Olympics website performance: 2012 top performers

by | August 13, 2012

After two weeks of Olympic play and the continuous performance monitoring of Olympics-related websites, the results are in. The final medalists in the website performance category of the 2012 London Olympics are:

  • Gold: YouTube, for outstanding performance on both the YouTube London2012 and YouTube Olympics sites. Both pages delivered 100 percent availability over the course of the games, and good response times as well-2.73 seconds for YouTube London2012 and 4.25 seconds for YouTube Olympics.
  • Silver: Yahoo! Sports came in second with 99.85 percent availability and 6.63 second response times.
  • Bronze: BBC Olympics gets third place, just narrowly missing silver by seconds. The site delivered the same availability as the silver medalist, 99.85 percent, but was a just a hair slower with 9.30 second response times. This is a strong display of performance from the site, which registered 1.5 million viewers over the two-week competition.
The complete rankings of Olympics website performance can be seen in the chart to the right.

The shaky performance of NBCOlympics.com and London2012.com in Week 1 continued into the final week of competition, earning the two sites the bottom spots in our chart. London2012.com delivered 91.64 percent availability and 9.87 second response times. Meanwhile, NBCOlympics.com delivered a surprising 82.10 percent availability and lengthy response times of 16.77 seconds.

Overall, if we had to pinpoint the cause of Olympics-related website performance issues, we’d have to say that it comes down to sheer volume of traffic. We’ve looked at all the sites and they seem to be optimized well – no abundance of big images, Javascripts, or third-party content that could have slowed down response times. Rather, it seems that the systems themselves just couldn’t handle the amount of visitors pinging their sites.

We can’t say whether these sites conducted the proper load tests to prepare for the big event, but even if they did, they probably should have tested more. After all, no matter how much polish you add to the car, if the engine is weak, it still won’t run well.