One of the keys to a good server is a fast response time. If you do not have one that acts with the appropriate speed, it will be useless if your images are as compact as possible or how the scripts are compressed.
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However, it is also important to take into consideration that only to a certain extent is it possible to control your server. But on the other hand, some factors can help your site load faster.
Therefore, these will be revealed below.
So in this article, we will learn how to reduce server response times (TTFB) in WordPress Websites.
What is the Time To First Byte (TTFB)?
The Time To First Byte ( TTFB ) or time until the delivery of the first byte is the time it takes for the server to provide us with the first byte since we made the request. A request can be to access a website, retrieve data from a website, obtain the value of a query to the database, etc. But the time to the first byte is indeed more related to the load of the web.
When does the Time To First Byte (TTFB) Occur?
I have already explained to you what the time to the first byte is, now I want you to understand when it is produced or measured. When you access a web page there is a course of requests and responses that you cannot see at first glance. But until the first piece or byte of information is delivered to you these things happen:
- I am interested in accessing example.com so I open my browser and put in the URL: https://example.com. We have not yet given “Enter” to execute the request.
- At the moment we give “Enter”, our Internet provider makes a call to the DNS of the brand.com domain. There we are already consuming time.
- The DNS servers of the example.com domain say that the web is at 184.108.40.206. We continue to consume time.
- We then go to 220.127.116.11 to “ knock on the door ”. The server can be busy and until it serves us the response time continues to grow.
- Finally, the server attends us and “asks you what you want (What is your request?)”. The waiting time again continues to grow.
- Once it processes our request, with its response elaboration mechanism, it delivers it to us. Right at that moment, it gives us the first byte.
Since we pressed the “Enter” key to access example.com, a lot has happened, but all this in seconds thanks to the magic of telecommunications. So from the moment we started the request until the server gave us the first piece of information, this is what is called time to the first byte.
How to Reduce Server Response Times (TTFB)?
Reduce the number of plugins
WordPress is WordPress thanks to its plugins, which are some of its greatest advantages. It is not for less, since this helps to expand the scope of the platform to an optimal level.
But it is necessary to reduce the number of plugins used if you want speed since some of them reduce speed.
For example, is it necessary to add a Favicon to your site when you can add the code to your theme instead?
Also part of this is to differentiate the plugins that affect the performance of the server and those that do not. Since certain liabilities do not affect anything.
In WordPress, multiple calls to the server are required when a user proceeds to send a request to search for a page. This occurs because it is necessary to extract static resources from the subject, be they images or texts. And although this process is not excessively heavy, imagine not just one user but hundreds or thousands doing this same process.
That is why it is best to create and represent the page for a single person, to later show the rendered version that has been saved for others.
This works if the page is not subject to person-to-person changes. That is why caching is the tool that will allow your server to save rendered versions of other sites. Something that will end up reducing server load due to reduced server calls.
Some good cache plugins:
- WP Rocket
- WP Super Cache
- WP Fastest Cache
- Autoptimize etc
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
The time it takes to load the content of a page from your server is enormous, the images and videos that you can view are included. Something that increases depending on how far the server is geographically away from the user.
This was the reason behind the creation of the Content Delivery Network (CDN), whose main purpose is to accelerate the sites by lowering the load of the contents of your server.
Therefore, to have more resources on the server to dedicate to uploading images, an excellent Content Delivery Network is needed. In addition to configuring it as best as possible and downloading it of course.
Choose a good web host
Some aspects of choosing a good website hosting:
- That the server has SSD disks and good RAM memory to receive requests and process them faster compared to servers with HDD disks (Intended for storage rather than processing).
- That the server does not have overloads. A server is still a “robot” that responds to requests. The more requests you have, the longer it takes to respond. This is what overselling means. Sell every last megabyte of RAM and megabyte of the hard disk. You overload the server and it has to solve all of them. That is why response times are increased.
- Don’t choose a server that is too far from your operations center. That is if your business is in India but you have servers in America, the latency time is higher than if a server were in your own country. Try to host your website on a server as close to your core of operations or to the majority of web traffic that visits you.
- Following up on the previous point, if the server is very far away, the DNS resolution will be much higher since the jumps that our ISP has to make to find the server that can resolve the DNS for you is greater. Luckily the DNS servers cache the requests and the first jump that the ISP makes can already find the answer if someone asked for that request in the past.
- If the server has a very strict firewall, the response time may be increased.
Some best Web hosting that you can try:
Minimize external resources
IF you don’t know, external queries are those that occur when your server requires calling another server to obtain some kind of information. And these consultations regardless of their duration, manage to add delay time to calls.
The time increases depending on how long it takes the other server or page to prepare and send the photos that you are requesting. So it is best to try to minimize this action.
Optimize database, files, and images
Also, you can serve Images in next-gen formats such as in WebP format.
It is also essential to optimize the database so that the response time between the client’s request and the server’s response is much shorter.
Update to Latest PHP Version
Plugin updates are also a key to the architecture of your server, therefore it is a point to which you must always pay attention. With this in mind, if you upgrade to PHP you will be able to implement massive performance improvements in your transition from PHP6 to PHP7.
And updating PHP7 can take advantage of those performance improvements.
The list to reduce server response time with WordPress continues with other options such as:
Clean up the Old Baggage: The older a site is, the more unnecessary accumulated material will need to be deleted (old disabled plugins, unused themes, etc.)
Use update services: If you notice that your server is not performing as it should because there are too many sites on it, updating your host, although it could be expensive, could bring you impressive benefits related to quality.
Best Plugins to fix Server Response Times (TTFB)
Now that we have outlined the staging strategy and expanded the tips to be used, let’s take a look at the caching plugins that will help you to fix Server Response Times. Aside from WP Rocket, we find some of more best plugins in the WordPress plugin directory.
These are the best WordPress plugins to fix TTFB based on their popularity and the number of active installations.
- WP Rocket (WP Rocket plugin setup)
- WP Super Cache (WP Super Cache setup)
- W3 Total Cache (W3 Total Cache setup)
- WP Fastest Cache (WP Fastest Cache Plugin Setup)
- Autoptimize (Autoptimize plugin setup)
- LiteSpeed Cache (LiteSpeed cache plugin setup)
Does the time to the first byte affect web positioning (SEO)?
Of course! Very much in addition. Think that Google has an army of servers available to track the world’s websites and that you are one of those websites. Google will assign you a Crawl Budget and if your website takes longer to load than Google has assigned you, you have a problem since they will never see what is on your website. It will leave before seeing what is on your website and it will not index you, ergo then, your ability to access Google is very low!
It is always good to leave these issues to professional people in the sector because you face a somewhat tedious process that can make your website stop working (You can cause 500 or 400 errors). Above you have seen a summary of the steps that must be done to reduce server response times in WordPress or optimize the time to the first byte.
Working with WordPress helps and simplifies the process a lot, but there is always the risk that something goes wrong and your entire website will be unusable. Can you imagine your website with more than 10,000 dropped customers? Do you want to lose visits and sales for not having left the project in the hands of professionals? Get in touch with us.
We have a development team that fixes CWV (Core Web Vitals) errors significantly for our clients for highest Website Speed and Performance. So drop us a message or see our Affordable Pricing if you’re struggling with Core Web Vitals stuff, and we’ll fix all Core Web Vitals errors for you.
Hopefully, this article is useful and can help you in optimizing your blog.