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Benchmark Results: Page Load Times

Web Browser Grand Prix: The Top Five, Tested And Ranked
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Page load times were measured using a customized version of WebMonkey's Browser Load Time StopWatch JavaScript (no, not the LifeHacker one). Along with Tom's Hardware, I picked four popular Web sites from the Quantcat Top 100 popularity ratings to test page load times: craigslist, Facebook, Yahoo!, and YouTube. All five Web pages were saved to the hard drive on January 23rd, 2010. I launched the JavaScript in all five browsers, for five iterations each. All five runs were averaged to achieve the final score. All times were recorded by the JavaScript in milliseconds.

craigslist

Not surprisingly, craigslist was the first Web page to load on each of the browsers, with the exception of Internet Explorer. This is most likely due to the classified site's simple design and complete lack of Flash content.

Chrome takes the lead with the simple craigslist home page, followed closely by Firefox and Safari. Internet Explorer takes fourth, while Opera comes in dead last.

Facebook

The load times for Facebook fluctuate the most out of the Web sites tested during our page load time testing. This was experienced across all benchmarked browsers.

This is one of the only tests where Internet Explorer outperforms all the other browsers. For whatever reason, Microsoft's browser loads the Facebook homepage with extreme haste. Firefox, Chrome, and Opera take second, third, and fourth (respectively). Safari takes almost twice as long as the second-place finisher Firefox, and more than four times as long as IE.

Tom's Hardware

Firefox renders Tom's Hardware first, closely followed by Chrome, then Safari and Opera. Internet Explorer loads our page the slowest.

Yahoo!

Load times for Yahoo! fluctuate in Safari by a full 100% during the tests. Beside the Facebook variation on all browsers, this is the most significant aberration during the page load time tests.

Along with Facebook, the Yahoo! home page is the only other test in which Internet Explorer beats its competition. This time, it's trailed by Chrome, then Safari and Opera. Firefox is last to cross the finish line.

YouTube

Opera handles the uber-popular user-generated video site most adeptly. Firefox (2nd) and Internet Explorer (3rd) finish at practically the same time. Chrome and Safari round out the bottom two.

I suppose the overall winner here would be Firefox. While it loads the Yahoo! homepage last, Mozilla comes in first once, and second three times. Internet Explorer also gives a good showing in these tests. IE places first in two out of five tests. Both Opera and Safari do poorly compared to the others, though at least Opera had one win, loading YouTube incredibly fast.

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