Figure 1: Slow Time to First Byte Example
Even popular widgets can have negative effects on website performance. Google Analytics is widely used to track statistics about websites (formerly Urchin). On Thanksgiving weekend of 2012, a popular website for computers and laptops suffered because Google was slow that day (Sunday, November 24, 2012, see Figure 2). When configuring a popular Lenovo laptop (Thinkpad X230) Lenovo.com served up a page that hung for more than a minute, waiting for Google to deliver its payload to Lenovo.com.
Another example is PC Magazine. Searching for the top 100 websites, the page was delayed while waiting for an external server to deliver a programming API (see Figure 3).
To be fair this behavior tends to happen on busy online shopping days like Cyber-monday, Black Friday, and the week before Christmas, but this third-party slowdown can happen at any time.
Many of these external resource delays are preventable. The solution is to periodically cache the resource locally on your server and serve it locally. You can use a CRON script to periodically copy the external resource over to your server. Here are some techniques you can use to minimize widget overhead.
External widgets can cause indeterminate delays of your webpages, which can reduce response time consistency. If your users cannot rely on consistent performance of your site, they are more likely to go elsewhere. To improve attunability, localize external resources to reduce reliance on third-party servers.
By website optimization on 26 Nov 2012 PM