Get started with improving application performance

To get started with New Relic APM, we're going to take you through the basics to manage your application. The first thing you need to do is see what's happening in your application. To do this, you'll need to install our agent in your environment.

Now that you can see data from your application, it's time to put that data to work and learn how you can improve its performance, especially over time. Let's explore your data to learn more about how it normally performs, and where there may be room for improvement.

Improve application performance

The APM user interface has several pages with charts, tables, and reports that help you find and troubleshoot problems with your application's performance. Let's get started with the basics.

Try this! Start with APM Overview page

To view your application's APM Overview page:

  1. Go to
  2. Look at the list of applications on the APM index page. Notice that each column has links to additional pages, so you can drill down to specific areas for troubleshooting.
  3. To go directly to the APM Overview page: From the Name column, select your application.

The UI has several standard features to help you get the most out of the data presented on your charts and dashboards. Follow along with this video (3:31). Whenever you see Try it out!, pause the video and try out these features in your New Relic account.

These are just a few of the standard functions throughout the UI that will save you time and help you take action as you uncover problems.

Try this! Check user satisfaction level (Apdex)

Apdex is an industry standard to measure users' satisfaction with the response time of web applications and services. It's a simplified Service Level Agreement (SLA) solution that helps you see how satisfied users are with your application.

Apdex measures the ratio of satisfactory response times to unsatisfactory response times. In contrast, average response time and other traditional metrics can be skewed by a few very long responses. Let's explore what this means in more detail, and how you can effectively troubleshoot performance problems that are frustrating your users.

  1. Notice that the APM Overview's Apdex score chart shows performance levels between 1 (completely satisfactory) and 0 (completely unsatisfactory) for both the application server and end users (browser). Also notice that this chart has the same functionality that you used on the Web transactions time chart.
  2. Mouse along the chart's App server (application) and End user (browser) lines to see additional details about the sample size and the percentages of users satisfied, tolerating, or dissatisfied with the performance level at any point in time.
  3. Click anywhere on the App server line to drill down into transactions that are affecting performance at that point in time. Notice that the Transactions page appears. Go back to the Overview page for now.

For more information, check out New Relic University’s tutorial Apdex: User Satisfaction Levels. Or, go directly to the full online course Get Started with APM.

Try this! View transaction traces

After awhile you may notice that the Web transactions chart has spikes. This immediately shows you there are performance problems. In addition, the Transactions table lists the top five transactions that will be useful to explore.

Before we start, watch this video (4:14).

Now, let's find out what's happening with specific transactions with Apdex problems:

  1. From the APM Overview page, select the first transaction on the list. Notice that the Transactions page now appears.
  2. Click the dropdown, then select Apdex most dissatisfying.
  3. Scan the list of transactions to see whether any of them have a large percentage, which indicates a problem area.
  4. Notice that the chart corresponds to the selected transaction on the list, and that it has the same functionality that you used on the APM Overview page.

Below each transaction in the table, you may also see links to available transaction traces. In New Relic APM, a transaction trace gives a detailed snapshot of a single transaction in your application. A transaction trace records the available function calls, database calls, and external calls. You can use transaction traces to troubleshoot performance issues and to get basic information about how your application is working.

You can also go directly to the Transactions page to troubleshoot Apdex problems by clicking anywhere on the Apdex scores chart.

Learn more about improving application performance

After APM has been monitoring your application for several days, you can review the weekly performance report for selected applications. You can also use error analytics to analyze and resolve errors being reported by your applications. For example, you can:

  • Assess the health of your applications with fine-grained data on error events over the past eight days.
  • Select which parameters to use to group and show error information in the UI; for example, error class, error message, host, transaction name, etc.
  • Drill down into stack trace details to diagnose and resolve specific errors.
  • Identify continuing trends in error rates for periods longer than eight days.

For more information, check out New Relic University’s tutorial Improving Performance: Error Analytics. Or, go directly to the full online course Get Started with APM.

For now, explore all the available UI pages to identify performance problems. Error analytics is just one of the many additional tools you can use to monitor, troubleshoot, and improve your application's performance.

Want to learn more about troubleshooting performance problems?

What's next

Congratulations! You have tried some of the powerful tools in New Relic's UI to help you improve your application's performance. Now let's get started with organizing your applications with labels. Labels will help quickly see data about the applications you care about the most.

For more help

If you still need help, check out these support and learning resources: