Start With TTFB: The Relationship With Other Core Web Vitals

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If you have a website and want to optimize it for your users, you’ve likely heard about time to first byte (TTFB.) It’s one of the metrics that measures the load speed of a site. A web page’s download time is crucial because it affects the user experience, and most users who have to wait for a page to load, often go to another website. But what is TTFB’s relationship with other core web vitals?

When increasing the performance of your website, start with TTFB. It is the most important metric because it determines whether a user stays or leaves your web page. TTFB impacts all other core web vitals; if there are no users on your site, you can’t measure any of the core web vitals.

Google implemented core web vitals to help determine a website’s ranking and ensure that when you’re searching for something, you get the best results. The CWV measures the user experience based on speed, visual stability, and interactivity. If a web page ranks well on all these factors, it will rank better in the search results.

What Does TTFB Measure?

TTFB measures the amount of time it takes for the browser to get the first byte after making a response to the server. This is measured in milliseconds. The longer the page takes to load, the less likely it is for that person to stay on your website. This affects your Google ranking and the number of visitors to your site.

A site goes through the following process when downloading a page’s information:

  1. HTTP request. When a visitor lands on a site, an HTTP request is sent from the visitor’s web browser to the server.
  2. The server processes the request. Once the server receives a request, it processes it and starts preparing a response.
  3. The server sends a response. When the server has a response, it sends it back to the browser.

The faster the response, the quicker the website will download. Many factors go into making a web page load quickly, but the best way to optimize it is to reduce the TTFB.

How To Measure TTFB?

Before you can start optimizing this metric, you need to measure it. To figure out the TTFB of your website, you can use the Google Pagespeed tool. This tool sends a request from various locations worldwide to determine the page speed and provides a full assessment of the core web vitals. 

Once you’ve analyzed this metric, you can start to improve it and work towards a faster loading time.

Why Should You Start Optimizing TTFB First?

The first thing a user experiences when landing on your web page is the time it takes to load it. The longer your TTFB is, the longer it will take for your page to show on the user’s computer. This is the first metric to look at before any of the others because if it’s not optimized, the user won’t be able to experience the rest of your pages.

This metric is also the most important because people want quick loading times and their searches to be answered now. When they experience a lag, they simply move to another web page. 

Two of the most significant determining factors that influence the speed of TTFB are slow DNS servers that are overloaded or located far away and servers that aren’t configured properly or have hardware problems. 

Working on the speed first can help improve the website’s performance and downloading time and prevent users from leaving the site.

What Is A Good TTFB?

According to Google, a good response time for a server is anything under 200 milliseconds. But this number may not always be applicable and depends on the type of site you have and the information on it. If there is dynamic content, like a combination of video, audio, and text, the TTFB can be between 200 and 500 milliseconds.

If your web page has static information, the load time should ideally be less than 100 milliseconds. If your page takes 500 to 800 milliseconds to download, your users will likely leave. While 200 milliseconds is ideal for some sites, it is best to aim for anything less than 500 milliseconds.

How Does TTFB Impact Other Core Web Vitals?

Time to first bite is not a core web vital but a crucial factor to consider when measuring a website’s performance. It also has a significant impact on Google’s CWV metrics. This metric is the foundation of the page’s speed and has a cascading effect on the other core web vitals. 

CWV includes First Input Delay (FID), Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). These measure a site’s loading performance, user experience, and excellent visual stability. 

The First Input Delay measures the amount of time it takes for the browser to send a response when the user first interacts with a website. This interaction could be anything from clicking a button, filling in text boxes, or clicking a link.

The Largest Contentful Paint is a metric that measures the amount of time it takes to show the user the content on their computer. Most web pages include videos, images, image tags, text, and background images.

The Cumulative Layout Shift focuses on how quickly the shifting elements, like buttons and images, download while the page loads.

The time to first bite not only slows down all of these core web vitals but influences how long it takes for your webpage to reach the end user. It’s a metric often overlooked when optimizing a site, especially when most people focus on the CWV.

How To Improve TTFB?

Improving time to first bite can be challenging as most of the process happens on the server, and the backend of websites isn’t all built the same. However, you can do a few things to improve your TTFB, and these apply to most sites.

  1. Use A CDN Using an efficient CDN can help load the content quicker through a network of servers from all over the world. This reduces the time between connecting with a server because the content is delivered from a server located closer to the user.
  2. Reduce HTTP requests. You can reduce HTTP requests by optimizing files and images so there are fewer requests, resulting in a faster loading time.
  3. Use caching. Enabling caching on your web pages decreases TTFB by reducing the time it takes for the server to respond to a request.
  4. Premium DNS provider. Opting for a premium DNS provider will give you quicker response times by sending the request via optimized servers.
  5. Make sure you’re using the latest PHP version. When your website runs on the latest PHP version, it’s efficient, performs better, and decreases initial server response time.
  6. Keep plugins and themes up to date. If you’re using WordPress, make sure your site’s plugins, themes, and other updates are up to date. Newer versions of plugins come with updates that make them work better and make them space-saving.
  7. Optimize your database. If your database is full of data that isn’t being used, like temporary or deleted files and images, it takes up space and affects the server response time. Keep your database optimized for a faster TTFB.

Once you’ve improved your TTFB, you can analyze your web page with a core web vitals report and see which areas you can work on.


When optimizing your web page, you need to consider the time to first bite before looking at any of the core web vitals. This metric plays a vital role in user experience and is often overlooked when improving performance, but it is just as important when increasing your site’s performance.

About the Author

I have been in the 'online business' space since 2009 when I started an eCommerce business selling motorcycle parts (sold in 2012). Since then I have owned and operated several successful online business (and had a fair share of failures), along with owning offline home services businesses. Currently my focus is online businesses that are profitable with paid traffic. As a 'self employed individual' I do not use Linkedin, but you can connect with my on my personal instagram and youtube which largely revolve around my mountain biking passion!