Increasing page speed is central to organic rankings and UX. To first diagnose areas where you can benefit, is a good place to start Google PageSpeed Insights which gives you recommendations.
When looking at time to first byte (TTFB), you need to carefully consider the technical factors that go beyond what you can find in tools that provide you with top-notch recommendations. We are now looking at the TTFB and what we can do to improve it.
What is the time to first byte (TTFB)?
TTFB is the number of milliseconds (ms) that users initially wait for their web browser to request information (bytes) from the server.
Round-trip time (RTT) is also considered – this is the time when a browser request arrives at the server so that the server returns a response and forwards it back to the browser.
It’s worth remembering the longer the TTFB is, the slower the page. This can result in:
- The content of the website may not be positioned as well as possible
- Traffic can go to alternative websites in the SERPs that are more reliable.
- Conversions go to your competitors.
- Traffic is not related to content. You inevitably have a high bounce rate and a low average pageview time.
Did you know that TTFB is the essence of the web?
If you missed it on 05.05.2020, Google will new ranking algorithm which focuses on the page experience. We can now learn more about Google search alerts for an on-page experience through three additional metrics that complement existing alerts.
Together First meaningful color (FCP), (which is the time it takes to start loading the first item on the page) TTFB (the first measurement of how long queries return from the host server) are both crucial for analysis.
By researching TTFB and FCP together, you can see where the opportunities are greatest Maximum Meaningful Color (LCP). This is a recognized page load metric that indicates the point where the main content of the page is expected to load.
What is a good TTFB?
The TTBF recommendation for pages is less than 200 ms. You can see it on the page Tools for web developers. It is also confirmed that a Lighthouse the audit fails when the browser takes more than 600 ms to get a response from the server indicating that it is considered a poor TTFB. (source web design)
TTFB: how to measure it?
If you are a Chrome user, you can measure TTFB using their DevTools. To do this, right-click the “check” button on any item on the page, then click the “network connection” button in the top bar and refresh the page. See below.
Of course, many other tools can be used to measure this, and each has a slightly different way of measuring meters. For consistency across multiple pages, it’s worth diving into the options and staying alone.
TTFB: Fix it!
Several factors need to be considered to optimize the TTFB. Your CMS and its limitations on how your content is consolidated on site are some examples. There is no way to do this, but there are some optimization methods to look at on your site if you have optimization restrictions and other optimizations have not yielded the expected results.
CMS: Are your plug-ins up to date?
Old or outdated CMS plug-ins can cause a slower TTFB. When new version notifications arrive, it is important to update them not only for TTFB but also for security reasons.
Implement transport layer security (TLS 1.3)
Compared to SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption, TLS provides a secure connection between web browsers and servers. Since 1999, TLS has undergone 3 iterations:
- TLS 1.3, defined in August 2018, is faster than SSL and earlier versions of TLS due to the specification of its handshake (the process of establishing an HTTPS connection).
- The TLS 1.3 handshake only covers one round trip, not three. As a result, websites with TLS 1.3 encryption have less latency.
Using a CDN (content network)
CDNs are exposed to anyone who uses the network while browsing. CDNs reduce the distance between users and site content by compressing and caching pages and distributing them to points of interest (PoPs). PoPs are access points where a connection is shared between two or more networks or devices.
The PoP closest to the user serves web pages, significantly improving the TTFB and making its speed much better.
More specific CDNs such as Cloud light provide advanced image rendering. If your site has a lot of images and uses them to advertise and sell products, this would be a sensible consideration when looking at the TTFB.
WordPress platform optimization
Cloudflare announced their launch Automatic Platform Optimization (APO) service October 2020, originally available to WordPress customers using Cloudflare. This is a very inexpensive solution that has a very positive effect on TTFB and it also reduces the color and speed index of the first content.
Servers that are close to the location of your main audience
When considering budget constraints in a specific region or with a primary audience in a specific country, you may want to look at making your hosting server closer to users, rather than funding a CDN. The shorter the distance, the faster the speed. This allows traffic to be served quickly and it improves the engagement and experience of a particular user.
Gzip compression: enable it!
Gzip Compression automatically compresses web pages and associated style sheets before sending them to the browser. This, of course, depends on the configuration of the CMS and may already be activated. (such as Apache or IIS) Compression improves page load times and file transfers server and browser.
Update your DNS
By purchasing premium DNS – not the free version you get when you buy a domain – you have a more secure domain in the event of a cyber attack, and it’s much faster and more secure. This in turn benefits the TTFB.
To summarize the above points and key excerpts, the following are important ways to improve the TTFB. Of course, there are only so many ways and options to improve TTFB, and so there is a key use if you can.
- Move your host server closer to your main audience
- Keep CMS plug-ins up to date
- Implement TLS 1.3 encryption
- Using the Content Network (CDN)
- Activate Gzip compression
- Transition to premium DNS
We’d love to hear how you and your business are doing with TTFBs! Get in touch and we would be happy to help you through this process or any other SEO need.