I know that the actual time a webpage takes to load largely depends on the user's internet connection, but there is a part of this loading time that I control, that is the time consumed by the server to return the webpage.

My users are basically a multinational different-aged random gaming crowd.

So, long question short : How much is the ideal time for returning a webpage?

Is 2 seconds too long?

Is less than 1 second good? (I've noticed that Google often takes approx 1s to return the search results)


If you ask for ideal–the answer is immediately. It is clear that due to some reasons you could not get ideal. So maybe more correct answer is what is acceptable time to wait for page load?

I cite my earlier answer:

As stated in Seow's book on time engineering, working on time-consuming tasks there are some issues:

  1. How to make the system work faster (technology task).
  2. How to make the system be perceived by users as faster one (psychological task).
  3. How to make users become more tolerant to the systems delay (psychological task).

So this is not answer with single number, but maybe it lets you re-think your task.

  • So, based on point #3, is presenting the user with something alternative while the page loads a good idea? – Peeyush Kushwaha Jun 20 '13 at 13:52
  • Splash screens are old trick ). In web they are mostly called loaders. – Alexey Kolchenko Jun 20 '13 at 14:04

Of course the ideal time is as fast as possible all of the time. The first part, being as fast as possible, is important. But the second qualification, being fast all of the time, perhaps deserves more attention. A more interesting question is not that of minimising the average page load speed, but of minimising the variance in page load speed. Facebook has said publicly that their focus is not the average response time, but in minimising the variance:

They don't care about average response times, instead, they want to minimize variance. Every click must be responded to quickly. The quality of service for each request matters. It's OK if a query is slow as long as it is always slow. [...] What is important is that the edge cases are [not bad].

Source: High Scalability.

This makes some sense. If your website loads in 0.1s 90% of the time, and takes 10s the other time 10%, then the average load time is about 1s. Now consider the experience of a website loading in 1s 99.9% of the time. I would argue that the second experience is better for the user since it is consistent and at no point is the user left waiting too long.

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