Real User Data: The Gold Standard for Understanding Site Speed Performance

While synthetic tests have their place, in the absence of sufficient real user data, they are a secondary tool.

Real User Data > Synthetic tests

In web development, grasping the nuances of site speed is pivotal for ensuring an optimal user experience. While there are various methods to assess website performance, the most effective is through Real User Monitoring (RUM) or real user data. This approach eclipses synthetic tests, especially in its ability to reflect users' authentic experiences.

The Primacy of Real User Data

Real-user data involves gathering and analyzing how users interact with a website under diverse, real-world conditions. This method provides a wealth of information, including device type, browser specifics, network conditions, and user behaviors.

Why Real User Data Reigns Supreme

Authentic User Insights: Unlike synthetic tests, real user data captures the true essence of how a website performs across a vast array of real-world scenarios.

Behavioral Analysis: This method allows an understanding of the impact of actual user interactions – like navigation, scrolling, and clicks – on site performance.

Geographic and Device Variability: Real user data spans different geographies and devices, offering a holistic view of performance.

Uncovering Hidden Issues: It's adept at identifying performance problems that synthetic tests may overlook, as it deals with real-world complexities.

Limitations of Real User Data

Despite its advantages, real user data can sometimes be overwhelming due to its sheer volume and the dynamic nature of real-world conditions, which might necessitate sophisticated analytical tools.

The Supporting Role of Synthetic Tests

Synthetic tests, or lab tests, simulate website loading under specific, controlled conditions. While useful, they should primarily serve as a supplementary tool, especially when real user data is scarce or unavailable.

The Conditional Benefits of Synthetic Tests

Consistency and Control: These tests provide a stable environment for specific scenarios, useful for initial benchmarking or when real user data is not yet plentiful.

Early Stage Testing: Synthetic tests are beneficial in the early development stages, where real user data might not be available.

Isolating Variables: They can be useful for isolating the impact of specific elements like a new script or third-party service.

The Drawbacks of Synthetic Tests

The major limitation of synthetic tests is their inability to replicate the intricate and varied conditions of real-world user experiences. They fall short in capturing the unpredictable and diverse ways users interact with a website.


In essence, while synthetic tests have their place, especially in the absence of sufficient real user data or during the early stages of development, they are a secondary tool. The most accurate, comprehensive understanding of site speed and performance comes from real user data. This method is unmatched in its capacity to reflect the true experiences of users, making it the cornerstone for any website aiming to optimize its performance and enhance user satisfaction.


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Which pricing plan is right for me?

We recommend selecting a pricing plan based on your site's traffic. User sessions < 100k = Pro, 100k < user sessions < 500k = Business, >500k user sessions = Enterprise.

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Yes, all plans include a 14-day free trial.

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Yes, Fudge works with any technology stack.

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It takes less than 5 minutes. You only need to make a DNS change and we take care of the rest.

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