Understanding Time To First Byte (TTFB) and its importance

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What is Time To First Byte (TTFB)?

Le Time To First Bytealso known by the acronym TTFBis a key performance indicator that measures the time it takes to receive the first byte sent by a server.

This figure, often expressed in milliseconds, plays a major role in theuser experience and the overall performance of a website.

In this article, we will explore the various facets of Time To First Byte and its implications for the loading speed web pages.

Here are the 10 key points to understand:

Time To First Byte

1. Definition of Time To First Byte (TTFB)

Le Time To First Byte is a measurement that represents the lapse of time between the request from the client (web browser) and the actual reception of the first response byte sent by the server. In other words, it calculates how long it takes a server to acknowledge receipt of a request before responding.

2. The importance of TTFB for the user experience

A high TTFB can lead to longer loading times for web pages and therefore a less satisfactory user experience. The longer the browser waits to start loading the elements of a page, the more frustrating it is for the user. That's why it's vital to monitor this indicator and optimise it so that users can enjoy fast, pleasant browsing.

3. The various factors that influence Time To First Byte

A. Network latency

La latency is the time it takes for data to travel from one point to another on a network. It can be caused by the geographical distance between the server and the user, but also by the quality and congestion of the ISP's infrastructure. Overall, the lower the latency, the better the TTFB.

B. Server configuration

The type of operating system, processing power and storage capacity of the server can have an impact on query execution time. Working with a responsive host that has the right infrastructure can improve TTFB.

C. Software optimisation (backend)

Source code congestion or poor resource management can considerably slow down the processing of server-side requests. It is therefore crucial to develop a high-performance backend and choose appropriate and effective technologies to optimise TTFB.

4. How do you calculate Time To First Byte?

There are several online tools that make it easy to measure the TTFB of a web page. Plugins can also be integrated directly into the browser to analyse this indicator in real time during browsing. Finally, developers can use the Performance Timing API from JavaScript to obtain information on the TTFB directly via their code.

5. Recommended thresholds for an optimal TTFB

There is no universal value for a good TTFB: it depends on many factors, such as the type of content displayed or the resources required on the server side. However, Google generally recommends a TTFB less than 200 msThis corresponds to good performance in terms of accessing data and displaying the initial content. A TTFB of more than 500 ms, on the other hand, is considered poor and should be improved.

6. Time To First Byte optimisation techniques

Here are some ways of reducing the FTTB:

  • Choose a high-performance web host with an infrastructure suited to the size and traffic of your site.
  • Use a content distribution network (CDN) for greater fluidity when a user connects to your website.
  • Optimising the backend by improving source code quality and resource management.
  • Set up a caching system to reduce server-side request processing time.
  • Follow best practice in terms of performance and security by regularly monitoring the TTFB.

7. The key role of CDNs in optimising the FTTB

Content delivery networks (CDNs) optimise TTFB by providing proxy servers that are geographically close to users. This reduces latency and improves the overall performance of web page loading, particularly for sites with high traffic volumes. audience international.

8. The impact of Time To First Byte on natural referencing

The loading time of a site is a criterion recognised by Google's search engine optimisation algorithm. Although it is not the only determining factor, the TTFB is one of the elements taken into account by search engines when assessing the quality of a site. A high TTFB can therefore be detrimental to the positioning of pages in search results, especially when it is the result of poor server configuration or a deficient infrastructure.

9. The limits of Time To First Byte as a performance indicator

Although TTFB gives an important indication of data access speed, it does not take into account the entire process of loading a web page. Factors such as file size, the number of HTTP(s) requests and the speed with which the DOM (Document Object Model) are also crucial to users' perception of performance. In this context, TTFB should be considered as one indicator among others, and the focus should be on improving the overall user experience in terms of speed and fluidity of navigation.

10. The evolution of Time To First Byte in the future

With the constant development of web technologies and the ongoing quest for performance, it is likely that expectations of the FTTB will continue to riseAs a result, web hosts, developers and administrators are redoubling their efforts to deliver ever faster response times.

The democratisation of CDNs, the rise of serverless architectures and the gradual adoption of improved network protocols are all factors that should help to lower the average TTFB and significantly improve the user experience on the web.

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