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Guide to Reducing Server Response Times (TTFB)

Last updated: Dec 22, 2022

Guide to Reducing Server Response Times (TTFB)
Cover image: Illustration of server response time, which is one aspect of measuring user experience. Learn about the full discussion in this guide.

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Google evaluates a website's quality based on its performance from various angles. One of the main aspects to pay attention to in this case is the user experience. To provide users with a good browsing experience, you need to implement ways to reduce server response times (TTFB).

Time to First Byte, or TTFB, refers to the time it takes a user to receive the first byte of data from a web page from the server. TTFB can be said to be one of the metrics in SEO that is closely related to loading speed.

So, how important is TTFB in SEO? To find out more about Time to First Byte (TTFB) and its role in website optimization activities, see the discussion below.

Learn about Time To First Byte (TTFB)

TTFB is a web development metric used to measure how responsive a server is in sending data on a page to a user's device. With this metric, web developers can identify problems that might occur on the server.

In short, TTFB is the time it takes for the server to respond to a data request. This time is an accumulation of redirects, DNS lookups, connection negotiations, TLS, and finally the request itself until the response is received.

TTFB score is measured by a standard similar to Core Web Vitals metrics. To get a "Good" rating, the server needs to respond quickly to navigation requests. Generally, websites need to have a Time to First Byte of less than or equal to 0.8 seconds.

The Importance of TTFB in SEO

page loading
Figure 1: Illustration of the website page loading process, which is one of the important metrics in SEO. 

 In website management, the thing that needs to be considered is user comfort when opening pages to get information. As a result, Time to First Byte (TTFB) is an important metric for measuring user experience.

Some SEO practitioners consider TTFB as an aspect that is not so important in optimization activities. However, this is not fully agreed upon by other SEO specialists, who consider that TTFB is a valuable metric and can be used to add insight regarding the size of the page data bytes and the length of time it takes the user to load the page.

Therefore, reducing server response time (TTFB) can have a positive impact on the user experience, which is an important metric in SEO. This can expedite the page loading process so that the bounce rate will decrease.

Tools to Measure TTFB

To measure response time (TTFB), you need to know three factors that influence it. Some of them are remote server locations, too many plugins, the unavailability of a caching system, and poor server performance.

The three main elements in TTFB are:

  • The time it takes for a request to pass through the network and reach the server
  • The time it takes for the web server to process the request and provide a response
  • The time it takes for the response to pass through the network and back to the user's browser

Now that you are familiar with the elements above, you can measure response time using PageSpeed Insights. These Google tools can help you find out a website's speed. Several factors, including Time to First Byte, can be seen when checking page speed. If the result exceeds 0.8 seconds, then you need to reduce the server response time (TTFB).

Tips to Reduce Server Response Times (TTFB)

reduce server response time (ttfb)
Figure 2: Illustration of the website developer team's process for determining page designs that can be loaded in a short time by users.

Server response time can determine how long it takes to load website pages from the user's side. This can have a negative impact on the website's image in the eyes of visitors. If not addressed immediately, the ranking of website pages can decrease over time.

In order for website pages to load quickly in the browser, you can apply some tips to reduce server response times (TTFB). Here are some steps you can implement:

Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Server response time (TTFB) can be shortened if you use the Content Delivery Network service. CDN is made up of a number of servers located at various points of presence (pop) around the world.

By using a CDN, server response times can be shorter. The reason is that a server that is located closer to the user's location can help speed up page loading significantly. This can make it easier for users to get information without waiting for a long time for it to load.

Choosing the Right Hosting

One powerful way to reduce server response times (TTFB) is to choose a fast web hosting service. To implement this method, you need to discuss it with the web developer to determine the most appropriate server application for your website.

At this stage, you need to consider the quality improvements or improvements offered by web hosting. Make sure the hosting service can support the performance of your website in terms of the content management system you use.

Remove Unnecessary Plugins

Too many plugins on a page can slow down the loading speed. To reduce server response times (TTFB), you can remove some of them that you don't need.

Plugins that fill the page can add website page data. As a result, the server response time becomes longer because the amount of information that needs to be loaded is also large. In addition to a faster loading time, users will also be more comfortable reading information on website pages without the presence of many plugins.

Compressing Images

Besides removing unnecessary plugins, one way to reduce server response times (TTFB) is to compress image files. Large image file sizes can slow down page loading times if the internet connection is unstable.

To apply this method, you can also use the image SEO method. Use proper and relevant image formats for your content. Also, make sure to adjust the image size so that it is not too large to avoid long page loading times. 

Using Web Caching

To reduce server response times (TTFB), you can use the web caching method. This method can make it easier for users to load website pages because a cache for the content is already available in the browser.

In this case, website visitors only need to wait for static content to load when opening the page for the first time. After that, the cache will be saved automatically, and the next loading process will be faster. In other words, it will not take the user long to fully access the website page.

Doing Website Optimization

In order to maintain website performance, you need to do website optimization on a regular basis. As previously mentioned, image SEO can help reduce server response times (TTFB). Apart from that, you also need to do technical SEO to improve website performance.

Overall website optimization activities can be carried out using the SEO checklist. By implementing this strategy, you can carry out website maintenance with a focus on speeding up website loading effectively.

This marks the end of the guide on how to reduce server response times (TTFB) and how important this method is in SEO. To effectively improve website performance, you need energy to carry out all optimization activities on all sides.

Therefore, use SEO services to get optimization services from SEO specialists who can help you solve website loading problems in a professional manner.



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