When you’re running a website on WordPress or any other platform, it’s important that the site be fast and responsive for visitors.
This means short page load times and instantaneous response when they click a button, navigate to another page, checkout on a shopping cart, or take another action.
40% of people will abandon a website that takes over 3 seconds to load.
Every second matters in webpage performance, because a slow loading site can hurt many of your marketing efforts. You may be working hard on an SEO optimization strategy or paying for PPC ads. A page that takes too long to respond can significantly hurt the results of all that time and money.
One of the important factors when it comes to WordPress site speed and performance is TTFB and how it relates to server response time.
TTFB is an acronym for Time to First Byte. This is the amount of time that it takes a web browser to display the first byte of data on a site.
When someone types in a URL, their browser is requesting that your web server give them the corresponding page and all its content. Fast servers will respond quickly, and TTFB will be low. Slower servers will have a higher TTFB, which means they’re not as responsive, and your site speed and experience can suffer as a result.
TTFB includes three components:
- The request sent to the server via the browser (HTTP request)
- Processing of that request by the server (matching the request to the content)
- Transmission of the request, which shows up as your webpage in the requester’s browser
What’s the Difference Between Page Speed & TTFB?
TTFB and website speed are not synonymous. The speed at which a webpage loads for a visitor includes multiple factors, one of which is TTFB.
Server response is what Time to First Byte is measuring, which can be a major factor for slowing page load times. Other factors may be the use of images that are too big or script that isn’t optimized or minified.
If you’ve optimized your site as much as you can by addressing page content, but still find you have long page load times, the culprit could be a slow TTFB. This points to your web server not processing the HTTP request and serving up content in a timely manner.
How To Test for Your WordPress Site’s TTFB
Before you get into testing for TTFB, it’s important to understand what the “gold standard” or acceptable server response times should be for sending back the first byte of data.
Here is a general rule of thumb for acceptable TTFB times:
- Excellent: 100ms and lower
- Great: 100ms to 300ms
- Good: 300ms to 500ms
- Poor: Over 500ms
There are several different websites you can use that will test your site’s TTFB. Here are a few resources:
How to Reduce Your TTFB & Improve Server Response Time
How can you improve your TTFB if you find that it’s not great and your site is taking too long to load as a result?
Upgrade Your Hosting
One initial place to look for poor server response time is your website host. If you have a lower priced plan, you may find that a slow TTFB is a result.
Check with your webhost to see if the slow TTFB may be a result of server performance on their side, and upgrade or move hosts if needed.
Optimize Your WordPress Database
WordPress is database driven, which means that each page being rendered has to check one or more databases for things like images, text, menus, and other site resources.
Some of the ways you can optimize your WordPress database include:
- Automate database cleanups with a plugin
- Clean up post revisions and drafts that aren’t needed
- Delete plugins (not just deactivate) that you don’t use
Use a Caching Plugin
Caching your site reduces the number of resources that have to be loaded for a visitor, which means faster site speed on subsequent site visits or for pages that share the same resources.
A caching plugin will reduce the number of requests made to your web server, which can improve its response time for the requests it does receive.
Use a CDN (like Cloud Flare)
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) help shoulder the burden of delivering your website to visitors by hosting your content on a network of servers. These servers then deliver your site based on the server with the closest proximity to the request, which improves delivery speed.
CDNs can improve TTFB by taking over some of the delivery duties so your web server isn’t doing all the work itself.
Optimize Your WordPress Site & Keep it Running Smoothly
Trying to understand which plugins work well together and how to optimize your TTFB can be complex. Simplify, reduce stress, and optimize your site speed by working with Data First Solutions. We offer exert WordPress website management services to Canadian businesses.
Contact us today to book a free website assessment.
Call 1(855)DATA-1ST or book your assessment online.