Study: Singapore ranks high on site reliability across Asia

Web performance benchmark test of major sites across region sees Singapore scoring mixed results for loading speeds, but country tops list in availability. Thailand's public sector clocks fastest response time, while Indonesian telco site had slowest at 36 seconds.
Written by Jamie Yap, Journalist on

How fast a Web site loads and how long it stays up are crucial components that can affect a consumer's Internet experience. According to a Web performance benchmark test, sites from key vertical markets across Asia exhibit varying response times and availability, with the slowest site taking 36 seconds to load.

Released Friday, ZDNet Asia's Business Web Performance Benchmark Report ranked the speed and availability of the top 10 Web sites of five industry sectors across six Asian countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The vertical industries were banking and financial services, government, retail, telecommunications, and travel.

Tests were conducted using Compuware's Gomez Last Mile testing nodes which measure actual desktop connections to validate speed as well as reliability of Web sites from the end-user perspective.

Results were mixed between countries in terms of response times. Singapore, for instance, scored the best speeds for most sectors but was edged out of the top three in the telecommunication segment. Sites across all sectors in the island-state, however, recorded the highest averages in terms of availability, while Indonesia had the lowest average in all segments except banking. In this sector, the Philippines scored the lowest availability average, at 85.63 percent.

Across the board, the fastest response time recorded was from Thailand's government sector at 1.1 seconds. The slowest speed was from a telco Web site in Indonesia, where the page took 36 seconds to load.

In the ZDNet Asia study, the level of responsiveness referred to the time elapsed while the site downloads each Web component including HTML and JavaScript. Site availability, or reliability, referred to the site's ability to service customers without errors or outages.

In each country, each sector was tested hourly over a four-week period. These tests were conducted between November 2011 and January 2012. Here are some highlights of the results in each vertical:

Banking sector:
OCBC Bank in Singapore and Bank of Ayudhya in Thailand were tied for the fastest response time of 1.3 seconds. Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) in Vietnam was the second fastest at 2.8 seconds. The worst performer came from Indonesia where Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) took a staggering 35.6 seconds.

Singapore had the highest availability average of 99.32 percent, while the Philippines placed last at 85.63 percent.

The report indicated inconsistencies between fast response times and high availability. In Malaysia, for example, some of the worst performers for response time had high availability scores.

Government and public sector:
Thailand came out tops in terms of response time, with the best performer--The Royal Thai Navy--clocking 1.1 seconds. Singapore's Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) was next with 2 seconds. The two countries switched places when it came to slowest responses times: Singapore's slowest performer--National Library Board (NLB)--clocked 5 seconds, half of Thailand's slowest performer--Ministry of Education--at 10.3 seconds.

Direktorat Jenderal Pajak (Directorate General of Taxation) in Indonesia was the slowest performer on the list at 33.4 seconds. Still, the country's fastest performer, Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia, scored 6.9 seconds, beating Malaysia's best time of 12.9 seconds by the Malaysian Treasury. None of the Malaysian government sites logged response times below 10 seconds, according to the benchmarks.

The availability level of Singapore's government sites were stellar. Besides achieving the highest availability average of 99.75 percent across the region, 6 of the top 10 sites had a perfect 100 percent availability, which meant zero outages.

Thailand had the second-highest availability average with 97.29 percent. Indonesia was the lowest average at 83.81 percent, the only country that scored below the 90 percentile.

Retail sector:
Here, the gap between the best and worst response times was considerably wide for all countries.

Singapore took pole position with McDelivery scoring the fastest load time of 1.3 seconds, as well as the slowest time, where Groupon Singapore clocked 14.7 seconds. Vietnam had the second-fastest time with ringtone vendor Funring chalking up 5.7 seconds, and Nhom Mua, a daily deals site, clocked the sector's third-slowest time at 23.1 seconds.

Philippine retail Web sites logged in dismal numbers, where 15 seconds--from the local Kentucky Fried Chicken Web site, was the fastest response time in the country. Its slowest response time, recorded by group-buying site Metro Deal, was twice as long at 30.9 seconds.

Malaysia and Indonesia's worst performers also logged in response times of at least half a minute.

Singapore's retail sites recorded the highest availability average of 96.56 percent. Indonesia was last at 85.18 percent.

Telecommunications sector:
Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines edged out Singapore to emerge the top three in response times. Thailand's True Internet had the best time of 2.1 seconds, followed by Vietnam's Thien Duong Web at 3.8 seconds, and Digital Telecommunications in the Philippines at 5.1 seconds. Singapore's SingTel was in fourth place with 5.3 seconds.

The Philippines' Sun Cellular, however, had the second-worst response time at 28.7 seconds. Only TRI Indonesia clocked in a longer response time, with 36 seconds.

Indonesia was also the weakest performer in availability with an average 75.09 percent rate, nearly 15 percent lower than the Philippines' average of 89.59 percent.

While sites in Singapore were not among the top three fastest response time, its slowest time of 8.5 seconds--scored by StarHub--was the only one below 10 seconds across the board. Telecommunications sites in Singapore scored the highest availability average with 99.18 percent.

Travel sector:
In terms of response time, the top scorer in Singapore, Tiger Airways, at 2.2 seconds, was more than twice as fast as the Tiger Airways site in Vietnam, which clocked 5.6 seconds. Indonesia's Lion Air was a close third with 5.8 seconds.

The slowest times for all six countries were in the double digits. AirAsia was Singapore's slowest time at 10.8 seconds, but this was still somewhat faster than AirAsia in Vietnam which recorded 18.5 seconds.

Indonesia's Agoda.com was the slowest at 24.6 seconds.

Sites in Singapore again were top with the highest availability average at 99.08 percent. Indonesia came in last at 89.35 percent--the only country with a figure less than 90 percent.



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