Monthly Archives: August 2016

2016 Aug

Book Review: Using WebPageTest

You can’t start talking about performance without hearing about WebPageTest. It’s by far the most complex and useful synthetic tool available these days. I’ve been using it for quite some time and decided to brush up my knowledge by reading Using WebPageTest, by O’Reily Media.

Back to basics

The book says clearly on the cover: “…for novices and power users” so you’ve been warned. I’ve been using WebPageTest, on and off, for years. If you are in the same situation, you might find that 70% of the book is too obvious or just common sense, after all, WebPageTest is a pretty self explanatory tool.

Hidden complexity

With that in mind, the advanced parts of the books are quite good. I was not fully aware of the script capabilities of WPT. The fact that you can give instructions to it and simulate a navigation flow is very powerful. You can simulate a login scenario by doing the following:

setValue id=u username
setValue ud=p password
submitForm id=login-form

Other highlights include a full chapter on Continuous Integration, with plenty of examples on how to setup WPT and Jenkins or Travis, or how to setup a private instance of WPT – which I struggled to achieve a couple weeks ago!


I definitely recommend reading this book. WPT is such a complex tool that I can guarantee you will find something new about it that you didn’t know before.

Having said that, bear in mind that WebPageTest, like any other open source project, is constantly being updated and you mind find some topics presented on the book are slightly outdated.