Beware of Tracking Code of whos.amung.us | It Slows Down Website Rendering

There are many analytics solutions that help webmasters to track the number of live visitors on their websites. Some good examples are Google Analytics, whos.amung.us, and Histats.  Webmasters have to just copy and paste a small javascript code provided by them to see the details of the web traffic. As Google analytics does not show the number of live visitors on the website, I used the tracking code of whos.amung.us on my website. One needs to log into Google analytics account to monitor the live visitors to his/her website.

My website is hosted in Texas and the top-level domain is ‘.in‘, so I always try to optimize the website so that Indian visitors can open it within 5 seconds. Everything was perfect and my website was taking 4-4.5 seconds to open from India. I had tested the speed of my website using webpagetest and dotcom-tools. After adding the tracking code of whos.amung.us, I tested my website again using webpagetest. This time webpagetest showed 10+ seconds to open the website from India. I was perplexed by the response time of the website. I thought something went wrong with my VPS, so I asked my hosting company to look into the issue. They did not find any issue and told me that the problem might be in the application codes.

I had used whos.amung.us in past and had never encountered such problem, so I did not include whos.amung.us in the list of culprits to check. I moved my website to a fast VPS, but nothing changed. I tried almost everything as per my knowledge. Finally I looked into the details provided by webpagetest and found DNS lookup for several unknown domains. After searching on Google about those domains, I realized that it’s the tracking code of whos.amung.us that screwed up the response time of my website. I immediately removed the javascript code of whos.amung.us and the response time of my website came back to less than 5 seconds. Check out the following screenprints to understand how whos.amung.us slows down a website.

The following two screenprints are with whos.amung.us code:whos.amung.us slows down the website

If you look at the above connection view, you will find that there are about 25 domains that were called by whos.amung.us code. The DNS lookup and data retrieval from these additional domains increased the response time of my website from 5 seconds to 10+ seconds.

The following two screenprints are without whos.amung.us code:

There is no call to those domains after removal of whos.amung.us code and the website was fully loaded in 4.5 seconds.

I have written this post just to help other webmasters who are using whos.amung.us code. Check the response time of your website on webpagetest.org and if you see suspicious websites in the details, it is time to remove whos.amung.us code from your website. The speed of the website is one of the most important criteria for search engine ranking, so webmasters must not overlook it.

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