The title almost says it all. How fast should a website load?

Searching this question brings a lot of different stories (most around 2011). Here they say that 50% of the users expect that the site loads under 2 seconds and that users will leave the site if it takes 3 seconds or more. But on other sites they say it should be at most half a second.

What are the current expectations of the users? Are there any (recent) studies on the load time of a page? Or perhaps on the page size?

I know a site should be as fast as possible, are there any numbers (standards / guidelines)?


Here is some study, it gives detail info.

(source: netdna-cdn.com)

  • 1
    bigger version – Roman Reiner Mar 19 '16 at 7:06
  • 4
    could you at least pull out the info so it's searchable? – Midas Mar 19 '16 at 13:23
  • 1
    Isn't "infographic" an abbreviation for something like "by idiots for idiots"? – tripleee Oct 2 '20 at 9:31
  • Unsourced numbers, great. The sources named are much too wide to be useful. – Mast Oct 2 '20 at 10:28

I hear you asking for a simple answer. The best I can give you:

feel faster, than your competition does - 20%

All the core research about perception, responsiveness of systems, still holds true (e.g. the basic 0.1/1/10 seconds scale).

Check this great summary of performance perception, with ideas which could guide you. Like optimizing for "just noticeable difference" (jnd).

It makes no sense optimizing for a number (google analytics load speed) or metric (stay away from pagespeed rankings). Those are specific developer tools that have almost no connection to the big picture of the user perceived speed.

If you are not able to put more speed in (and that will come), just remember the first usability heurestic:

Visibility of system status

and just ask for patience.

PS that kissmetrics infographic is catchy, but offers very little real data. And coincidentally comes up first in google image search for "How fast should a website load?" ;)

  • I agree, but a number gives a good guide line. For example if I have a page with a lot of features, options, images etc which will take 10 to 15 seconds to load than is it acceptable for the people who visit the site? Off Couse 10 to 15 seconds is not acceptable, even with a lot of features, but it gives an idea how much features I can add in a page within an amount of time. – Jeff Mar 19 '16 at 13:22
  • 1
    actually it can't. there are no such magic numbers. they are always an expression of context and many many uncontrolled variables. is 15 seconds acceptable? If the context is right. people were standing days in lines for starwars tickets. anything beyond 1 second is "slow". dont look for excuses. do you serve valuable data? sure I'll wait. it's just bells and whistles? i'm leaving you sooner than that. – rogerovo Mar 19 '16 at 14:33

Yes it should load as fast as possible, but in the absence of a fast load time, the page should be coded to load the basic content first and then the css and java script so that the user is presented with something first thus retaining their attention for longer.

  • 5
    Even worse than a slow page is one where the text is visible and then disappears, because it finished loading the stylesheet/code to turn the text white before downloading the stylesheet to color the background. – octern Mar 18 '16 at 21:46

I'd like to add a little general off-topic spice / beyond-the-question spice (taken from "Software User Interface Design").

In the regard of speed you should also have in mind:

  • How many users are loading (using) my site?
  • How often per day are they using my site?

The higher both numbers, the more cost you will produce at your customer's end (in relation to the value it creates). The more cost they have, the less likely they want to use your product/service/website.


If you ask anyone how quickly a website should load, the answer will be “as fast as possible” in the majority of the cases. But it is not as simple as it sounds. You have to put a lot of effort into improving your site’s loading speed. The ideal loading speed has changed significantly over the past few years. In 2020, it is 3 seconds or less. So when hiring a custom web development company emphasize this to them.

You may be wondering why a lot of importance is given to a website’s loading speed. It is important because it can make or break your business. The two main reasons why you should load your load times are,

The audiences are usually impatient
Influences Google ranking

One thing you have to keep in mind is the loading speed is not the same for mobile and desktop. A recent study shows that a page takes more time to load on a mobile as it has slower processors and some device-specific CSS rules.

Sometimes certain aspects of your site may be affecting your loading speed. So check what is slowing your page and analyze what you need to do to improve it. You can avail the help of a website development company for this purpose. The next step is to work on improving the load time. It is ideal to focus on the below points before reaching out to an offshore web development company in India.

Optimize your pictures for size & formats
Optimize your content
Minimize redirects
Boost your hosting

On the whole, getting your website speed down to 3 seconds is a best practice, but it takes time especially if you are starting from scratch. So don’t fret and keep working on your site!

  • Smoke Detector found a number of suspicious patterns in the link (the DNS configuration is bad and the DNS service provider has hosted multiple spam links) but I believe this was a false positive. Unfortunately, automatic spam flags will have been cast by Metasmoke; the users on whose behalf the flags were cast have been notified to review this post. – tripleee Oct 2 '20 at 9:24
  • 1
    The question refers to time users are willing to wait. We all know that there is a bit of effort involved in optimizing websites. – Mayo Oct 2 '20 at 17:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.