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TTFB: Time to First Byte – What it is, high TTFB causes, and fixes

By Aqsa Jamil Published 24 Nov, 2022 Modified 27 Nov, 2022 Viewed 44 times Read in 2m 15s
Content Validity: Valid and Applicable Comprehension: Level 2 – For Professionals

In this guide, you'll learn about TTFB (Time to First Byte), major factors that contribute to high TTFB time, optimization opportunities, and its impact on traffic.

Time to receive first byte of content from the server to the browser is known as TTFB.

What contributes to TTFB time?

TTFB time depends on server-side, web/app side, and client-side activities. Usually we optimize our server-side and website or web app side to reduce server response time.

Since client-side optimization for TTFB is beyond our control, we focus on what possibly could be improved on server and development end.

What are common causes of high TTFB time?

The common causes of high TTFB are a mix of server-side and web/app development side issues.

Common server-side issues that contributes to high TTFB time

  • lack of memory (RAM/CPU) available or allocated to resources
  • no server-side caching to accept or deliver requests
  • misconfigured settings for script executions and others

Common client-side issues for apparently bad TTFB

  • Slow internet connection or poor network speed
  • Throttling in the network even on good connection

Common website or application side issues that cause high TTFB

  • no caching setup for resources such as for images, CSS/JS files, and
  • unoptimized content delivery such as no content compression, unprioritized resources, and more
  • poor code structure such as repeated calls, no reusability, unnecessary header load, and more
  • missing technical improvements such as better protocol, crawler hints, preloads, and more
  • Intentionally added complexity to system such as unnecessarily tons of things & features leading to use of tons of 3rd party scripts and resources

Based on performance lab tests, UX research, and expert analysis, TTFB time should be below 100ms.

How to reduce TTFB or improve server response time?

Depending upon your server and technology stack, you can optimize several factors. Following guides shall help you reduce TTFB (time to first byte) on different servers.

Note: We’re updating all the following technical guides to make them easy to understand. Please bookmark this page and check back later.

If you need immediate premium (paid) support directly from our team on reducing TTFB on your server, please leave a feedback under this post.

Server-side optimizations for TTFB

  • Reduce TTFB on Apache Server (Cloud/Dedicated/VPS Hosting) – (Applicable on WordPress sites, Digital Ocean WordPress Droplet, or other Apache/PHP based servers on Linux/Ubuntu Distributions)
  • Reduce TTFB from Apache Server on Shared Hosting
  • Reduce TTFB on NGIXN/PHP server (not Apache installed)

Website or Web Application Side optimizations to reduce TTFB

  • Reduce TTFB on WPEngine
  • Improve TTFB on Godaddy Managed Hosting
  • Reduce TTFB on WordPress.com Hosted Sites
  • Reduce TTFB on Magento
  • Reduce TTFB on Shopify
  • Improve TTFB on Wix sites

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