Google Lighthouse: definition, function and use

Google Lighthouse is a free tool that can help you improve the performance and overall experience of your website. Generating Lighthouse reports makes it easier to optimize the quality of your pages across the board.

As soon as you send a website address to the tool, it performs several checks and creates a report detailing its performance. You can then use the results to derive measures to improve your website.

Lighthouse is intended for both developers and conventional website operators. The tool is suitable for anyone who wants to find out more about the performance of their website and also take concrete steps towards optimization.

How does Google Lighthouse work?

The focus of the Lighthouse analysis is on Google's so-called Core Web Vitals. If you are not yet familiar with this: These are the essential metrics that the search engine leader uses to measure or evaluate the speed of websites and their overall user experience (UX).

Put simply, Lighthouse helps you to see your website in terms of performance and user experience the way Google does. You can use the insights provided by the analysis to optimize your pages and thus achieve better results in the search engine ranking.

The Lighthouse reports consist of five categories:

  • Performance
  • Accessibility
  • SEO
  • Best practices
  • Progressive web application

How can you use Google Lighthouse?

There are several ways to use the tool. You can run it through the following channels:

  • Chrome DevTools
  • Chrome extension
  • Node module
  • Web user interface

The most common variant is via Chrome DevTools. This is how you proceed if you want to use this method for your Lighthouse analysis:

  • First download the Chrome browser.
  • Then navigate to the page you want to analyze.
  • Right-click on the page and then select "Explore" at the bottom.
  • This will open the DevTools panel - click on "Lighthouse" in the top menu bar (you may need to click on the extension arrows ">>") and finally on the Analyze button.

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