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How to troubleshoot the performance of a Web application

You are getting complaints or tickets from the helpdesk regarding a lengthy web application…
  • What should you do?
  • What patterns should you look for?

First make sure you are getting the right data! 

Your performance analytics may come from various sources (logs, client instrumentation, network traffic - you have many options: learn more about the different approaches to application performance here).
From whichever source you get the data, make sure they can provide the following data: 
  • Page response times
  • Hit response times
  • Error indicators
And that the data is easily accessible, stored for historical analysis … and of course, that your solution is scalable enough to deal with all the related traffic. 

If you are looking for an even more concrete step-by-step guide on how to do that by analyzing network traffic, you should read this troubleshooting guide

What are the most common patterns of performance leaks

Let's take a look at the pattern you need to identify to troubleshoot the performance of your application and pinpoint where the performance leaks are. 

Slow page load times

Even if individual hits are delivered fast, pages may be slow due to their complexity or structure and specifically due to: 
  • The number of hits integrated in the page

Example of an HTTP page with an excessive number of hits generating a slow response time

  • Scripts which are too heavy or slow
  • Scripts provided by external services (e.g. tracking services etc.)

HTTP Page slowed down by heavy scripts

Slow hits

Some hits may be slow to be displayed on the end user’s browser, it may be due to different causes: 
  • Slow server processing: your web server is taking too long to process the response. 
  • Slow transfer: the response takes too long to be transferred from the server to the client through the network.
    In this case, you should investigate: 

Application errors

Your server may not handle properly certain queries and report 5xx errors. In which case, you should identify for which requests you can observe HTTP errors and discuss a solution with your development team or application vendor. 
Identify the transactions providing HTTP 500 5xx Error messages

Infrastructure errors

  • Client errors (4xx errors): the clients may be directed to an invalid URL. 
  • Redirections (3xx errors): some element in the chain may redirect to other resources and generate delay and errors. 

The network traffic is proper source to create performance analytics on all the users activities and for all the applications hosted in your datacenter in a 100% non-intrusive way.

Discover how you can get an end-to-end application performance visibility with Wire data from network layers up to the application transactions:

Download our White Paper 

Topics: application performance, APM

Posted by Boris Rogier on 05 octobre 2016
Boris Rogier
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