Browser Performance Testing (PREMIUM)
If your application offers a web interface and you're using GitLab CI/CD, you can quickly determine the performance impact of pending code changes.
GitLab uses Sitespeed.io, a free and open source
tool, for measuring the performance of web sites. GitLab has built a simple
Sitespeed plugin which outputs
the performance score for each page analyzed in a file called
The Sitespeed.io performance score
is a composite value based on best practices.
GitLab can show the Performance report in the merge request widget area.
Consider the following workflow:
- A member of the marketing team is attempting to track engagement by adding a new tool.
- With browser performance metrics, they see how their changes are impacting the usability of the page for end users.
- The metrics show that after their changes, the performance score of the page has gone down.
<head>, which affects loading page speed.
- They ask for help from a front end developer, who sets the library to load asynchronously.
- The frontend developer approves the merge request, and authorizes its deployment to production.
How browser performance testing works
First, define a job in your
.gitlab-ci.yml file that generates the
Performance report artifact.
GitLab then checks this report, compares key performance metrics for each page
between the source and target branches, and shows the information in the merge request.
For an example Performance job, see Configuring Browser Performance Testing.
If the Performance report has no data to compare, such as when you add the
Performance job in your
.gitlab-ci.yml for the very first time, no information
displays in the merge request widget area. Consecutive merge requests will have data for
comparison, and the Performance report will be shown properly.
Configuring Browser Performance Testing
First, set up GitLab Runner with a Docker-in-Docker build.
After configuring the Runner, add a new job to
.gitlab-ci.ymlthat generates the expected report.
performancejob according to your version of GitLab:
- For GitLab 12.4 and later - include the
Browser-Performance.gitlab-ci.ymltemplate provided as a part of your GitLab installation.
- For GitLab versions earlier than 12.4 - Copy and use the job as defined in the
CAUTION: Caution: The job definition provided by the template does not support Kubernetes yet. For a complete example of a more complex setup that works in Kubernetes, see
- For GitLab 12.4 and later - include the
Add the following to your
include: template: Verify/Browser-Performance.gitlab-ci.yml performance: variables: URL: https://example.com
CAUTION: Caution: The job definition provided by the template is supported in GitLab 11.5 and later versions. It also requires GitLab Runner 11.5 or later. For earlier versions, use the previous job definitions.
The above example creates a
performance job in your CI/CD pipeline and runs
sitespeed.io against the webpage you defined in
URL to gather key metrics.
The GitLab plugin for sitespeed.io
is downloaded to save the report as a Performance report artifact
that you can later download and analyze. Due to implementation limitations, we always
take the latest Performance artifact available.
The full HTML sitespeed.io report is saved as an artifact, and if GitLab Pages is enabled, it can be viewed directly in your browser.
You can also customize options by setting the
For example, you can override the number of runs sitespeed.io
makes on the given URL:
include: template: Verify/Browser-Performance.gitlab-ci.yml performance: variables: URL: https://example.com SITESPEED_OPTIONS: -n 5
For further customization options for sitespeed.io, including the ability to provide a list of URLs to test, please see the Sitespeed.io Configuration documentation.
TIP: Tip: Key metrics are automatically extracted and shown in the merge request widget.
Configuring degradation threshold
Introduced in GitLab 13.0.
You can configure the sensitivity of degradation alerts to avoid getting alerts for minor drops in metrics.
This is done by setting the
DEGRADATION_THRESHOLD variable. In the example below, the alert will only show up
Total Score metric degrades by 5 points or more:
include: template: Verify/Browser-Performance.gitlab-ci.yml performance: variables: URL: https://example.com DEGRADATION_THRESHOLD: 5
Performance testing on Review Apps
The above CI YAML configuration is great for testing against static environments, and it can be extended for dynamic environments, but a few extra steps are required:
performancejob should run after the dynamic environment has started.
- In the
reviewjob, persist the hostname and upload it as an artifact so it's available to the
performancejob. The same can be done for static environments like staging and production to unify the code path. You can save it as an artifact with
echo $CI_ENVIRONMENT_URL > environment_url.txtin your job's
- In the
performancejob, read the previous artifact into an environment variable. In this case, use
$URLbecause the sitespeed.io command uses it for the URL parameter. Because Review App URLs are dynamic, define the
- You can now run the sitespeed.io container against the desired hostname and paths.
.gitlab-ci.yml file would look like:
stages: - deploy - performance include: template: Verify/Browser-Performance.gitlab-ci.yml review: stage: deploy environment: name: review/$CI_COMMIT_REF_SLUG url: http://$CI_COMMIT_REF_SLUG.$APPS_DOMAIN script: - run_deploy_script - echo $CI_ENVIRONMENT_URL > environment_url.txt artifacts: paths: - environment_url.txt only: - branches except: - master performance: dependencies: - review before_script: - export URL=$(cat environment_url.txt)
Previous job definitions
Before GitLab 11.5, the Performance job and artifact had to be named specifically
to automatically extract report data and show it in the merge request widget.
While these old job definitions are still maintained, they have been deprecated
and may be removed in next major release, GitLab 12.0.
GitLab recommends you update your current
.gitlab-ci.yml configuration to reflect that change.
For GitLab 11.4 and earlier, the job should look like:
performance: stage: performance image: docker:git variables: URL: https://example.com services: - docker:stable-dind script: - mkdir gitlab-exporter - wget -O ./gitlab-exporter/index.js https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gl-performance/raw/master/index.js - mkdir sitespeed-results - docker run --shm-size=1g --rm -v "$(pwd)":/sitespeed.io sitespeedio/sitespeed.io:6.3.1 --plugins.add ./gitlab-exporter --outputFolder sitespeed-results $URL - mv sitespeed-results/data/performance.json performance.json artifacts: paths: - performance.json - sitespeed-results/