“What's the best audit tool that I can use to check my website's performance?” you ask yourself. Why would you consider Google Lighthouse?

How reliable is its scoring system? And how accurate are the results that it provides?

Now, let's get you some answers on:
 

  • what is
  • how to use 
  • why you'd want to use


… the Google Lighthouse testing tool.


1. What Is Google Lighthouse?

Before we get into the “Why”, let's see “What” the Google Lighthouse score is, actually:

What Is Google Lighthouse?

It generates separate scores for different aspects on a web page, like:
 

  • SEO
  • rundown of best practices
  • accessibility
  • performance
  • PWA
     

In other words: it evaluates precisely the factors with the strongest impact on the user experience (page load time, anyone?).

What you get is a report on the measures to take in order to fix the identified issues.

And to hopefully get a maximum Google Lighthouse score next time...
 

2. How Do You Use Google Lighthouse?

And here we tackle one of this testing tool's biggest selling points: ease of use.

Now, there are 3 ways that you can run a Google Lighthouse report:
 

2.1. Use it Right in Chrome DevTools 

The simplest way to run this audit tool on your website is to:
 

  • Download Google Chrome for Desktop (if you haven't done that already)
  • Enter the web page's URL in your browser
  • Click F12 to open up your Chrome Developer Tools (or just click “Inspect” anywhere on the page)
  • Hit the “Audits” Tab
  • Click “Perform an audit” (you'll see there the aspects of your website that it's about to check: SEO, Accessibility, Performance...)
  • Hit “Run Audit” to have Google Lighthouse generate your audit report directly through your browser
     

Easy peasy...


2.2. Install the Lighthouse Chrome Extension

If you prefer to run this website analysis tool as a Chrome extension, just:
 

  • Download Google Chrome for Desktop
  • Install the extension from the Chrome Webstore
  • Go to the web page that you want to test
  • Click the “Lighthouse” icon newly added to your Chrome address bar
  • Hit the “Generate Report” button
     

Just wait for about 30-60 seconds for the tool to inspect the page and generate the results in a new tab.

Google Lighthouse: The Lighthouse Chrome Extension

Source: developers.google.com
 

2.3. Run It Via the Node.js Command Line 

If you're more of a CLI person, you'll find this workflow more suitable:
 

  • Again, if you haven't downloaded Google Chrome for Desktop already, now it's the time
  • Install the latest version of Node.js  
  • Install Lighthouse by typing npm install -g lighthouse into your command line
  • Next, enter the lighthouse <url> to run an audit
     

Note: use the lighthouse –help command to get an overview of all the options.

That's it!

Note: it's an HTML version of the audit report that you'll get when you run Google Lighthouse via the command-line tool. Just so you know it.


Tip! There's also a... forth way to use the Google Lighthouse audit tool, probably one of the quickest ways to run your report:
 

  • Just go to web.dev
  • Click “TEST MY SITE
  • Enter your URL 
  • Click “RUN AUDIT
     

And voila: you'll have your Google Lighthouse score generated for that particular web page in no time!

How to Use Google Lighthouse

3. 6 Reasons Why You'd Use Google Lighthouse (And Why We're Using It)

Now that you know precisely what it is and the different ways that you can use it:

Why would you choose this particular website auditing tool over... all the other testing tools out there?

To give you an honest answer, let me share with you the key reasons why we, the OPTASY team, are using it on our clients' websites and even on our own site:
 

  • it's so easy to use: why compromise ease of use for accurate audit results, when... you can have both?
  • it's Google-developed (not just a no-name third-party testing tool)
  • it's open-source
  • it's fully automated
  • it tests how the scanned web pages look and perform on mobile devices, as well
  • it's user-centric metrics that it provides: what's the point of optimizing a website merely for our own “fame and glory” and... risk losing sight of the user's own expectations?
     

Whether we're:
 

  • building a new website for one of our clients
  • optimizing a client's existing website
  • optimizing OPTASY.com itself
     

… and we want to check how well its web pages perform, we just run a Google Lighthouse audit.

And speaking of using it on our own website, here's a sneak peek into the Lighthouse Score that it's got after we put it through some major optimization work:

OPTASY: Google Lighthouse Score


In short, the scoring system and suggestions of improvement that Google Lighthouse generates make the best "barometer" for us to:
 

  • assess the quality of the audited pages (in case of an existing website, so we know what we're dealing with)
  • evaluate our work (after we've built/improved a website)
  • identify existing issues and prepare our “To Do” lists to get them fixed
     

4. Final Word 

Do you want to learn more about how to use Google Lighthouse to its full potential? About how you can boost your Google Lighthouse performance score, like we have for OPTASY.com?

Or maybe you've already generated a report, you have the list of recommendations at hand and you need help to implement them on your website?

Either way, we're here to help. Just drop us a line.

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