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Is Firebug right, or is the bottom of the browser correct?
But that's only occasionally. And, of course, "your mileage may vary".
I'm concerned about whether Google Analytics is causing a slowdown in the loading times for our sites.
Anytime a third party call is made there is always the chance that delays will be present.
Google recommend that you place their GA code right before the closing </body> element. This is the optimal position as it loads last in the rendering of the page. That means the visitor is going to see your content while the rest of the calls are being fulfilled.
I too have seen GA cause delays. But, because of where it is positioned before the closing </body> element, the visitor is usually not affected too much.
Check your 404s. If you see failed GA calls, I'd be willing to bet that any slowdowns were around the same time those 404s were generated. With the legacy code, delays were more noticeable. With the new code, those delays were addressed and "I" feel you now get a 404 from GA if they have delays. They no longer hold up the rendering of your page like the old code did?
I've also seen people utilize the code with the <head></head> elements. I would think that adds a level of risk in regards to page delay as now the GA code needs to load before the rest of the page. If there are any delays in that third party call, your page may be affected too.
For those using GA from the <head></head>, are you seeing any performance issues?
Because we track across multiple domains, the Analytics code had to be before the pageTracker link to work properly, we tried it in the head section first after reading in Google's help area that it would work.
We moved the code to immediately follow the <body> tag and saw no slow down in the loading of our pages.
I dont think the speed of Googles code is anywhere near as bad as other i've seen
For me, GA is the best way to include some analysis tool in my sites, I think there is no way to improve loading time, and it is not so much (some years ago it was a time killer for pages).
The one alternative would be analyzing system logs directly... but I think there is no log analyzer as good as Analytics!
I have checked that code not always loads fast: code request didn't get to server, reponse did not get to user, congestion at network links... you can't be sure that the code will always load on time.
That "connecting to GA..." you get could be a temporaly slow down, I think it is not significant.
Was it just a weird coincidence or did GA cause the problem? It's hard to say.