Sometimes you just need to quickly benchmark how fast a page can be loaded (or fetched to be more precise). For these cases, cURL is a great option for timing HTTP requests.

$ curl -s -w “%{time_total}\n” -o /dev/null 0.095

Want a few more datapoints?? Thanks to ZSH, it’s easy to just loop around it:

$ for i in {1..3}; curl -s -w “%{time_total}\n” -o /dev/null 0.507 0.077 0.077

And if you’re a bash lover:

$ for i in {1..3};do curl -s -w “%{time_total}\n” -o /dev/null; done 1.079 0.124 0.106

Default behavior on cURL is GET, but you can do POST, DELETE, PUT and more complex requests. If you’re not familiar with cURL, best place to start is the manpage.

Besides “time_total”, curl also provides other timing, like “time_namelookup”, “time_connect”, etc. Checking a post by Joseph, I remembered that curl supports formatted output. This way we can create a “template” for our HTTP timing test:

[gist id=8888552]

Assuming the format file is named “curl-format”, we can execute a request:

$ curl -w “@curl-format” -o /dev/null -s time_namelookup: 0.416 time_connect: 0.435 time_appconnect: 0.000 time_pretransfer: 0.435 time_redirect: 0.000

time_starttransfer: 0.488
time_total: 0.491


  • -w “@curl-format” tells cURL to use our format file
  • -o /dev/null redirects the output of the request to /dev/null
  • -s tells cURL not to show a progress bar
  • is the URL we are requesting

The timings are DNS lookup, TCP connect, pre-transfer negotiations, start to end of transfer, redirects (in this case there were none), time to first byte, and total time (last byte), respectively.

Looking for something a bit more “complete”? You can always try Apache Benchmark:

$ ab -n 3 This is ApacheBench, Version 2.3 <$Revision: 655654 $> Copyright 1996 Adam Twiss, Zeus Technology Ltd, Licensed to The Apache Software Foundation,

Benchmarking (be patient)…..done

Server Software: gws Server Hostname: Server Port: 80

Document Path: / Document Length: 10928 bytes

Concurrency Level: 1 Time taken for tests: 0.231 seconds Complete requests: 3 Failed requests: 2 (Connect: 0, Receive: 0, Length: 2, Exceptions: 0) Write errors: 0 Total transferred: 35279 bytes HTML transferred: 32984 bytes Requests per second: 12.99 [#/sec] (mean) Time per request: 76.999 [ms] (mean) Time per request: 76.999 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests) Transfer rate: 149.15 [Kbytes/sec] received

Connection Times (ms) min mean[+/-sd] median max Connect: 19 21 1.8 22 22 Processing: 50 56 5.3 59 61 Waiting: 46 51 4.0 53 53 Total: 73 77 5.0 79 82

Percentage of the requests served within a certain time (ms) 50% 76 66% 76 75% 82 80% 82 90% 82 95% 82 98% 82 99% 82 100% 82 (longest request)