While webmasters can often overlook it, TTFB is an essential performance indicator which can make or break your website’s SEO. TTFB or Time To First Byte measures the time your user has to wait until the first byte of data is being displayed in the browser. The longer the TTFB, the longer it takes to start showing your website.
TTFB & WordPress – Why is it relevant?
As stated above, TTFB or time to the first byte is an essential performance indicator which also influences your SEO and the web visibility in Google search engine. But how?
Google likes faster loading websites and pushes slow-loading sites into the dreaded second and third SERPS – the second and third pages of Google have a 3% click-through rate on average.
Google’s John Mueller recommends a total loading time faster than 2-3 seconds per page.
Your total website loading time also includes your TTFB, since that’s the first byte to be displayed in the user’s client. Websites with longer TTFBs can be frustrating to users and rank lower in the eyes search engines. If you’re running your site on a slower server, you can expect the following problems:
- Your websites bounce rate will go up, lowering your SERP ranking
- Your websites SERP ranking will go down further due to longer loading times AND a higher bounce rate
Checking your website’s TTFB score
Testing your site’s TTFB score is similar to checking your PageSpeed Insights, and it can be done on multiple websites – take your pick!
GTmetrix is simple to use – just submit your link and wait for the results. In GTmetrix, TTFB is referred to as “wait time”.
Webpagetest gives scores from A to F, depending on your results. For every 100 ms over the optimal results, a letter is deducted from your score.
Pingdom refers to TTFB as “wait time,” just like GTmetrix. You can use this site to check other valuable stats regarding your server speed as well.
Once you submitted your website’s link, it’s time to interpret the results. This can be a little bit more complicated, but as a rule of thumb, the following will do:
- < 100 ms TTFB – great
- 100-200 ms TTFB – good and recommended by Google PageSpeed Insights
- 300-500 ms TTFB – standard for dynamic content websites such as WordPress-based sites
- > 600 ms TTFB – bad and a negative factor in your SEO and UX.
Wp Residence theme has a TTFB score of 362ms.
Improving your websites TTFB score
Enhancing your sites TTFB can be a bit trickier than checking your results. If you get stuck, you can ask for help.
Get a speedier server, and that will significantly reduce your TTFB and improve your overall loading speed. Also, if you’re running a “local” website, it’s a good idea to pick a server based closer to your potential customers.
Keeping your WordPress plugins to a minimum is also a good idea since the more plugins you use the more of a chance to slow your TTFB.
Content delivery network
If you have potential customers from all around the world, a CDN or content delivery network is the ideal choice for you – the CDN is a multitude of servers located in different parts of the world or continent. When a visitor clicks your website, it will be loaded from the server closer to him, thus reducing loading time and TTFB as well.
WordPress offers plenty of caching plugins, with WP Rocket probably being the best of the lot. This plugin will greatly reduce server processing time by caching your dynamic pages.