[Fixed] TTFB vs Server Response Time | How to Fix it in 2023?

TTFB (Time To First Byte) and server response time are both measures of the performance of a web server. They are similar in that they both measure the time it takes for a server to respond to a client’s request, but they are different in the specific point in the process that they measure.

TTFB measures the time it takes for the first byte of data to be received by the client after a request is made. This includes the time it takes for the server to receive the request, process it, and send the first byte of the response back to the client. TTFB is a measure of how long it takes for the server to begin sending the response to the client and is often used as an indicator of the server’s overall performance.

Server response time, on the other hand, measures the time it takes for the server to complete the processing of the request and send the full response back to the client. This includes the time it takes for the server to receive the request, process it, and send the full response back to the client. Server response time is a measure of how long it takes for the server to complete the processing of the request and send the full response back to the client.

Understanding TTFB and Server Response in Details

The process of TTFB (Time To First Byte) can be broken down into several steps:

  1. The user types in a URL or clicks on a link, which sends an HTTP request to the server. The request contains information such as the URL, the type of request (GET, POST, etc.), and any additional data that needs to be sent to the server.
  2. The server receives the request and begins processing it. This can include checking for any required authentication, looking up the requested URL in the server’s routing table, and querying the database for any required information.
  3. The server generates the response, which can include HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images, and other resources. The server packages the response in an HTTP response and sends it back to the client.
  4. The client receives the first byte of the response and TTFB is measured from the time the request was sent until the time the first byte of the response is received.
  5. The client begins to parse the response and render the page. The browser starts to download and parse the HTML document, and then it makes requests to download all the other resources mentioned in the HTML, like images, CSS, and JS files.

It’s worth noting that TTFB is a measurement of the time it takes for the server to begin sending the response to the client, not the time it takes for the entire page to load. While server response time is a measurement of the time it takes for the server to complete the processing of the request and send the full response back to the client, including all resources. However, both slow TTFB and slow server response time can indicate that there may be delays in the server-side processing of the request, which can lead to a slower overall page load time.

It’s also worth noting that TTFB can be affected by various factors such as network latency, server location, the complexity of the website, the hosting provider, and the optimization of the website. A low TTFB is generally considered to be under 200ms and a high TTFB is considered to be over 500ms.

In summary, TTFB is a measure of the time it takes for the server to begin sending the response to the client, while server response time is a measure of the time it takes for the server to complete the processing of the request and send the full response back to the client.

Both TTFB and server response time are important for understanding the performance of a web server and for optimizing the user experience. A low TTFB and server response time can indicate a fast and well-performing server, while a high TTFB and server response time can indicate a slow or overloaded server.

What causes Bad TTFB and slow server response time?

There are a number of factors that can cause slow TTFB and slow server response time, particularly for a PHP CMS like WordPress with WooCommerce. Some common causes include:

  1. Insufficient server resources: A server that is underpowered or overloaded can struggle to handle the number of requests it receives, leading to slow TTFB and server response times. This can be caused by a lack of RAM, CPU, or disk space on the server, or by too many concurrent users accessing the site.
  2. Unoptimized database: A database that is not properly optimized can slow down the process of retrieving and processing data, leading to slow TTFB and server response times. This can be caused by large and complex database queries, or by a large number of tables and indexes.
  3. Unoptimized PHP code: PHP code that is not properly optimized can slow down the process of generating and delivering the response, leading to slow TTFB and server response times. This can be caused by inefficient code that performs unnecessary operations, or by code that is not properly structured.
  4. Unoptimized plugins: Plugins that are not properly optimized can slow down the process of generating and delivering the response, leading to slow TTFB and server response times. This can be caused by plugins that are poorly coded, or by plugins that are not properly configured.
  5. High traffic: High traffic can slow down the process of generating and delivering the response, leading to slow TTFB and server response times. This can be caused by a large number of concurrent users accessing the site, or by a large number of requests being made to the server.
  6. Network Latency: if the server is located far away from the client, the network latency can increase the TTFB and server response time.
  7. CDN and caching: if the website doesn’t use CDN and caching, the server has to handle all the requests and it can increase TTFB and server response time

How to Fix Slow TTFB and Server Response time Issue?

To improve TTFB and server response time, website owners and developers can take a number of steps. Some common techniques include:

  1. Upgrading server resources: Increasing the amount of RAM, CPU, and disk space on the server can help to improve TTFB and server response time.
  2. Optimizing database: Optimizing the database by simplifying and indexing tables can help to improve TTFB and server response time.
  3. Optimizing PHP code: Optimizing PHP code by removing unnecessary operations and structuring it properly can help to improve TTFB and server response time.
  4. Optimizing plugins: Optimizing plugins by removing unnecessary functionality and configuring them properly can help to improve TTFB and server response time.
  5. Implementing caching and CDN: Implementing caching and CDN can help to improve TTFB and server response time by reducing the number of requests made to the server.
  6. Scaling: if the website is getting high traffic, it’s important to scale the server to handle the traffic.

In short, slow TTFB and slow server, response time can be caused by a number of factors, including insufficient server resources, unoptimized database, unoptimized PHP code, unoptimized plugins, high traffic, network latency, and poor caching and CDN implementation. Website owners and developers can take steps to improve TTFB and server response time by upgrading server resources, optimizing the database, optimizing PHP code, optimizing plugins, implementing caching and CDN, and scaling.

Effect of TTFB and Server Response time on Website Speed, Core Web Vitals, User Experience, and Conversion

Slow TTFB and server response time can have a significant impact on the Core Web Vitals, overall speed, user experience, and conversion.

First, slow TTFB and server response time can negatively affect the Core Web Vitals, specifically the metrics of First Contentful Paint (FCP) and Speed Index. A slow TTFB can cause a delay in the time it takes for the first byte of data to be received by the client, resulting in a slower FCP. A slow server response time can cause a delay in the time it takes for the server to complete the processing of the request and send the full response back to the client, resulting in a slower speed index.

Additionally, slow TTFB and server response time can negatively affect overall speed by increasing the time it takes for a website to load and be available to the user. This can lead to high bounce rates as users quickly become frustrated and leave the site.

Furthermore, slow TTFB and server response time can negatively affect the user experience by causing delays and making the website feel unresponsive. This can lead to users feeling frustrated and disengaged, which can negatively impact conversion rates.

In terms of conversion, slow TTFB and server response time can negatively impact conversion rates by causing delays and making the website feel unresponsive. This can lead to users feeling frustrated and disengaged, and less likely to complete their intended actions such as making a purchase or filling out a form.

To improve TTFB and server response time, website owners and developers can take a number of steps such as upgrading server resources, optimizing the database, optimizing PHP code, optimizing plugins, implementing caching and CDN, and scaling. By improving TTFB and server response time, website owners can improve the Core Web Vitals, overall speed, user experience, and conversion rates.

In conclusion, Slow TTFB and server response time can have a negative impact on the Core Web Vitals, overall speed, user experience, and conversion. By addressing the underlying causes and implementing optimizations, website owners can improve TTFB and server response time, resulting in a better user experience, higher conversion rates, and better visibility on search engines.

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Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh

WordPress Developer Since 2017, Passion of Learning and Helping Others to Learn and Grow

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