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How to Measure and Reduce TTFB in WordPress

Updated on December 20, 2021

7 Min Read

Are you creating a website with WordPress or your existing website is very slow? While performing a website speed test, have you come across TTFB but don’t know what it is or how to measure and reduce it? You are in the right place! In this article, I will explain everything you need to know about the TTFB.

What Is TTFB?

Time to First Byte (TTFB) refers to the response time of the server it takes to load a web page. The longer it takes the server to respond to the request, the longer it takes the browser to display the web page to a user. This is why delays between browser requests and the response received can increase the TTFB.

TTFB time is the sum of all the response times of each of the services through which our request passes, such as the browser, the Internet connection, the distance from the node to the web server, and the nearest DNS, etc. This means that the TTFB is not only the first time a URL is visited but also every time access to content is requested.

Is TTFB Really Important?

It is important to understand that TTFB does not equal website speed. This is actually a measure of responsiveness. There are many discussions on the web about whether TTFB is important or not. Some say it’s meaningless, while others say it’s important. However, these are my two main arguments that justify reducing the TTFB.

First, from a user experience point of view, it should be understood that during this time, the user is waiting in front of a blank page. Therefore, if the TTFB exceeds the threshold values, it will inevitably lead to frustration for the user, who will likely leave your website. Second, several studies seem to agree that TTFB counts in the website ranking in Google.

How to Measure TTFB

There are many tools available that can help you check and measure your website’s TTFB.

Here, I will show you how to measure TTFB with the popular tools widely used by WordPress experts. The results slightly vary when you compare each testing tool, so this way, you can check your TTFB from different angles.

  • How to Measure TTFB With GTmetrix
  • How to Measure TTFB With Chrome Console
  • How to Measure TTFB With WebPageTest
  • How to Measure TTFB With Sucuri
  • How to Measure TTFB With KeyCDN

How to Measure TTFB With GTmetrix

GTmetrix is a powerful website testing tool that allows users to monitor their website performance and suggests areas of improvement to achieve better results. I have also used this testing tool in the fastest WordPress page builders and themes to set the speed testing and rankings.

It’s easy to check TTFB from GTmetrix, but here, TTFB is referred to with waiting time. To check TTFb, run your website on the GTmetrix, then go to Waterfall and hover your mouse on the colorful bars (time). There, you will see the waiting time, aka TTFB.

ttfb with gtmetrix

How to Measure TTFB With Chrome Console

Chrome isn’t only a browser to access a website but also an advanced developer tool that helps developers to check the flow of their website and content elements. To view TTFB in Google Chrome, press Ctrl + Shift + I (for Win) / Cmd + Opt + I ( for Mac) or Right Click (mouse) → Inspect → All → hover your mouse on Waterfall.

ttfb with chrome

You will see a waiting time, i.e., TTFB of your website along with other website details.

How to Measure TTFB With WebPageTest

You can run your website on WebPageTest, which helps you analyze website performance and user page experience. This tool generates comprehensive reports of your website performance and suggests ways to improve your Core Web Vitals. You can see in the image below, the very first field is the TTFB of your entire website.

ttfb with webpagetest

How to Measure TTFB With Sucuri

Sucuri is a smart tool specially designed to measure your website’s TTFB in different regions. It performs tests on various locations and helps you analyze the TTFB time on the basis of those locations.

For example, if your website is hosted on a server in London and you want to check the speed for the US region. In that case, you can easily figure out the performance results with this testing tool.

ttfb with sucuri

How to Measure TTFB With KeyCDN

KeyCDN offers a performance testing tool that will let you analyze your website speed, status, connecting time, TLS, and, more importantly, TTFB. Here, you have multiple countries’ locations, and you can instantly check where your website runs faster and slower.

ttfb with keycdn

How to Reduce TTFB in WordPress

Here, I will highlight 5 easy ways to reduce TTFB in WordPress. Let’s take a look at them!

  1. Configure Varnish Cache
  2. WordPress Cache Plugin
  3. Fastest WordPress Hosting
  4. Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  5. Keep WordPress Updated

1. Configure Varnish Cache

One of the important factors that affect your website’s TTFB is the Varnish cache. You will see a significant difference when you enable varnish on your WordPress. We have also covered a detailed guide on how to configure varnish on WordPress to check the performance difference with and without Varnish.

This time around, I will check the website’s TTFB with or without Varnish. Here, I have created a website and hosted it on Cloudways Vultr (High Frequency) server, where first I disabled Varnish from my application and checked TTFB on GTmetrix. After that, I enabled Varnish and checked the Waiting Time (TTFB).

without varnish

Without Varnish, the Waiting Time (TTFB) is 759 ms, and my server faced a high initial response time.

ttfb with varnish cache

With the Varnish cache, I have noticed a big difference in performance, and TTFB is reduced to 141 ms.

2. WordPress Cache Plugin

For performance enhancements, the WordPress plugins repository is full of plugins that will help you improve your website speed and TTFB. There are various options out there, and one of them is using a WordPress cache plugin.

If you are a Cloudways user, then I would recommend using the Breeze cache plugin. It’s a cache plugin specially designed to improve your website speed. If you want to look into the installation setup, then here’s a detailed guide that will help you do that.

Now, let’s look at the TTFB difference with and without a WordPress cache plugin.

ttfb without wordpress cache

Without a WordPress cache plugin, the TTFB calculated on is 0.184s.

ttfb with wordpress cache

With a WordPress cache plugin, the TTFB is reduced to 0.169s.

Please also note that I have already enabled the Varnish cache, as Breeze is fully compatible with Varnish.

3. Fastest WordPress Hosting

Hosting plays a crucial role when it comes to website speed and reducing TTFB. It will help you speed up your website performance and within a few clicks. We have also covered a detailed guide and performed a few tests to check how well a WordPress website performs on the fastest WordPress hosting.

Cloudways offers more than 65 data centers that will let you launch a server nearest to your target audience, so this way, you can improve your website’s TTFB for your visitors. If you are using shared hosting, then after migration, you will see a huge difference in your website performance.

4. Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Integrating your website with CDN is an easy way to achieve good website performance results and improve TTFB. It reduces the physical distance between your website and visitor by storing your website content on different (global) proxy servers.

For example, your website is hosted on a server in London, and a visitor opens your website from New York, USA. In that case, instead of directly requesting the original server, the website content will be served from the nearest proxy server (CDN).

5. Keep WordPress Updated

It’s highly recommended to keep your theme, core, plugins, and PHP version updated not only for better performance but also for security. The new releases and updates are usually focused on new features and security/performance optimizations.

We have noticed a similar behavior while testing the PHP versions on the Cloudways server. The newer version was better and performed really great when we compared it with the previous versions. Here’s a detailed guide that will help you understand the importance of upgrading to the latest PHP versions.


TTFB should not be seen as a threat as long as you know why it causes problems in your browser or web page. This metric is key so that everything flows quickly and effectively and gives the user great satisfaction after the initial request. For this reason, I recommend you use the TTFB as a strategy to retain your visitors and customers.

However, detecting a slow or high TTFB is not an easy task. It is a long procedure that requires a lot of time and dedication. Analyze your website carefully, detect that lack of fluidity if you have it, and work on it to give it a good facelift. By doing this on a regular basis, you will achieve the effect you want.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I lower TTFB?

A. To lower your TTFB, you need to follow these five ways:

  1. Configure Varnish Cache
  2. WordPress Cache Plugin
  3. Fastest WordPress Hosting
  4. Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  5. Keep WordPress Updated

Q. Why is my TTFB so high?

A. There are many reasons for having high TTFB. You can test your website on GTmetrix or other tools to check the performance and speed improvement suggestions (aka the reason for high TTFB and slow speed).

Q. What should TTFB be?

A. Generally, anything below 100 ms means a great TTFB. Google PageSpeed Insights recommends less than 200 ms for server response time.

Q. What is a normal TTFB?

A. TTFB depends on the visitor’s location. If your website is hosted on a London server and someone visits it from the nearest location, then the normal TTFB would be considered less than 500ms. If someone visits from a distant location, in that case, the normal TTFB is less than 1 sec.

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Mansoor Ahmed Khan

Been in content marketing since 2014, and I still get a kick out of creating stories that resonate with the target audience and drive results. At Cloudways by DigitalOcean (a leading cloud hosting company, btw!), I lead a dream team of content creators. Together, we brainstorm, write, and churn out awesome content across all the channels: blogs, social media, emails, you name it! You can reach out to me at [email protected].


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