How to Reduce TTFB to Improve Website Page Load Times in 2020 | GK Web Agency
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Last Update
24 December 2019
Reading Time: 3 minutes

How to Reduce TTFB to Improve Website Page Load Times in 2020

When it comes to the overall speed of your Website, a lot of times we focus on front-end performance and optimizations to improve page load speeds. However, sometimes it is good to look at it from the server-side, where your website originally starts loading. Today we are going to dive into how TTFB (time to first byte) affects you and discuss some easy ways on how to reduce it. TTFB is commonly an overlooked performance factor, but it should be taken into consideration when testing the speed of your site.

When it comes to the overall speed of your Website, a lot of times we focus on front-end performance and to improve page load speeds. However, sometimes it is good to look at it from the server-side, where your website originally starts loading. Today we are going to dive into how affects you and discuss some easy ways on how to reduce it. TTFB is commonly an overlooked performance factor, but it should be taken into consideration when testing the speed of your site.

What is TTFB?

TTFB stands for time to first byte. To put it simply, this is a measurement of how long the browser has to wait before receiving its first byte of data from the server. The longer it takes to get that data, the longer it takes to display your page. A common misconception is that this is calculated after DNS lookup times, however, the original calculation of TTFB in networking always includes network latency. This involves a 3 step process and delays and latency can occur anywhere in between, adding up to your total TTFB.

1. Request to Server

When someone visits your website, the first thing that happens is an HTTP request is sent from the client (browser) to the server. In this step, there are a variety of factors that can introduce delays. Slow DNS lookup times could contribute to increased time for the request. If the server is located geographically far away, this can introduce latency in the distance the data has to travel. Also, if you have complex firewall rules this could increase routing time. And don’t forget the client’s internet speed.

2. Server Processing

After the request has been sent, the server now has to process it and generate a response. This could introduce a number of different delays such as slow database calls, too many 3rd party scripts, not caching your first response, badly optimized code or WordPress theme, and inefficient server resources such as disk I/O or memory.

3. Response to Client

After the server processes the request, it then has to send it back to the client (or rather send back the first byte). This is heavily affected by both the network speed of the server and the client. If the client has slow internet from a Wi-Fi hotspot, it is going to reflect in the TTFB.

Is TTFB Important?

It is important to understand that TTFB (time to first byte) is not the same as website speed. This is really a measurement of responsiveness. There are a lot of discussions around the web on whether or not TTFB is important.

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