Website review: Slow response bytes into Zurich performance

zurich-website

Availability was good, but not as good as most of its competitors, says compuware firm Gomez.

Despite generally good performance, Zurich’s website landing page has recently been suffering from intermittent errors, according to the findings of a series of performance tests by Compuware Gomez.

Tests were carried out using Gomez’s performance network between 21 December 2012 and 23 January 2013. They took place from the ‘internet backbone’ (test nodes at strategic locations on the internet) and the ‘last mile’ (end-user devices).

Overall, the insurer was rated last out of the 26 UK insurance company websites benchmarked for response time. An average loading time of 3.73 seconds was recorded, compared with the fastest three sites: Swiftcover at 0.95 seconds, Saga at 0.99 seconds and Tesco Personal Finance at 1.01 seconds.

But a closer look at the data found a series of intermittent errors causing the home page to load in around seven seconds, which dragged the overall performance down. The source of the delay was on the first byte; meaning that after requesting the object, the browser must wait a long time before it starts downloading the object from the server.

Availability of the Zurich site on the backbone was good at 99.75% but despite this high availability, the site only ranked 23 out of 26 after other insurers’ sites performed better. This shortfall was mainly down to text match failures, or the page not loading completely within the 60-second limit of the test.

The experience of end users reflected the results from the internet backbone, with the average response time rising to almost 7.3 seconds, placing Zurich second to last in comparison with the other insurers. The fastest three sites on this occasion were Privilege at 2.23 seconds, Swiftcover at 2.26 seconds and LV at 2.58 seconds.

Availability was a little better. Zurich ranked 22 out of 26 with a good 98.55% availability but fell short of most competitors’ sites, which achieved over 99%. The three most available sites were Privilege (99.57%), Go Compare (99.57%) and LV (99.42%). Echoice was the least available at 95.82%.

Similarly to the backbone, some of the most common errors were content match failures, which would be visible to end users in the form of missing content. There were also a large number of content errors showing up as ‘socket connection refused’, noticeably at the start and end of the day.

During the testing, Zurich had good appearance on all platforms tested, including mobile platforms, although the page was not served as a mobile page, potentially leading to slower response time and more difficulty in navigation from a mobile device.
 

Gomez five-star rankings

Gomez scores Zurich

2.5 stars out of 5

Availability from last mile peers

20 out of 25

Response time from last mile

2 out of 25

Consistency on the internet backbone

7 out of 15

Competitiveness on the internet backbone

1 out of 15

Browser support

20 out of 20

Total

50 out of 100

 

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