February 2, 2012, 11:06 AM

Home Depot fixes the dreaded ‘404 Error’

With its mobile home page back online, the retailer jumps up a performance index.

Lead Photo

The merchant's m-commerce site was offline for scheduled maintenance Feb. 1-2.

It’s amazing what a short period of downtime can do to a web site’s overall performance.

On the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index for the week ending Jan. 22, the success rate—the percentage of the time an m-commerce site home page downloaded completely and successfully—for The Home Depot Inc. was 97.88%. That combined with its page load time put the retailer at No. 18 on the index. It shot up 11 spots on this week’s index to No. 7: For the week ending Jan. 29, its success rate was 99.32%.

What happened? The Home Depot mobile home page did not experience any downtime last week, whereas during the previous week it did, according to mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc.

“The lower success rate from the previous week was due to a 404 error,” says Haroon Chohan, mobile and web performance expert at Keynote. “A 404 means the home page was unavailable and visitors saw a blank screen for about three hours. The issue was visible across all wireless carriers tested. It happened around 12:00 a.m. on Jan. 21. Maybe it was a scheduled site maintenance. Whatever the issue was, it was fixed by 3:00 a.m. and the site’s home page was accessible again.”

The Home Depot, No. 54 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300, did not respond to a request for comment.

On a related note, The Home Depot shut down its e-commerce and m-commerce sites yesterday at Noon Eastern time for scheduled maintenance. The e-commerce site was back online this morning, though the m-commerce site showed a “Pardon Our Dust” banner saying the site would be back online “soon.” This will surely affect The Home Depot’s success rate on next week’s index.

CVS Caremark Corp. topped this week’s Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index with a load time of 3.04 seconds and a success rate of 99.57%, earning it a score of 990 out of 1,000. Victoria’s Secret Direct came in second with a load time of 3.50 seconds and a success rate of 99.61% for a score of 983. And Sears Holdings Corp. came in third with a load time of a swift 2.79 seconds and a success rate of 99.11% for a score of 957.

The index average load time was 8.14 seconds, the average success rate was 98.07% and the average score was 741.

Click here and then click on Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index Part 1 and Part 2 to see this week’s complete results for all 30 retailers on the index.

Keynote Systems measures 30 representative m-commerce sites exclusively for Internet Retailer. The sites include merchants in multiple categories and channels, and of multiple sizes, ranging from such giants as Amazon.com Inc., Sears Holdings Corp. and 1-800-Flowers.com Inc., to midsized retailers like Sunglass Hut and Toolfetch.com LLC. Keynote tests the sites in the index every hour Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. through midnight Eastern time, emulating four different smartphones on four different wireless networks: Apple Inc.’s iPhone 4 on AT&T, the HTC Evo on Sprint, the BlackBerry Curve on T-Mobile and the Droid X on Verizon. The HTC Evo and the Droid X run Google Inc.’s Android operating system. Keynote runs the tests in Chicago, Dallas, New York and San Francisco.

Keynote combines a site’s load time and success rate, equally weighted, into a single score. Given that both performance and availability are important, the score reflects the overall quality of the home page; a higher score indicates better performance. Scores also reflect how close sites are to each other in overall quality. The index average score is the midpoint among all the sites’ scores.

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