better. Thank you for the info/

  • ilarian

    diane starling from ilarian said 8 years ago

    I live in Zimbabwe and can get onto other sites but its a big problem getting onto Etsy. I can try up to 40 times and over 4 hours before getting onto the site. I tried to post just now but once again I cant get on. I geta message saying the site is too busy. Hmmm. and an error message HTTP 408/HTTP 409 . Am I doing something wrong? But thanks for update. I hope things improve.

  • belleterre

    Julia and Wayne from WhisperingWillowSoap said 8 years ago

    Very interesting. It is sometimes easy to forget the hard core technical stuff that makes our fun hand crafted world go 'round!

  • ShinyMetals

    Christiane from ShinyMetals said 8 years ago

    I do have a question about the picture quality, It is not the best is one day better, than in hours it changes completely looks all faded and milky....I know its not my PC....i talked to other people about that...the experience the same. has anybody seen the same?...this is going on for a wile now..i am wondering about it. what is going on? can you fix this ? Please let me know. thank you

  • Hoera

    Marjan from Hoera said 8 years ago


  • smstraight

    Steffany Straight from StitchingStraight said 8 years ago

    I usually use my iPad and I don't have any problems connecting. It works well on my home computer too.

  • PineyWoodGal

    Maribeth from PineyWoodGal said 8 years ago

    No problems with Upload Speed or Search speed. Photo load speed fine, with no annoying wait! THANKS!

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