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How do I use X-Ray to analyse my website?

X-Ray is a tool that simply put can help you analyse loading times for websites on web hosting accounts.

By using X-Ray you can find bottlenecks (such as slow plugins, themes, external calls etc), making your website loading slower than expected, thus helping you optimise the site.

X-Ray can analyse all websites built using PHP, including WordPress.

The tool is available on all our web hosting accounts, Agency services and Managed Servers.

Accessing X-Ray via cPanel

To access X-Ray to start analysing your website, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by logging on to cPanel of the account where the website you want to analyse resides.
  2. Find the icon X-Ray App under Software.
  3. You will now see the interface for X-Ray.

Perform an analysis with X-Ray

To use X-Ray, you first need to do a tracing run (or several) to let the tool gather data.

Keep in mind that the X-Ray tool uses system resources on your web hosting account when it’s being used. Therefore, you want to run the analysis for as short time as possible – otherwise the performance on your website might suffer.

Begin by clicking the button Start tracing.

You now see a popup box where you can adjust settings for the tracing run.

The different settings imply the following:

  • URL: The URL for the website you wish to analyse.
    • Choose domain: Select the correct domain in the dropdown menu.
    • Specify mask: Here you decide if you want to analyse a specific page on the site, or all of them. If you want to analyse requests to all pages on the website, enter * here.
  • Advanced settings: See below.

If you tick the checkbox Advanced settings you get a couple of additional options:

  • Client’s IP: Here you enter if the analysis should be done for all requests on the website, or only those originating from a specific IP address. You can leave the * here if you want all requests to count. If you only want to analyse requests from your own IP address, enter your IP address in the text field. You can find your IP address here.
  • Record for: Here you choose for how long the analysis should run:
    • Time period: Enter the number of days, hours, and minutes you want the analysis to run before it’s completed. You can select 1 minute as the shortest and 2 days as the longest period.
    • Request: Here you can select the number of requests to save for analysis. When that number of requests has been saved, or 29 days have passed, the tracing run is stopped and the result is saved.

When you’ve set the options for the tracing run, click the green Run button.

Check the results of an X-Ray analysis

When an analysis is under way or is done, you will see it in the bottom part of the X-Ray interface.

The different columns imply the following:

  • URL: The URL chosen when the tracing run was started.
    • Tracing status: Status of the analysis. On the picture above Running is mentioned, meaning that the analysis is under way. If it says Stopped you’ve stopped the tracing run manually with the stop button under Actions (see below). If the number of requests, or the chosen timeframe, has been fulfilled for the run, it will way Completed.
  • Client IP: The setting for IP address you set before the analysis was started. If it says *, all requests from all IP addresses will be used for the analysis.
  • Collected requests: The number of requests captured during the tracing run.
  • Expires in: Time left before the tracing run is finished. Is set either by you if you set a time when the tracing run starts, or is set to 29 days if you’ve opted for a number of requests to capture.
  • Created: When the tracing run was started.
  • Actions: Here you have a few icons to manage the analysis:
    • Eye: Click the eye icon to see details about the analysis.
    • Stop: The icon with the dark square is used to manually stop a tracing run.
    • Trashcan: If you want to delete the results from an analysis, click the trashcan.

Analysis details

If you click the eye icon to the right of the analysis to delve into the details of the analysis.

On the bottom of the page you’ll see a table containing the requests captured during the tracing run. By default, the list is sorted in such a way that requests with the longest duration is on top. If you click a row of a request you want to know more about (such as the one that required the most time to complete), you will see a page with the complete analysis.

On top, you’ll see a summary of the “worst culprits”, in this case an external request against wp-cron.php on the website.

In the different tables on the page you can see information about every database query, system functions etc, and really dig into what took the most time and probably used the most system resources. This will help you seeing e.g. if a plugin slows your website down.

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