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What is Real User Monitoring?

With Real User Monitoring (RUM) you can track the actual performance experience of all visitors to your website. It’s also possible to see if there is a difference for users in certain regions or using a certain type of browser.

It not only allows you to see how much time it takes for each user to load your website, but it also shows you what is taking time to load by splitting up the load time in different categories (Network, Backend, Frontend) and which parts of these categories are causing it to take long to load (e.g. DOM Processing or DNS). RUM can help you get a clear view on which browser, region or device is having problem viewing your site and spot negative trends.

See this blog post for a more detailed breakdown of the states and what they mean.

You can also find a Wordpress plugin and a bookmarklet to use on our downloads page.

How to add Real User Monitoring (RUM)

See this article on how to set it up!

How Pingdom collects the data

Pingdom uses a JavaScript snippet that you place in the <head> tag of your HTML code to collect performance data from the users visiting your site. The script is loaded asynchronously, so it does not affect the performance of your site. The JavaScript snippet must be placed on any page you wish to collect data for.


You get your JavaScript snippet when creating a new Real User Monitoring check in our control panel.


Our JavaScript collects performance data using two main methods:

  • The Navigation Timing API is used for newer browsers that support it (e.g. IE9+, Chrome and Firefox 10+).
  • For browsers that does not support the Navigation Timing API, we utilize Episodes

Does Real User Monitoring capture any type of PII (Personally Identifiable Information)?


No, we do not collect any PII-data and we don’t store IP-addresses (yes, we use the IP-address to determine which country the visitor is from, but it’s not stored). All data collected is merely that from the browser.

Are there any additional scripts downloaded?

The JavaScript will download other scripts needed to gather your data asynchronously and does not affect the performance in any way.

Response time difference between Real User Monitoring and Uptime Checks

Response times in the HTTP check will always differ from the load times displayed in our Real User Monitoring(RUM). This is because there are large differences in what is measured by these tests. The response time of our HTTP check is determined by the response and load time (including the execution of backend code) of a single GET request to your website, that is the HTML code and header on your website (no images, flash, JavaScript etc).


The load times displayed in our Real User Monitoring include a lot more, and are more similar to what your everyday user might experience, as this includes all the content of your site, including but not limited to, DOM content, JavaScript, images, flash, etc.


This means that it is to be expected that your RUM monitoring will almost always display higher load times than your HTTP check’s response time.

Difference between RUM and Google Analytics

Our Real User Monitoring is much more focused on performance than Google Analytics, and many other sales/site usage oriented Web Analytics tools. This means that in RUM, you will see how your site performs, how the user experience is for your site and what is slowing your site down, while in Google Analytics you’ll see things like traffic sources and how users navigate around your site.


Moreover, Google Analytics' performance data is sampled data, which means that there are a lot of page views not included in the reports. Pingdom's Real User Monitoring does not sample data, and therefore includes a lot more data.


We've also spent a lot of time working on the interface for our Real User Monitoring product, to show the performance data available to you in the best possible way. For example, you can show median load times instead of average load times. This is important, as RUM data comes from real users, with a lot of variations in the results, and as such a median can give a better idea of how your site actually performs
In other words, Real User Monitoring is the perfect complement to your other web analytics tools.

 

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