Does Google Analytics slow down page loading?

By Ajay, Category: Google Analytics, Date: March 4, 2008

Google analytics, undoubtedly, is a great tool and add to that it is free.

If you wish to monitor traffic analyze visitor traffic and trend of your website then you will not have any better option than Google Analytics.

Now the million dollar question is does it slow down the page loading?

If you are having a basic html page with few images and some javascripts then you wouldn’t be bothering about the negative effect of Google Analytics at all.

E.g. SwamiSEO website is mostly consists of html, some images and a javascript (the slowest component) and I wouldn’t be bothering even if Google Analytics slows down the page loading a little bit.

On the contrary if we have a dynamic website (backend/database interaction) like SwamiLaptops which has a lots of images then we need to think over affects of GA on page loading.

Being a rational man I don’t take any predefined concepts so I’m going to do experiment to find out if Google Analytics really slows down the page loading or not.

Experiment 1 – SwamiSEO

Without Google Analytics code the front page loading time is about 0.41 seconds with the page size of about 17.09 kb

With Google Analytics code the page loading time remains almost same to 0.41 seconds and page size is 17.26 KB.

Conclusion: Google Analytics doesn’t not slow down the page loading to cause any concern.

Experiment 2 – SwamiLaptops

Without Google Analytics the front page loading time is about 1.12 seconds with the page size of about 80.14 kb

With Google Analytics code the front page loading time is about 1.12 seconds with the page size of about 80.34 kb

Conclusion: Google Analytics doesn’t not slow down the page loading to cause any concern.

Above tests are by no means 100% accurate and done in laboratory environment, but they do provide a first hand conclusion that Google Analytics doesn’t slow down pages considerably.

GA is a small Javascript which is executed every time a page is loaded. Byt its virtue it will obviously take some time to execute a Javascript but I would say that GA doesn’t slow downpage loading to cause any concern.

Google Analytics and High Traffic Websites

If you have got millions of visitors per day then you may see some slowing down of page loading as it is pure mathematics.

Trade off

It is all about trade off between a great tool and page loading. If you don’t have a high traffic website then you should not be bothering about page loading.

For high traffic websites you have no choice but to use GA. Any other tool will also employ some code to be inserted in each and every page of your website which will obviously slow down page loading a little bit.

Best practice for inserting Google Analytics Code

1) Insert Google Analytics Code just before </body> tag.

With this rest of page will render before executing GA code and users may not see any significant affect of slowness if any.

2) Use common page to insert Google Analytics code

The best place to add GA code is in footer files if you have any. If you are using php/asp or any similar languages then it is easy to create a a common footer.php file and add GA code.

Another way is to create a new file name it as google_analytics.php and include this in the footer file.

23 Responses to “Does Google Analytics slow down page loading?”

  1. Ryan Persad wrote:

    Reason why it would load at the same time for you is that you did not clear your cache, if done so you would notice this, you should try it remove the cache from you browser and try loading the pages.

    [Reply]

    joe Reply:

    If you clear the cache then you have to reget the js file. In generally people have the ga.js file cached because some other site is using google analytics.

    [Reply]

  2. Ted Burrett wrote:

    If you want to read a reader’s feedback 🙂 , I rate this post for 4/5. Detailed info, but I just have to go to that damn msn to find the missed pieces. Thank you, anyway!

    [Reply]

  3. Shamasis Bhattacharya wrote:

    I think the results of this test does not indicate the true scenario. Cache needs to be cleared for true results.

    For for first time loading, unless the Google Analytics code loads fully, the entire JavaScript actions on the page remains stalled. Also, at times it takes over 120 seconds for the page to load fully.

    [Reply]

  4. Walter Silva wrote:

    Sometimes the message “waiting for google analytics” before the loading of the page takes a long time. However I am not quite sure if it is GA’s fault or my hosting fault.

    [Reply]

  5. Gordon wrote:

    if you use safari 4, check out the Web Inspector tool (go to Preferences>Advanced, then check “show Develop in Menu”, then Develop>Web Inspector) It’ll give you a complete elaborate breakdown of what’s happening when you load any given webpage, for my blog, google analytics added a good 5 seconds to the overall loading time. Give it a try yourself!

    [Reply]

  6. Matt wrote:

    I live in Australia and I can tell you with absolute certainty that google analytics does slow dow page loading. Sometimes the page will load and then blank because of google analytics.
    I see “waiting for google-analytics.com” all too much these days, it adds at least 10 seconds ro page loading time, assuming it doesn’t cause the request to time out. I checked my latently to the google analytics servers, it’s about 375ms. That is of course, with no load on my connection.
    The servers must be in America or something. That’s fine for Americans, a lot of Europeans and the UK, as they actually have decent internet. But for Aussies, it’s hell.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Hi Matt,
    You might be right but 10 seconds of delay is hard to digest. I’ve been in India where the definition of broadband is 256kbps. Even there I didn’t see the delay of 10 secs as revealed by you.

    Certainly with super broadband Internet connection you might not feel but still even with slow Internet connection it isn’t so slow.

    Yes all Google servers are in USA and you are on the other end of the world so it might add additional latency for Australia.

    Well there is not workaround for it apart from upgrading to a faster Internet connection.

    [Reply]

    Matt Reply:

    Ok, 10 seconds may have been exaggeration, but the timing out thing was not.
    I get pages timing out a lot. You know how google search links take you through a tracking gateway? well, I get stuck there, having to refresh multiple times to reach the page.
    On some pages that use google analytics, I’ve had the page load to 90%, so I can see images and text, then the page goes white and I see “waiting for google-analytic.com” in the status bar.

    [Reply]

  7. Dating Solutions wrote:

    The question was will Google Analytics cause your site to slow down and the answer is yes. Right now at the time of writing this Google-Analytics.com is not working so sites that have that in their pages won’t load the pages so yes, it can slow down and cause your site to not even load. It’s uncommon for google-analytics.com to be down this long which right now has been over 10 minutes, but it just shows that it is possible.

    [Reply]

  8. Courtney wrote:

    I live in the American Midwest, and yesterday/today the Google Analytics delays
    have been HORRIBLE>
    Any ABC news site and several newspapers were inaccessible. When I click on those
    links, the story begins loading and then I’m redirected to Google Analytics…and
    then it just keeps “transferring”. I tried rebooting my computer and all my
    software is up to date. I have Windows Vista and never had an issue, before.
    I tried loading up a story from ABCnews.com and got the blank page with
    “transferring data from http://www.google-analytics...” at the bottom, and after
    30 seconds of waiting I just got up from the computer, folded a load of laundry
    and came back about 5 minutes later and it was STILL loading up.

    Seems like that delay is getting worse, to me…it’s almost acting like a virus.

    Courtney

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    That is really pathetic.
    I’ve never come across any website which is blanked out by Google Analytics.

    If people are seeing it then it is getting worse.

    Time has come for Google Analytics team to do something to speed up.

    [Reply]

  9. Thomas wrote:

    The google analytics script is quite lightweight and I never even noticed it was running. They improved it all quite well since it first came to be.

    [Reply]

  10. Jose wrote:

    Hi guys,

    I had faced some issues with this GA.

    In one of my sites home page i had put this GA code. sometimes back this was taking too much time to load and I tried by removing the GA code and it worked. After that GA code was made async by google and whne i put back the GA code , there was no issues and now page loads fine. Recently i had another issue when using the docs.google online pdf viewer app, then the pdf was not loading, I had PDF readers installed. and when the pdf viwer page is took on browser, it gives message as connection timedout. in status bar it shows “waiting for google analytics”..But other pages with GA code are loading fine. there is also issue with the Youtube video bar tool.

    Also there are some issues with my blogger blogs, the images are not loading and the Article posting editor is showing a spinning circle and status bar show “waiting for google analytics”

    thanks

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Hi Jose,
    I doubt that Google Analytics slows down YouTube and pdf reader. May be your internet is slow, or the document you want to view is large size or YouTube is slow.

    Chances are that GA might be slow as well at that point of time.

    However I would be surprise to learn that it is the GA code which is actually slowing down.

    Try simple test. When you see pdf viewer or YouTube is slowing down and status bar shows GA loading then remove GA code immediately and refresh the page and see if it improves? Put back GA code and retry.

    It will be hit and miss test as by the time you have removed the code and refreshed the page the problem might have gone.

    Try to move GA code in footer or just before closing body tag instead of inserting it in header as recommended by Google.

    [Reply]

  11. Little Green wrote:

    Well, I live in switzerland and I have many many times problems with slow response with google-analytics, I wish sometimes that it doesn’t exist and have full speed of websites…
    but no, not only google-analytics but all others which are doing analytics is also sometime slwoing down because of network problem or I don’t know what…

    That and the IP geolocation… that’s my 2 things I hate the most about internet since I’ve been in internet in 1992.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    That is so strange. In Europe we normally have higher bandwidth and websites should load faster.
    There might be latency as Google servers are in USA.

    For you the solution could be to not use Google Analytics and use Awstat instead.

    I wish if Google folks could look into this issue and help us out to keep Internet faster.

    [Reply]

  12. Little Green wrote:

    I don’t use google-analytics in my website… I’m a simple user, not a web designer/creator … just a simple user.
    I’ve got to this page in order to find a way to disable once for all this analytics that slows down sometimes my experience.
    I have a large broadband, I must say, and I must say that even in that case sometimes I feel the pain, especially in the mobile world…
    with my mobile phone that is just a nightmare…

    [Reply]

  13. David Lynch wrote:

    Personally, I like analytics, but im happy with the hosting companys statistics and ended up ended up just removing analytics for what its worth to the speed of my site.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Google has an office in Dublin, it should be faster next door 😉
    Knock at Google’s door and ask why it is damn slow.

    [Reply]

    David Lynch Reply:

    lol… maybe i will and tell them Ajay sent me.

    [Reply]

  14. ejannat wrote:

    it does effect page load speed, i tested both ways. i.e; with code and without code and there is 4-5 sec difference each time.. btw still using analytics 😉

    [Reply]

  15. Andy wrote:

    Hi,

    Thanks for the info. I tried it on my website with clearing the cache and using the firebug plugin for Firefox.

    With Google Analytics by page load speed, on average, was 2.09s. Without 1.86s. That’s quite a big difference in my eyes.

    [Reply]

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