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Test agent updates: Lighthouse 8.0.0

We are rolling out an update to our test agents. Changes include:

  • Lighthouse has been updated from version 7.5.0 to 8.0.0

NEW! Chrome Beta and Canary support & LCP element highlighting

Phew! Between the fast-paced release cycle for Chrome and the rapid evolution of Core Web Vitals, the month of May has been a busy one here at SpeedCurve. With that, we are excited to bring you some new features and enhancements to help you stay focused and ahead of the game as we move into summer.

Read on to learn more about:

  • Chrome Beta and Canary support
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) element highlighting
  • Key rendering times

Continue reading...

Test agent updates: Chrome 91, Lighthouse 7.5

Updated test agents are being rolled out to all regions today. They include updates to several pieces of core software, including:

  • Chrome has been updated from version 89 to 91
  • Lighthouse has been updated from version 7.3.0 to 7.5.0

Test agent updates: Chrome 89, Lighthouse 7.3

Updated test agents are being rolled out to all regions today. They include updates to several pieces of core software, including:

  • Chrome has been updated from version 88 to 89
  • Lighthouse has been updated from version 7.2.0 to 7.3.0

Please note that Chrome 89 includes minor changes to Cumulative Layout Shift and First Contentful Paint. These changes may affect the CLS and FCP values on your pages.

Test agent updates: Chrome 88, Firefox 85, Lighthouse 7.2

Updated test agents will be rolled on Monday 1 March (NZDT) to all regions. They include updates to several pieces of core software, including:

  • Chrome has been updated from version 84 to 88
  • Firefox has been updated from version 78 to 85
  • Lighthouse has been updated from version 6.1.1 to 7.2.0
  • SpeedCurve now uses Lighthouse's own simulated throttling to more closely match how Lighthouse runs in other environments. This should not have a noticeable impact on your Lighthouse scores.

There have been several changes in Chrome that may affect your metrics, including some general performance improvements as well as changes to some Web Vitals metrics. While we can't predict how these changes will affect your pages, in general, we have noticed the following trends:

  • Lighthouse performance scores are generally consistent, but are lower for some pages due to LCP and CLS changes mentioned below.
  • CPU scripting time and other CPU-bound metrics like First CPU Idle are slightly lower (JS execution is faster).
  • CPU layout time is lower (layouts are faster).
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is slightly higher for some pages. This is more pronounced on mobile.
  • Largest Contentful Paint is higher for some pages.

Test agent updates: Lighthouse throttling bug fix, Chrome 84, Firefox 78, Lighthouse 6.1.1

Updated test agents will be rolled on Wednesday 29 July (NZDT) to all regions. They include updates to several pieces of core software, including:

  • A bug that caused Lighthouse tests for some mobile profiles to be double-throttled has been fixed
  • Chrome has been updated from version 83 to 84
  • Firefox has been updated from version 77 to 78
  • Lighthouse has been updated from version 6.1.0 to 6.1.1
  • Incremental updates to wptagent

Test agent updates: Chrome 83, Firefox 77, Lighthouse 6

Updated test agents are being rolled out to all regions today. They include updates to several pieces of core software, including:

  • Chrome has been updated from version 78.0 to 83.0.
  • Firefox has been updated from version 70.0 to 77.0.
  • Lighthouse has been updated from version 5.6.0 to 6.1.0.
  • Lighthouse test runs now use the official throttling settings for mobile and desktop.
  • Incremental updates to wptagent.

We have been testing these new agents in parallel with our existing agents. While we can't predict exactly how the updates will affect your metrics, here are a few observations we have made:

  • Lighthouse performance scores for mobile tests stay roughly the same.
  • Lighthouse performance scores for desktop tests should be much higher. This is due to changes in throttling. SpeedCurve used the default mobile throttling for all tests in Lighthouse v5.6. Desktop tests in Lighthouse v6.1 now use a much faster network connection.
  • Visual metrics like Start Render and Hero Element Render stay roughly the same. Improvements have been made to how Largest Contentful Paint is calculated that may change its value for some pages.
  • Total JS CPU time is reduced in almost all tests, with other CPU-related metrics like First CPU Idle being slightly reduced as well.

For more information about how SpeedCurve is running Lighthouse v6 and how it differs to v5.6, take a look at Cliff's video on this.

Test agent issues: Rollback to Chrome 78

Due to a change in Chrome 80, our test agents have been unable to accurately measure some CPU metrics including First CPU Idle and Time To Interactive. As a result, data collected over the last 48 hours may have lower FCI and TTI values than expected. We have temporarily reverted our test agents to Chrome 78 while we work on a solution.

More information on status.speedcurve.com

Test agent updates: Chrome 80, Firefox 73

Today we're pushing updated test agents to all SpeedCurve regions. The major changes in this update are:

We are not expecting these updates to affect your metrics, but as usual please contact support@speedcurve.com if you have any issues.

Test agent updates: Chrome 78, Firefox 70, Lighthouse 5.6.0

Today we're pushing updated test agents to all SpeedCurve regions. The major changes in this update are:

We are not expecting these updates to affect your metrics, but as usual please contact support@speedcurve.com if you have any issues.

Lighthouse scores now available in your test results

In the year since Google rolled out Lighthouse, it's safe to say that "Will you be adding Lighthouse scoring?" is one the most common questions we've fielded here at SpeedCurve HQ. And since Google cranked up the pressure on sites to deliver better mobile performance (or suffer the SEO consequences) earlier this month, we've been getting that question even more often.

We take a rigorous approach to adding new metrics. We think the best solution is always to give you the right data, not just more data. So we're very happy to announce that after much analysis and consideration, we've added Lighthouse scores to SpeedCurve. Here's why – as well as how you can see your scores if you're already a SpeedCurve user.

Continue reading...

Faster test agents and more regions

Go to your Settings to switch to faster test agents.

All our agents now run on much faster AWS C4.Large instances, which better approximate current desktop browsers. We’ve also switched to the latest WebPageTest agent running on Linux.

How much faster? 20-30%

When you switch to the new agents, some of your metrics will get 20-30% faster, so pick a time to switch that suits your team. In between projects or the start of the month are good times to set a new baseline.

More details...

Performance Budgets

High CPU test agents and new AWS regions

For Enterprise customers we've added support for high CPU test agents running on m4.large instances across all AWS regions. This means you can now also run tests from Canada, England, Korea, and India.

SpeedCurve RUM: LUX

We're excited to announce SpeedCurve's RUM product, LUX.

The name LUX is a play on "Live User eXperience" and reflects how we've taken a different approach compared to other Real User Monitoring products. SpeedCurve's mission is to help designers and developers create joyous, fast user experiences. To do that, we focus on metrics that do a better job of revealing what the user's experience is really like. 

In addition to standard RUM metrics like page load time and total size, LUX includes innovative new metrics that have more to do with the user experience like start render time, number of critical blocking resources, images above the fold, and viewport size. LUX's RUM metrics help you figure out which design and development improvements will make your users happier and your business more successful.

Continue reading...

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