site logoTune The Web
I've written a book! - click here to view or buy "HTTP/2 in Action" from Manning. Use code 39pollard to get 39% off!

Posts, opinions and other random thoughts

20 Dec 2021 - Improving Core Web Vitals, A Smashing Magazine Case Study

A very interesting case study on Core Web Vitals that I wrote for Smashing Magazine, after helping them identify and fix an "unexplainable" LCP issue for their site. It involves digging deep into CrUX and has a little twist in the tail about how country-level data is influenced by the CrUX methodology and how that can impact your Core Web Vitals even if you have a fast site. Read Improving Core Web Vitals, A Smashing Magazine Case Study to find out more!

5 December 2021 - Have Core Web Vitals made the web faster?

A piece I wrote that was published in Web Performance Calendar. The Core Web Vitals (CWV) were announced in May 2020 and as part of that announcement Google said they would be "evaluating Page experience for a better web". Crucially that this evaluation would form part of their search ranking algorithm: in short, faster websites would rank higher than equivalent slower websites and get more traffic from Google Search (the primary driver of web traffic for most websites). So we've had the ranking impact of CWV around for about half a year: have we seen an impact? Has Google wielding the big SEO stick made the web faster? There have been lots of success stories which would suggest that yes it has, but this Christmas Grinch is less convinced... Read Have Core Web Vitals made the web faster? to find out more!

17 November 2021 - Web Almanac 2021: Third Parties chapter

This year I wrote the Third Parties chapter of the 2021 Web Almanac. In that I did a review of how Third Parties are used on the web, who are the top third-parties, and then a deep dive into the most popular third-party embeds and their impact on web performance. Read Third Parties chapter of the 2021 Web Almanac to find out more!

2 June 2021 - How To Fix Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) Issues

A piece I wrote that was published in Smashing Magazine. Google's Core Web Vitals initiative has taken the SEO and Web Performance worlds by storm and many sites are busy optimizing their Page Experience to maximize the ranking factor. The Cumulative Layout Shift metric is causing trouble to a lot of sites, so let's have a look at ways of addressing any issues for that metric. Read How To Fix Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) Issues to find out more!

25 May 2021 - A New Way To Reduce Font Loading Impact: CSS Font Descriptors

A piece I wrote that was published in Smashing Magazine. Web fonts are often terrible for web performance and none of the font loading strategies are particularly effective to address that. Upcoming font options may finally deliver on the promise of making it easier to align fallback fonts to the final fonts. Read A New Way To Reduce Font Loading Impact: CSS Font Descriptors to find out more!

23 May 2021 - What we learned about Core Web Vitals from Google IO

Last week Google heald their Google IO event with a number of presentations about Core Web Vitals. So what new things did we learn on that? Read What we learned about Core Web Vitals from Google IO to find out!

19 April 2021 - An In-Depth Guide To Measuring Core Web Vitals

A piece I wrote that was published in Smashing Magazine. How are Core Web Vitals measured? How do you know your fixes have had the desired effect and when will you see the results in Google Search Console? Let's figure it out. Read An In-Depth Guide To Measuring Core Web Vitals to find out!

10 March 2021 - Making the slowest "fast" page

Can you make a webpage which gets 100 score in Lighthouse and passes all the Core Web Vitals and still feels slow? Read What do Making the slowest "fast" page to find out!

17 November 2020 - Web Almanac 2020: Third Parties chapter

This year I was asked to help co-author the Security chapter of the 2020 Web Almanac. I particularly looked at the TLS side and the ongoing effort to secure all web traffic. My co-authors did the more interesting parts of the chaper on thwarting attacks, looking at how security features correlate and interesting analysis on how software upgrades are rolled out. Read Security chapter of the 2020 Web Almanac to find out more!

8 December 2020 - Running Lighthouse in GitHub Actions

A piece I wrote that was published in Web Performance Calendar.Testing is an important part of software development and especially so for those items that may not be immediately noticeable when they regress. Unfortunately web performance, accessibility, SEO and other best practices all fall into that category. Using an unoptimized image may work fine on your high-spec development machine, on your high speed internet connection, but will negatively impact users in the real world. Automating tests is key for catching these sorts of issues, and doubly so for regressions that can sneak into a project while you are concentrating on other functionality. Unfortunately not everyone has the time, experience or infrastructure necessary to run continuous integration (CI) tests on every commit. Combining GitHub Actions and Lighthouse CLI therefore allows you to automate a huge number of tests with relative ease. In this post I'll discuss how to automate Lighthouse audits in your GitHub repository and some of the things to consider to use it efficiently. Read Running Lighthouse in GitHub Actions to find out more!

3 October 2020 - What do Lighthouse Scores look like across the web?

The Google Lighthouse tool is a free tool for performing audits across a variety of categories. But what can we learn about it and the web itself by looking at Lighthouse scores across the HTTP Archive's 6.8 Million websites?. Read What do Lighthouse Scores look like across the web? to find out!

9 March 2020 - Setting Height And Width On Images Is Important Again

A piece I wrote that was published in Smashing Magazine. Thanks to some recent changes in browsers, it's now well worth setting width and height attributes on your images to prevent layout shifts and improve the experience of your site visitors. Read Setting Height And Width On Images Is Important Again to find out more!

12 January 2020 - OPINION - Should you self-host Google Fonts?

Google Fonts provides and easy way to add fonts to your website but are you aware of the performance implications of using it and would it be better to copy the fonts down to your own domain and serve from there?. Read Should you self-host Google Fonts? to have a deep dive into how font loading works and what you can do to improve it.

3rd December 2019 - Helping to create the Web Almanac

The Web Alamanac is a state of the web report from HTTP Archive, that I was involved in. Read Helping to create the Web Almanac to find the story behind the Web Almanac and what was involved in creating it.

11 November 2019 - Web Almanac 2019: HTTP/2 chapter

I wrote the HTTP/2 chapter of the Web Almanac. In that I looked at HTTP/2 adoption and how it is used across the web, including the use of HTTP/2 push and some of the common failures of HTTP/2 implementations. Read HTTP/2 chapter of the 2019 Web Almanac to find out more!

6th August 2019 - OPINION - Critical Resources and the first 14 KB - a review

A long promoted maxim within web performance is to optimise as much as possible into the first 14 KB, as this will be downloaded first. Read Critical Resources and the First 14kb to see why I no longer think this holds true in the modern web.

25th May 2019 - OPINION - Adding Controls to Google Tag Manager

Do you use Google Tag Manager on a site you work on? Are you concerned about the security and privacy implications of allowing people, and especially third party marketing firms, to have unrestricted acces to add JavaScript to your page? If not why not! Read Adding Controls to Google Tag Manager to see what you can do about this.

19th Apr 2019 - OPINION - Writing a Technical Book for Manning

I spent just under 2 years writing a Technical Book on HTTP/2 for Manning. In this very detailed post I've detailed that journey for any aspiring authors out there. Read Writing a Technical Book for Manning.

20th Feb 2018 - Why do we need HTTP/2? - an extract from "HTTP/2 in Action"

Why do we need HTTP/2? The web works fine under HTTP/1.1 doesn’t it? In this article, an extract from my book HTTP/2 in Action we’ll tackle these questions with a well-known, real-world example and show why HTTP/1.1 has fundamental performance problems, and therefore why HTTP/2, is needed now.

11th Jun 2017 - OPINION - Further thoughts on Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

It's been over two years since I implemented AMP on this site and a lot has changed since it was first launched, but a lot more has stayed the same. Read Further thoughts on Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

30th Mar 2017 - OPINION - Thoughts on Google versus Symantec

Google has recently been punishing Symantec for a number of incidents when issuing certificates and are now proposing even more restrictions. The problem is Symantec are huge so there could be a a big impact to that if the proposals are followed through. Read Thoughts on Google versus Symantec.

11th July 2016 - OPINION - Measuring HTTP versus HTTPS versus HTTP/2

After a few posts on twitter about how HTTPS can be faster than HTTP, it's worth investigating this claim and recreating a test to give it greater transparency. Read HTTP versus HTTPS versus HTTP/2.

27th January 2016 - OPINION - What does the Green Padlock really mean?

To most users, the green padlock means all is safe with the website you are visiting and you can trust this website and feel free to enter credit card details and passwords on any site with a nice, green padlock. Well most users are wrong. Read What does the Green Padlock really mean?.

24th December 2015 - OPINION - Inlining CSS has massive performance benefits, but is still not for me.

After experimenting with AMP I saw once again the huge impact to performance that inlining your CSS in your HEAD tag can have, as opposed to loading this in a separate stylesheet. However it still doesn't sit right with me. Read all about why inlining CSS is not for me.

24th December 2015 - OPINION - Implementing AMP on this site.

Despite my initial reservations on AMP, it seems just about everyone else is jumping on board, so I thought I'd better try it to see what all the fuss is about and whether my first thoughts were an over-reaction. Read all about how I implemented AMP on this site.

13th October 2015 - TuneTheWeb is now brought to you in HTTP/2!

Tonight I upgraded this website to HTTP/2. This promises to be an exciting new performance improvement and is the future for all websites. Read all about HTTP/2.

10th October 2015 - OPINION - Do we really need Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?

Google has just announced the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) but do we really need another format to do this? Read why I think AMP is simply not necessary.

15th September 2015 - OPINION - Dangerous Web Security Features.

For a website that spends over a third of it's content on encouraging and explaining security options, I'm going to take a controversial opinion and say not to use some of them. Read as to why.

6th September 2015 - We've launched!

So the website is live. It's a bit rough and ready, some articles are not finished (or even started!) yet, theres no doubt a million typos and the design could do with a lot of improvements, but I think we've enough to go live. Read all about this site and why I launched it.

This page was originally created on and last edited on .

How useful was this page?
Loading interactions…