As you may already know, page speed has a drastic impact on your website’s User Experience (UX). There are many tests you can run to measure your loading times, but the results provided often include metrics you may be unfamiliar with, such as Time To First Byte (TTFB).
It can also be confusing to determine what to do to reduce your TTFB. Fortunately, there are a few methods you can use including caching, investing in a Content Delivery Network (CDN), and choosing a quality web host.
In this article, we’ll look at what TTFB is and why it’s important to your website. We’ll then discuss five ways you can reduce and improve this metric. Let’s get started!
Understanding TTFB and why it’s important
The Time To First Byte (TTFB) is the measurement of how long a browser has to wait for your server to deliver the first byte of a webpage. The higher this metric is, the longer your website takes to load. There are three factors that contribute to it:
- The request to your server that occurs when users land on your website
- The server processing time, which is how long it takes your server to receive a request from a user’s browser and retrieve the necessary data
- The response to the browser (client) that occurs after the request is processed
Each part of the process can impact TTFB in different ways. For example, slow DNS server speeds and latency impact the speed of requests to your server. Insufficient caching and server capacity slow down processing.
Before looking at reducing your TTFB, you need to test it to establish a baseline. Popular performance tests such as PageSpeed Insights break down TTFB, but there are also specialized assessments such as Geekflare’s Time to First Byte (TTFB) test. All you need to do is provide your website URL:
After the test runs, Geekflare breaks down your TTFB from multiple locations. The slowest time is highlighted, and the results will also indicate whether your TTFB is too high and likely negatively affecting your site’s UX.
5 ways to reduce your Time To First Byte (TTFB) metric
If your TTFB is too high, there are certain steps you can take to reduce it. Following best practices for performance optimization such as limiting external resources, image compression, and CSS minification is recommended. However, if your TTFB is still too high, the methods below might be more effective.
1. Enable browser caching when possible
Caching is a process in which visitors’ browsers store static copies of your website’s pages for future use. On return visits, the browser will serve the copy of your site instead of making a new request to your server.
This reduces overall server requests. Although not all parts of your website can be cached, enabling browser caching for as much of your website as possible will significantly lower your TTFB.
Fortunately, caching is easy to implement with the right WordPress plugins.
This article was written by Will Morris and originally published on ManageWP.