Time To First Byte (TTFB) Test Results Meaning

The Time To First Byte involves many moving parts. TTFB is the time it takes for a server to send the first byte of data once your browser has made its initial HTTP request. This is a bit of an oversimplification, but it serves to illustrate the basic concept. When this time is a large part of the loading time of your website, it can often feel like the time should be much lower. Yet, there can be many functions that a web server does before responding with the first byte. A long TTFB does not usually indicate a problem. Sometimes your website may actually take longer to load if the TTFB was shorter. Other times, a TTFB time may be very short, but the server still responds slowly. But how can that be?

What are some things that can affect TTFB times?

A web server can provide a partial HTTP header before sending your website content. This can give a very short TTFB time, while your site may still take a long time to finish loading. Remember that the TTFB is only the time to the first byte of HTTP data, and not your website data.

Compression can also affect the TTFB of a website. Your server may be setup to compress your website content before sending its data to a web browser. This can make the TTFB longer, while your site still loads faster than with no compression.

So, does the TTFB of my site matter?

The time-to-first-byte can be helpful in addressing potential page load bottlenecks. However, it’s key to remember that a short, or even a long TTFB does not by itself confirm a misconfiguration. There are more factors that affect loading time such as connection latency, if you use caching or not, and so on. But these examples show some of the misconceptions of blaming TTFB for a slow website.

Thoughts on “Time To First Byte (TTFB) Test Results Meaning

  • TTFB is very fast for US and Canada: 172ms (Redirect: 0ms Connect: 136ms Backend: 36ms)
    but very slow for Australia and India 1100ms (Redirect: 0ms Connect: 800ms Backend: 268ms)
    Source: GTMetrix Page: https://www.flixxy.com/trumpet-solo-melissa-venema.htm

    As a result, my site is failing Google’s Core Web Vitals

    Flixxy.com is written in simple HTML (no wordpress) and I have already upgraded my plan to “Power”
    40% of my traffic comes from outside the US & Canada.
    How can I fix the TTFB for non-US & Canada?

    • Hello Hubert – Sorry for the issue with the times from India and Australia. This kind of thing is at the mercy of the jumps between the data center and the viewer in the remote location (the route that a packet has to travel to get to the hosting server and back to the viewer). Often, the best solution is simply to get a server in that region in order to provide a closer hosting server. You can try to troubleshoot by running a traceroute between a computer/device in the remote location and hitting the US server. But, I doubt that the issue is a network problem and more of a geographical distance one. You can try to make sure that your server is closest to your customers abroad by possibly moving to a West Coast server.

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