July 7, 2011 at 6:05 PM ET
Mark Zuckerberg said almost casually the other day that yes, Facebook has 750 million users and "is still growing quickly." But will that heft hurt its website reliability and speed? What about its incorporation of Skype for video chat? So far, it's holding its own and reigns as No. 1 when it comes to reliability and speed among five major social media sites, according to a new report from AlertSite, a Web performance monitoring company.
Facebook has held the No. 1 spot for the six quarters that AlertSite has been measuring such elements, and says that, Facebook's website speed is increasing "with every quarter that passes."
"In Q2, users visiting the site could expect to wait a mere 0.70 seconds for the homepage to load, down a fraction from Q1," when it was 0.75 seconds; in the last quarter of 2010, it was 1.06 seconds.
Website availability was also excellent, with Facebook delivering "99.98 percent availability" in the second quarter of the year, overtaking YouTube, "which had retained the honor for the past two quarters and fell just short this quarter with an equally impressive 99.97 percent availability.
"LinkedIn, which was ranked as the second most reliable network in Q1, came in third with 99.93 percent availability. Despite dropping in the rankings, both YouTube and LinkedIn improved their availability over last quarter. LinkedIn and YouTube were also among the fastest social networks in Q2, with 1.34 and 1.58 second response times, respectively."
Struggling MySpace had the slowest response time — at 3.85 seconds — of the five social media sites analyzed by AlertSite.
What does it matter whether a site's response time is 1.34 seconds or 3.85 seconds? To many of us, it may not. But those tenths-of-seconds and seconds add up to a good day or a bad one at the cash register.
Google certainly knows speed's value; last fall it introduced Google Instant search with the promise that users would save between 2 to 5 seconds per search with Instant, which shows streaming search results as you type letters into the search box.
Here's what Bojan Simic, founder of TRAC Research, told AlertSite about website speed and reliability, based on research he did in 2010:
And perhaps not surprising to anyone who spends any amount of time on the InterWebs: Site slowdowns happen 10 times more often than site outages.