August 1, 2019
Websites that load instantly

In 2008 Google promised us websites that would load as quick as shooting a potato through a slicer with explosives. In other words, in one or two tenths of a second, or as I like to call it: ‘instantly’.

Video of Chrome loading instantly and beating the potato gun.Video of Chrome loading instantly and beating the potato gun.

Their campaign revolved around the introduction of v8, a new Javascript engine. This turned out to be a game changer and made Chrome significantly faster than any other browser at the time. The campaign was a big hit and Chrome (eventually) became the most used browser world wide, mostly due to this competitive advantage.

In their campaign video they used the website I was curious to see how fast it loads today. We could ask Lighthouse, but Lighthouse simulates a slow 3G connection, so I asked Pingdom. Pingdom reported that the current website of loads in 4.8 seconds. That is far from instantly. Their website has either become much slower during the past 11 years or we were looking at a preloaded website or both.

From the video description we can read the website was preloaded (they used a local version). However, with Googles current focus on speed, I was wondering: can a website load in under 0.2 seconds over the internet? In other words: could a website load instantly and beat the potato gun? The answer is YES. According to Pingdom, this website loads in 0.1 seconds!

This website loads in 0.1 seconds!

What it requires? First of all you need a really low TTFB (time to first byte). This can be achieved by serving static code (using a site generator or cache plugin) in combination with a server that is geographically close to you. Of course you also need a small page (with heavily compressed images and no jQuery). Finally, to get the best performance, you should use very little to no Javascript. This will give your site a low TTI (time to interactive) and FID (first input delay).

But why would you want all this? What is the use of beating the potato gun? I am writing this post on a mobile phone with a spotty internet connection. A fast website loads here in a few seconds, a slow website takes forever or does not load at all. Fast websites are more accesible. Google acknowledges this too and prefers to show fast loading websites in its search result. Fast websites rank higher. It has been proven that fast websites have a higher conversion rate as well. Fast websites are simply more effective.

Do you want your website to be more effective? Make it load instantly. Don’t know how? No problem. I know how to get a 100% Google Lighthouse score and I love to help. Just give me a call.

()  Joost van der Schee

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