​These are the fastest websites on the Internet today

The best websites are the fastest sites. It's that simple. But, even now, there aren't that many truly fast websites.

A slow website is a bad website. You'd think that in the 23 years we've been using the web, we'd had figured this out. The average user has no patience for slow sites.

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According to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less. If it's not loaded in 3 seconds, they're already on their way to another site. 79 percent of web shoppers who have trouble with website performance say they won't come back to a site to buy again. 44 percent of them say they'll tell their friends to avoid poorly performing sites.

Guess what? Most sites fail to make the grade. The Internet may be getting faster. Websites, not so much.

Some companies realize that a fast website equals more money. Here are the best of the best, according to Radware. But, all too often even the fastest sites aren't that fast.

In its Radware's Multi-Industry Web Performance 2016 State of the Union - Desktop Edition , the company looked at four industries, e-commerce, news & media, sports and travel & hospitality, that are especially reliant on websites for their daily dollars.

In general, as you'd expect, the e-commerce sites were the fastest. That doesn't mean they were fast enough to make customers happy. Radware found that the "time to interact" (TTI) averaged 3.1 seconds, just shy of the 3-second threshold users expect. Only 24 percent of web pages had TTI speeds of 3 seconds or below.

Load time, the time it takes to load all items on a page, is less important than TTI. For example, while Amazon.com has a load time of 10.569 seconds, it has a TTI of 1.8 seconds. No one questions that Amazon is the most successful e-commerce site in the United States.

Indeed, by Radware's metrics, Amazon.com is the second fastest e-commerce site. Only Mercado Livre, a Brazilian online marketplace owned by eBay, is faster. The other top sites, with the exception of Ikea, are also Amazon and eBay related sites.

For news and media sites, the content is the product in the eyes of the consumer, although they certainly don't want to pay subscription fees, In order, the top five fastest media sites are: Google News, The Guardian, Russia's Yandex news, the Polish Onet news site, and the Indian news site, Rediff.

Generally speaking, the top news and media sites have dismal performance with a median TII of 4.1 seconds, Only 22 percent of the sites broke the 3-second barrier. The reasons for this were:

  • Culprits for slow sites in this category included too many images, with those images often unoptimized, excessive JavaScript requests, and too many requests of the server in general, resulting in time-wasting round trips. The median page size was 1.6 MBs with 97 requests, while the slowest site measured weighed in at 787 requests, with a resultant TTI of 7.7 seconds.
  • Thirty percent of sites tested scored an "F" for image compression on WebPagetest.org, with just 8 percent earning an "A" grade.
  • Central "hero" images were often delayed due to other elements taking up the HTTP connections and those requests having to wait in line.

As bad as new media sites were, the sports sites were even worse. Only 6 percent had TIIs under 3 seconds, with 34 percent taking at least twice the 3-second target to load. The median TII was 5.2 seconds.

Only three sports sites had even half-way decent numbers. These were Yalla-shoot, an Arabic-language soccer site; rojadirecta.com, a site that aggregates live sport streams; and NFL.com. The National Football League site was easily the fastest, with a TII of 2.9 seconds, of the well-known sites. The problems with sport sites tend to be too many resort requests per page, larger pages, and lousy image compression.

Travel sites, like e-commerce sites, tended to be faster. The fastest of the fast here is Babt. This obscure site was followed by the far more well known: Priceline.com, Hotels.com, British Airways, and Delta.

Even the fastest travel sites aren't that fast. Hospitality sites had a median TII of 4.1 seconds, with 28 percent scoring double the 3-second target time. The common problem here appears to be inefficient JavaScript use.

No matter your industry, after decades of work, websites still aren't built for speed.

That's the bad news. The good news is that it means that if you can build a fast website in almost any industry, you're likely to quickly find new customers. The current generation of websites simply aren't fast enough for today's users and you can use that to your company's advantage.

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