January 26, 2012, 11:16 AM

Nike.com ran the fastest in 2011

A new report shows that the most-trafficked sites online are getting faster.

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The fastest sites on the web are getting faster—with Nike.com leading the pack, according to a report by Strangeloop Networks, a provider of site optimization technology and services. The 2,000 most-trafficked sites loaded 10% faster on average last year compared to 2010.

Strangeloop studied the page load times of the 2,000 most-visitedsites, as measured by Alexa Internet Inc., a unit of Amazon.com Inc. that provides web site traffic and other Internet data. It used the WebPagetest tool from WebPagetest LLC to test page load times.

Following are the 10 retail sites (including retail banking sites) it ranked as having the fastest page-load times last year, with each site’s load time in seconds followed by its rank, if listed, in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide

● Nike.com, 2.269, 78

● JCP.com, 2.65, 20

● Amazon.com, 2.77, 1

● eMusic.com, 3.279, 183

● Etsy.com 3.402

● eCrater.com, 3.542

● WellsFargo.com, 3.81

● CDUniverse.com, 3.81, 288

● Adorama.com, 4.078

● JCrew.com, 4.244, 50

In addition to ranking the top 10 fastest-loading retail sites, Strangeloop also noted several key findings for the Alexa top 2,000 sites in 2011.

● The average page load time was 10 seconds, down from 11.21 seconds a year earlier.

● Average repeat page view or page load time by returning site visitors was 6.6 seconds, up from 5.22 seconds in 2010. This increase was largely due to the fact that web pages contained more content in 2011 compared to the prior year.

● Web site home pages had an average of 98 objects, up from 86 in 2010. Each object, including content such as as images and JavaScript, must request data from a host server. Each data request typically takes from 20 to 50 milliseconds.

● The most popular sites are not necessarily the fastest. While the average page load time for all sites in the Alexa 2,000 list was 10 seconds, the average load time for the top 100 sites was 4% slower, or 10.36 seconds. This is because the top 100 sites tend to have more content objects per page, the report says.

● The top-performing web browser is Internet Explorer 9, which had an average page-loading time of 7.l24 seconds, compared with 7.153 for Firefox 7 and 7.505 seconds for Chrome.

● The number of web sites using content delivery networks, which bring web page content closer to end-users on the Internet to help to speed page load times, grew by 17% in 2011 over 2010. The average page load time for sites using a CDN, was 10.058 seconds, compared with 9.72 seconds for sites without a CDN.

Strangeloop notes that sites that use a CDN may have heavier web pages with more content objects, which could result in the relatively slow load times, and that such sites may over-rely on CDNs to speed content delivery without using other site optimization methods, such as limiting the number of page objects.

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