What is Time To First Byte (TTFB)?
Time To First Byte (TTFB) is the time it takes for a browser to receive the first byte from the time it places an HTTP request. Faster this information is passed on to the browser faster the information will be available to the user. For this, you must have your TTFB optimized and kept as low as possible.
TTFB comprises of three different aspects. Each of these metrics adds up to give us a singular metric which we call TTFB. If we want to optimize our site’s TTFB we must work on optimizing each of these metrics.
- The time it takes for a request to propagate from the user’s browser through the network to the web server
- The time it takes for your web server to process the request and generate a response
- The time it takes for the response to propagate back through the network to the user’s browser
How to find your site’s TTFB?
Step 1: Visit https://www.webpagetest.org
Step 2: Enter your site’s URL and hit “Start Test”.
Step 3: Once the test is run your site’s TTFB is listed under the “First Byte” Column in the table.
You should have a TTFB value of 500 ms or less.
How to improve TTFB?
You can improve your site’s TTFB by using one of the following methods.
Use Caching Systems – You can improve your site’s TTFB by using server-side caching. This particularly useful if your site serves many dynamic webs pages. Most CMS have plugins to improve caching on the server side like W3 Total Cache, JCH Optimize, and Memcached.
Use a Content Delivery Network – The time taken for a request to propagate back and forth between the browser and the server is also dependent on the physical distance between the user and the web server. By using a content delivery network you can significantly reduce this time delay and serve content faster. I use KeyCDN for this purpose.
Ensure fast server response time – To have a faster response time your server should be optimized for performance. Every server comes with a set of best practices given by the hosting provider. This has to be to be understood and implemented in order to have a fast server response time. If you have optimized your servers and yet the server response time is low then you might want to upgrade your server or choose a dedicated hosting which can deliver better performance and processing speed.
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