How to reduce TTFB?
Last Updated on 23rd September 2023 by Ajmer Singh
Time to first byte (TTFB) is a measure of the time it takes for a browser to receive the first byte of a response from a web server.
A high TTFB can negatively impact the user experience, as it increases the time it takes for a webpage to load.
There are several ways to reduce TTFB, including optimizing server-side processes, using a content delivery network (CDN), and reducing the size of resources sent to the browser.
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4 Ways to reduce TTFB
Time to First Byte (TTFB) is a measure of the time it takes for a browser to receive the first byte of a response from a web server.
It is an important metric for website performance as it directly impacts the user experience.
A high TTFB can lead to slow page load times, increased bounce rates, and a poor user experience.
In this guide, we will explore ways to reduce TTFB and improve website performance.
1. Identifying the causes of high TTFB
There are several factors that can contribute to high TTFB, including:
A. Server response time:
The time it takes for the server to process a request and generate a response.
This can be affected by the server’s hardware and software, as well as the complexity of the request.
B. Network latency:
The time it takes for a request to travel from the browser to the server and for the response to travel back.
This can be affected by the distance between the browser and the server, as well as the quality of the network connection.
C. DNS lookup time:
The time it takes for the browser to look up the IP address of the domain name in the request.
This can be affected by the location of the DNS server and the number of DNS requests.
D. Content delivery:
The time it takes for the server to deliver the response to the browser.
This can be affected by the size of the response and the number of resources that need to be delivered.
2. Optimizing the server
A. Optimizing server configurations:
There are several ways to optimize the server’s configurations to improve TTFB.
For example, using a faster web server software, such as Nginx or Apache, and configuring the server to handle more concurrent connections can speed up response times.
Additionally, using a reverse proxy server, such as Varnish, can cache responses and reduce the load on the web server.
B. Caching techniques:
Caching can greatly reduce TTFB by storing frequently requested resources on the server and delivering them to the browser without having to generate a new response.
There are several caching techniques that can be used, including server-side caching, client-side caching, and reverse proxy caching.
C. Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN):
A CDN is a network of servers located in different geographic locations that can deliver content to the browser more quickly.
By using a CDN, the browser can request resources from a server that is geographically closer to it, reducing network latency and improving TTFB.
3. Minimizing external requests
A. Combining and minifying resources:
Reducing the number of requests that the browser has to make can significantly improve TTFB.
B. Using browser caching:
Browser caching allows the browser to store resources locally so that it does not have to request them again on subsequent page loads.
By setting the appropriate caching headers, the browser can cache resources for a specified period of time, reducing TTFB.
C. Reducing the number of redirects:
Each redirect requires an additional HTTP request-response cycle, which can increase TTFB.
Reducing the number of redirects on a website can help to improve TTFB.
4. Monitoring TTFB
A. Tools for measuring TTFB:
There are several tools available for measuring TTFB, including online tools such as Speedvitals and GTmetrix.
These tools can provide detailed information about TTFB, as well as other performance metrics.
B. Setting performance benchmarks:
It is essential to establish performance benchmarks for TTFB to measure the impact of any optimizations you make.
This will also help you to identify any issues that may arise in the future.
C. Analyzing and troubleshooting TTFB issues:
By monitoring TTFB and other performance metrics, you can identify any issues that may be contributing to high TTFB.
This can include identifying specific pages or resources that are causing the problem and identifying patterns in user behaviour that may be contributing to the issue.
Once identified, you can then take steps to optimize and resolve the issue.
TTFB (Time to First Byte) is a common issue and most of the bloggers working on their website speed are looking for a solution to this problem.
If you search for “How to reduce TTFB” you can get many solutions; the most common is to change your host or upgrade your host.
I believe that changing your host to a fast web host will work but I have a different solution.
I am also using Cloudways which is a cloud host and very fast in terms of speed and performance.
However, you can also get cloudways for 20% off using code AJMER20 (with 3 days free trial) and Cloudways is cheaper than shared hosts in the long term.
Yes, changing to a fast host works, but what about those people who don’t have money or use cheap web hosts like Bluehost?
After a lot of experiments and failures, I finally achieved 99+ scores in Gtmetrix and Google pagespeed insights.
That was a tough 10 days but I finally got a solution.
For those who don’t want to change their host or don’t have money to upgrade their host try this solution and let me know in the comments section if it works or not.
Quick Fix to reduce TTFB? (Time to First Byte)
To reduce the TTFB you have to connect your site with Cloudflare CDN and install Cloudflare super page cache plugin.
You need to configure Cloudflare CDN with proper settings. I have already published a post regarding Cloudflare’s best settings that I use.
But only connecting your site with CDN is not the solution.
The super page cache plugin for Cloudflare is the main solution that works for reducing TTFB.
The default settings for the plugin work perfectly, just activate the page cache after installing the plugin.
After adding both, go to Gtmetrix and check your TTFB.
Advantages of Reducing TTFB:
1. Faster website:
By reducing TTFB (Time to First Byte), the website will load faster for the user, resulting in a better user experience.
2. Better search engine rankings:
Search engines like Google take website speed into account when ranking websites, so reducing TTFB can improve a website’s search engine ranking.
3. Improved conversion rates:
Faster website speed and a better user experience can lead to improved conversion rates, as users are more likely to make a purchase or complete a desired action on a fast-loading website.
Disadvantages of Reducing TTFB:
1. Technical expertise required:
Reducing TTFB may require technical knowledge and experience, and the solutions may not be immediately obvious or easy to implement.
Some solutions to reducing TTFB may require additional hardware or software, which can be expensive.
3. Potential for unintended consequences:
Making changes to a website’s infrastructure or code to reduce TTFB can have unintended consequences, such as causing other parts of the website to break or reducing security.
It is important to thoroughly test any changes before implementing them.
My TTFB Results (at Speedvitals)
- Cloudways Digital Ocean Premium
- Themify Ultra Theme
- Cloudflare CDN
- Cloudflare page cache plugin
In this guide, we have discussed several ways to reduce TTFB and improve website performance.
By optimizing the server, minimizing external requests, and monitoring TTFB, you can improve the user experience and increase the speed of your website.
Remember that TTFB is an important metric for website performance, but it is not the only one, and it’s good practice to monitor other metrics like load time, render time and more.
Also, it’s important to regularly monitor and test your website to ensure that it remains fast and responsive.
Let me know in the comments if the quick solution works.
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