What is the time for the first byte (TTFB)?
When someone selects your website on Google, their web browser requests information – or bytes – from a server. TTFB is the number of milliseconds it takes for a browser to receive the first byte of a response from your web server.
Time spent waiting for initial response, also known as time to first byte. This time captures the latency of a round trip to the server in addition to the time spent waiting for the server to respond.
A website with a high TTFB may disappoint its visitors. If your web server page takes too long to send the first byte of the request, two problems may occur:
Visitors to your website will leave your site and instead visit your competitor’s site
Your website’s SERP rank may suffer because Google takes the TTFB into account
What Causes Slower TTFB?
Four causes of slow TTFB are:
- High web traffic
- Network problems
- Dynamic content:
- disk usage
- disk speed
- RAM usage
- database setup
- database speed
- Server configuration:
- PHP/ASP settings
- database settings
- shared server?
6 ways to improve TTFB:
1. Use a Content Delivery Network
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a geographically distributed network of servers that allows users to download data from websites they are visiting using the nearest network node. This way the website will be faster in both download and page load and the user experience will improve. The use of a CDN is not required for all types of websites, so it is useful to understand if there is any point in using that service.
2. Optimize Application Code
Application code is an important part in website optimization. Several actions help speed up TTFB as application code: reverse proxy to add load balancer and cache static and dynamic content, update software installed on web servers, speed up applications and secure them Use the server. In addition, compress data and implement HTTP / 2, as well as monitor web server performance and live activities to identify potential bottlenecks.
3. Optimization of database queries
To optimize a database query you first need to build the index properly and retrieve only the data that you really need. Also, avoid using the operator’s left-hand functions, so you don’t have to read the entire database to answer the query. Also avoid correlated sub-categories, as they depend on other queries and slow down the process.
4. Reduce HTTP Requests
5. Ensure a faster server response time
6. Use Response First, Process After (RFPL) cache
With this cache method the user quickly sees the previously cached response and at the same time, the server still processes the request in the background. In this way users are not awaited feedback.
When improving TTFB, there are several details to consider. Those who follow measures to improve their TTFB and enjoy competitive advantage. Like SEO and other labor intensive website initiatives that give consumers a better experience, it is all worth it at the end of the day.