How to figure out the cause of long loading times

Hello all,

Currently on a project I’m on, we’re trying to figure out what is causing random long loading times for our customers when they try to access our web portal (> 5 minutes in some cases). Thus far I’ve been unable to replicate the issue in our testing environment and I feel like I’ve exhausted all the possibilities I can think of.

I’ve tried:

  • Testing all the browser’s we support, focusing on the ones where the issues have been reported on
  • Simulating slow internet via throttling
  • Leaving the landing page open for awhile before trying to access the portal
  • Trying to access the portal on different networks
  • Trying to load the portal with different accounts

Does anyone have any ideas that could help with replicating this issue?

You could try organizing a performance (stress) test: by creating a lot of requests, and then analyzing the requests that fail, it could be easier to discern paterns if there are any.
==> Can be “cheap”, if there happens to be a pattern in the back end. Can also lead to a dead end fast.

You could try to use a performance monitoring tool. Most are pretty expensive to use, and unless you have experience with them will be expensive to set up correctly (AppDynamics, DynaTrace, …). Same method of finding possible leads: you’ll have a lot of data to analyse possible causes of the issue.
==> Is an expensive solution, but might be more reliable. As an added bonus, you’ll be able to see the actual requests of the users with the long loading times, and analyze them directly, if the tool is set up correctly in your production environment. Possibly a better long term investment, though.

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What web server are you using? I work with C#/.Net/IIS and have found Stackify to be pretty awesome. On my local machine I use Stackify Prefix (free). I have found exceptions and long running queries I was unaware of that were causing long load times that I would never have found without it. It also supports Java if that is your preferred poison.