Last updated December 5th, 2023 23:47
In the context of SEO optimization and the fact that everyone undoubtedly wants to see their website at the top of search results, let’s take a look today at the role that website speed optimization plays. Specifically, we will focus on the Time To First Byte (TTFB) and how can you reduce the TTFB value in WordPress. This is one of the key metrics that indicates website loading speed, and search engines use this value in their metrics.
What is TTFB – Time to First Byte
TTFB (Time to First Byte) is a metric used to measure the time it takes from the moment a user sends a request to a web page until the server begins to send the first byte of data in response. This duration includes the time needed to receive the request on the server, process the request, and start sending data back to the user’s browser.
TTFB is an important indicator of website performance because it can impact the speed of web page loading. A shorter TTFB typically means faster page loading, contributing to a better user experience. The TTFB time can be influenced by various factors, including server performance, server traffic, server-side code efficiency, and network latency.
How to Check the TTFB Value
You can determine the value of this metric using various online tools that measure website performance and optimization. I can mention at least two of the most well-known ones, PageSpeed Insight and GTmetrix. Both of these tools are publicly available and free to use online. This makes it a straightforward task for you. You enter the URL into one of these tools and run the test. The web platform will then check the entire code, its optimization, and response speed. As a result, you will find out, among other things, whether your TTFB is optimal, slow, or completely inadequate.
How Can You Reduce The TTFB Value In WordPress?
There are many practices you can use to improve TTFB on a WordPress website. Let’s focus on the key ones that effectively influence website speed and, consequently, its responses to the user’s browser.
Update WordPress, plugins, and the theme
This point will be one of the most important for you throughout the time you use your website. Updating the WordPress core and its essential components is crucial not only for security but also for website speed. Outdated core, as well as theme templates and plugins, often lead to problems.
The primary problem in such a state is undoubtedly the security of the website and a significant risk of vulnerabilities. Equally important, though, is speed. Developers continually strive to not only secure their products but also incorporate parts of modern technologies, such as a higher PHP version, for which they optimize the code. As a result, an updated plugin, website core, or theme template can be significantly faster.
Use the latest PHP
In general, higher PHP versions are not only safer but also faster. Check what version of PHP your web server is running and, if necessary, ask your hosting provider to update PHP. If you have your own server, don’t hesitate to implement the new PHP version on your server. As of the date of this article, the current PHP version is 8.2. However, many people still use the old and outdated version 7.4. The performance improvement for your website is truly noticeable.
You can find out which PHP version your web server is using in the left menu under tools, where there’s an item for the health of your website. Here, you’ll find all the necessary information.
Install a caching plugin
The alpha and omega of WordPress speed is caching. The principle of cache on WordPress is very simple. When a request is made to the website, the server has to gather all the data and compile the resulting code to deliver to the browser. This takes some time. Cache works by storing the resulting, compiled code in memory. If a user subsequently requests the same page, the server doesn’t have to do any of the above. The code is already available in the cache, so it simply delivers the finished result, saving a lot of time that would otherwise be spent recompiling something it has already done.
Use a CDN
CDN, or Content Delivery Network, is a network of servers that delivers content more quickly based on the user’s geographical location. It’s usually a paid service. One of the most well-known CDNs is CloudFlare, for example. The principle is simple. A CDN essentially loads your website’s content and distributes it across its servers worldwide. When a user requests the website’s content, for instance, from Germany, it gets the content delivered from a German data center. If the user is in France, the CDN switches them to a data center closest to their location. This significantly shortens the path that data must travel from the server to the end user.
Optimize the Database
WordPress is quite sensitive to how you store data in the database. It tends to bloat the database unnecessarily, resulting in it becoming a large bundle of often unnecessary data over time. This is most noticeable in revisions. Simply put, a revision is a copy of an article created when you write or edit it. Elementor, among others, is known for generating unnecessary revisions.
WordPress periodically saves parts of an article as revisions at certain time intervals so that you can revert to its original version in case of a problem. This can lead to a single article on a website having dozens or even hundreds of copies. You can imagine how many revisions a website with a hundred or more articles can accumulate. Deleting these revisions from time to time is a good practice, and a simple plugin like Sweep can be a great help.
Get a more powerful web hosting
The last and also the most challenging piece of advice is choosing quality hosting. Everything depends on it. Even if you optimize extensively, it won’t matter if you choose a very cheap but slow hosting provider. The server’s speed and the provider’s network speed are crucial for your website’s performance. If you have a large website with high traffic or a significant number of posts, you might want to consider getting your own virtual private server (VPS). For around 300 CZK per month, you can access machines with 4 virtual cores and 8 GB of RAM. This is already a significant amount of performance for a WordPress website.
Personally, I use the same machine for this website on Linux, and according to activity monitoring, it is mostly idle. This provides plenty of room for optimizing the website’s performance. Furthermore, on your own server, almost anything is possible. Object caching, the latest PHP, the latest MySQL version, and more can all be installed and configured by yourself. However, there is one significant drawback: managing the server requires knowledge or someone who can take care of it for you.
How Can You Reduce The TTFB Value In WordPress?
The above tips on how to reduce TTFB in WordPress are just the foundation for achieving a better TTFB on your WordPress website. Many people do many other things, hoping to change the values without focusing on the foundation on which the entire website stands or falls. If you initially focus on the above facts during the tuning phase, it should significantly improve the speed of your website. It only takes courage, time, and a willingness to experiment a bit. As with any website optimization, a fundamental aspect is also backing up. Before making any significant changes to the structure of the website, make sure to back up your data (FTP and MySQL). There’s nothing more unpleasant than losing data or irreparably damaging the entire website in the pursuit of better metrics without having a backup of the original state.
The website is created with care for the included information. I strive to provide high-quality and useful content that helps or inspires others. If you are satisfied with my work and would like to support me, you can do so through simple options.
Je mi líto, že pro Vás nebyl článek užitečný.
Jak mohu vylepšit článek?
Řekněte mi, jak jej mohu zlepšit.