10 Techniques to Reduce Your Initial Server Response Time

In order to reduce initial server response time of your WordPress website, you would need to implement various optimization strategies such as browser caching, minimize the HTTP requests to the origin server, use a CDN, and optimize the database to achieve a good server response time.

initial Server response time

As a website owner, you want to reduce initial server response time to improve the overall PageSpeed performance of your WordPress website. As the Server Response Time is a critical factor in determining your website’s PageSpeed performance.

Let’s understand the reasons behind the slow server response time and see the top techniques to reduce initial server response time.

What Is Server Response Time? 

Server response time is the span of time it takes for a web server to respond to a request from a browser.

The total time taken to process the browser request, generating the server response, and sending the server response back to the browser is the server response time.

Server Response Time= Time of processing the request + Time of  generating the response + Time of sending it back to the browser.

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In simple words, when a user visits your website the browser sends an HTTP request to your web server, asking for your web page’s content such as HTML, CSS stylesheets, JavaScript files, and images for rendering your webpage. 

Therefore, the server processes this HTTP request, generates an HTTP response and sends this response to your user’s browser.

The time takes to complete above processes is called server response time. It is also known as Time to First Byte (TTFB).  

The Benefits Of Reducing Server Response Time

According to Kissmetrics, 47 percent of users expect a website to load its content in less than 2 seconds. Thus, a high server response time would inversely affect user experience.

initial Server response time, server response time

By reducing the server response time on your WordPress site, you can enhance your user experience, and dramatically increase your conversion rate, as well as improve your PageSpeed Insights score, and boost your SEO rankings.

Enhance Your User Experience

initial Server response time, user experience

Every user expects a fast-loading website. Reducing the server response time can speed up your WordPress website and enhance your user experience (UX).

Improve Your Conversion Rate

A high server response time indicates a high loading time. By reducing the server response time, you can ensure a well-functioning website where the visitors will be receive a better user experience, increasing the average on-page time, which is massively important for SEO.

initial Server response time, Conversion Rates

More users are likely to convert potential leads or purchase from your e-commerce site, making an online transaction, or booking an appointment.

Improve The PageSpeed Insights Score

initial Server response time, Google pagespeed Overall score

Server response time is also known as Time to First Byte (TTFB). Google PageSpeed Insights provides a score based on performance metrics, so improving your server response time can improve your Google PSI score.

Boost Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Rankings

seo ranking, initial server response time

PageSpeed is one of the important factors which Google considers in its SEO ranking algorithm. By reducing server response time, you can improve your PageSpeed performance, boosting your Search Engine Optimization rankings. 

What Is Considered A Good Server Response Time?

The server response time is measured in milliseconds. You can easily measure your server response time by auditing your PageSpeed performance in Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix or Pingdom. It will provide your TTBF along with other performance metrics.

Good server response time, initial server response time

According to Google, your server response time is considered good when the TTFB is less than 200 milliseconds. However, the TTFB value of 1 second above is considered a slow server response time.

TTFB value Remarks
Less than 100 msIdeal server response time
In between 100 ms to 200 msGood server response time
In between 200 ms to 1 secondServer response time needs to be improved
More than 1 secondSlow server response time 

The Reason Behind Your Slow Server Response Time

It is important to understand the possible reasons behind your slow server response time. Apart from the poor network connection and unreliable hosting, there are many factors that can affect your server response time as well.

Server Response Time
  1. Large-sized images can increase your TTFB value.
  1. Unused CSS stylesheets slow your server response time by increasing the render-blocking resources.
  1. Unoptimized web fonts would slow your web page rendering time.
  1. Using unnecessary characters, such as white space and extra comments, increases the file size. This is one of the reasons behind your slow server response time. 
  1. The geographical distance between the user and the origin server increases the network latency, which also affects the server response time.

10 Techniques To Reduce Initial Server Response Time

If your website’s server response time is high, it will affect website speed performance and user experience. To improve your website’s server response time, you need to implement the strategies below. 

  • Add a Browser Caching Mechanism.
  • Optimize Your All Images.
  • Optimize Your Web Fonts.
  • Reduce Unused CSS
  • Reduce Your Website’s Resource File Size
  • Use a Content Delivery Network 
  • Implement Lazy Loading
  • Compress Your Website’s Assets.
  • Use a Good WordPress Hosting.
  • Avoid Using Too Many Plugins.

Let’s understand these strategies in detail. We will also mention the WordPress plugins that you can use if you are searching for a non-coding solution.

Add a browser caching mechanism

By adding a browser caching mechanism, you can store your WordPress website’s assets in the browser cache, when a user visits your website for the first time.

Therefore, when the user re-visits your website, or load another page on your website this cached content will be rendered faster. By adding a browser caching mechanism, you can reduce the server response time.

If you are technically sound, you can manually add a caching mechanism in your .htaccess file. However, this requires a lot of time and effort.

There are many cache plugins available in your WordPress like RabbitLoader. Using a cache plugin like RabbitLoader on your WordPress website reduce the server response time by adding browser caching along with other optimization techniques. 

Optimize all your images

Images are the most valuable resources on your website. We often add high-resolution images to make the website more attractive. However, unoptimized images increase the server response time by increasing the overall page size. 

Optimizing your large images can easily solve this issue. The best practice is to convert your large JPEG and PNG images into the modern AVIF or WebP format. 

optimize your images, image optimization

By converting the images to the next-gen format ( AVIF or WebP), you can compress the image sizes without compromising their original quality. If you are on WordPress you can use the RabbitLoader plugin for image optimization for your whole website.

Optimize your web fonts

Though web fonts improve your website’s visual appearance, sometimes using unoptimized web fonts harms your website’s PageSpeed performance. A good practice is to use a web-safe font to reduce the server response time.

Web fonts load

However, if you are using fonts that are not web-safe, you should optimize that web-fonts by adding the link preload or fetch priority attribute in your HTML file.

Syntax for adding link preload

<html>

<head>

 <link rel="preload" href="/assets/Pacifico-Bold.woff2" as="font" type="font/woff2" crossorigin>

</head>

</html>

Reduce unused CSS

When you are auditing the PageSpeed performance in Google PSI, you often come across the “eliminate the render-blocking resource” warnings. But what are the render-blocking resources?

CSS stylesheets provide style to a website’s content. Some CSS rules can be defined in CSS stylesheets but not utilized on the website. These rules are known as unused CSS, which can be considered a render-blocking resource.

reduce unused css

Therefore, these unused CSS rules increase your server response time by enlarging your Total Blocking Time (TBT). Reducing this unused CSS can decrease the page size and server response latency.

You can manually delete the unused CSS rule one by one. However, this process would require huge efforts. By using a WordPress plugin like RabbitLoader you can remove all unused CSS without putting any extra effort.

Reduce your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript file size

Developers often use extra characters like white space, unnecessary comments, line breaks, and large variable names to make the code more readable which increases the size of your HTML, stylesheets and scripts and increase the server response time.   

All Resource Optimization

By minifying these website’s resources, you can reduce these file sizes. This would improve your page load time and reduce server response times.

Use a Content Delivery Network 

A high distance between the origin server and the user can increase the server response time by increasing the network latency. Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) can mitigate this problem by distributing the static content between the proxy/ edge server.

 A Content Delivery Network stores the website’s static and dynamic content on the edge server. When a user requests your website’s content, serving the content from the nearest edge server, CDN would reduce the server response time. 

Implement lazy loading

If you are using too many images on your website, lazy loading is the best solution to optimize your website by improving the performance metrics especially the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP).

lazy loading

Lazy loading allows you to render your above-the-fold images and defer the non-critical resources. In simple words, during your page loading time only the images, present in the visible area are loaded. The remaining images would load when you scroll down to them.

Thus, the page speed of your website will automatically be increased by reducing the initial server response time. 

Compress your website’s assets

Compressing your website’s assets using the GZIP or Brotli methods can reduce server response time. While GZIP is the traditional method, Brotli uses the modern algorithm to compress the website’s resources.

compress your website resources

Using the Brotli algorithm, RabbitLoader compresses all resources of your WordPress website and sends the compressed files over the network. Thus, your server response time would be improved.

Use a Good WordPress Hosting

Using low-cost web hosting might save your costs but harm your website performance by increasing the server response time. In order to reduce this issue, use a dedicated web hosting server.

However, using a dedicated server can be expensive. You can also choose properly optimized shared hosting, which might help reduce your server response time.

Avoid Using Too Many Plugins

In order to optimize your website’s performance, you often use a lot of WordPress plugins. However, using too many optimization plugins would increase the server response time.

avoid too many plugins

You choose the WordPress plugin which has multiple optimization features like RabbitLoader. When you are using RabbitLoader, you don’t need to look for any other optimization tools for adding browser caching, lazy loading, and others.  

Reduce Your Initial Server Response Time With RabbitLoader

Now you already know how to implement the above optimization techniques for reducing your initial server response time. Here we will discuss how RabbitLoader optimizes your WordPress website’s pagespeed performance by reducing the server response time.

  1. Bulk image optimization 

RabbitLoader converts all images into the next-gen format, such as WebP or AVIF. Through its in-built image optimization feature, RabbitLoader compresses all images without reducing their original quality. 

  1. Provide a premium CDN

RabbitLoader reduces initial server response time by distributing the website’s content between the 300+ PoPs available in RabbitLoader’s premium CDN. This reduces network latency and improves your website’s pagespeed performance.

  1. Implement lazy loading

RabbitLoader implements lazy loading by deferring your below-the-fold images. By doing so, RabbitLoader improves the performance of the core web vitals, especially LCP, and reduces the server response time.

  1. Add a browser caching

By adding an advanced browser caching mechanism, RabbitLoader improves your server response time by reducing the browser’s HTTP request to the web server. It also ensures that the website’s static assets will be cached for the right amount of time.

  1. Optimize web fonts

When you use RabbitLoader to optimize your website, it automatically adds a link preload for your critical resources, improving your server response time.

  1. Compress the website’s resources

RabbitLoader uses the modern Brotli algorithm to compress your website’s resources and send the compressed file to the network. Thus, your server response time would automatically be improved.

  1. All-one-optimization plugin 

Along with the above features, RabbitLoader also creates a critical CSS file, reduces your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript file size, adds preloading and prefetching, implements server-side caching, and many more. 

All in one optimization

Therefore, when you are using this all-in-one optimization plugin, no other optimization plugins are needed to reduce server response time.

Conclusion

A faster server response time helps you to enhance your user experience. If your server response time is high, you need to implement the above strategies manually to reduce it. 

However, if you are looking for an effortless solution, install RabbitLoader and explore its outstanding optimization features to reduce initial server response time.

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What Is Total Blocking Time (TBT) & How to Optimize It to Boost The PageSpeed Score?

You may have encountered the term Total Blocking Time (TBT) while analyzing your PageSpeed performance in Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix. But what is Total Blocking Time?

Google added this Total Blocking Time (TBT) metric to its PageSpeed & lighthouse tests to analyze the span of time when the main thread is blocked and the user needs to wait to see the website’s content.

Total blocking Time

Google PageSpeed Insights considers TBT along with four other metrics to determine the PageSpeed score. 

Here, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Total Blocking Time (TBT) and how you can easily optimize your TBT performance by using RabbitLoader without needing coding skills. 

What Is Total Blocking Time (TBT)?

Total Blocking Time (TBT) accounts for 30% of the overall Google PSI score. This performance metric is used to analyze the load responsiveness of a website. In simple words, TBT measures the span of time, a long task (which takes more than 50 ms ) blocks the main thread and negatively affects your page’s usability. 

TBT

Let’s understand TBT with an example. Assume, there are a total of 4 tasks in which task 1 takes 150 ms, task 2 takes 30 ms, task 3 needs 100 ms, and finally, task 4 requires 350 ms.The TBT for these 4 tasks combines would be 450 ms (100+50+300).

Task Time Required (in milliseconds )Blocking time (in milliseconds )
Task 1150(150-50)= 100
Task 230Not considerable 
Task 3100(100-50)= 50
Task 4350(350-50)= 300
Total required time= 630 msTotal Blocking Time= 450 ms

How To Measure Total Blocking Time?

You already understand how Total Blocking Time is calculated. Here we will mention the helpful tools to measure the Total Blocking Time. There are several tools available to measure TBT. Let’s discuss the two most popular online tools to measure it.

Google PageSpeed Insights

Total blocking time peformance

Google PageSpeed Insights considers 5 performance metrics to determine the PageSpeed score. Among these 5 metrics, TBT is one of them. To know how to measure it in Google PageSpeed Insights, read our PageSpeed Insights blog.

GTmetrix 

GTmetrix is the best alternative tool for measuring PageSpeed performance. Its advantage over Google PSI is that it allows customizing the test location and device. For more details, read our post on GTmetrix.  

Total blocking time tbt gtmetrix

What Is An Ideal Total Blocking Time?

In order to categorize the performance of Total Blocking Time (TBT), google sets some boundary values. To be in a green zone, your Total blocking Time should be less than 300 ms for the whole page Let’s explore the criteria.

TBT time (in milliseconds)StatusColor 
Less than 300 msGoodGreen
In between 300 ms to 600 msModerate (need to improve)Orange
More than 600 ms PoorRed 

The Reason Behind A High Total Blocking Time

Before discussing the solution, it’s important to know the reason behind a high TBT. Let’s explore the most common causes that can inflate the Total Blocking Time (TBT).

  • A high JavaScript execution time due to the unoptimized JavaScript files
  • An unoptimized  CSS file
  • Using a huge number of third-party scripts
  • A high main thread work. 
  • An excessive DOM size. 
Total Blocking Time

Optimize TBT With RabbitLoader

Optimizing Total Blocking Time can be challenging as it requires extensive modification of resource files such as stylesheets, HTML, and JavaScript files. To prevent these technical aspects, you can install RabbitLoader. Let’s see how RabbitLoader optimizes your TBT.

  • Compress Your Resource Files
  • Minifying CSS and JavaScript 
  • Optimize Your CSS Files
  • Optimize JavaScript Files

Compress Your Resource Files

Compressing is a method for easily reducing the size of your resource file by minimizing the redundancy in your coding file. The most popular two types of compression are GZIP and Brotli.

The most traditional compression method is used in GZIP, whereas the Brotli uses a modern algorithm. 

RabbbitLoader uses the Brotli compression method and compresses your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files, resulting in significant improvement of The Total blocking Time performance.  

Minifying JavaScript And CSS Files

When it comes to improving the TBT performance, minification of JavaScript files and CSS stylesheets is one of the unavoidable optimization strategies. By removing white spaces and unnecessary comments from your CSS and JS files, you can easily reduce the total file size.   

Total Blocking Time (1)

Doing this manually can be a daunting task for a large website, by just installing RabbitLoader, you can easily reduce the file size by minifying your JS and CSS files without any tweaks.

Optimize Your CSS Files

Although a CSS file’s aesthetic contribution is huge in a website’s design, an unoptimized CSS can negatively affect the performance of TBT metrics, leading to a slow loading speed. 

There are two ways to optimize your CSS files: reducing the unused CSS and generating critical CSS. When you use RabbitLoader, it will optimize your CSS stylesheets by identifying and reducing the unused CSS and creating a file for your critical CSS. For more details, on how CSs is optimized by RabbitLoader you can read the Reduce Unused CSS blog and the Critical CSS blog. 

Optimize JavaScript Files 

JavaScript optimization is another process that can significantly reduce the TBT and mitigate the Google PageSpeed warning “Reduce JavaScript Execution time”. Some techniques are involved in JavaScript Optimization which includes:

TBT graph
  • Add a defer attribute in the HTML file for each non-critical JavaScript function.
  • Code splitting.
  • Minifying and compressing JavaScript files. 

When you use RabbitLoader for other optimization purposes, you don’t need to worry about each optimization technique. RabbitLoader will look after your JavaScript optimization among other optimization techniques needed for a lightning fast website. 

Conclusion 

The Total Blocking Time (TBT) is one of the most important performance metrics that holds 30% weightage of the overall PageSpeed score in Google PSI. To increase user engagement on your website, you need to optimize the performance of TBT along with the other performance metrics. 

Optimize your WordPress, Shopify, Php or Laravel websites with just a few clicks, improve their PageSpeed performance in just 5 minutes by  installing RabbitLoader.

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